As a followup to its face-identifying home security camera, Netatmo is ready to release its next smart home device. The Netatmo Presence is an outdoor security camera that, like the original Welcome, boasts facial recognition as its standout feature. Looking more like a heavy-duty outdoor light, the Presence can identify people, animals, and vehicles around your home and alert you to any that are unfamiliar. Presence was announced at CES in January but is now officially available from Home Depot, Apple, and Amazon.
Since it is an outdoor camera, Netatmo designed Presence a little differently from most home security cameras. It’s actually a rectangular floodlight with an IP66 rating (dust- and rain-protected), and it must be hooked up to electrical wiring like the lights that would be above your front door or garage (which also means you’ll never worry about a depleted battery, either). The floodlight can be triggered by movement if you want, which will illuminate the subject of video clips. But even if you don’t use the floodlight, the camera’s IR lighting enables night vision. Presence captures video footage of everything in its 100-degree field of view, and it can detect movement within 65 feet of the camera. I was struck by the design at first because most security cameras, even the outdoor ones, are designed to look modern or chic. Rather than focus on style for a device that’s primarily utilitarian, Netatmo decided to adapt an existing form factor.
The recognition technology in Presence is taken from Welcome but expands the technology to animals and vehicles. That means the camera will learn to identify people, pets, and cars around your household over time, and you can choose whether you want to be notified when household members are seen. More importantly, when someone or something new is detected, you’ll be notified via your smartphone. Then you can go into Netatmo’s app and see the footage of the unidentified movement. You can also set up to four detection zones so the camera will only notify you if movement is detected in those particular spots of its field of view.
All the footage is captured in HD video and saved locally to an SD card. Presence comes with an 8GB card, but it can handle up to 32GB. Everything is encrypted, and there are no subscription plans, so all your data is yours to keep without paying more than the price of the camera itself. You can also link a Dropbox account via the mobile app so all your recorded events are saved straight to Dropbox.
A new feature Netatmo introduced is Timelapse, which lets the app string together all the recorded events from a single day into a one-minute video at the end of each day. It’s meant to make it easier for you to review what has happened around your home, and if you’re particularly sentimental, you could keep the Timelapse video to look back on a day’s worth of home activity. I do think that feature will make it much easier for people to review footage, rather than having to sort through potentially dozens of video clips each day to find a specific instance.
But Presence’s design and physical features seem to bump up its price. The camera is on sale now for $299, which is noticeably more expensive than competing outdoor cameras. Shape recognition and identification has been a regular Netatmo feature since the Welcome, and its devices are some of the few on the market that can tell you which of your kids are home and which aren’t. But the durable and utilitarian design of the Presence is what makes the camera stand out from among competitors like Canary and Nest. It’s not the prettiest and it’s quite bulky, but that’s because it’s half-floodlight, half-security camera. I would like to see a smaller version of Presence over time, but for now it seems to pull double duty watching and illuminating the perimeter around your home and saving that footage without extra cost to you.