The smart home has become the latest battleground for tech companies and Panasonic has turned up the heat on Google with Nubo, a new 4G mobile security camera that could be a real threat to Nest's Dropcam.
Wi-Fi security cameras are great little gadgets to have in your "smart" home, but once your wireless network drops they become redundant. Most home Wi-Fi networks have considerably less than 100 percent "up time" and even a super-fast, super-reliable network can be unplugged by a capable thief. As a result, Wi-Fi cameras like the Google-owned Nest Dropcam are limited as effective home security tools.
Panasonic has shaken up the market at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona with the release of the Nubo which solves the flaky Wi-Fi problem. The standalone camera has full 4G LTE connectivity and comes with an external battery pack so it will keep recording when unplugged from a power source.
The Nubo is weather-resistant for indoor or outdoor use and the nifty thing about the battery pack is that you can take it with you wherever you want. The current battery life is estimated at two to three hours of constant recording over 4G.
"Consumers have long had to compromise on mobility and connectivity when it came to their surveillance needs, bound either by location or connectivity," said Tijmen Vos, CTO of Panasonic Cameramanager and Nubo product evangelist.
The 1080p 140-degree wide-angle camera is motion activated and records five- to 60-second clips when movement is detected. Video analytics tools allow it to differentiate types of movement so the Nubo can tell your dog apart from an unwanted visitor. When an alert is detected a message is sent to the paired mobile device along with a short video clip.
The camera also has a built-in speaker and microphone, allowing two-way communication. This could be a handy way to find out if there has been a false alarm. To set it up you simply need to plug in the Nubo and connect it to your iOS or Android device either via Wi-Fi or your mobile connectivity.
If a 4G network isn't available, the Nubo can also operate on Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G and even GPRS and adjusts the video quality depending on the network available. Recorded video is also stored to Panasonic's cloud and onto an SD card in the device.
Of course all this extra connectivity is going to come at a price. Although Panasonic hasn't finalised pricing yet, the Nubo is expected to cost $249, roughly $50 more than the Dropcam, and of course you will have network charges. CTO Vos expects monthly plans to range from a basic plan of $7 - $10 for up to 250 alarms, to the deluxe $50 version with unlimited alarms. Panasonic is partnered with Vodafone in Europe but hasn't announced a network partner in the U.S. yet.
The Nubo is already available on preorder in the Netherlands and the U.K. and is scheduled for preorders in the U.S. this April. The first devices will ship to Europe by the end of the year and are expected in the U.S. in early 2016. The Nubo was developed by the Amsterdam-based Cameramanager team, a European cloud surveillance firm acquired by Panasonic in August 2013.
Photo Credit: Panasonic