Arcsoft is adding a facial recognition feature to its software for the Simplicam, a small Wi-Fi surveillance camera for small businesses and home owners, the company announced at CES today.
Based in California, Arcsoft’s core product, the Simplicam, was designed to allow consumers to be able to allow users to stream HD video from their homes or offices to their smartphones. The idea is to keep a sharp eye out for intruders stealing into the office, or just to check in at home and see how the kids or the pets are doing.
It’s a handy concept, but in execution, Simplicam used to send users notifications about any people moving around in range of the camera, even when it was just a family member walking by. So with the addition of facial recognition technology, Simplicam will allow users to identify who their family members are, circumventing the chance of getting alerts that John or Sara has just passed the camera while on the way to the fridge.
For now, Simplicam’s Face Recognition Manager feature allows users to register up to 10 people’s faces at a time, and the tool will also allow them to set alerts based on whether a family member arrives home – or if the Simplicam picks up the face of an unrecognized person.
The idea of a consumer-facing, Wi-Fi-enabled surveillance camera isn’t new. One of the best-known cameras in the market is the Dropcam, which goes after a similar customer base. However, Arcsoft’s Simplicam presents some tough competition for the Dropcam, given its lower price point.
The Simplicam costs about $150 in the U.S., but where it really undercuts Dropcam is on pricing for providing cloud services for users saving or managing their recordings. A bundle including both the camera hardware of the Simplicam as well as its recording services, branded as Closeli, costs about $200.
By contrast, Dropcam is priced at $200 for just the camera, though seven-day cloud recording costs another $99, and 30-day cloud recording is priced at $299 each year. However, it’s worth noting Simplicam’s cloud recording service will only save recordings from the past 24 hours, and Dropcam does have more advanced features, like the ability to detect movement within a specific radius, allowing users to keep a close watch on locations like doors or windows.
Still, Simplicam is providing the video surveillance market with just one more option for users looking to watch their homes or small offices – and with its new facial recognition feature, it’s only improving its ability to compete.