Security cams with artificial intelligence capabilities have smarter and more specific alerts. For example, person detection enables notifications when the camera detects human movement, not to be confused with pets, cars or other random moving objects. If you are seeking for smart features for your home security, Google Nest Cam and AiCam are among the smartest options. Nest Cam is for physical security cameras, as AiCam is for phone security cameras. This blog post explains what these two security cams have to offer, and highlights key differences between them.
Nest has four camera models to choose from: Nest Cam Indoor, Nest Cam Outdoor, Nest Cam IQ Indoor, Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. Two prior models come at the price of $199, while the more advanced IQ models costs $299 and $399 respectively for better video quality and AI features. The outdoor cameras have better durability in various weather conditions of rain, snow or high temperature.
AiCam app works on iOS devices. If you have spare iPhones or iPads, you can turn them into security cameras by installing AiCam for free. Otherwise, you have the option to trade used devices for prices from about $100. A phone security camera can be used indoor or outdoor. While some phone models are waterproof, mounting them outside still needs caution for weather extremes. As a phone is small and portable, it can be utilized in various scenarios such as home security, travel security, baby monitoring, pet monitoring and elderly care.
In terms of hardware, Nest is more reliable as a professional security device, while AiCam is more flexible and versatile.
Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor cameras have 1080HD resolution, 8x digital zoom, 130 degrees field of view, and infrared night vision. The IQ models have additional 4K sensors with HDR and 12x digital zoom.
If you use AiCam, the video quality depends on the camera of the phone devices. Image quality of iPhones and iPads are quite amazing with intelligent imaging, some with 4K and wide-angle view. It does not work well in the condition of complete darkness, however. The phone camera has another advantage, which is 360 degrees view with both front camera and back camera.
All Nest cameras can sense motion as a standard feature. However, motion detection causes many unnecessary notifications for random moving objects like trees, pets or cars. If you are tired of tons of notifications every day, you may need more specific event detection by artificial intelligence.
Person detection, the ability to identify human movement, is standard for two Nest IQ models, or can be added to Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor with Nest Aware subscription. Nest Aware also includes facial recognition, sound detection, dog barking alerts, person speaking alerts, and activity zones.
For AiCam, person detection is the standard feature. The premium version also offers other AI features, which are called event alerts. The events are familiar, unfamiliar face recognition, dog detection, cat detection, bird detection, vehicle detection, noise detection and device movement detection. AiCam’s developer also welcomes request for custom events that you want to monitor but not yet available.
As home footage is likely to contain large amount of private information, it is reasonable to pay more attention to protect your privacy on security devices.
Nest has made two-factor authentication mandatory since May 2020, after having a breach in 2019 in which a hacker was reported to spoke to baby through Nest camera.
Regarding data privacy, AiCam takes a bold step in product design. If users do not live-stream video, the AI processing of video happens on-device. It means that the video is not uploaded to the Internet, only the notifications. In the case of streaming, video is end-to-end encrypted on a direct peer-to-peer connection, so it does not reach AiCam’s server either. If you want to store your footage on the cloud, AiCam provides the option to upload to iCloud, not to its cloud server. All AiCam users remain anonymous, as no registration is required to use the app.
Local storage & cloud storage
None of the Nest cameras have local storage. Footage is streamed to Nest’s cloud server and is stored for 3 hours free, or 30 or 60 days with Nest Aware subscription.
For AiCam, recorded videos are stored locally on phone storage or optionally on iCloud. There is no limit to storage by the AiCam app. It depends on device free space or iCloud space.
Nest cams are connected to the Internet through Wi-Fi network. AiCam uses the phone’s Internet connection, which can be Wi-Fi or cellular. It is an advantage in case you set it up in remote locations without access to Wi-Fi network, or in the case of Internet or power failure in your home.
Wired or wireless
All Nest cameras are plugged-in. Meanwhile, AiCam, running on iPhone or iPad, can work wireless. But it needs to be connected to a power source for time of continuous use longer than a few hours. Phones have integrated battery as UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). So you can rest assured that in blackouts, AiCam can still record video and sends you alerts.
Nest camera users can purchase a Nest Aware subscription to access additional smart features and 30-day cloud storage at $6 monthly, $60 yearly, or Nest Aware Plus for 60-day at $12 monthly, $120 yearly.
AiCam premium package includes all event detection modes, unlimited streaming, video recording in HD/4K resolution, upload to iCloud, export video, integration with automation services, and additional screen password. The cost is $5.99 monthly or $29.99 yearly. You can also purchase a lifetime version for $84.99.
Smart home & automation
Nest cameras can be integrated to Google Assistant or Alexa for voice control and can work with Philips Hue smart lighting.
As AiCam operates on iOS, it takes the advantage of Apple Siri and Shortcuts apps for automation like turning monitoring mode on and off by location or time. It can also be integrated with IFTTT and Zapier or any other automation services through webhook requests.
Both Nest cam and AiCam can be installed within minutes. No profile set up or registration is required for AiCam. You may take extra time to mount Nest camera or the iPhone with AiCam app to the wall.
Both Nest cameras and AiCam app offer advanced features for more accurate notifications based on specific event detection. While Nest provides the stability of professional hardware made for surveillance, AiCam is a choice using repurposed devices that works flexibly for multiple purposes.
* All prices are in USD and updated on 2021-06-07