Netatmo's new Presence outdoor security camera is designed to let you know what objects — humans, animals, and cars, specifically — are moving outside your house at any time. Like any security system, it's meant to make you feel safe, with the added benefit of being able to track what's happening outside your home no matter where you are. But after getting a brief demo of the Presence here at CES, its uses start to soar just a little bit above something as pedestrian as an outdoor camera. Netatmo built paranoia into a smart home gadget.
It's remarkable — and overwhelming — what the Netatmo can detect
The Presence is a modern, minimal camera that, when installed, will keep its watchful eye on your yard or porch. Using a deep learning algorithm programmed into its boxy frame, its able to differentiate between what it sees and sends notifications to its owner about what it detects. I didn't get to see the camera itself in action (it requires the kind of power source that probably can't be found deep in a Las Vegas hotel) but I did get to see the accompanying app. It's remarkable what it can detect; dogs I missed in a feed taken from an anonymous driveway were picked up immediately and logged for me to watched over and over again. There was maybe hours of footage like this, showing cars, kids playing, and that dog. It's really cool. Also, a little overwhelming.
I can hardly imagine receiving notifications like this everyday, but I can understand the appeal. If you could know what was happening outside of your home whenever you wanted, wouldn't you take the opportunity? The trouble is, it also means the Presence — and therefore you — would have to interpret a random squirrel or lost driver trying to get his bearings as a potential threat. You can of course program the device to filter out non-threats, but I got the sense that you still need to be on your guard, waiting for something to happen.
Maybe ignorance really is bliss.