Turns out large numbers of Nest security camera users point their devices through a window toward the outside, so the company took the clue and built the Nest Cam Outdoor. The new camera is basically a Nest Cam wrapped in a stylish weatherproof container. It sells for the same $199 price as the Nest Cam Indoor, as the company now calls it. It is the company's first product in a year, a turbulent period that saw the recent departure of its charismatic founder Tony Fadell, who was replaced by former Motorola Home executive Marwan Fawaz.
Like the Nest Cam, the outdoor version also gives a wide 130-degree view and can stream 1080p HD video. A Night Vision mode illuminates the whole scene with eight LED lights. Nest Cam Outdoor has both a microphone and a speaker, making it a sort of intercom system when paired with a smartphone running the Nest app.
With the new camera comes a new software feature called Person Alerts, which uses computer vision technology to detect people in the camera's field of view. In the demo video, a suspicious person ventures up onto a user's porch, looks around, and checks the front door. The owner's voice is then heard issuing from the camera's speaker, saying, "Hey what do you want?" causing the stranger to turn and leave in a hurry. In another scene a postman shows up in the camera's view, looks into the lens and says, "Hi, I have a package for you." The owner, talking through the camera's speaker, tells the postman to leave the package in the back of the house.
The owner was alerted to those unexpected visitors (one potentially dangerous and one not) when the Nest Cam sent an alert through the app. Person Alerts, Nest says, will become available in September, and then only to users with Nest Aware cloud video archiving subscriptions.
By the sound of things, the Person Alerts feature is just the start of Nest's plans for computer vision. "Person Alerts are the first of a new generation of intelligent alerts from Nest that leverage Google's expertise in machine learning and powerful algorithms to deliver deeper insights to customers about what’s happening at home," says the company, which was acquired by Google in 2014 and is now an Alphabet company.
The Nest Cam Outdoor comes with an extra-long 25-foot power cable that can extend to a nearby outdoor power outlet. The cable can be painted to match the wall siding. The camera itself can attach to an outside metal surface (like a rain gutter) with a powerful magnetic base (included).
Nest Cam Outdoor will hit store shelves this fall in the U.S. and Canada. A two-pack will be available later for $348. The Nest Aware subscriptions cost $10 for a 10-day subscription or $30 for a 30-day subscription. Additional cameras cost extra.