Netatmo’s light-based camera brings facial recognition outdoors

Enlarge (credit: Netatmo)

As a followup to its face-identifying home security camera, Netatmo is ready to release its next smart home device. The Netatmo Presence is an outdoor security camera that, like the original Welcome, boasts facial recognition as its standout feature. Looking more like a heavy-duty outdoor light, the Presence can identify people, animals, and vehicles around your home and alert you to any that are unfamiliar. Presence was announced at CES in January but is now officially available from Home Depot, Apple, and Amazon.

Since it is an outdoor camera, Netatmo designed Presence a little differently from most home security cameras. It's actually a rectangular floodlight with an IP66 rating (dust- and rain-protected), and it must be hooked up to electrical wiring like the lights that would be above your front door or garage (which also means you'll never worry about a depleted battery, either). The floodlight can be triggered by movement if you want, which will illuminate the subject of video clips. But even if you don't use the floodlight, the camera's IR lighting enables night vision. Presence captures video footage of everything in its 100-degree field of view, and it can detect movement within 65 feet of the camera. I was struck by the design at first because most security cameras, even the outdoor ones, are designed to look modern or chic. Rather than focus on style for a device that's primarily utilitarian, Netatmo decided to adapt an existing form factor.

The recognition technology in Presence is taken from Welcome but expands the technology to animals and vehicles. That means the camera will learn to identify people, pets, and cars around your household over time, and you can choose whether you want to be notified when household members are seen. More importantly, when someone or something new is detected, you'll be notified via your smartphone. Then you can go into Netatmo's app and see the footage of the unidentified movement. You can also set up to four detection zones so the camera will only notify you if movement is detected in those particular spots of its field of view.

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