Who knew? New Uses for Home Security Systems

Hi, my name is Evan Tree and I’m the Chief Products Officer of Logitech’s WiLife business unit, which is located in Draper, Utah. I joined Logitech in 2007 (when WiLife was acquired) and love living in Utah’s Wasatch mountains. I spend my free time with my family and you can often find us skiing, snow boarding, hiking, golfing or fishing.

While our WiLife security cameras are certainly helpful in capturing footage of that guy swiping your new Callaway golf clubs out of the garage, we’ve discovered that they have many other uses. According to a recent Logitech survey fielded in the U.S., 76% of parents say they would be less stressed if they could check in on their kids, nanny or babysitter via the Internet when they’re not home. It’s not only comforting to know that the kids are safely home from school, it’s also good to know how many of their friends are tagging along and raiding the refrigerator. Oh, and that big stain on the living room carpet that Johnny blamed on the family dog? Well, it’s soda pop from the food fight.

Speaking of Fido, the study also revealed that half of all pet owners worry about the well-being of their pets while they’re away from home and 94% say that they believe their pets have more fun when they’re home alone. I had a guy once tell me that he would pay $1,000 to find out which one of his beloved three dogs was chewing the legs off the coffee table in the family room If he’d had a camera installed, he’d have his answer.

I’ll be sharing some of my favorite videos in upcoming posts. In the meantime, feel free to tell me about yours by posting a comment.

Author

Chief Product Officer, WiLife

26 comments

  • As much as I’d like to talk about (possible) future products, we have to keep some secrets in the Logitech vault. You can subscribe to our RSS feed if you’d like to be notified about product announcements and availability.

  • Hi John,

    To be clear, the WiLife security cameras are not webcams. Webcams are typically tethered to your computer via a short USB cable. Our WiLife smart IP cameras transmit video to your computer over the existing electrical wire in your home or small business. This makes it very easy to place the camera close to what you would like to watch, like your front door, backyard or the garage. The WiLife Command Center software on your computer then allows you to view live and recorded video from up to six cameras, as well as access many other great features. You can visit http://www.wilife.com/About/Features.aspx to learn more about the WiLife Video Security System.

  • These days you have to be more and more creative when tackling home technology projects because the inventory of raw material—second-hand technology—is changing so rapidly. Market and product cycles continue to shrink, standard form factors are being discarded to drive down costs, and pricing is becoming more dependent on market value and less on direct manufacturing cost.
    ———————————-
    jack
    New Uses for Home Security Systems

  • Why does tech NOT have available for consumers, Vista 64 software for it’s WILIFE HIDDEN MASTER SYSTEM Security Camera Kits?

    Will it be available soon? If not, I’ll be forced to return my purchase.

  • Hi Mark,

    Great timing on your question and I have great news to share. The pre-release version of Command Center with Vista 64 support is now available. Simply call Logitech support for a link to the download. The final release will be available in December but no need to wait if you’re ready to upgrade.

    -Evan

  • Hi Evan -
    I know you already touched on this, but I too am wondering when and if any new functionality, features, and products are going to get released. A survey that you guys sent earlier this year seemed pretty complete at collecting consumers’ priorities and pain points (great start). But it seems that nothing has happened for your customers since then…it seems like so many features like cameras with integrated IR, improved picture quality, etc should be readily available by now. And I know there are other potential product updates that would require a major overhaul. In general myself and other customers I know are looking forward to any and all updates along with perhaps some more communication about what’s coming.

    Looking forward to seeing what the future brings,

    Jason

  • Hi Evan,

    My house was recently robbed and I’m interested in using a video surveillance system as a supplement to a new home security system.

    When video and/or static imagery from a WiLife system is made available for remote viewing, is any of that video/image data actually stored somewhere within Logitech’s system? If so, for how long?

    My concern is the possibility of using a WiLife system for surveillance, only to have the home-based computer running the DVR software to be stolen, potentially leaving zero evidence behind with which to track down the thugs.

    Please let me know.

    Thanks,
    - Chris

  • Hi Chris,

    The Logitech WiLife Video Security System has several features that allow you to help protect video if such an event occurs. First, you can store your motion based video over your home network rather than the PC that is running the Command Center software. This allows you to place a network attached hard drive in an area that is secure and out of reach. This is where all of your video files will be stored locally. Second, you can enable “Alerts” that will have the system send an email with either snapshots or video attachments as motion is detected by your cameras. This is a nice feature because it not only provides you with an alert that there is motion at your home but it also sends photo or video information offsite where it is secure and protected.

    Hope this helps,
    Evan

  • Hi,

    I was wondering how the Logitech Security System and cameras work with a MAC? Does the unit come with software for my MAC or is it just PC based?

    Thanks,
    Dennis

  • Hi Dennis,

    Good question — for now, the Logitech WiLife Security System is not compatible with Mac computers.

    -Evan

  • This is a request for an outdoor camera with integrated 2 way sound (and IR). Simple use actually – for the front door. My home office is a long way from the door, I would like to answer the door from my office.

    A second request is clear direction on what other products are compatible with your HomePlug system. I would like to also support a TiVo Ethernet connection along with 4 WiLife Cams.

  • It’s April of 2009. Have you started working on a Mac compatible system or a server-driven system yet? What about outdoor night vision cameras?

    • Hi Greg,

      All of those ideas are on our radar but, for competitive reasons, I
      unfortunately can’t talk about timing or even confirm that they are in
      development. I hope you understand.

      Thanks, Evan

  • Are there any issues with video over electrical lines causing interference
    on television sets?
    Thanks
    Storn

    • Hi Storn,

      I could bore you with a long technical explanation of why this is highly unlikely, but to give you the Reader’s Digest version, HomePlug powerline technology operates at such a low power level and on completely different RF frequencies than televisions that it is highly unlikely to cause interference of any kind.

      Evan

  • I understand you must use a PC as the home computer to run the
    software but can you use a Mac with internet acess remotely to see the
    cameras and play back footage recorded on the PC at home?
    Thanks
    Storn

    • Hi again,

      As long as you are using one of the newer Macs with an Intel processor, you will enjoy all of the same features and functionality as you would when using a PC from a remote location, including live and playback features.

      Evan

  • Thanks Evan,
    Using the intel based mac remotely does not involve having to boot
    the mac in windows does it? I’m hoping the mac will just work using a
    mac browser to see live and playback features?
    Is that correct?
    thanks
    Storn

    • Hi Evan,

      You do not have to boot the Mac in Windows mode. It just needs to be a Pentium version Mac in order to have the proper Microsoft Silverlight player.

      Best, Evan

    • Storn, you don’t have to boot the Mac in Windows mode. It just needs to be a Pentium version Mac in order to have the proper Microsoft Silverlight player.

      Hope that helps, Evan

  • Hi Evan,

    Wilife solution is very simple and efficient solution. I have still a limited experience with this product but I am fully convinced.
    I have just some feedback for futur improvements:
    - It could be useful to be able to arm the system by a command line. For example by typing the following command line : Werks.exe /ARM_ON
    (the opposite for disarm : Werks.exe /ARM_OFF)
    - A confirmation email sent each time system center is arm or disarm can be useful too
    - I have found no information on how to use Camera with a standard Homeplug Ethernet network adaptor. It seems that by default data exchange between Logitech Homeplug USB Bridge are encrypted. But I do not kown how to retrieve password used to pair the Camera with a Olitec Homeplug adaptor.

    Thanks for this great produts.

    Eric.

    • Hi Eric,

      Thanks for the great suggestions! With regard to your last point, as long as the third-party HomePlug adaptor has a version 1.0 (14 Megabyte) chipset, we should be fully compatible. From the Setup dialog, click on Find My Cameras and choose the option ‘Other HomePlug Powerline Adapter’, then click find my cameras and our software will retrieve the password on your third party Ethernet bridge and hand it out to your WiLife cameras. If you need to change the password on your Ethernet bridge simply use the tool provided by the manufacturer of the third-party device and repeat the find my camera process.

      Best, Evan

  • Hi,

    Im having trouble with my Indoor master setup. Every time i launch the command center software, there will be a pop up “werke.exe” error message and the software will exit by itself. Already try to reinstall the software. All anti virus and firewall is also disable. any ideas?

    Regards
    Ron

  • I know you have discussed this already, but the issue of you PC being stolen with all of the stored images is keeping me from buying a WiLife. Besides your suggestion of a network based hard drive, there is no way to have the system running from a PC outside of your house – say an office PC. So that the all images are stored on a differenet PC.
    Alternately, if you subscribe to the platinum service, why could the images be automatically stored real time rather than having to upload them ? Just a suggestion. thanks.

    • Hi Jack,

      In addition to sending all video to a local network storage device you could also setup the system alerts to email you with the first 10 seconds of video from every motion triggered alert. You could easily setup a separate email account (e.g.) to manage these clips and preserve them off-site. While I cannot comment on future Logitech product releases, you can be sure that we are working hard to add enhanced cost effective features to our already powerful product lineup.

      Regards, Evan

  • thanks Evan, A couple more questions. I have ordered a wilife and a wireless D link GSM-G600. So I will use the wireless hard drive to store the video images. Can I install the master software on my PC’s internal hard drive as normal and then just store the video files on the remote hard drive? I assume there is a way to specifiy the folder to store the files in. I would like to install the remote hard drive after I get the system up and running the first time – and then change the location of the image storage. Also, a question about the cameras. I am installing an outdoor camera, and want to route the power cable through the wall to an inside outlet. So I need to cut a hole. If I want a smaller hole, could I cut the plug off of the cord and re-terminate with another plug? (or does the cord disconnect from the camera?) I assume the electronics are inside of the camera and for the outdoor camera the plug is simply a power plug and there are no sophisticated wires inside the cord. Also, wondering if I will void my warrany if I decide to cut the cord. thanks.

    • Hi Jack,

      You can certainly setup your system beforehand by accepting the default video storage location and then changing that location by entering the setup menu and choosing \”view disc usage\” under the \”Recording\” tab. Here you can redirect the video storage to a location of your choice.

      In regards to the cutting and routing your outdoor camera cord, you are correct that the cord is only to supply 120v to the camera. This is a simple power cord and does not have additional data or power carriers. The official response to your question is that by cutting this cord, you would void the camera warranty.

      Sounds like you\’re close to having your system up and running. I\’m confident you will be impressed with the powerful features and ease of use.

      Evan

  • Evan,

    Yes, I got the system up and running. Overall, I have been very impressed with the features and ease of installation. One suggestion for future products would be automatic storage of videos to web.

    Also, viewing of my cameras from a remote location via internet is not the best. The login, is very simple, however streaming seems to be a problem sometimes. Have tried a number of computers, that typically have fast connections and can stream just fine. Maybe I should change the frame rate of the cameras, or the connection speed on the website??

    thanks,

    Jack.

  • ONe more question… is there a way to change the 3 minute timeout of video streaming while viewing the cameras on line. Want to watch live as the kids get off of the school bus and bus is not that precise (within 3 minutes every day). thanks.

    • Hi Jack,

      I’m glad you’re up and running and liking the system. I’m surprised that you’re having difficulty remotely viewing your cameras. It’s likely an upstream bandwidth issue from your camera site. There are several articles in our knowledge base to help with this problem.

      You are only limited to 3 minutes on each session of remote viewing in the relay mode. If you configure your router so that we can connect in the direct mode, you will not have a time limitation on remote viewing. Learn more here.

      I hope this helps.

      Evan

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