This Dropcam alternative promises not to eat your bandwidth


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Security camera startup SpotCam is adding a new feature that promises to be a huge bandwidth saver.

The new “Sleep Mode” lets users stop recording and transmitting video during scheduled periods of time, while still looking out for motion or audio disturbances. If the camera detects anything, it will wake up, send an alert to the user, and start capturing video to cloud storage.

SpotCam's biggest rival, Dropcam, also includes a scheduling feature, but if you want to get motion and sound alerts, the camera needs to be turned on and clogging up network bandwidth.

We've seen some other cameras offer recording only upon motion detection as well, including HomeMonitor's range of Wi-Fi cameras. But at $149, SpotCam's camera is the cheapest of the bunch. It also includes 24-hours of free cloud recording. (HomeMonitor includes seven days for free, while Dropcam offers no free recording and charges $99 per year for seven days.)

Dropcam is still the clear leader when it comes to quality, however, with a 130-degree field of view (compared to 110-degrees for SpotCam), dual-band Wi-Fi, and a built-in speaker. DropCam also plays nicely with the Nest thermostat—for instance, only turning the camera on when you leave the house—and several other appliances under the “ Works with Nest” program.

Why this matters: In addition to saving network bandwidth and cutting down on useless video to skim through, motion activation could be vital for users whose Internet providers enforce limits on monthly data use. Dropcam users have been requesting motion activation for years, so perhaps the influx of competitors offering this feature will convince the company to take action.

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