Dropcam will soon be able to tell the difference between a person and a dog (which is harder than it sounds)

Right now, a cloud-connected Dropcam can tell you when something — anything — walks in its path. Soon, however, the company will issue a software update to allow its cameras to differentiate between people and other living things, like pets.

In an announcement yesterday at Techcrunch Disrupt in New York City, Dropcam CEO, Greg Duffy, said that the company’s increasingly capable big data engine will soon be able to determine, in real time, not just if something is walking into the camera’s field of view, but what.

With a feature known as “people detection,” Dropcam will soon be able to send activity notifications when it detects only things that are worth knowing. Take the example of a camera set up in the home to monitor for intruders. At the moment, Dropcam may send a notification whenever the cat pounces through the living room; soon, the cat will be classified “non-people,” keeping the user from being interrupted unnecessarily.

Down the road, Dropcam thinks it will be able to use its immense compute power to differentiate between people, something that has heretofore been impossible on the client side.

Dropcam bills itself a technology company that happens to make hardware, and while it has recently come out with Dropcam Pro, an HD version of the initial product that supports higher-resolution video and 5Ghz WiFi, Duffy says they will continue to support older products indefinitely via software updates.

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Duffy also announced the first second-tier product that uses Dropcam Pro as a WiFi hub. Dropcam Tabs are Bluetooth Low Energy-powered sensors that affixes to anything that opens or attracts movement, such as a window, door or object. Tabs are meant to be used to augment Dropcam Pro as a way to keep track of areas the camera can’t see.

The beauty of Tabs is that it learns what kind of movement happens in that area even without a camera, so it will be able to tell the difference — to use the person/pet comparison again — whether the kids are home, or the cat struts through the pet door.

Tabs are available for pre-order at $29 each, in either white or black, and will work on two disc batteries for up to two years.


Both Tabs and the Dropcam software updates will arrive later in the summer, likely in July or August.

Source: Dropcam

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