Gadgets for humans

Wyze’s $20 security cams can now identify people

Wyze's cams are now even better value.

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I’m a huge fan of Wyze’s security cameras. I’ve used them for a few months. They’re dead simple, and delightfully cheap. And now they’re getting a little bit cleverer, thanks to a software update that lets them identify people through artificial intelligence.

The feature is available to the most recent models, the Wyze Cam v2 and the Wyze Cam Pan smart home cameras, and is activated via a complementary firmware upgrade.

Person detection is powered by computer vision software from Xnor – a Seattle-based vendor of AI computing services, which specializes in edge computing.

Crucially, the Wyze Cam does the heavy computational lifting on the device, rather than on a remote, cloud-based server. This means that it’ll more resilient to network issues, and will continue to work, even if your ISP goes down.

This’ll also make it a lot more compelling for privacy-conscious users who are uncomfortable with letting a third-party remotely analyze footage from their home.

Obviously, this new feature makes the Wyze cam a lot more useful. If someone broke into your house, you can use the functionality to skip to footage containing people. It’ll also reduce the number of accidental notifications pushed to users of the app.

We’re big fans of Wyze here. It’s featured heavily in our gift guides. We’ve reviewed both the pan and the static cameras. It’s a product I use personally, and one I’ve grown to love. The app works great, the cameras are small and reliable, and they’re damned cheap.

With this new feature, they’re nothing short of a steal. You can grab the Wyze Cam Pan on Amazon for $37.98. Alternatively, Wyze also sells a model with a bundled MicroSD card for $50.96. The static version is a bit cheaper, retailing at $25.99 on Amazon with free shipping, or $38.97 with a MicroSD card.

While the list price is slightly higher on Amazon than on the Wyze website (where the entry-level model retails for $19.99), the latter charges you $5.99 for shipping, so it ultimately evens out.

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Published July 9, 2019 — 20:09 UTC