Alphabet-owned Nest announced several new products today, all of them focused on home security. Two new cameras have been introduced—the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and Nest Hello—along with Nest Secure, a multi-device home alarm system powered by motion sensors.
Both cameras are intended for outdoor installation, and they add facial-recognition capabilities via Google’s FaceNet technology. Nest’s cameras could already alert you if a human figure came into view, but FaceNet adds the ability to exempt trusted people, along with some other new functionality. Nest Secure is similar in basic concept to most home alarm systems you may have seen; while armed, it sounds an alarm if someone enters the home without disabling it. But it offers a couple of alarm-disabling alternatives to entering a passcode when you enter.
The key barrier to entry for Nest products remains: a full suite of them can be expensive to operate. It’s not because of the products’ purchase prices, but rather because most of the best features are only available with a subscription to the Nest Aware service. Let’s say you install a handful of Nest Cam IQ devices throughout your home and live video isn’t enough for you. You want to be able to look at video from last night to see if there was an intruder present. You can do that, but the video is stored in the cloud through Nest Aware.
The monthly fee starts at $10 for the basic service, plus an additional recurring fee for each camera you add. It can be even more if you want to store video more than a few days back in time. Some of the facial recognition and notification features require that cloud subscription, too. The monthly fees could add up if you have a large home and want comprehensive coverage.
That said, some design flaws in past Nest products have been addressed by the new cameras, and the alarm system is a natural next step if you’re already using Nest.
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
Like the indoor camera, the IQ has a 4K camera for a digital zoom-and-enhance feature, but it only records video at 1080p. It has an IP 66 rating, which suggests it is fully dust-resistant and can withstand water contact consistent with what you’d see from a powerful water jet. Though it is not rated for submersion, it should be safe in most rainstorms.
The mount addresses some easy criticisms of the company’s previous outdoor security camera, the Nest Cam Outdoor—that the wires for the camera had to be exposed on the outside of your home and that the camera could be easy to steal. The wire in the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor goes through the inside of the camera and its mount, which means you can run the wire directly into the wall without exposing anything. The camera also has a “locked mount,” presumably an improvement over the default magnetic mounting used in the Nest Cam Outdoor.
Google’s FaceNet technology allows Nest’s IQ cameras to separate familiar faces from strangers. When someone enters its field of vision, the camera can zoom in (up to 12x) and track them so you can see what they’re doing. It can see and record at night, and it’s equipped with a speaker and microphone for two-way conversations.
The Nest Cam IQ is available for pre-order at $349 and is expected to ship in November.
Secure is an entirely new product category for Nest, but it’s a natural extension of what the company does. It is Nest’s answer to the home alarm system—the type that sounds an alarm when you walk in the door if you don’t enter a passcode quickly.
Nest Secure uses motion sensors that can either sense motion in a room or the changes in a magnetic field when a window or door is opened. It’s built out of two basic components—Nest Guard, which is a sort of base station that contains the alarm and the verification systems, and Nest Detect, which is made of small satellite sensors that you can place on walls, doors, or windows.
The components are networked together, and Nest Guard acts as the hub. If you place a Nest Detect on a wall, it senses motion. Place it on a window and it senses whether the window is opened. If it’s on a door, it does both of these things. Nest seems convinced that people hate entering passcodes, so it offers two alternative ways to verify yourself at the Nest Guard when you enter your home. You can arm or disarm it using the mobile app on your smartphone, or you can pass a wireless key fob called Nest Tag by the Guard. But you can still enter a passcode if you’d prefer.
If you exit through a door armed with a Nest Detect but with no Nest Guard nearby, you can press a button on the Detect to allow you to pass without either sounding or disarming the alarm. Finally, the mobile app alerts you when (and how) the alarm is triggered, and it can send you notifications if you leave the house but forget to arm the alarm. With a paid service, it can also notify police.
While Nest Secure is a natural next step for Nest, it doesn’t offer many essential features over other smart home alarms like Go Abode (which actually works with Nest products) or even standard home security systems. Nest Secure will be sold in a starter package that includes one Nest Guard, two Nest Detects, and two of the Nest Tag key fobs. It will cost $499, and it ships in November. You can add more Detects or Tags for $59 or $25, respectively.
Nest Hello uses some of the same technologies as the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, but it’s intended to be used on your front door to identify visitors as they arrive.
The Hello’s core functionality is streaming live HD video of the visitor at your doorstep to your phone while allowing two-way audio communication with the visitor. But it can also take a picture and send you a notification when someone arrives at your doorstep. It has facial recognition technology that parses friend from foe and supports two-way audio communication. You can send automated responses with a feature called Quick Actions.
You won’t see this camera hit the market until early 2018, though.