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Alphabet’s Nest launches update to home security camera

Alphabet s smart home unit Nest is launching a high-definition update to its internet-connected home security camera, powered by Google s artificial intelligence technology, a year after the departure of its co-founder Tony Fadell1. This week s unveiling of the $299 ( ‘ 349/ 299) Nest Cam IQ, which will ship in late June, marks the beginning of the end for a relative dearth of new device introductions at the smart-home pioneer . Other new products are anticipated later this year. Nest Cam IQ draws on computer-vision technology from its Alphabet sister company Google to introduce new features such as face recognition, to improve the relevance of security alerts pushed out through its companion smartphone app. Last July, Nest launched a new version of its existing home camera that was designed for outdoor use . At that point, it had been more than a year since the company first released the Nest Cam, a home security camera based on technology it acquired with start-up Dropcam in 2014. The launch of the Nest Cam Outdoor came just weeks after Mr Fadell had been replaced by Motorola veteran Marwan Fawaz as the company s chief executive, amid criticism about the pace of new product innovations after the company was acquired by Google for $3.2bn in early 2014.

Nest’s Protect device Bloomberg

The learning thermostat for which it is best known was first introduced in 2011, followed by its Protect smoke alarm in 2013 . Greg Duffy, founder of Dropcam, criticised Mr Fadell s leadership of the company, saying that dozens of the start-up s employees had left soon after its acquisition by Nest, amid a continued lack of output . Mr Fadell pointed to several upgrades to both its hardware and software in the year leading up to his exit, telling the Financial Times in an interview last year: It takes a long time to innovate . You can t just redo one thing, you have to rebuild from the ground up. That is what Nest now says it has done with the Cam IQ, which includes an overhaul of its hardware design, as well as a new 4K sensor that allows images to be enlarged 12-fold, for a clearer look at potential intruders. Nest s new camera promises to be able to tell the difference between a person moving in a room and a pet or another shadow, reducing the frequent false alarms that can occur using simpler motion-sensing technology . Subscribers to Nest Aware, a premium service costing $100 a year, will also be able to receive familiar face alerts when family members return home. Our philosophy is that a security camera should be an intelligent camera a guard watching for you but thinking before they pick up the phone to call you, said Maxime Veron, Nest s director of product marketing. Over the past year, Nest s camera has seen growing competition from both lower-priced Chinese devices, such as Yi Technology, and newer entrants touting advanced AI technology behind the lens, including Amazon s new Echo Look2 and start-up Lighthouse.

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The camera market is definitely our most competitive market, Mr Veron said. Lighthouse, which has raised $17m from Android founder Andy Rubin s3 hardware investment fund Playground Global, uses 3D depth-sensing technology originally developed for self-driving cars to offer what Alex Teichman, chief executive, calls an interactive assistant for your home , allowing users to search a visual history of when family members or pets come and go, using their voice. We do see this fundamentally different to a home security camera, in the same way Amazon s virtual assistant Alexa was fundamentally different to a Bose speaker, Mr Teichman said in a recent interview with the FT . There has been some disappointment in the smart home generally . Somebody just needs to deliver on it. Ben Bajarin, tech analyst at Creative Strategies, said that consumer adoption of internet-connected cameras for the home was starting to pick up , largely driven by security . He pointed to the recent success of Ring, a smart doorbell that incorporates a video camera to let people see who is trying to get in. He added: You re seeing consumers adopt these cameras purely for security and for other things that might qualify as peace of mind, such as baby monitoring. Despite the proliferation of new start-ups in the sector, Mr Bajarin said that Nest, backed by the Google brand, could have an advantage because consumers were more likely to trust a brand they know: They are letting a camera or a smart lock into their house .

If Nest can keep that trust, they can make the most of that opportunity better than a no-name brand.


  1. ^ departure of its co-founder Tony Fadell (
  2. ^ Amazon s new Echo Look (
  3. ^ Android founder Andy Rubin s (

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Trump picks McMaster as national security adviser

Donald Trump1 has picked HR McMaster to be his national security adviser, replacing Michael Flynn, who was ousted only 24 days into the job. Lieutenant General McMaster2, a serving general, is a highly regarded military veteran with experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, where he served as senior adviser to General David Petraeus during the Iraq war. After announcing the appointment from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the president hailed Lt Gen McMaster as a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience , adding, he is highly respected by everyone in the military and we re very honoured to have him.

The appointment of Lt Gen McMaster caps the end of a tumultuous week in the White House after the sudden removal of Mr Flynn3 amid questions over the former general s ties to Russia and his misrepresentation of phone calls he had with the Russian ambassador before the administration had taken office. Mr Trump s first choice to replace Mr Flynn, Robert Harward4, a retired admiral, turned down the job over concerns he would not be able to hire his own staff. Comment

This appointment could be a turning point in US foreign policy, writes Gideon Rachman

Wednesday, 22 February, 2017

Mr Trump said Keith Kellogg, who had been his acting national adviser, would stay on at the National Security Council as chief of staff . Mr Kellogg had been in the running for the security adviser position, together with John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN under George W Bush. On Monday Mr Trump said Mr Bolton, although not taking on the top role at the NSC, would still be working with the White House, albeit in a somewhat different capacity . Speaking from Mar-a-Largo, where he had joined Mr Trump for the official announcement of his appointment on Monday, Lt Gen McMaster said he looked forward to joining the national security team and doing everything that I can to advance and protect the interests of the American people . In 2014, Lt Gen McMaster was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world and described as a pre-eminent warrior-thinker and the architect of the future US army . He also was praised for his 1997 book Dereliction of Duty, which explored the failings of US military leaders during the Vietnam war. Lt Gen McMaster, 54, is one of several generals serving in Mr Trump s cabinet .

James Mattis, Mr Trump s defence secretary, is the former commander of US Central Command, while John Kelly, Mr Trump s director of homeland security, is a retired four-star Marine corps general. It was not immediately clear whether Mr Flynn s deputies at the NSC would be staying on or whether Lt Gen McMaster would be allowed to hire his own staff, a point of contention for some candidates under consideration for the role. John McCain, the Republican senator and chair of the Senate s armed services committee, praised Lt Gen McMaster s appointment . Lt Gen HR McMaster is an outstanding choice for national security adviser, he said . I have had the honour of knowing him for many years, and he is a man of genuine intellect, character and ability.

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  1. ^ Donald Trump (
  2. ^ McMaster (
  3. ^ removal of Mr Flynn (
  4. ^ Robert Harward (