Nest Labs just announced a whole bunch of new hardware products that address various entry points around the home, but the theme that appears across almost all of the products is smarter, more intelligent devices — whether that’s through facial recognition or a built-in Google Assistant.
That’s the case with its new outdoor camera, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. It’s the follow up product to the Nest Cam IQ indoor announced in June, and it builds upon a lot of the same tech — same chipset, same improved WiFi capabilities — that the indoor camera has, including its facial recognition tech.
With the launch of its IQ camera line, Nest is joining smaller companies that have already attempted facial recognition in consumer-grade home security cameras, but with mixed results. It’s a feature that both promises to be the next big thing in home monitoring but has also surfaced plenty of questions about privacy, security, and surveillance.
First, some notes about the hardware: Nest says the new, $349 Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is the “most weatherproof camera” the company has ever built, with an IP 66 rating (its old outdoor camera has an IP 65 rating). Nest said during the event today that it’s built to handle extreme temperatures, and that the speaker is 15 times more powerful.
It also has a new tamper-resistant mount. One of the biggest external changes is that the cable is now supposed to thread from the back of the camera, through the mount, and directly into your home. This both eliminates a visible hole where you might otherwise have had to drill — say, to run it through a garage — and means that no part of the cable is exposed to the outdoors.
On the software side, the new camera is leveraging technology from its sister company Google — specifically FaceNet, which is Google’s artificial intelligence system for recognizing and identifying people in images. The previous outdoor camera from Nest notified you if there was activity outdoors, and was “smart” enough to know if it was a person (as opposed to, say, a passing car or animal). With the FaceNet technology, the camera will trigger “Familiar Face” alerts on the Nest mobile app.
This is going to cost you extra, though. The camera itself, as mentioned earlier, is $349. But you’ll also have to pay $10 per month if you want 10 days of video storage plus the facial recognition feature, which happens in the cloud. If you opt not to pay $10 a month for the cloud service, which is called Nest Aware, you can still watch a live feed from your Nest Cam and get activity alerts. You just won’t be able to go back and watch clips from earlier, or get as much granularity around your alerts.
The new outdoor camera ships in November. Nest also still plans to sell the original outdoor camera, for $199, if you’re looking for less robust hardware without the facial recognition option.
Update: Story was updated shortly after publication to include more information about the hardware and facial recognition features.