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Panasonic takes on Dropcam with a 4G-equipped monitoring camera

Billy Steele
March 2, 2015
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WiFi monitoring cameras, like Dropcam, are great for keeping tabs while you're away. But what if there were devices that didn't require that connection, or to be plugged in all the time? Meet Panasonic's Nubo: a 4G-equipped security camera that can still keep a watchful eye on situations where there's no power or WiFi signal. The camera's motion sensor detects movement, recording clips in five-, 10-, 30- or 60-second lengths and analyzes the footage to differentiate between humans and your family pets. If your dog or an unwanted guest enters the monitored area, Nubo sends alert to your connected mobile device along with the captured video. What's more, the camera has a built-in speaker and microphone, allowing two-way communication should the need arise. It can be connected to an external USB battery too, so even if there's a loss of power, Nubo is still hard at work.

Gallery: Panasonic Nubo 4G monitoring camera | 13 Photos

By sending its footage to the cloud over either 4G or a WiFi connection, Nubo can be used in more places. And it's IP66-certified too, so setting up outdoors means you won't have to worry if weather conditions deteriorate. The dual connectivity enables the camera to monitor places like storage units, construction sites, RVs, gardens and more. There's a magnetic mount for easy setup without having to futz with extra tools. Heck, the inclusion of two-way radio even makes it a solid option for staying in touch elderly family members. Panasonic hopes Nubo becomes another piece of tech you'll travel with, too. The camera is compact enough for a side pocket, making sure housekeeping at your hotel, or that Airbnb host, don't go through your suitcase while you're out.

Worried about safety for those cloud-stored clips? Audio, video and still images are stored with bank-level SSL security and encrypted passwords for safe keeping -- thanks to Panasonic's Cameramanger tech. If you need to bypass the cloud for onboard storage, you can use a microSD card to do just that. Nubo will also play nice with home-automation gadgets from other companies, and while a full list hasn't been announced, Belkin's WeMo line did muster a brief mention.

Nubo comes with a companion app that not only handles any alerts, but also allows you to tweak the camera's settings on either iOS or Android. The software offers Auto, Full and private modes that detect motion, record constantly or switch the capture off (in the event of a wardrobe change). It also serves up a live view, where you can speak to the person walking through the monitored area, or grab a still image for later reference. There's a timeline of alerts that indicates when either humans or pets were recognized, the ability to manage video length and in-app purchases for additional bandwidth. As you might expect, you can go back and watch captured footage with the software as well.

No carrier plans have been announced in the US just yet; Panasonic has partnered with Vodafone in Europe to handle the 4G duties. How does the data plan work? Well, you'll purchase a monthly allotment from Panasonic based on the number of videos you think you'll need. If you opt for five-second clips you'll get more data than the plans allow, but if you prefer 60-second videos, you'll get less. However, there will be a data starter kit included with each of $249 Nubo units. While you'll be able to pre-order one next month, the cameras aren't expected to ship until Q4 in UK and the Netherlands, with an arrival in the States early next year.

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