Dropcam Echo : Home Security Meets the Cloudby Ganesh T S on August 11, 2010 7:50 AM EST
The last couple of years have seen the introduction of many security cameras aimed at the consumer market. Security and surveillance cameras used to be restricted to professional scenarios, and were primarily analog in nature. However, with advances in networking and the appearance of cheaper hardware, there is a shift towards the IP variety. The appearance of IP cameras has also brought in its wake units targeted at the consumer market.
In the IP camera space, large companies such as Bosch, Axis, Sony and Panasonic focus on hardware for professional security surveillance. The large companies make the security cameras, while large peripheral companies like Logitech and D-Link have solutions that make use of the local computer. D-Link, Linksys and Logitech have sub-$300 IP cameras meant for small offices and homes. They have been recently joined by companies like Avaak and Dropcam, which bring more ease of use to the table. These are startups with a focus on usage of IP cameras for casual monitoring.
As we are covering the Dropcam Echo today, let us take a brief look at the company.
Started in January 2009 by two ex-Xobni engineers, Greg Duffy and Aamir Virani, Dropcam has a team of 5 based out of San Francisco, California. The story behind the founding of the company makes for interesting reading. It clearly brings out the reason as to why consumer IP cameras have not gone mainstream yet.
Greg's dad, based in Texas, apparently bought an IP camera from a local electronics shop and spent four hours trying to set it up. After having little luck, he called up Greg and they worked on it for another few hours. It took a lot of router and network tweaking, but the camera finally came online. A couple of days later, Greg's dad called again and said now he wanted to watch the video while he was at work. The problem with most consumer IP cameras is that they concentrate on features which are important for the industrial sector, where setup is performed by trained professionals. The average consumer prefers a plug and play solution, and the expectations are quite different too. Keeping these in mind, Greg and Aamir founded Dropcam in early 2009. A seed round was led by Mitch Kapor (founder of Lotus), David Cowan (founder of Verisign, venture capitalist), and Aydin Senkut (ex-Googler).
Now that we know about the company, let us proceed to look closer at their second product, the Dropcam Echo.