Maybe the company known for its smart thermostats isn’t just a smart thermostat company. In newly leaked photos obtained by Dave Zatz of Zatz Not Funny, Ecobee appears to be working on its first indoor video camera. The photos of the camera show a prominent, conical stand and four lights that flash yellow or blue. The shape of it looks vaguely like a smart speaker.
The camera would actually be Ecobee’s second new product outside of its smart thermostats. Its first was a light switch that can double up as an Alexa speaker, which it released last year. There’s evidence that Ecobee could eventually expand into other smart home devices as well. In 2018, Amazon poured millions from its Alexa Fund into investing in Ecobee. It’s possible, given the investment, that the new video camera and any future smart home devices could be compatible with Alexa.
The new photos also remind us that Ecobee could be building out its smart home ecosystem at a time when big names are making for big competition. Amazon acquired small mesh router company Eero in 2019, Ring in 2018, and Blink in 2017, and over 100 million Alexa-enabled devices have been sold. Meanwhile, Google Assistant is successfully playing catch-up by arriving on about a billion devices, if you count Android phones. Samsung, for its part, has launched an upgraded Bixby in improved fridges, washers, and TVs.
In 2019, when a lot of independent companies are being snapped up by Amazon and Google, it’s refreshing to see an underdog stay on the scene. The Verge has reached out to Ecobee for more details.