I find it hard to get on board with the idea of filling my home with smart security cameras for a number of reasons, not the least of which is privacy. But there’s one smart camera at CES this year that has a clever solution to the whole spying-on-you problem: just have the camera look away.
The smart camera Angee — which was crowdfunded in 2015 and is now beginning to ship to backers — is able to rotate a full 360-degrees. That allows the camera to spin around to face a wall when it realizes that you’re home, which is a smart solution to the uncomfortable feeling of always having a camera pointed in your direction.
Beyond that, I don’t know that Angee stands out much from other home security cameras, like Canary or Netatmo Home. They all do roughly the same thing — sit in your main entryway, watch the door, and notify you when an unrecognized person comes in. But Netatmo’s product integrates with Apple’s HomeKit system, and as of this week, Canary’s integrates with Alexa, making those options a bit more flexible. (Angee executives said they’re open to adding integrations in the future.)
Those other cameras don’t have the 360-degree rotation feature, but maybe that’s not a huge problem if it’s only pointed at your door. On top of that, Angee requires a very noticeable puck (pictured below) to be placed on your door to help tell when it opens. And it’s the most expensive camera of the bunch by a good margin.
Still, it’s nice to see a company thinking about this issue at a time when most aren’t. Though there was at least one other company that addressed this problem in a decidedly low-tech (and more secure) way at the show: Lenovo, which built a cover you can slide into place over the camera on its upcoming Google Smart Display.
Angee says that its Kickstarter backers — close to 1,300 of them — should be receiving their cameras within the next six weeks. The product was originally supposed to launch in April 2016, and comments on the Kickstarter page show a lot of frustration with the delay; but I was able to see footage streaming from a working model at the show, so the units that do show up should at least work, which hasn’t always been true with Kickstarter projects. After those units are out, Angee plans to start selling the camera on its website for $349.