Nest Makes a Bigger Push Into Home Security

September 20, 2017, 6:21 PM UTC

Nest is making a big push into home security.

The home automation company, owned by Google parent Alphabet (GOOG), debuted several new products on Wednesday intended to make homeowners safer.

Nest, founded in 2011, has made a name for itself as a maker of web-connected thermostats that automatically adjust the heat or air conditioning based on what its technology deduces about the homeowners’ typical daily schedule. The company has since branched out from so-called smart thermostats by introducing other products like Internet-connected indoor cameras that let people see video of their homes through their smartphones.

One of Nest’s new products introduced on Wednesday, the Cam IQ Camera Outdoor, is essentially a more rugged outdoor version of its indoor camera.

Michele Turner, Nest’s general manager of security, said the new camera can identify and alert a homeowners if someone comes within 50 feet of the camera. Homeowners can use their smartphones to watch the video feed, manually zoom in on the visitor’s face, and follow their movements. The camera looks like small, white house lamp, unlike most security cameras, which Turner said “look pretty industrial.”

Turner claimed that it’s the first outdoor security camera with the ability to recognize a person’s face and distinguish them from others. The camera costs $350 and is available for pre-orders in the U.S. and Canada starting today.

Nest also debuted a new web-connected doorbell that comes with a mini-video camera so people can see via their smartphones who is at the door. Turner bragged about the doorbell camera’s ability to accurately film people in dim light without any abnormalities.

“You will see a clear picture, not a warped, fish-eye view,” she said, a ding at rival security cameras.

The new doorbells will also alert homeowners via the mobile app whether a delivery person is at their door. The doorbell has the same facial recognition technology as Nest’s other products, so owners can be notified if someone they know, like their grandmother, drop by.

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Nest did not disclose a price for the doorbell, which will be available in early 2018.

Nest also revealed a home security system that the company pitches as being easier to install than competing systems. The Nest Guard is the security system’s “brains,” said Nest product marketing chief Maxine Veron. The Nest Guard has a physical keyboard that people use to enter their security password to arm or disarm their home alarms, but they can also use their Nest smartphone app to do the job, Veron explained. Homeowners can also use their Nest Tag key fobs to arm or disarm their home alarms, he added.

Veron said Nest owners can, for example, give their dog walkers one of their Nest Tag key fobs to enter their house and disarm the security system.

Nest Guard has a backup battery and cellular connectivity, so if a home’s Wi-Fi or power goes out, it will still operate. Also part of the security system are the Nest Detect devices, which are small, white cylinders that people attach to their doors and windows so the security system can detect when they are opened or closed. These Nest Detect devices are meant to be synced to the Nest Guard.

The Nest security system “starter pack” costs $500 and includes the Nest Guard hub, two Nest Guard devices, and two Nest Tag key fobs. It will be available in November.

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