Dropcam have revised their Dropcam Pro IP-based surveillance camera and offered for US$199. But they have offered a unit that could be considered above average for a consumer-grade cloud-supported IP camera and this is brought about by a dual-band Wi-Fi network interface, the implementation of Bluetooth 4.0 technology and the use of above-average optics and audio recording techn0logy.
Most Wi-Fi-based IP cameras that connect to the home network only work to the 802.11g/n technologies that use the 2.4GHz band. But the newly-refreshed Dropcam Pro implements the dual-band Wi-Fi technology which means it can use the uncluttered 5GHz waveband.
Impressively the new Dropcam Pro implements the Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Ready technology to add a few capabilities to it. One is to be able to use the companion mobile-platform app to enrol the camera in to your small network’s Wi-Fi segment even if your router doesn’t support WPS one-touch setup. This is an alternative to the “own-access-point” setup routine where the device becomes its own access point during the setup phase.
Another bonus is that the Dropcam Pro can work with sensor devices that exploit the Bluetooth Smart profile. For that matter, Dropcam are working on expsing an application-programming interface to allow third parties to develop hardware and software that works with this camera to add a range of smarts to it.
One highly-obvious sensor application that will take advantage of Dropcam Pro’s Bluetooth Smart Ready feature would be a door sensor which uses a magnet and reed switch to alert if a door is open. Here, the Dropcam Pro could be set up to record for a few seconds to a minute in real-time when that door is open.
The optics and microphone are above avarage for this class of IP camera with an all-glass lens and a highly-sensitive condenser microphone. This will also be a bonus for the software-based ecosystem that will give the camera some extra intelligence. Even the software offers tricks familiar to those of us who watch crime dramas and spy movies where the camera can send coarse images in its stream but can allow zooming in on an area of the captured footage.
I would see this as a race to provide highly-capable IP-based video surveillance technology to the small business and home user as these technologies trickle down from equipment targeted at the larger installations.