Devices that keep an eye on the home are getting increasingly outlandish – not everybody wants to watch for intruders with drones or robotic balls. To keep things simple, Blink's security system is a sleek, basic camera that can stream a live video feed of your home to your smartphone, and now the company is expanding its offerings with an outdoor version of the camera, as well as a range of other sensors and add-ons.
Currently, the Blink system is made up of small, portable indoor cameras that users can point at strategic locations around the house to keep watch while they're away. When a camera detects motion, it pings their phone through a companion app, letting a user see and hear what's going on.
Running on two AA batteries, the cameras don't need to stay tethered to a power outlet, and the batteries will last as long as two years, according to the company. At the center of a Blink security system is the sync module, which connects to all cameras and devices on a network via Wi-Fi.
The Blink XT outdoor camera works pretty much the same as its indoor counterpart, and a network can be made up of a combination of indoor and outdoor units. Essentially, the only difference is that since it's setting up sentry in the yard, the Blink XT comes wrapped in a weatherproof shell, and it's equipped with infrared to keep watch in the dark.
Later in the year, Blink is widening its security systems with a few other devices. The next version of the sync module can connect to a 4G cellular network, meaning continued operation even if the power or internet connection goes down – although that does require a monthly service plan. An optional keypad can allow users to arm and disarm the system by punching in a code, and a siren can blast an intruder with 105 decibels of noise, either automatically when the system detects movement or when a user triggers it remotely.
New entry sensors can be placed in the most likely points of entry around the house, like windows and doors, to alert a resident if they're opened while nobody's home. Burglars and vandals aren't the only threat to an unoccupied home, so Blink's new water sensor will keep a lookout for leaks and flooding.
The Blink XT camera is available to preorder now for US$119 and, while the company hasn't announced pricing details on the other devices individually, they will be available bundled together.
The Starter "Seecurity" Kit is designed for new customers, and includes a regular Blink camera, an outdoor camera, a 4G cellular sync module, a siren, two entry sensors and a keypad, for $339. For those who already have the basics, the Upgrade Kit comes with the 4G cellular sync module, a siren, two entry sensors and a keypad for $149.
Individual pieces of hardware will be available to buy from the Blink website, and as mentioned, monthly service plans will be available. $9.99 a month grants the cellular connection for the improved sync module and hardware support, while an extra $10 per month lets you outsource the monitoring to a professional third-party, who can call authorities on your behalf if the need arises.
Blink expects to ship the XT camera in the first quarter of 2017, with the other devices following in Quarter 2. The company is presenting the system at CES this week.
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