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Nest Has Released a Better Dropcam Called Nest Cam

Nest introduces a $199 wireless camera and $10-a-month home security service.

Rachel Bracker/Recode

Nest, the prized home automation company acquired by Google, is showing off its own acquisitions.

It’s another indication that the five-year-old company, led by its ambitious CEO Tony Fadell, is trying to cement itself as the leader of the emerging connected device industry and sell itself as autonomous from its big parent.

At a press event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Nest announced its third product, Nest Cam, a wireless home camera retailing for $199, joining its digital thermostat and smoke detector. Along with the new camera, Nest announced its own cloud service called Nest Aware, a $10-per-month subscription service that lets you store footage captured with the camera.

The new Nest Cam captures video in 1080p HD, is supposedly simpler to set up and boasts advanced low-light video-capture capabilities. Nest also unfurled several software and product flourishes for its Internet-connected flagship products, the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector.

“Together, we’ve changed the conversation around the connected home,” CEO Tony Fadell said at the onset of the event. “We’re going to refresh our entire lineup of products.” (Nest’s entire lineup of products, for those counting, now includes three.)

Rachel Bracker / Re/code

The new camera announcement isn’t exactly surprising: A year ago, Nest Labs acquired Dropcam, a popular maker of home monitoring cameras, for $555 million. Five months later, Nest scooped up Revolv, a smart home platform, for an undisclosed amount. And at the Code conference in May 2014, Fadell said the company was exploring areas beyond smart thermostats and smoke alarms, and indicated that the home security space was particularly interesting.

For now, the Dropcam product is still intact as a standalone product, but for its newest camera Nest borrows heavily from Dropcam in terms of design. With Revolv, Nest opted to shut down its $299 smart home hub, using the startup’s team for its expertise in wireless communications.

Smart home technology, for the most part, is still in its early stages. The population of Internet-connected devices (the “Internet of Things,” or IoT) is growing, and research firm IDC expects the market to reach $1.7 trillion over the next five years. But it’s still not mainstream tech yet, and no single standard has emerged as the dominant operating system for the home.

Security firms such as ADT and Vivint have been the most successful at selling home automation, along with, say, video surveillance products. Cable giant Comcast and telecommunications companies AT&T and Verizon similarly have been dabbling at it for years.

And then there’s Apple, which has made clear its plans to get into the smart home space through HomeKit, its software development platform for connected devices.

Each of these companies is vying for the prime spot as the go-to “platform” for the automated home, but there’s still plenty of fragmentation. Nest Labs, for example, hasn’t said whether its smart thermostats will work with Apple’s HomeKit; but Nest, naturally, has been working with parent company Google to create the communications protocol for Brillo, the new IoT operating system Google plans to roll out later this year.

Additional reporting by Dawn Chmielewski.

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