Shenzhen-based Simtoo is best known for its foldable, crowdfunded portable selfie drones, but the company’s branching into new markets this year. At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it revealed the SimCam, an IP65-rated waterproof home security camera that taps an artificial intelligence (AI) to track folks within view.
On its face, the SimCam isn’t particularly earth-shattering — plenty of security cameras, including those from Nest, Ring, and Ooma, use computer vision algorithms to recognize faces, track people, and detect suspicious behavior. What sets the SimCam apart, Simtoo claims, is a do-it-yourself tool that allows you to retrain the camera’s vision system on specific areas within a surveillance area — say, a breakfast bar in a kitchen or a closet door in a foyer.
Its patented monitoring tech is robust enough to detect subtle things like when a pool fence door is left open, for example, or when a package arrives. And like much of its smart camera competition, the SimCam can recognize the faces of family members and friends (with 99.4 percent accuracy), and alert you when a particular person shows up.
Recorded events of note are stored locally on a removable Micro SD card and collated in the SimCam’s companion smartphone app, which automatically organizes them into separate lists by camera names, detection types, dates, and time.
“We have been envisioning an intelligent home security camera for years, as our team began to connect the possibility of integrating AI technology into a video surveillance product,” Aaron Zhang, CEO and founder of Simtoo, said. “Most of the cameras available today are capable of recording video, but it’s impossible for the user to get the type of footage they need to know their house and belongings are guarded. Through the power of AI and physical object monitoring, SimCam opens up endless possibilities for automated and accurate home security and surveillance.”
To be sure, Nest offers comparable functionality in Activity Zones, which let you define an area of interest in the camera’s view and notifies you when there’s motion. But Activity Zones are locked behind a Nest Aware subscription — there’s no monthly fee associated with the SimCam. And it has other features to recommend it, like an Intel Movidius vector processing unit that runs object recognition AI on-device, a microphone and speaker setup that enables two-way audio, a wireless chip that supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands, and a Sony IMX 1/2.3-inch 5-megapixel sensor that can rotate 360 degrees and shoot in night vision.
The SimCam can be controlled with the aforementioned companion smartphone app, or with voice commands through Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant. And Simtoo says that, with its Magic developer program and software developer kit (SDK), the sky’s the limit as far as the hardware is concerned — the SimCam can double as a baby monitor, a smart home hub, and more.
Simtoo’s SimCam will hit store shelves in February. Pricing and preorder details have yet to be announced.