It’s weird enough that the Roomba robot is mapping your house while it vacuums. For what purpose I don’t know. But it’s even weirder when you set up a security camera and the only motion it detects is the one time a day the cat walks down the hall.
So I am testing the Netatmo Welcome security camera. It’s a neat little rig, no bigger than a pepper shaker. Plug it in to power direct it at your front door and download the app to start spying.
I was up early one Sunday to set it up. So really the only thing it had to police was our cat Mulch who looks like a grey pile of lint at the best of times. Every once in a while I would get an alert on my phone “Unknown Motion Detected!” Sure enough it was Mulch waddling toward her feeding station.
The Netatmo Welcome when it is switched on, permanently films its environment. Apparently people use it to see when their kids get home. The camera uses Wifi to send details of events-like people wandering the hallways- to your personal account. Consequently you will hear your phone make an odd noise, like the call of a Eastern Wood Pee Wee, and you will learn that yes, your husband arrived home, and he does not appear to have any bags from Price Chopper in his hands, and that you will have to shop for dinner. You know this because you can play video of the “event” on your phone and see that the husband was only armed with bags from the LCBO.
Video surveillance is recorded on an SD card that comes with Welcome. Or you can choose to upload the video to the cloud, where some joker might appropriate it and turn it into an indie movie. You can train Welcome to recognize you and your loved ones so that it is not sending the Eastern Wood Pee Wee alerts constantly to your phone. It will capture pics of you and the husband shuffling down the hall, and then you can ID the images-and tell it not to be alarmed at the sight of Kathy or Professor Macaroni. I warn you that it is shocking to see blurry images of yourself in the privacy of your own home-possibly looking like a very old Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard.
The purpose of Netatmo Welcome is to warn you if intruders are lumbering down the hallway. I’m not sure exactly what you would do if that video popped up on your phone, but I suppose it makes some people feel secure.
If you’re into such things, the Netatmo Welcome (about $200 on Amazon) has some good features and is the first to offer facial recognition in a consumer product. But generally reviewers suggest that the Nest Cam is more advanced and polished.
I think we are lucky that most days are uneventful, there’s no one barging in the front door with an idling chainsaw, just a tired spouse with a bag of wine from the liquor store.