Eyecloud Cam is a Battery-Powered Camera With Local AI technologyBy - 01/16/2019
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Eyecloud is preparing to bring new home security cameras to the market. I was able to meet with the team behind the company at CES 2019. Today we’re going to take a frank look at the device Eyecloud is calling the “Smartest AI Home Security Camera EVER.”
What is Eyecloud Cam?
Eyecloud Cam is an indoor/outdoor (IP54 rated), battery-powered home security camera. It offers a FHD 1080p resolution, night vision, two-way audio, and a 130° viewing angle. You can monitor the camera from home or from anywhere using the app available for iOS and Android phones.
The basic concept of Eyecloud Cam is most definitely not something new, we’ve tested plenty of battery-powered indoor/outdoor cameras including Canary Flex, Arlo Pro, Arlo Pro 2, Reolink Argus, and Reolink Argus 2. With so much competition already selling, Eyecloud needs to deliver something that’s unique, that stands out, and provides new value.
Is it Different Enough?
Claim 1: First, Eyecloud claims that Eyecloud Cam is “the first standalone battery-powered home security camera with built-in AI.”
My Take: What makes this statement true is “built-in.” Remove that phrase, and it no longer holds. Eyecloud uses an embedded neural network. Processing of events is done on the camera itself, and footage is also stored locally. In my opinion, this is the number one thing that sets it apart from the competition. While Reolink Argus also works without the cloud, Eyecloud offers added intelligence, which we’ll get to in a minute.
Claim 2: Other solutions “come with disadvantages such as laborious installation.”
My Take: I would call this claim false. Sure, other solutions are hard to install, but not solutions that compete directly with Eyecloud. Years ago, most makers shifted from creating IP-based cameras to cloud-based cameras. I’ve tested dozens of home security cameras, and new cameras usually take less than five minutes to install. It’s as simple as downloading an app, plugging in the camera, and connecting it to the internet. Eyecloud also promises a painless installation.
Claim 3: Where other solutions suffer from a quick battery drain, Eyecloud promises to last six months on a single charge.
My Take: I can’t call this one true or false without actually testing the camera. What I can say is that the camera will use a 6000mah rechargeable battery and will swap to standby mode to conserve battery. I can also say that most cameras promise a 4-6 month battery life with some even promising a year (Blink). What I’ve found is that battery-life is highly contingent upon conditions like weather and usage.
On a positive note, Eyecloud will send a notification to your phone when the camera’s battery is running low.
Claim 4: Eliminates most false alerts.
My Take: Again, without delivering an actual product to users who will test the device in a variety of environments, I don’t think this is a claim they can substantiate, but person detection will certainly help as will facial recognition.
The camera will detect motion, detect person or non-person, and then determine if it recognizes the person. The camera can store up to 20 faces and recognize one person at a time.
Note that this particular feature is cloud-based. Familiar faces are stored using AWS. The pro to this approach is that it does not use the camera’s internal memory which is already limited.
Claim 5: Free local storage sets Eyecloud apart from solutions that require pricey cloud storage.
My Take: Sure, but at what price? Eyecloud relies primarily on local storage using an 8GB internal storage device. That’s not a whole lot of storage. According to SanDisk, 8GB will hold about 40 minutes of HD video recorded at 24 Mbps. Eyecloud is a FHD camera that records at 30 fps. Fortunately, they are also launching EyecloudCam X which offers 32GB of storage.
Finally, at CES I was told that they are bringing cloud storage to all of their cameras. They plan to offer one month free. The free plan will store images. They will also offer paid plans.
Claim 4: Premium No Longer Means Expensive
My Take: The estimated MSRP of Eyecloud is $119, which puts it in line with Canary Flex, Reolink Argus 2, and Blink XT. But on Kickstarter, Eyecloud compares itself to Arlo Pro 2 and Lighthouse, two of the most expensive home security cameras on the market. In the comparison, there are a couple of things that are a little misleading.
First of all, Arlo Pro offers seven days of free cloud storage for life with optional paid plans if you want more storage. Second, the chart makes it appear that both Arlo Pro 2 and Lighthouse lack AI. The important distinction here is the phrase “on the device,” but even then, more explaining is needed. Eyecloud processes on the device where Arlo Pro 2 uses the cloud. Lighthouse, on the other hand, did perform (the camera is no longer selling) some processing on the device itself by first deciding if an object was 3D or not. If an object was not 3D and remained stationary, nothing happened. However, if the 3D object moved, the information was sent to the cloud for further processing.
Multiple Users and a Coming Soon Doorbell
During our meeting at CES, I tried to gather information beyond what was already online. In speaking to them, I learned that you can add an unlimited number of cameras to one account. You can also have an unlimited number of users. There are, however, different levels of access.
Each account can have only one owner, but it can have an unlimited number of guests. The owner is responsible for adding and managing the guests.
In addition to showing off their camera, they also brought two video doorbells to the show. The first doorbell is called AIBell (name subject to change). Like Ring Door View Cam, the doorbell is made to fit over your existing peephole, making it a smart choice for renters or those who can’t modify their homes for whatever reason.
AIBell shares many of the same features as Eyecloud’s camera. First of all, the doorbell will have face recognition. Second, it will include embedded AI. Third, you can live stream from the app from anywhere. Fourth, it will include human detection as well as smart alerts with snapshot notifications. Finally, the camera will offer an HD resolution backed by a 130-degree field of view, night vision, half-duplex two-way audio, local storage (8GB/32GB), and will be 100% cordless.
In addition to the peephole style doorbell, they are also planning to sell a traditional battery-powered video doorbell. The estimated battery life on both products is two-years. This is possible as the camera swaps to standby mode when there is no motion. Also, the local AI allows the camera to filter out false events.
The price on the doorbells is still TBD. They plan to launch mid-2019.
Eyecloud vs. Canary Flex vs. Blink XT vs. Reolink Argus 2
|Eyecloud Cam||Reolink Argus 2||Canary Flex||Blink XT|
|Price (At Time of Publishing)||$119.00||$129.99||$151.00||$119.99|
|Standalone||Requires Sync Module|
|Live Stream/Night Vision|
|Battery Life||TBD (6 Months Promised)||Tested at 1.5 Months||Tested at 2 Months||Tested at 2 Months|
|Solar Charging Option|
|AI||Person Detection||Person and Package Detection|
|Two-Way Audio||Members Only|
|Geofencing||Via IFTTT Only|
|App||Mobile App||Mobile and Web App||Mobile App, Web App Members Only||Mobile App|
|Free Storage||8GB Internal (EyecloudCam X offers 32GB)||Can Support 64GB microSD Card||24 Hours Cloud Storage Shared With Other Cameras||7,200 Seconds of Cloud Storage|
|Works With||Coming Soon||Wink||Amazon Alexa, IFTTT|
I’m not sure why Eyecloud chose a David and Goliath situation when comparing itself to peers. When comparing Eyecloud to closer peers like Reolink, Canary, and Blink, it’s a formidable opponent. The battery life will probably test on par with the other options, it offers a FHD resolution, adds in free person detection that happens locally as well as free cloud-based person recognition. It’s also 100% wire-free and for those who don’t like using the cloud, Eyecloud will store your footage on the device itself. Beyond that, Eyecloud has a strong Silicon Valley-based team working to make the camera a reality.
If you’re interested in learning more, head over to Kickstarter.