Nest is making it easier for owners of its cloud-based security cameras to find and review key moments that have been recorded. An app feature called Sightline now lets you browse through footage within seconds, making it easy to catch a glimpse of anything worth investigating.
“80 percent of our customers use Nest Cam for home security. Nest Cam helps customers capture every moment — there’s no worries about dead batteries or missing moments. It provides 24/7 live video and recording. Customers not only want to capture [everything] but find moments they care about — live video makes it difficult,” explained Mehul Nariyawala, a Nest product manager who also works on computer vision and image recognition for the company’s devices.
Sightline is billed as letting you “time travel” within seconds so that you can have a better view of what’s going on in your room, yard, home, or wherever you have a Nest Cam — whether indoors or outdoors. Not only will it provide a “dot” in time when something of interest was captured, it’ll display a video of the time stamp. It even supports activity zones, allowing you to designate four different segments for coverage and instruct the Nest Cam as to which one you care about most. Sightline will notify you if any activity occurs in that specific zone.
When updating to the latest Nest app, device owners will find that it has been redesigned so they’ll no longer see a table of activity; instead, activity is displayed in an interactive and smooth timeline that they can glide through using a finger. All users now have access to Sightline, but if you’re a Nest Aware subscriber, the service will also store a continuous time-lapse history of the past 10 days. All other users will only be permitted three hours of storage, and “events” are displayed as stills, not as video recordings.
Nest has become well-known for its hardware, with its smart thermostat, carbon monoxide and smoke detector, and security camera. Now it’s doubling down on software and services. To accomplish this, it’s pouring resources into machine learning, image recognition, and other technology that can surface the right data.
The first part of this effort was revealed in July when Nariyawala spoke about the Nest Cam Outdoor. Included is a notification system called Person Alerts, which sends owners a mobile ping letting them know if someone is in view of the camera. The system will also assess how certain the information is. “The future is about intelligent alerts,” Maxime Veron, Nest’s director of hardware product marketing, said in a statement. “Customers want to know when something is happening that genuinely deserves their attention. Person alerts are the first of many innovations that will make Nest Cam a more helpful partner in securing the home.”
That technology has been incorporated into Sightline. While it’s perhaps more applicable outdoors, it can be useful indoors, as well. Although it’s handy in detecting when someone is approaching your door, right now Nest is unable to implement logic that will discriminate whether that someone is a friend, a foe, or a stranger. Nariyawala suggested that over time the system could start to recognize more things, but it’s a matter of learning to walk before running.
“This is the first time we’re bringing hardware plus software and services with intelligence together to let you know of security issues,” he explained.
Sightline is available to all Nest Cam and Dropcam owners through an updated app.
Nest Cam Outdoor now on sale
Another announcement involves the Nest Cam Outdoor device that was introduced in July. Preorders started soon after, but the company never gave a firm date for when the exterior security camera would be publicly available. That day has arrived: Nest Cam Outdoor is now on sale.
Priced at $199 for a single unit, the device is available in the U.S. and Canada. Nest is also offering a special 2-pack deal for $348. You can purchase the cameras either on the company’s website or through Best Buy.
Updated Nest Thermostat colors
Beyond all of this, Nest is also diversifying the colors of its smart thermostat. Instead of just its iconic stainless steel color, the device in now available in three new options: pristine white, black, and copper.
Nariyawala shared that pristine white is designed for families that prefer bright and airy spaces. It’s simple, natural, and clean, while also complementing the other products in the Nest family. The black color has a diamond-like carbon coating that is scratch-resistant and durable. Lastly, copper is useful in more modern, industrial, and even traditional settings.
“It’s about a thoughtful home,” Nariyawala explained. “It’s the home you feel is your sanctuary.”
There is no price difference between the various color options, but while the black, copper, and steel are available starting today, the white version will be shipping a week later.
The company says that its smart thermostat has saved 8 billion kWh of energy since its debut in 2011, enough energy to power Brazil for five full days. The release of new color options may not be a significant development overall, but it could be just enough to sway consumers to buy the device and ultimately conserve energy (while helping Nest pocket some money, as well).