One tricky part about having in-home security cameras is balancing the alerts you receive to your smartphone or email. If a camera is notifying you every time the air conditioner ruffles the curtains, you’re going to shut down the notifications altogether. That means you could miss something really important.
We recently reviewed simplicam ($150) for ArcSoft and had some of these issues. One of our biggest complaints was that you could either get notified for every single event — including motion and sound detection and facial recognition — or get a summary every 10, 30, or 60 minutes. It was always easy to tell when the cat was awake.
In order to cut down on some of this unnecessary noise, ArcSoft released a new feature today called Detection Zones. In the camera’s accompanying Closeli app, you can use this option to make the camera “blind” to certain areas of the room, like the cat tree. Under “Preferences,” users can set the “Detection Sensitivity” for both sound and motion, from “Whisper” to “Bam” and “Tiptoe” to “Crash,” respectively. Below that is the “Detection Areas” option. The five-by-five grid lets users block out, square by square, where the don’t want the camera to pick up motion. Even if there’s a “Crash” in any of the unselected areas, the camera won’t record or send an alert. We played around with the new feature a bit, and there’s a whole chunk of time where the camera wasn’t recording, because were hanging out in the “dead zone.”
The firmware update, which ArcSoft will gradually roll out to users after they update the app, also has a few other changes. The ability to adjust the night vision and the motion sensitivity settings are both new, as is the ability to completely delete a video from the cloud whenever you want. “It’s gone from the cloud forever and ever and ever, right away,” says Caroline Tien-Spalding, ArcSoft’s Senior Marketing Director. “It’s a very nuclear option; there’s no taking it back,” she adds, explaining why this ability wasn’t originally included. Unless you save a video, it automatically expires after a day, 11 days, or 21 days, depending on how much cloud storage you’re paying for. That hasn’t changed, but now you can erase any videos of you stumbling to the kitchen half-naked for a glass of water at 3:00 a.m.
The new features can be used in concert with any of the camera’s existing options, like Beta facial recognition or scheduled do-not-record times to further customize how closely the simplicam is watching you.