Individuals who rent their homes out to travelers on sites like Airbnb already have enough to worry about — they’re trusting a complete stranger with (likely) their greatest financial asset — without worrying about a potential party at their residence and the resulting damage or costly fine if the police are called.
With hosts likely residing at a secondary, offsite location, there is no way for them to know what their guests are doing at night, which is the time when most residential areas have stricter standards for the permissible level of noise. For instance, in Bellevue, quiet time runs from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., and police have the power to issue costly citations if the noise disturbance can be heard from more than 75 feet away.
Mobile sensing company BlueFox.io has come up with a solution they are calling Party Squasher. The company’s patented technology was originally designed to allow actionable real-time counting of mobile phones (and thereby foot traffic) in brick and mortar retail. The technology relies on ambient Wi-Fi activity to count the number of mobile devices present in a single location.
Using this technology in rental properties, BlueFox.io created the discrete Party Squasher device which counts the number of people in a property by the signals coming from their mobile devices. If the number of devices in the house exceed the limit set by the homeowner, the device will send a text to the property owner, alerting them that occupancy is too high.
To set it up, the homeowner only needs to plug the box into the home’s existing Wi-Fi router and download the Party Squasher app. The app can be used to set the detection range based on the property’s size as well as the maximum number of devices that may enter the home before sending the alert.
Individuals who manage multiple properties will be happy to note that they can track all of their Party Squasher-equiped properties at one time. “With the release of our external API, property management companies can now track tens, hundreds, or even thousands of homes at once and be alerted if there’s an issue at any given property,” said Amanda Mills, the co-founder of Party Squasher. “The device’s estimations will let you know when there’s a crowd, but have enough wiggle room to avoid invading privacy.”
The device is available online and costs $149, which includes the first year’s service subscription.