Wyze is slowly but surely catching up to larger smart security camera makers. Today, the Seattle-based startup has added an integral feature to its product lineup: people detection. Using artificial intelligence software from neighboring company Xnor.ai, Wyze says it’s now capable of identifying people through the video feed of its existing cameras, which will gain the ability through an over-the-air firmware update.
Previously, Wyze products couldn’t tell you anything about what was happening on camera beyond motion detection. But it couldn’t differentiate between a pet and a person, and it was a far cry from the robust AI features of competing midrange and high-end options.
The feature is available today for the Wyze Cam V2 and the Wyze Cam Pan, which retail for the low prices of $20 and $30, respectively. That’s the real news here: Wyze may not be Amazon or Google, but you could buy five to 10 of its cameras for the price of one Amazon Cloud Cam or Nest Cam IQ. Now, those cameras can perform a key AI feature that used to set those big smart home players apart.
That Wyze is continuously able to add features that were once considered hallmarks of cameras that are many times the price is a testament to the company’s success in the smart home, a market bursting at the seams with identical-seeming products that are all trying to charge you a couple hundred bucks for slightly smarter versions of gadgets you may not need or already own. Wyze’s approach is different. It sells absurdly low-cost products, starting with cameras, and it urges consumers to build out that ecosystem with similarly cheap companion products, like the Wyze Sense security kit ($20) and the new Wyze Bulb ($8).
Inexplicably, Wyze products don’t seem to compromise on quality, although there are some key features you miss out on when using Wyze over pricier options, like continuous cloud recording (Wyze can only record continuously onto a local microSD), browser viewing, and facial recognition. That said, for the price, the Wyze lineup is hard to ignore, and it’s getting even harder now that features like AI-powered people detection are getting added at no charge.