Nest unveils Hello video doorbell with facial recognition technology

Gadgets, Home security

It’s been several years since Google-owned intelligent home company Nest launched its revolutionary thermostat, but those expecting another ground-breaking product launch last night will have been sadly disappointed.

Instead what Nest announced were five smart home security products including its Hello video doorbell and a door lock developed in conjunction with Yale (see picture above).

And while none of the new products was exactly revolutionary (Ring has been selling its video doorbell for some time), they do incorporate Google’s facial recognition technology so you can, for example, see if it’s a stranger approaching your property.

The device can be set to send alerts if it does not recognise a stranger’s face or hears an unusual sound. And if it’s paired with another forthcoming product, the Nest+Yale lock, it will be possible to unlock your front door remotely for friends or deliveries.

In addition to Nest Hello, Nest also introduced a suite of interlinked security devices (see picture above). This comprises the following.

  • Detect – a sensor which recognises both nearby motion and the open-shut movement. It can be placed on a wall, door or window.
  • Tag – a keyring fob that allows the system to be armed and disarmed by family members with a tap as they enter and leave their building without the need for a PIN code.
  • Guard – a base that sounds the alarm and can be turned on and off by either being tapped with a Tag or having a code typed into its keypad. It also contains its own motion sensor.

On sale from November, the Nest Secure alarm system starter pack is expected to cost around $499, about twice the price of rival offerings such as the Samsung SmartThing alarm system. However, Nest is pitching its products as better designed and easier to use than its rivals via a single app (an approach that doesn’t seem to have done Apple any harm over the years). 

In addition to the security products, Nest also announced a new outdoor security camera, the $349 Nestcam IQ Outdoor which also uses facial recognition technology . This follows the launch of the Nestcam IQ which I reviewed for Tech Radar hereLike many of Nest’s products, the Nestcam IQ is beautifully designed and well made, but much more expensive than its rivals. 

Google paid $3.2bn (£2.4bn) to buy Nest Labs in 2014 despite it only having two products – an internet-connected thermostat and a smoke detector. Last year, Nest’s co-founder Tony Fadell left his own company following criticism it wasn’t introducing enough innovative new products.


Chris Price
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