Smart home technology is great. The Nest Learning Thermostat, Phillips Hue, and Sonos sound systems are wonderful products that make life more convenient, automated, and beautiful. These technologies are great, but many components in a smart home are controlled by applications from a smart phone or tablet. Having to pull your phone out of your pocket and unlock it every time you want to turn off the lights while watching a movie can be a little annoying.
Fortunately, the Logitech Harmony Home Control makes running a smart home a little easier. The remote works great for controlling your media center, but it also can be programmed to control many different home automation devices.
Along with the release of the new Nest gear today, there's an updated version of the Nest app. The v5.0 update is in the Play Store and on APK Mirror right now. This is almost a completely new app with a revamped home screen, integration with Dropcam, and more.
According to Droid-Life, this is the new Cam. It looks like a Dropcam, predictably, but slimmer, more modern, and like the result of a Stuart the minion and Mike Wazowski inspiration. Bee doo bee doo! Presumably, the Nest Cam will be capable of 1080p streaming and recording, though the report wasn't clear on whether that means local storage or Dropcam's expensive subscription tiers.
Sometimes old stuff is too old. It's sad, but companies don't have unlimited resources, and they can't provide new software updates and service forever. That's especially true of smaller companies like Dropcam (though it's technically owned by Nest, which is technically owned by Google, so I'm not sure if it qualifies as a "small" company anymore). But instead of simply leaving owners of older hardware in the dust, or compromising on new features for the always-on home monitoring service, Dropcam has decided to simply upgrade the old models for free. Neat!
Here's the gist: if you own the original Dropcam or the Dropcam Echo home security cameras, they'll stop working on April 15th after the company cuts them off from its remote access servers.
When it comes to IP security cameras, Dropcam is (and has been) one of the biggest names in the game. It's easy enough to use, sets up quickly, and can basically be left alone once everything is in place (most of the time, at least). That's the kind of simplicity that most home and small business owners want, which is what Dropcam has been offering since day one. Add in the fact that the company is constantly adding new, useful features to its apps, and you have a winner.
Naturally, challengers are going to come. There's clearly a market for products like this, so why let one manufacturer own it?
Back in June, Dropcam announced that it had been purchased by Nest (and, by relation, Google). It's been a few months since that happened, and it looks like the first signs of that merger are now taking place, starting with Nest integration in the Dropcam Android app.
Dropcam now works with both the Nest Protect Smoke + Carbon Monoxide detector and Nest Thermostat, and will provide different levels of feedback according to settings and the device. For example, if Nest Protect detects smoke or carbon monoxide, Dropcam will automatically record and save the clip, regardless of whether or not the user pays for Cloud Recording.
Dropcam is an incredibly useful product, but like with most things, there is always room for improvement. For example, if you're monitoring a room that people frequently walk through, maybe you don't want a notification every single time someone hits a hot zone. Maybe you just need to know if something happens in the very back corner. With today's update, that's now possible for users who subscribe to Dropcam's Cloud Recording service.
These new custom activity zones can be assigned essentially anywhere, thanks to Dropcam's intuitive solution of putting everything on a grid. Simply highlight the desired area, give it a name, and you're done.
Nest really is completely into this whole "home automation" thing, isn't it? The guys who put out the first smart thermostat and smoke detector have just entered into an agreement to buy Dropcam for $555 million monies. Oh, and in case you've forgotten, Google owns Nest. So, technically, Google is buying Dropcam. That's pretty sweet.
According to Nest's post on the acquisition, they'll begin working together to "reinvent product that will help shape the future of the conscious home and bring our shared vision to more and more people around the world," which sounds pretty exciting.
Current Dropcam and/or Nest customers need not worry about immediate changes, as the deal has to close before anything major happens.
Last month, Dropcam updated its app with a slew of new features and a more unified interface. Building on that update, the company has now released version 3.0, which brings a handful of unique features to the Android app.
In a nutshell, the app now has an "Activity Feed" that allows Cloud subscribers to filter videos by specific activities, completely customizable activity categories and alerts, and the ability to set the camera up directly from a mobile device. The latter is probably my personal favorite (as trivial as that may seem), as it just makes the entire setup process easier - no computer needed.