San Jose-based smart home security company Arlo has announced its new cloud subscription service will include insurance of the cameras, making for a more competitive choice against competitors like Google’s Nest, Amazon’s Blink and Canary.
Arlo is already a major force in the home security space, having grown from a sub-brand of Netgear to a separate firm in 2018. They have over 3 million users and growing at over 100,000 a quarter have (at times) been seen in a good light by Wall Street because of their ability to get the subscription aspect right.
Like competitors, the Arlo hardware typically provides live video streaming and alerts to a phone app, with most other promoted features available only to customers who choose a subscription. Until now, that monthly fee – $2.99 / £2.79 per camera in Arlo’s case – covered cloud storage of events caught on video, notifications, A.I. distinction between people, animals and vehicles, package detection, and activity zones. These features are not going anywhere.
The standard new cloud package, branded ‘Secure,’ sets the event clips storage to 2K for up to 30 days – as before – but adds a free theft replacement of the camera. Given how the camera is mounted this insurance must be thoroughly welcome – after all a concern which comes when you install a wireless outdoor security camera must be: “How secure is the camera?” (You can get a sense for how secure the camera is physically in our review of the Arlo Pro 4.)
As before, users of multiple cameras can get the same terms for unlimited cameras package for US$9.99 / £8.99 a month, so after your fourth Arlo camera this makes more sense.
The new higher-tier, ‘Secure Plus,’ is only available as an unlimited camera package at $14.99 / £12.99 a month. It increases the stored resolution to 4K maximum, the storage for up to 60 days and – on condition that you’ve been a paid-up subscriber for at least six months before claiming – adds an additional year to your cameras’ warranties.
Arlo customers using the prior service, named ‘Smart,’ will be offered the switch or retain their original features, while new customers will have to choose between the new cloud bundles or the basic live view mode, making the theft insurance is pretty much mandatory (though the small print for the camera insurance isn’t yet easy to find on the Arlo site).
In terms of pricing, it’s competitive. Blink charges $3 / £2.50 for one camera with 30 days storage (the range tops out at 1080P) or $10 / £8 for unlimited cameras; the later comes with an extended warranty but no camera insurance. Nest charges $6 / £5 a month for unlimited cameras, but no extension to the warranty.
In Arlo’s words, they’re “giving homeowners whole-home protection for less than the price of a cup of coffee.”
With shots being fired in terms of specifications, ease of installation, usability, and now the broader consumer package, the surveillance camera space is changing fast. Customer reviews across the niche often indicate disappointment about features being tied to subscriptions. The Arlo Secure addition of features which could only be intangible might prove a solution.
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