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Panasonic announces Nubo, a 'Dropcam killer' at Mobile World Congress

Michael Brown | March 3, 2015
The Nubo IP security camera can run in locations where Dropcam can't, but it won’t be available in the U.S. until 2016.

When motion is detected, Panasonic's servers will send the user an alert with a snapshot of what the camera saw. These Alerts can be limited to when only human motion is detected.

It's a connected-home hub, too
In addition to those camera features, the Nubo will have Bluetooth and ZigBee radios that enable it to operate as a connected-home hub. That will enable it to control devices that operate on those protocols (such as door locks, thermostats, and lighting systems), and it can be triggered by sensors (door/window and external motion sensors, for instance) that use those protocols. Finally, the Nubo will be capable of operating as a video intercom system, being outfitted with both a microphone and an internal speaker.

You'll need a smartphone or tablet to use the camera, as Panasonic will support only the Android and iOS operating systems at launch. A web portal and/or a desktop app that will allow you to view and manage the camera using a Mac or PC will come later. Panasonic has sensor packs on its product roadmap, as well as a Pro model that will have additional features that might include Power over Ethernet support.

Codecs, resolution, security, and pricing
The camera will capture video at 720p resolution at up to 10 frames per second for cloud streaming, and at 1080p resolution and up to 30fps for streams over Wi-Fi. Video is encoded using either the H.264 or Motion JPEG codecs, with the former being the default choice for streams uploaded to the cloud. Video is encrypted using 4096-bit SSL keys whether video is sent to the cloud or to a local wireless network.

Panasonic has not finalized pricing, but during an embargoed briefing with Panasonic Cameramanager CTO Tijmen Vos, Vos said the company expects to sell the Nubo for around $250. Buyers will get a three-month trial of the optional 4G data plan, which will cost between $7 and $10 a month. That will buy you 250 alarms per month and seven days of cloud storage for your video clips. Additional plans will also be available, culminating in a $50-per-month plan that delivers 2500 alarms and 90 days of cloud storage (that plan will be aimed at business users).

Once you've reached your data cap, as measured by the number of alarms you've received, you won't be able to see any more of the video clips that the alarms are based on, but you will continue to receive alarms and you'll be able to purchase more data via the app, so that you can continue to view those clips.

A "freemium" model depends on the camera being connected to your own Wi-Fi network, and it doesn't include any cloud storage. You'll still get alarms, however, and you'll be able to be able to view both a live stream from the camera and video clips recorded on the camera's onboard memory card (provided you've purchased one) while you're on your local network.


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