The home is getting smarter, and that’s something you can attribute to smart lightbulbs, smart appliances, and a conversation happening between your gadgets, but you’re going to need another set of gadgets to watch over your home, and that’s where Arlo comes in.
Arlo isn’t a person, and it isn’t really the name of someone who made the gadget it is named for.
“It’s a made up name,” said Pat Collins, Vice President of Netgear’s Smart Home division, telling GadgetGuy that “we thought it was friendly and approachable” which was the feeling they wanted for a line of cameras that could be easily installed and would watch your world, alerting you the moment something happened.
“Arlo” is the result, and it is more or less exactly what Netgear set out to create: a camera system that doesn’t take a degree to setup and can be monitored remotely using apps and a website.
“With the explosive growth and early adoption of the Internet of Things, consumers are telling us they value smart devices that help them monitor property and loved ones to give them peace of mind,” said Collins.
And Arlo has a few things going for it that other cameras do not.
For starters, it is entirely cordless, so you don’t need to plug it into a wall, or find a spare power port for each camera. Rather, the cameras — which remind us of a very large egg — run on four CR123 batteries, the little cells which we all relied on if we carried around a film-based SLR camera.
Nowadays, we’re all digital, and so rely on lithium ion battery packs, but back when film was king, these little short and stumpy batteries were what you needed if you had film in the camera and no life for the light metre or motor drive to spin the film into socket.
Each Netgear Arlo relies on four of these batteries, and so there are no other cords. There’s a battery life of up to six months, with batteries included in the box (yes, we’re no longer living in 1983) and the app will tell you when the batteries are running out of juice.
So there’s that.
There’s also the technology at work, with high definition 720p video captured on and streamed from the camera across a 130 degree field of view, sent to tablet and smartphone apps with a degree of motion sensing brought in to grab video when it is triggered, uploading that to the Netgear servers where it will be stored from anywhere between a week and two months.
Magnets are also used in the mounting of the camera, making it one of the more interesting cameras we’ve seen to setup.