The first WebRTC camera has emerged from Amsterdam. Expect to see a lot more offerings by the holiday season and down the road at the International Consumer Electronics Show 2015. It’s an interesting development for both consumer electronics and WebRTC developers.
Scheduled to ship on March 30, the Amaryllo iCam HD family ranges between $119.90 list to $199.90. The basic “drop it and leave it” fixed model is $119. A mid-range version with sensor runs $149.90 while the $199.90 high-end version includes remote pan and tilt controls with a 360 degree view. In low-light conditions, an IR light kicks on and recording shifts from color to black and white.
The iCam HD cameras can either use an on-board microSD card to record 4 to 5 days of files or stream video for storage at Google Drive, with a requirement of at least 2GB of MicroSD storage installed before either local or cloud storage is enabled. Configuration and video all occurs via app, with support for Android and iOS.
Two way audio is supported with a pair of built-in microphones, so the camera can be used as a “traditional” web cam as well as for home security (More on that in a moment). Alerts can be sent upon motion detection. For the security minded, encryption is wrapped around images, audio and video.
Video can be set at rates from 360p to 720p quality, requiring bit rates from 656Kbps to 1.7 Mbps, with the option to watch video live, store it locally on the camera, and/or stream it into Google cloud storage. You can view multiple cameras simultaneously.
Amaryllo estimates a 32GB microSD card can store up to 4 to 5 days of recorded video while a 15 GB Google Drive will store roughly 17 hours of video at 720P. If and when storage runs out, the iCam HD begins rewriting the oldest recorded files. A bundling deal with Google provides free 15 GB storage on Google Drive.
A Wi-Fi network is a requirement if you want to use the camera . The online documentation doesn’t specify exactly what version of Wi-Fi is supported, but I’d expect at least 802.11g speeds with the device. You also need either an Android or iOS device to install and monitor the camera. There’s no support for Windows desktop or Windows phone at this time.
“We are very excited to be the first smart home security company to integrate Google’s WebRTC technologies to our product families. WebRTC offers many rich features and functions, and we are quite happy to realize this advanced technology into reality,” said Jacob Hanks, sales manager at Amaryllo.
Amaryllo is targeting this product directly at the home monitoring/home security market; there is a line of “iBabi” cams in color coded blue and pink versions if you need something to match a color scheme for a nursery. While the company hasn’t discussed how it might open up its hardware and software for WebRTC developers, it would seem to be a logical step to enable mass sales of the devices for use by hobbyists and professional system integrators.
Weaving together consumer and business home monitoring applications is probably among the Next Big Things for WebRTC developers. Amaryllo is the first of a number of hardware companies that have no doubt recognized WebRTC’s potential for opening up a wider ecosystem in the remote monitoring field, be it for home and business security to wildlife inventory. A GoPro WebRTC camera would seem to be a logical step forward for the action set and ruggedized WebRTC cameras for fixed applications are no doubt in the pipeline.