Netatmo Welcome is a sleek looking cylinder with a camera that can recognize faces. It is marketed as a home security solution that is smart enough to know who is welcome and who isn’t. So how reliable is it? We are always skeptical of all-in-one solutions, so the idea that this one single really smart camera is all you need to protect your home doesn’t sound too exciting. We’ve explored the features and here are our thoughts in a Netatmo Welcome review.
The Netatmo Welcome’s key selling point is its facial recognition technology. It claims to be a smart security system, because it knows who you are. When it sees your face, it recognizes that you’re home. When it sees you leave, it knows to be on alert from any unfamiliar faces.
However, the Netatmo Welcome is picky. Because it pairs its camera’s facial recognition technology with a motion sensor, certain scenes can give it sensory overload.
Placement is key to a properly functioning and actually useful Netatmo Welcome. First of all, it can’t face a window, because its motion detector will sense the cars passing by, which will send you endless false alarms. Windows also provide backlighting when someone walks in to face the camera. The facial recognition technology doesn’t work when the view is backlit. However, the camera still needs to be placed in a position that allows it to see when you leave and return home. Realistically, not everyone’s home has such a suitable layout or set up for all of these requirements.
The facial recognition technology also leaves something to be desired. It’s supposed to make things easier and more convenient, but the Netatmo Welcome’s learning process is somewhat lengthy. It has to meet each person and identify various angles of their face many times before confidently recognizing them. So every new person you want it to recognize has to stand in front of the camera and let it set up its recognition patterns, and even then it will sometimes tag then as “Unknown” when they pass by.
The Netatmo Welcome comes with a mobile phone app and a web portal app. This is how it notifies you when something happens—when anything happens. It sends you an alert for every motion detected and every face profiled. With its over sensitive motion detectors, this adds up to be barrage of notifications. As with anything, this overload of beeps and pop ups desensitizes you to the alert. So if anything really did happen, the chance it would get buried in the notifications becomes more and more likely. Do you want your security system to be the boy who cried wolf?
In Case of Emergency…?
We think the most important question to ask when considering a home security system is what happens in the worst case scenario? Someone breaks into your home; maybe you’re home, maybe you’re away. What happens?
The Netatmo Welcome is not a monitored system, and it has no option to be professionally monitored. So your phone and maybe your computer chirps, telling you that an unknown face has appeared in front of your camera, or some motion was detected. That’s it. Unless you’re someone who never misses a notification, never forgets your phone, never leaves it on silent, never has meetings, and never has your phone battery die, this is a problem. You are not a professional monitoring center, and it shouldn’t be your responsibility to be constantly vigilant with your phone notifications. This isn’t even to consider what to do if someone breaks in while you are home and you’re unable to make a phone call to the police.
Another major problem with this camera is that it stores all of its footage locally in the memory card inserted into the back of the camera. There isn’t even an option for cloud storage. It also has no back up battery. Turn off the power or pull the chord and goodnight security system. Any smart burglar would just go ahead and take the camera with them when they leave—or at least the memory card.
Standard security cameras may not be able to recognize faces with fancy algorithms, but complete home security systems like Protect America’s do a lot more to protect your home and your family. With professional monitoring, perimeter security, full integration of every element of your security system, free cloud storage, and backup battery power in the case of a power outage, peace of mind really is in the whole package.