Hands on with the Netatmo Welcome - the camera that recognises who you are

So, is facial recognition a huge breakthrough in smart home tech, or clever but a bit pointless?

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For

  • Simple app and setup
  • IFTTT integration
  • Possible HomeKit compatibility

Against

  • Not 100% accurate (yet)
  • Champagne gold...

If you want to constantly monitor who enters and exits your home, theNetatmoWelcome could be the perfect product for you. T3 has had the intelligent camera set up for a while now, and these are our first impressions.

Netatmofirst made an appearance in the connected home space with their Urban Weather Station, a set of Wi-Fi connected tools which allow you to monitor the air quality around you.

Now they have a new device, called the Welcome, which is essentially an IP camera that begins recording when it senses movement.

If the camera recognises someone who passes, it'll send a notification to your smartphone that Abbie (for example) has just entered the house.

If someone passes who the camera doesn't recognise, you'll get a notification telling you that an 'Unkown Face' has been detected.

If you recognise the person, you can tell the system who it is, and next time it should automatically know. If you don't recognise them, you can call the police and hope they arrive before all your stuff gets nicked.

We've been using the system for several days, but it's only just started to recognise our faces, despite passing the device multiple times -- it's not as accurateor fast as Kinect 2.0, for example.

Once we spend more time with the device, we can update you as to how it improved (if it does).

The camera can record up to 1920x1080 Full HD video, and it looks perfectly good on a smartphone screen. The 4MP stills are less impressive, with poor sharpness in decent light -- low light images are even worse.

In complete darkness the camera will switch to IR mode, using infrared light to see crooks (or family) during the witching hour.

The camera is powered by a microUSB cable, and it can connect to your router either wirelessly, with 802.11 b/g/n 2.4Ghz, or with a wired ethernet port.

The privacy settings are interesting -- when we first started using the camera it felt strangely voyeuristic -- unlike any IP camera we've used before.

To help reduce this uneasy feeling, Netatmo allows you to fine tune the settings for each individual user, for example, don't record Abbie, but do record Ben.

It's also nice that the company don't upload your videos online, instead, all files are kept on a local storage MicroSD card, squashing the fears of tinfoil hat wearers.

The app, available on Android and iOS is nicely designed, information is direct and the settings menus is well laid out.

The device is pitched as a way to tell whether your loved ones, such as young children or elderly parents, are where they're supposed to be -- but to us, this seems pretty niche, and we struggled to find a use for it (so far).

Make sure to check back for our full review of the Netatmo Welcome -- will our initial impressions change, or will it go downhill from here? Only time will tell.