Logitech’s Logi Circle camera is more lifelogging and less surveillance

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Logi Circle Brings Home to Your Smartphone.

NEWARK, Calif., Sep 30, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Today Logitech (six:LOGN) LOGI, -0.40% introduced the Logi Circle Portable Home Connection Camera, a camera and companion app that brings your home happenings to your smartphone, and allows you to instantly engage with whomever is at home, so you’ll never miss another moment. “There’s a new movement in home monitoring,” said Vincent Borel, director of new ventures at Logitech. “The nature of today’s connected world is changing the way people interact with cameras in the home. The new Logi Circle is a home monitoring camera similar with a unique twist: You can unplug it from power and stream video from anywhere in your home for up to three hours. As weird as it is to install a security camera that’s watching you and your family inside your home as opposed to outside of your home, we’re now a culture that’s embracing cameras of all types.

Logitech is positioning the Circle as as more than just a home security camera, it’s also something that you can use like a webcam, since it has support for two-way voice chat. The company is also one-upping the competition by including 24-hours worth of video rewinding from its cloud service — that’s something you have to pay extra for from Nest’s devices. But the Circle from Logi (formerly Logitech), the company’s new “home connection” device, wants to build a positive case for having an always-on camera in your living room too.

The camera is able to send you push notifications when there’s movement, and that motion detection also helps break out moments you may have missed throughout the day. The Circle is the first home camera for Logitech, but it’s also building on its experience with webcams and outdoor security cameras. (This is also the second product in the consumer-friendly Logi line, after its recent iPad cases.) While the Circle isn’t as sleek as Nest’s new camera, it has a bulbous design that’s sort of cute (it reminds me of the new Star Wars BB-8 Droid). It learns your home life patterns and filters the footage to send alerts only on interesting activity, so you don’t need to sift through spam footage. The spherical, HAL-like main camera unit can sit and pivot in a magnetic charging hub, which can be wall mounted and juice the Circle’s battery for three hours of portable wireless recording – ideal for moving a recording around the home as an ad-hoc camcorder. Other cameras like the Nest Cam and Canary can stream and save video clips in 1080p HD, but to be honest, the higher resolution isn’t noticeably better.

Maybe it’s baby’s first steps, or a You’ve Been Framed-worthy clip of your uncle acting like a drunken tit – the Circle will be ready to capture it all. It’s a great way to quickly check on what’s been happening at your home without needing to scroll through a timeline, or waste time loading individual clips.

Both of these features seemed to work well in the few days that I’ve been using the Circle in my apartment, where the most interesting action always comes from my dog. Firstly, there’s the option to livestream remotely in real-time whatever the camera sees directly to your phone – a built-in microphone and speaker pairing allows the viewer to communicate with those in front of the Circle, while a light on the camera itself blinks and a speaker bleeps to inform those present that they are being watched. She sleeps a lot, and the scene intuition technology mercifully kept me from being notified every time she lifted her head from being woken by an errant noise. Instead, notifications were limited to the times where she was playing with her bone, or when the dog walker picked her up and dropped her off. (The Circle also affords me the same existential problems that I had with the Dropcam, like feeling creepy when I’m watching her walkers come and go, and an immense feeling of guilt for not always being in the apartment playing with her.) But the software is also where Circle falls a little short against its competition. Over 30 years ago, Logitech started connecting people through computers, and now it’s designing products that bring people together through music, gaming, video and computing.

Logi presents recordings triggered by the camera’s sensors by a scrolling list of time-stamped “Bubbles”, which you can scroll through to check as you please. Founded in 1981, Logitech International is a Swiss public company listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (LOGN) and on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (LOGI).

Being able to mitigate the amount of notifications is nice, but I found the Dropcam Pro’s ability to draw zones in your video that you want your motion notifications to come from to be much more useful. Find Logitech at www.logitech.com, the company blog or @Logitech. 2015 Logitech, Logicool, Logi and other Logitech marks are owned by Logitech and may be registered. And while the 24-hour cache does work great — especially since it’s free — there is no option for recording or storing your footage right now. (That also means no saving or sharing clips, something that comes in handy if you don’t want to pass off your login info to someone else.) One useful and unique thing about the Circle, though, is that it’s portable. As standard, each Circle comes with 24 hours of cloud-based backup recordings (the camera has a Wi-Fi connection for automatic uploads), ready to be downloaded at your leisure. While testing the camera, I kept thinking about how more devious people could use the Circle for live-pranking people at home (i.e. put it in the kitchen cupboard).

All feeds and saved clips are encrypted against “man in the middle attacks”, meaning anyone trying to get a look in on your personal clips should have plenty of trouble doing so. Day Brief will get even more useful when you can jump straight from specific points in the hyper-fast video to the source recording — something Logitech says it’s working on.

The thought of having a camera watching your home at all times may be unnerving, but Logi’s presentation of the device certainly does its best to make the “Big Brother” sinister surveillance undertones of such a product slide away. The so-called “Scene Intuition” features knows the difference between a shifting shadow and a walking human, and the Daily Brief software cuts out the dull moment so you can watch a day go by in one minute. But in a world where a digital social standing is currency in and of itself, the opportunity to passively record a would-be viral hit at home has its own appeal. The elegance of the app and camera itself also makes it a very attractive way of capturing more intimate moments, without the interruption of digging out a camera when you should be soaking up a memory.

To get started, you turn the camera on via a switch located on the bottom of its base, wait for the LED light to flash blue and then wait for it to connect. It wouldn’t be possible if the camera wasn’t fast enough to process the clips, which are stored on your own free private Logi Circle Cloud service account. I did, however, notice it did sometimes fail to record a bunch of clips when I quickly left the room, came back, left again and came back within a single minute. For a parent, though, the footage would probably look a lot more interesting; they only need to spend 30 seconds to catch up on what their kids were doing throughout an entire day. Logitech is aware that it’s entering a space that’s already super crowded, which is why its Circle is positioned as a Wi-Fi connected camera that’s more digital lifestyle and less about monitoring.

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