Dropcam competitor Simplicam adds new features to its cloud camera

Face detection is one of the top features that differentiates this cloud-connected security cam from Google's Dropcam.

ArcSoft’s Simplicam

ArcSoft’s Simplicam

ArcSoft's Simplicam showed itself to be a worthy challenger to Dropcam when we compared three of the leading home-monitoring cameras in November. This was due in no small measure to its ability to detect human faces. The Fremont, California-based company has made several improvements since then, the latest of which it announced today.

Chief among the new features and enhancements introduced by ArcSoft is the addition of "detection zones." These are essentially the more sensitive areas around a room that the user would like their Simplicam to monitor more closely for unusual activity. By specifying detection zones the user can keep from being bombarded with trivial motion and face alerts originating from areas where motion is expected. This is similar to the " custom activity zones" feature that Google-owned Dropcam introduced in July, more than a month before Simplicam's launch.

The company has rolled out few other improvements as part of this latest update to its optional Closeli software and cloud-recording service, which costs between $50 and $230 annually. The upgrade has brought with it a new Recorded Video Manager for more convenient video editing and sharing; the ability to permanently delete clips; the ability to fine-tune night vision and motion sensitivity settings; and the option of toggling notifications on or off from within the mobile app.

Why this matters : The company, which prides itself on Simplicam's status as the only camera with the twin features of face detection and recognition, looks determined to further improve what is already a pretty decent product. This latest infusion of features makes the $149 monitoring camera an even more compelling alternative to the $200 Dropcam, its much-vaunted, category-defining rival. Now, if only ArcSoft could do something about the video quality.

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