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Netatmo Welcome’s You: Does It Know You?

Published: Jul 08, 2016 at 08:00 UTC
Welcome

Are you looking for best home security cameras for personal use? It’s no doubt that Netatmo entered the race late and has since been trying to catch up— to find a way to secure its rightful place.

It’s perhaps mention-worthy that the company has succeeded in developing the only facial recognition app that can actually be trained to recognize you and your family members.

It stands to reason that Netatmo named their camera “Welcome” – and you won’t believe why! This camera is designed for one particular location in your home: the front door.

And, when you are on your front door, you will be warmly welcomed by your security camera, realizing that it is you! It’s another way of saying, “welcome” home.

Does this mean that the camera won’t work in other areas of your home? No, of course not. But, it won’t work in areas that are hotter than others, for instance the kitchen. Similarly, it won’t work if it’s near a heating vent or electronic equipment or pointing out windows.

Welcome looks more like a room deodorizer than a security camera; it makes you wonder if it’s going to spurt some spray out when you get close. (Too bad Netatmo didn’t think of adding that feature for curious burglars!)

The ‘champagne gold’ (that’s what it is officially called) tube is unobtrusive and more decorative than the same old black casings which can be found on nearly every other camera out there.

The window sensors is a new feature added to this device earlier this year.

Top Features of NETATMO

Resolution

Welcome’s camera is on par with all others in the top five list. Sporting a 1080 pixels the device is also known to feature XL 2 micron megapixel, which is key to its facial recognition feature.

Indoor/Outdoor

The camera is strictly for indoor use. The device must not be set up near a  window, as backlighting required for recognition algorithms to work don’t function in that setting.

Field of View

The camera, like Nest Cam, has a 130* degree field view, making it apt for  picture or regular video view than those with a wider field. The limitation of camera includes multiple blind spots in a room, to compensate for which more than one camera may be needed. The imagery, however, is much better than any of the other cameras on the market today.

Welcome

Pan, Tilt, Zoom

None of the pan, tilt, zoom features are part of this camera which means you can’t get in close on the facial features of someone entering your home.

Night Vision and Live Streaming

Night vision on this device works fine, but Welcome unfortunately welcomes everyone at night because apparently there isn’t enough light for the algorithm to recognize there is a face in the room. It doesn’t even send you the programmed “?” to see if you know who it is.

Live streaming is available only if you are viewing it through the web app.  (There are two ways to record images, one of which is through the web app.)

IR LEDs

Although Netatmo doesn’t advertise how many IR LEDs it uses in the camera, we suspect there are less than eight. This could be the root of the problem, causing facial recognition to fail in night vision mode.

Two-Way Audio

If you want to scold your pet for jumping on the furniture or ask your kids why they came home late, you’ll be out of luck with this camera. The device, however, offers one way audio to record sound and activate the sound sensors for alerts. You can hear and download this feature from the web app, as well.

Alarm/Siren

There is no alarm or siren so it doesn’t work to scare anyone off— one of the reasons we think the company might want to consider adding some kind of nasty spray for those who take a close look at the camera. (It just sounds like fun to see an intruder get a burst of skunk spray or something.)

Built-In Back-up Battery

In spite of the fact that Welcome has on-board storage, it doesn’t have a battery for electrical failures. If the power goes out, the system stops recording immediately.

Cloud Storage

Natatmo's WelcomeCloud storage is free but is limited to a screenshot only – excluding the video itself. The camera selects the face that it captures or fails to recognize and sends it to the Cloud. The good news is that you don’t have to pay for access to the Cloud.

The only way to access the live-stream or video on the camera is through the Welcome web app on your smartphone, tablet, PC  or MAC.

Yes, this camera is Mac compatible!

Now, this feature cannot be rivalled by most cameras in the same league. You guessed it right! Only because NETATMO is MAC compatible, it made it to our best surveillance cameras list.

 

Local Storage

This is the only camera with onboard storage. It comes with one 8 GB, Class 10 Micro SD card that will record up to 100 video sequences. If you do not remove/replace the card it will simply overwrite everything that was previously recorded.

Generally, this is fine since most of the recorded videos will be of the kids coming home, the spouse collapsing from a tough day at work and the dog jumping up and down as you approach.

But, if you do have an intruder and need to save the recording for the police, you will have to remove the card and replace it.

Does this mean you should purchase a micro SD card for standby? That would be a good idea. Just know that when you put a new card into the camera, you will have to retrain the facial recognition again.

If an intruder steals the card or camera, what will he/they see from the SD card?  Nothing! It doesn’t store the information once the camera is disconnected from its source – including power outages. If you have an outage or the camera is unplugged, the data is automatically uploaded to Netatmo’s servers for you to retrieve after you prove you are “you”.

How To Set-Up NETATMO

You must have a high speed internet connection  and/or  a power outlet.  The camera will record if it is plugged in. That said, you will still have to download the web app in order to see what is on the card : you can do this through your smartphone.

If you hook up the internet – either Wi-Fi or Ethernet – you can watch the video from a secured area, such as your home or office. Be advised: you cannot watch the video from a public hot spot— even though it is Wi-Fi compatible. iOS 8 is the minimum requirement.

The web app is compatible with Firefox, Chrome, Safari and IE which is a rare bonus in terms of security cameras for personal use. Even the best home security cameras we’ve reviewed till date don’t come equipped with this feature.

 Pet and Temperature Sensors

There are no pet settings, temperature sensors or accessories at this time.

New Accessories for 2016

Netatmo's WelcomeNetatmo just added the door / window sensors to the Welcome camera – for an additional price of course— and upgraded the data to accept notifications from these add-ons. If you are unacquainted with window and door sensors, there are a few things you should know.

First, the device is stuck onto the framework so it sends an alert the moment someone opens the door or windows.NETATMO also sends an alert if a part of the device falls off – which happens quite often, due to window condensation.

The device also sends out an alert when there is a lot of traffic that causes the sensors to vibrate. For instance, it will alert if you or your pet bumps up against the window or door.

Setting Options

The setting options – except for the facial recognition settings – are fairly basic.  The facial recognition settings are easy – on paper.  You have each member of your family stand in front of the camera and it will send you a “?” – on your phone. You enter the name of that person.

The next time this person passes in front of the camera, you will get the “?”. That’s when you tap “identify” and the name of the person flashes across the screen. Repeat this process until the camera recognizes each member you have entered into the camera.

Sometimes, it will identify an animal or object for a face. In such scenarios you tap “not a face”. It can take anywhere from two weeks to two months for all the people in the family to be recognized. (Two months is generally for those that only come by once a week for a good meal at home.)

The “forget this face” link is to delete someone that you put into the system that has since moved out of the area and is unlikely to be back anytime soon.

Notification Options

The Welcome camera will send you a notification by text when it sees someone it doesn’t know, even if the power goes out – an important feature!  Once it is trained, it will only send you a notification – a “welcome home” – when you arrive. From that moment forward, it will not send any notifications unless someone shows up in your front door that is not in its memory.

Customer Service

Several verified customers have made similar comments to this one:

Netatmo's Welcome

What Welcome Does Not Do?

Besides the fact that Welcome has no two-way audio, no temperature sensors and no zoom even when you view live stream, the device also doesn’t send alerts by text immediately.

There is a delay from the time that the camera realizes someone is in the front door until you are notified. There is also a lag time before you can view it in live stream.

 Yay or Nay?

While Netatmo’s Welcome is not our favorite by any means, it actually does learn to recognize the faces of people who live in the home for a reasonable amount of time.  If you are looking for a basic surveillance camera that will tell you if a stranger enters your property, this device deserves a closer look.

Comparison Chart

Natatmo's WelcomeNatatmo's WelcomeNetatmo's Welcome

 
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