Focus on: Smart Home Security Cameras

Focus on: Smart Home Security Cameras

The idiom “A picture is worth a thousand words” refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image or that an image of a subject conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a description does. It is sometimes attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte, who said “A good sketch is better than a long speech”.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then surely video must speak volumes. Unlike a single image, video allows us to visualize complex ideas in the context of time, it brings richness, movement and depth that only video can.

Video can entertain, keep us safe and store our memories. The future of video is profound. While we will continue to see advances in video quality such as bit rate and resolution, advances in deep learning (a new area of machine learning research) and novel algorithms for manipulating video will reveal things in video that were previously impossible.

Take Eulerian video magnification as an example. MIT developed a unique algorithm for pulling out small changes in video and amplifying them. Many scenes in video contain subtle changes that are invisible to the naked eye, but by pulling out these signals one is able to visualize things such as the human pulse, or even the motion of hot air. Consider the implications if this type of capability were added to baby monitors, or your bathroom mirror.

In another example, Clarifai is a company that has developed advanced machine learning technology, and an easy-to-use visual recognition API that can identify objects and scenes in video and provides a timeline so you can jump to the place a certain element appears.

The company says its core visual recognition model recognizes over 11,000 objects, scenes, events, and emotions with human accuracy or better.

This is significant – this means that machines (ostensibly cameras) are learning to see, just like humans. No longer will cameras be “dumb” devices that simply just record content, they will evolve to be “intelligent” devices that can make smart decisions based upon what they see.

And this has huge implications for video cameras. Gone are the days where video cameras were connected to local storage devices. Now cameras are Internet-connected devices that be accessed from anywhere and harness the power of the cloud.

Cameras have become the eyes of our homes and keep watch when we are unable to. While they can act as security devices, they can, and will, do so much more.

For example, imagine checking the weather service and if it’s raining, grab video from your basement camera to let you know if it’s flooding.

Or perhaps when your camera detects movement at your front door, it might send you an image to let you know your package was delivered.

Clearly, cameras are no longer standalone devices; they are part of a broader ecosystem of connected devices known as the Internet of Things. Working with other connected devices and services, you can now build rich, meaningful experiences that matter to you.

One of our partners that understands this transformation well is NETGEAR. NETGEAR offers a line of connected cameras known as Arlo.

Some of the Arlo security cameras are wire-free and even weatherproof so you have greater flexibility of where and how you use them. Need one in the attic, or the basement, or outside the house? That’s not a problem with Arlo.

In addition to the Arlo Wire-free HD Security Camera models, Arlo offers the Arlo Q and the Arlo Q Plus. These wired (AC powered) cameras capture video in 1080p high definition, and can include alerts for motion and sound. They support night vision, can be upgraded to record non-stop, 24/7, and the Arlo Q Plus model has local storage for backup and those rare moments when network connectivity is interrupted.

They all offer rolling 7 days of free cloud recordings as well as upgrade options.

Arlo is also announcing a brand new camera called the Arlo Pro Wire-Free HD Security Camera. This new camera retains all the great Arlo Wire-free HD Security Camera features, but adds improved motion detection, 2-way audio, and a rechargeable battery in addition to night vision and weatherproof capability. Its two-way audio lets you communicate with people or pets through the speaker, or receive alerts if there is noise, using the built-in microphone. It has an increased motion sensing range now up to 23ft with near instantaneous detection. And if all that wasn’t enough, it has flexible power options including a rechargeable battery, a solar panel accessory (available in early 2017) that can continuously charge Arlo Pro’s rechargeable battery, or a plug-in AC powered option via a micro-USB connector on the camera. Finally, the base station has been updated with support for local storage backup via USB ports, and a 100+ decibel siren that you can control remotely.

These very capable cameras are impressive, but become even more amazing when coupled with Stringify. Stringify lets you build powerful, yet deceptively simple experiences (we call them Flows) that let you get much more from these cameras.

My friends at Netgear gave me a brand spanking new Arlo Q and an Arlo Q Plus to give-away to two lucky Stringify users. Now you can enjoy the safety and security of a smart home with one of my favorite connected devices. Now you can connect your Netgear camera to hundreds of the most powerful digital and physical Things on the planet. Add it to Stringify and the safety and security of a connected life are at your fingertips. Just enter below, it’s that easy.

With Stringify you can select from over 600 things and services (and the list is growing every day), to make your Arlo cameras even more amazing.

For example, how about a self-arming security system? Here’s a Flow that uses your Location and Arlo to arm a camera when you’ve left home:

When I’m not home 

When my Location is away from home for 1,000 ft.,
Then arm the Arlo camera.

And you can automatically disarm the camera when you are home, with this simple Flow:

When I’m home

When my Location is at home,
Then disarm the Arlo camera.

Or how about something a little more sophisticated? Here’s a Flow that records video when a door is opened and sends you a link to the video:

Arlo Door Open Alert

When the door opens and the Arlo camera is armed,
Then record a video with Arlo,
And then send me a notification with a thumbnail and link to the video.

This Flow sends you a notification when there is motion, but also turns on your light if it’s nighttime for a little added security:

Arlo Notification & Lights Alerts

When my Arlo camera is armed,
And it detects motion,
Then send me a notification with the camera name and time of the event,
And if it is nighttime, turn on the light.

Finally, how about a Flow that records video at the push of a button from one of your Arlo cameras?

Arlo Video Button

When I press the button,
Then record a video,
And send me an email with the camera name along with the video link and thumbnail.

These are just a few examples of the power of Netgear Arlo and Stringify. You can build Flows to do just about anything you can imagine, or if you prefer, simply click on the links above to download the Flow.

Cameras have clearly changed a lot over the last few years, and there are still many more exciting developments on the way. Connected cameras are clearly more than a video recording device, they have become an indispensable device in the Internet of Things.

Dave Evans
Stringify CTO

Netgear Arlo Q and Arlo Q Plus Giveaway

My friends at Netgear gave me a brand spanking new Arlo Q and an Arlo Q Plus to give-away to two lucky Stringify users. Now you can enjoy the safety and security of a smart home with one of my favorite connected devices.

Now you can connect your Netgear camera to hundreds of the most powerful digital and physical Things on the planet. Add it to Stringify and the safety and security of a connected life are at your fingertips. Just enter below, it’s that easy.