The Eyes of Your Home: Dropcam

Last week’s additions to SmartThings Labs showed how Sonos can become the voice of your smart home. Today, we’re excited to announce that your smart home can now have eyes, too. Introducing the latest addition to SmartThings Labs: Dropcam.

By combining the powers of SmartThings and Dropcam, not only will you be able to receive notifications and alerts about what’s happening in your home from anywhere in the world, but now you’ll also be able to see a stream of images that’s sent directly to your smartphone when different things happen.

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Dropcam is a super simple Wi-Fi camera that makes it easy to keep an eye on your home from anywhere.

Use it to secure your home!
See the kids get home from school!
Make sure your Irish setter isn’t on the sofa again!

In addition, the SmartThings Labs integration also introduces some new and exciting features that highlight what’s possible on our open platform.


WScSnbCFVEA4bQx6K2C8uFEbvDnbm1xC7P8TQFGujX0There are two new Dropcam features joining SmartThings Labs: Dropcam (Connect) and Photo Burst When. Here’s a rundown of each:

Dropcam (Connect)

Like Philips hue (Connect) and Sonos (Connect), Dropcam (Connect) is where customers can go to pair their Dropcam camera(s) with SmartThings. Customers will first be asked to enter their Dropcam username and password, and then to select which Dropcam cameras they’d like to integrate with SmartThings. 


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There’s also an option to automatically turn on different SmartThings-connected lights as Dropcam takes pictures. This comes in handy in case you plan on triggering your Dropcam to capture images when it’s dark.

After SmartThings discovers the different Dropcam cameras in your home, each one will appear as a tile in your Things screen. By tapping the gear above the Dropcam tiles, you’ll be able to see an option that lets you take a picture manually, see recent pictures taken by the camera in a carousel, and zoom in to see the images displayed larger and more clearly by tapping them.


2014-04-23 14.10.59Photo Burst When

Once you’ve connected your Dropcam with SmartThings with Dropcam (Connect), you’ll be ready to start customizing your Dropcam to snap photos when different things happen in your home. This is where Photo Burst When comes in.

Photo Burst When is where you teach SmartThings and Dropcam how you’d like them to work together. Set Dropcam to take photos when different things take place in your home (such as when someone arrives home, when there’s motion in the living room, when something open unexpectedly, etc.); customize whether you’d like to receive push notifications in addition to images; schedule your Dropcam so that it takes a photo every x amount of minutes and sends it to you; or request that Dropcam take a rapid-fire “photo burst” of five consecutive images when various actions and events occur.2014-04-23 14.11.48

Customers can also plug their Dropcam into a SmartThings-compatible smart outlet and enable a few added privacy features. Once plugged in, you can easily set the Dropcam to turn off when you, a spouse, or other family members are home; and then set it to automatically turn back on when you leave home. You can do this directly from the Lights & Switches category of the Dashboard. Similarly, you can also set your Dropcam to turn on and off on a set schedule.

[UPDATE]
Check out how Daniel, a product manager who rents an apartment with his wife and German shepherd, uses the SmartThings integration with Dropcam to monitor his home:


What is SmartThings Labs?

cars4eliot

This is what we do in SmartThings Labs.

SmartThings Labs gives customers access to a curated group of popular third-party devices and services that can work together with SmartThings while they’re still in development. These new product solutions are created by our in-house team, as well as by our growing community of software developers. Together, they make it easier than ever to control all of the connected devices in your home with the SmartThings iOS and Android apps.

As our engineering team works to fine-tune these integrated products and solutions with our platform, they may move from SmartThings Labs into more prominent sections of the SmartThings Dashboard to make way for new integrations and features in Labs. Since Labs is all about experimenting, you may notice that some product features aren’t fully polished yet. If you do experience any performance issues, we’d love to hear your feedback to help improve things–just shoot us a note at support@smartthings.com.

SmartThings Labs is open for all SmartThings customers. To access it, tap “Apps” from the left-hand Menu, select the “+” symbol, and scroll down to find the “Labs” section.

Category:
Featured, Roundups
  • Kim Andrè Flaten

    Will it be possible to add other Wi-Fi cameras?

    • eliot_smartthings

      This is our first camera integration, but we certainly hope to continue to integrate more cameras with our open platform.

      • http://bo-stern.net Bo Stern

        Would very much appreciate camera support for Philips InSight and VueZone .. very popular cameras. Thanks.

        • Daryl

          I would like to see Samsung Smartcam HD ip camera’s added if possible

  • Blake Westerdahl

    The Photo Burst app does work with the DIY Foscam integration found the Forums at build.smartthings.com

    • alttext

      Nice!

      • Sunil

        Guys – any ideas how do I get my FOSCAM integrated with Smartthings ? if its not ready when will the Public App be available like the one with Dropcam ?

    • Ron Anthony Quinn

      Now if I could just figure out how to do that. I’m all Foscam prior to buying Smarthings. I’m at 6 cameras and moving to 8 shortly (3 outdoor and 5 indoor). I have too much invested to go to Dropcam now. Plus, Dropcam doesn’t pan/tilt.

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  • Jake Mason

    This is great integration! Where are the photos stored? Are they able to be pulled from the app or deleted?

  • http://www.vitamincm.com VitaminCM

    This is such a great integration. I held off on buying a Dropcam because of the constant glut of data that it sends to its server. It almost requires you to purchase their overpriced service, plus kill you ISP data caps.
    This is a really cool way to get full usage of Dropcam’s awesome features, but only when you want/need to use them. I will be buying one ASAP now. Thanks,

    • Dan Lieberman

      Hi VitaminCM –

      I wanted to clarify one point – the Dropcam will still constantly stream to Dropcam’s cloud service. This is because the integration that we’ve done with Dropcam is a cloud-to-cloud integration where the SmartThings Cloud is talking to Dropcam’s cloud service – not directly to the individual Dropcam on the local WiFi network.

      One thing you can do is plug the Dropcam into a controllable outlet and only turn it on when you want it to be streaming, like when nobody is home.

      Thanks,
      -d

      Dan Lieberman
      Sr. Director, Platform Strategy
      SmartThings

      • http://www.vitamincm.com VitaminCM

        Good to know. Thanks.

      • Richard Aldridge

        HI Dan, is the CVR subscription required or are you just taking the live feed that’s free?

        • Dan Lieberman

          Hi @disqus_8fS4ivNTd9:disqus –

          No, the CVR is not required. The integration just take a still image snapshot out of the free live stream.

          -d

      • Andy

        First, smartthings continues to impress! I knew dropcam was in the works but was skeptical that we would see something this soon. I just bought 2 Dropcam PROs a month ago and they are amazing cameras. They make my dlink cams look like junk. I choose not to continue the CVR due to cost and bandwidth usage so your smartthings support is a pleasant surprise! I’m so glad it doesn’t require the CVR plan as well.

        The question I have, you mentioned that dropcam will stream continuously,
        are you saying that even without CVR service, my dropcam is always sending a feed to dropcams servers even when I’m not actively watching it? I assumed that my camera would only send a stream when I’m watching the feed. Last part of my question, does smartthings collect the feed only when there is an trigger like motion? Or is smartthings always requesting a continuous feed which would mean that my cameras are also streaming 24/7. Hope the question makes sense.

        Keep up the great work! I can’t wait for my sonos to get in. Might have to get a HUE as well…

        • Dan Lieberman

          Hi Andy –

          Yes, it is my understanding that the Dropcam is streaming live to their servers all of the time.

          As for the second part of your question, SmartThings does not pull the video feed in the current integration, only a still image snapshot from the Dropcam feed, and only at the moment it is configured to do so in responding to an event such as motion or a door opening or closing.

          I hope that answers your questions.

          • alttext

            You can connect the Dropcam to a connected outlet and only turn it on a specific times. I don’t think you would be happy with the timing of triggered events in this way (ie. motion occurs, turn on camera, snap 5 photos) because I am not sure how quickly the camera can wake up and re-join the network but it is at least a way to have it off when you are home, for example.

          • Michael Meyer

            Would be great to have on/off control from dropcam control as I would like to have internal cameras only on when mode is set to away. Really do not want to have to put electrical outlet controls at every location.

          • Jamin Dawes

            Actually, according to Dropcam, streaming is only constant with CVR service. Quote from Dropcam support: “Note: If your camera is on Live Streaming only (no cloud video recording plan), video only streams when you load the web viewer or mobile app viewer. Since Dropcam is not recording footage for Live Streaming, video is not streaming constantly but only when you begin viewing your video. This helps reduce your bandwidth and data usage. As long as your camera is turned on, motion and sound detection remain active and you will receive event notifications for any activities.”
            Info found here: http://support.dropcam.com/entries/27829706-Why-should-I-turn-off-HD-video-

          • Dan Lieberman

            Hi @jamindawes:disqus –

            Thanks for point out the Dropcam support article. I did some light observation here, and it looks like you’re right – the full-res video stream only plays in Live Streaming mode when you ask for it from the web UI or mobile app. There is, however, a low-bitrate stream (2-50kbps depending on the amount of motion, which is really quite good) that’s going to their servers all of the time – this appears to be the stream that we’re getting our still images from, and they use to update the camera thumbnails in their own app.

            Last time I looked at it the camera was brand new, so it might’ve been in the trial CVR mode and streaming the high-res feed.

          • alttext

            That is good to know!

  • BrianS

    Regarding the option to automatically turn on different SmartThings-connected lights as Dropcam takes pictures, is it also possible to automatically turn off those same connected lights off after taking the photo(s)?

    • alttext

      I believe that is the default behavior.

  • Ingo

    Is the Dropcam CVR subscription required for this integration?

    • alttext

      No.

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  • http://bo-stern.net Bo Stern

    Would definitely like to see plans for Philips InSight and Vuezone, thanks.

  • http://mrjarichard.info Jesse Andrew

    Such good news! Just bought a Dropcam pro. Is there any way I can get SmartThings to recognize my Dropcam as a motion sensor? Or is the only motion-sensing capabilities through the photo burst app?

    • Adam Fox

      Any word on this? Wondering the same thing.

      • alttext

        The Dropcam API hasn’t officially opened up yet. It remains to be seen which features area available to external developers. Would be great if motion sensing is a part of it.

  • Michael Meyer

    Would be fantastic if SmartThings could turn the DropCam off and on by the camera control and not require a power outlet to perform the same task. Is that coming?

  • Abe Doerksen

    How is the following done to control the oulet as the logic in the app only allows the reverse. eg. on when home off at departure.

    Customers can also plug their Dropcam into a SmartThings-compatible smart outlet and enable a few added privacy features. Once plugged in, you can easily set the Dropcam to turn off when you, a spouse, or other family members are home; and then set it to automatically turn back on when you leave home. You can do this directly from the Lights & Switches category of the Dashboard.

    • alttext

      Not sure I understand the question. You can turn a smart outlet on or off on mode change.

      • Abe Doerksen

        What the statement on the website indicates and what we are trying to accomplish is when at least one person (presence sensor) is home it turns off power to the outlet powering the Dropcam. When everyone has left it turns on the outlet power to the Dropcam. In the app the only settings I can find is turn on when people arrive and turn off when people depart which is the reverse of what we are trying to accomplish with the outlet powering the Dropcam. What am I missing. Thanx

        • alttext

          You can accomplish what you need using Hello, Home. Simply asign the smart power outlet as one of the devices set to turn off when you leave home.

          • Abe Doerksen

            Great. Thanx. Love what you guys are doing even if takes a bit to wrap your head around all the possilities.

          • alttext

            Well, there ARE a lot of possibilities :)

  • MikeN

    If I use my iPhone or iPad to view the photos snapped with Photo Burst, are the photos stored on the device? If I needed to save the photo and it was not stored locally, I assume I would be able to take a screen shot.

    • alttext

      The photos are stored on the servers and not on the device. A screenshot would work yes. Local storage may be coming int he future.

      • MikeN

        Thanks.

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  • chritso

    Dropcam is very limited. Support for Piper would be loved :)

    • alttext

      We like Piper. Will see how they respond after their recent acquisition by iControl (not the most open of platforms).

      • Daryl

        SAMSUNG Smartcam HD camera….?
        These are very similar to the Foscam’s

  • Jose Gonzalez

    I am only able to see one photo, even if it is configured in burst mode to take 5… as mentioned previously would be great if you can offer to save photos locally (at least the last 10 photos let’s say) and have the chance to save one of the photos to the image gallery

    Great work!!! I am very happy that I bought the smartthings pack in my last trip to US… keep rocking!!

  • NormShaw

    I have a dropcam, bought it right before I went on vacation. Was great to see the cats while I was away. Used the trial version of CVS. Now that its gone when I take a picture in SmartThings, the image is still stored on their servers? Anyway to get the image for free?

  • Chris Schwartz

    Does this integration fully work? I can’t seem to get the burst of photos to deliver via txt or notification. I get the push notification / txt message but the photos never come across. I see in the activity feed for the camera it is apparently taking the image but it is never delivered via push / txt.

    • alttext

      The photos are not setup to send over SMS just the alert. Then you see the photos in the app. I am sure improvements will be coming all the time.

      • Chris Schwartz

        Thank you for the clarification. I came to the same conclusion over the weekend and noticed that the photos would then populate the drop cam within in thing view and you could swipe left and right to browse the captured photos.