Nest Cam Offers Simplified Video Monitoring

Category: Gadgets , Video

Surveillance cameras and video monitoring systems can be expensive, and difficult to install. Now you can solve both of those problems with an innovative wireless camera that can do some pretty cool things. Here's the scoop on this clever, affordable gadget...

DropCam is now Nest Cam

In Elmer Fudd's dream about the year 2000, smellevision had replaced television. But in 2017, video is still king when it comes to sniffing out intruders. Why would you want a surveillance camera? Perhaps for the same reason as the inventor of the original DropCam. One of his neighbors was allowing their dog to use his yard as a dumping ground, and his solution became a popular product.

Video cameras seem to be everywhere these days. You might want to know who (or what) is on your property, get notified if there is a break-in, or catch wildlife in action. If you've ever wanted video surveillance for your home or business, but balked at the cost, Nest Cam might be just the ticket.

Back in 2013, I reviewed the very capable and affordable DropCam home surveillance system. DropCam was acquired by Google and folded into Nest Labs, a subsidiary of Google’s parent, Alphabet, Inc. The DropCam name is gone, replaced by the Nest Cam family of indoor and outdoor cameras.

Nest Cam - video surveillance camera

There are three types of Nest Cam devices. The indoor Nest Cam retails for $199 and includes a magnetic mounting base. As of this writing, it is available from Amazon for only $165. The outdoor Nest Cam is also carries a $199 price tag. It is ruggedized for outdoor use and features Night Vision with a 130-degree field of view. It's also discounted at $165 on Amazon.

The Nest Cam IQ costs $299; it features better connectivity with 802.11ac and MIMO; 4K video resolution; a more powerful speaker so you can scare off intruders more easily; noise and echo cancellation so you can hear what’s happening at home more clearly. And guess what? You can get it on Amazon for $285.

Along with new name, there have been some nice upgrades in the product line. The resolution of Nest Cam is 1080p, full HD; DropCam was 720p, adequate but occasionally fuzzy. Like DropCam, the Nest Cam devices offer an optional cloud-based video recording service for a monthly fee. The service is called Nest Aware, and it's a lot smarter than before.

Nest Cam's Video Monitoring Options

There are two levels of Nest Aware service. The Basic service stores up to 10 days of recorded video at a cost of $10 per month. The Extended service stores 30 days worth of video for $30/month. With Basic service, you can carve out clips of video up to 2.5 minutes long, while the Extended service allows clips up to 60 minutes long.

A feature called Sightline, available only with a Nest Aware subscription, helps you quickly find activity of interest in the streaming video that’s recorded. It's smart enough to distinguish between human intruders and your dog or cat, so you won't get unnecessary motion alerts. Nest Aware can also learn to distinguish familiar faces from strangers, and alert you accordingly.

There is a Nest Cam app for Android and iOS phones, of course. It allows you to control your Nest Cam(s) remotely, and review video or still images stored in the Nest Aware cloud or in the Nest Cam device itself.

Nest Cam can send alerts to your phone or an email address if it senses motion or hears unusual sounds (like the crash of a window breaking) while you are not at home. It can send a “special alert” if it notices any suspicious activity in an important area, such as near a safe.

Each Nest Cam includes a microphone and speakers, so you can hear what’s happening at home and speak to people (or pets) in the home. Your dog may freak out when it hears, “Get off the couch!” A cat, of course, will just ignore you.

Nest Cam secures its Internet connections to your WiFi network and the Nest Aware cloud service with 128-bit AES encryption and TLS/SSL encryption. Two-factor authentication helps to secure Nest Cam against hackers.

Nest Cam cameras work with other Nest smart-home devices. If you are alerted to a prowler, a Nest Cam camera can turn on indoor or outdoor lights that are equipped with smart controllers. If your garage door opens while you’re not home, Nest Cam can snap a photo of who is entering or leaving. Nest Cam even works with Google Home and Amazon Alexa, so you can turn it on or off with a voice command, or stream live video to your Echo Show.

Are you interested in video surveillance? Have you tried Nest Cam or some other product? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Nest Cam Offers Simplified Video Monitoring"

Posted by:

Craig Fingrutd
31 Jul 2017

I use Arlo, best system I have used to date. Easy to install, I have 4 cameras at one home and 3 at another. Give notices via email and app on phone too. Does not cost for recording. I have basic package that records 10 seconds at a time. IF I needed more recording time, I can pay but no need for what I need.



Posted by:

Paul S
31 Jul 2017

IoT items, especially cameras, have been extremely "hackable" in the recent past and used in DOS attacks. Any idea whether these are better than previous versions? BTW, today's Amazon price for me is $168 for indoor,$170 outdoor and $286 for IQ.

Posted by:

31 Jul 2017

With NEST being a "closed" system that does not allow you to capture the video and store it on your own NAS device, the product becomes very expensive with the monthly fees. There are plenty of video capture, notification applications that do all that the NEST application does, without the high monthly fee. Why purchase a product that requires you to use their cloud service? I capture nine cameras on a NAS using ISPY, get the motion or sound notifications without any additional fees.

Posted by:

31 Jul 2017

So with Nest Aware, Google will collect facial recognition data of all my friends? Yikes!

Posted by:

31 Jul 2017

I had considered Nest products until Google acquired them. Google already knows way more about me than they need to, so Nest is no longer on my shopping list.

Posted by:

31 Jul 2017

I agree with George on this topic. This article’s first sentence talks about "expensive" and "difficult to install". Yet, it goes on to discuss monthly charges which start at $10/month for "basic" (but limited) service.
I have been soul searching to justify installing "surveillance" equipment for home protection due to some of my ethical issues with eavesdropping ['do onto others, ...']. Be that as it may; I used the 'excuse' of providing security, privacy and comfort for the sake of my mate to commit to such an installation.
Upon some in-depth market research, I decided to go with IP-based (power-over-internet (POE)) wired system rather than the wireless systems on the market. I was able to resolve my choices down to outdoor day/night VidCams which would provide me continuous 24/7 recording w/30day retention capabilities, on a wired networked system. I wanted high resolution (greater than 1080P/4Mpixel) utilizing a local 3TB HDD (connected to my desktop PC) to store the feeds from two IP cameras. I also wanted these VidCams to be compatible with all desktop and mobile devices. I investigated every VidCam from every manufacturer before deciding on the TrendNet offerings, which qualified for all my needs, including minimal maintenance, price, hardware. Although there was major learning curve for initial setup of the hardware and software w/TrendNet (as w/any other); the system has been reliably running for a year with no issues at all. TrendNet also has been exemplary in providing firmware updates and software upgrades free of charge.
Few months ago, I discovered a brand named ReoLink, which appears to be re-branded hardware at half the price of TrendNet model# TV-IP314PI that I use.
NOTE#1: There may be some privacy concerns for private surveillance camera recording, which are readily resolved by placing signage outside as notification of premise video surveillance.
NOTE#2: Resist the temptation to position the VidCams away from the boundaries of your property (i.e. 'no snooping on neighbors').

Posted by:

John Silberman
31 Jul 2017

It is far easier and less expensive to buy a IP camera of your choice and build your own system. There are many free apps for Android/IOS/Apple/Windows to monitor and record. I have about 6 different brands of IP cameras scattered around my house all monitored by the same software.

Posted by:

01 Aug 2017

As another reader mentioned, I also use Netgear's Arlo cameras. I'm only using the powered (non-battery), indoor models. I can not vouch for Nest's cameras; but the Arlo cameras and especially apps are the best I've used to date.

Posted by:

01 Aug 2017

I've had a Nestcam for about 2 years It loses wifi connectivity on average of once a day for about 10 minutes. Once it was out for 2 days (nothing wrong with my wifi). It sends me false positive notices about 4 times a day - changing light condititions in the room due to passing clouds are enough to trigger it. Night vision stopped working after a year.

Posted by:

Ken Heikkila
01 Aug 2017

First time I have found the comments more useful than Bob's article. But I really can't complain. It is the first time in many years (back to internet tourbus days.)

Posted by:

01 Aug 2017

NOTE#3: A website named 'perfect-surveillance(dotcom)' is offering 3 FREEware, which may be of interest for those who own IP-VidCams: *IpCameraViewer, *IPCameraRecorder and *WebcamMonitor. Review I read stated that these 3 FREEware are compatible w/many surveillance cameras on the market with continual updates for compatibility with newer models being introduced. Unfortunately, their website does not list the compatible hardware. I surmise that their FREEware are designed around the ONVIF standard with over 400 VidCam manufacturers that are compliant with and are members of: *Panasonic, *Samsung, *TrendNet, *TP-Link, *ReoLink, *et al.
I did not see the name Nest as being ONVIF member and/or compliant.

Posted by:

02 Aug 2017

I use Y-cam. Easy to install, and comes with free 7 day retention of video. Only records when motion is detected.
Downside is that it can provide false flagging of motion when the light changes. Camera's drop WiFi connectivity periodically.

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