The OWL Cam - developed by engineers from Apple, Drop Cam and Microsoft

Dashmellow

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Yesterday, a unique new dash cam was introduced that was developed by engineers from Apple, Drop Cam and Microsoft.

Forbes Magazine: This Is What Happens When Former Apple and Dropcam Engineers Turn Their Attention to the Car

"The Owl Car Cam has always on dual HD cameras—one for the interior, the other for exterior video— an LTE cellular radio, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, a touch screen, a powerful processor, speakers, microphones and security beacon and lights. LED floodlights will turn on if someone tries to break into the car. Owl also sends you an alert via the Owl Cam App with video day or night so users can watch a live feed of what’s going on in their car. They can even use the intercom to say (or probably shout) “Get out of my car.”"

The Owl Car Cam will be sold as a bundle for $349, which includes the Owl Car Cam and 1 year of the LTE service. Eventually, the car cam will be sold individually for $299. The LTE service will cost $10 a month.

This is like a home monitoring IP camera for your car with a dedicated cloud service, which makes it unique among dash cams. One media outlet describes it as "a baby monitor for your car". The specs are interesting as well. 1440p/720p outside/inside, suitable for operating in an enclosed car. Some specs seem very impressive, some not so much, such as iOS only, sub optimal camera placement and slow lens with mostly plastic elements. It will be interesting to see how this camera pans out and how well it fares in the marketplace. One way or another, it seems like a bit of a tipping point to see who is turning their attention to this market.

Specs

owl.jpg owl3.jpg


owl2.jpg

https://owlcam.com/

 
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The problems with the cloud based security systems this is based on are significant:
1) Short retention period
2) Difficulty in actually getting videos

Let's say something happens on your commute to work at 8:30AM. You get to work and try to log in but can't remember your password. You reset your password at home a 10pm before going to bed, and plan to get the files before going to work the next day. In the morning you forget. You remember at 10AM. 24 hours has passed, the video is gone.
 
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TexasSpartan

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I'd say if "something happens" at any point, you're going to be dealing with that pretty immediately so getting footage should not be a problem.
 
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Dashmellow

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The problems with the cloud based security systems this is based on are significant:
1) Short retention period
2) Difficulty in actually getting videos

Let's say something happens on your commute to work at 8:30AM. You get to work and try to log in but can't remember your password. You reset your password at home a 10pm before going to bed, and plan to get the files before going to work the next day. In the morning you forget. You remember at 10AM. 24 hours has passed, the video is gone.

I agree, 24 hours of video storage is not enough. And there is no indication as to whether this camera has any capacity for on-board storage, so I guess we can assume that it doesn't support memory cards.

On the other hand, I like the idea of receiving an instant alert if something happens. I was gonna' say that I don't think anyone is going to "forget" that they received an alert but instead would likely act on it immediately but @TexasSpartan beat me to it as I was composing this post. :) I'd probably use a password manager too while I was at it.
 
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Dashmellow

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The one thing that really strikes me about this camera is that parking mode is designed into it as a major priority. While we are slowly seeing some form of parking mode incorporated into more dash cams, it is often an afterthought that comes later in a camera's development or a feature that is highly compromised and of limited value. So far, with the little I've seen of the OWL cam, parking mode seems to almost be more of a priority than than traditional dash cam recordings. They even describe it as a "Security Camera for Your Car". Also, looking at some road view clips OWL cam has posted to YouTube I see that there is no embedded information printed onto the video, such as date, time or GPS data, thus making it less valuable as legal evidence.

As a parking mode camera it will apparently go into standby mode or turn off if the cabin gets too hot or too cold or the car battery voltage drops too low. The fact that you don't need to buy an aftermarket battery management device offsets the relatively high price of this camera.

standby.jpg
 
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TexasSpartan

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I bought the Thinkware F800 Pro based on their CES 2017 demonstration and announcement stating they would have cloud service. I took that to mean I could (eventually) get instant alerts if my car was hit or tampered with in any way while I'm away from the car. I even installed the Cellink B battery system. That turns out to be not true as Thinkware responded to my email inquiries stating they would not be adding that ability to the F800 Pro. Needless to say I'm disappointed as this is what I really want out of a dash cam. This Owl Cam is interesting in that regard but not at that price.
 

lacibaci

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I'd like to see how they are going to deal with heat issues. The way it's mounted (directly on dash) it will exceed operating temperature (-4°F to 120°F) in about 10 minutes on a sunny day.
 
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Dashmellow

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I'd like to see how they are going to deal with heat issues. The way it's mounted (directly on dash) it will exceed operating temperature (-4°F to 120°F) in about 10 minutes on a sunny day.

Yeah, it's an odd place to mount a dash cam.....for several reasons!
 

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What if something happens to the car before the temperature drops below 120ºF? You get zilch footage.
What if the temperature never drops below 120ºF until the owner gets to the car? Does he/she need to turn the A/C on and wait until the camera is operational? What if the car doesn't have A/C? What if he/she needs to drive straight away?
 

Module 79L

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I'd like to see how they are going to deal with heat issues. The way it's mounted (directly on dash) it will exceed operating temperature (-4°F to 120°F) in about 10 minutes on a sunny day.
Or less. Looks like they didn't learn anything about what a dashcam should be.
 

Module 79L

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Yeah, it's an odd place to mount a dash cam.....for several reasons!
And if "slow lens with mostly plastic elements" means what I think it means, than it's even worse.
 
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Dashmellow

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And if "slow lens with mostly plastic elements" means what I think it means, than it's even worse.

plastic_lens.jpg

Modern plastic lenses can provide excellent performance BTW but can have problems with expansion and contraction that glass elements don't to the same degree. I believe plastic lenses don't accept multicoatings quite as well either but I don't know too much about it. Anyone who has ever taken a photo with a disposable 35mm camera has used multi-element plastic lenses.
 
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Dashmellow

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What if something happens to the car before the temperature drops below 120ºF? You get zilch footage.
What if the temperature never drops below 120ºF until the owner gets to the car? Does he/she need to turn the A/C on and wait until the camera is operational? What if the car doesn't have A/C? What if he/she needs to drive straight away?

All good questions.
 
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I agree, 24 hours of video storage is not enough. And there is no indication as to whether this camera has any capacity for on-board storage, so I guess we can assume that it doesn't support memory cards.

On the other hand, I like the idea of receiving an instant alert if something happens. I was gonna' say that I don't think anyone is going to "forget" that they received an alert but instead would likely act on it immediately but @TexasSpartan beat me to it as I was composing this post. :) I'd probably use a password manager too while I was at it.

The root of the problem is the exact same as the one with security camera system design-- The belief that you will be alerted and that's enough. The storage place I use has a camera system that only stores the previous 30 minutes and then deletes. They said it only gets saved if the alarm is triggered.

The problem is that if someone gets in without triggering an alarm, there will be zero video, and that's when you really need it. That can easily happen with someone waiting and ambushing a customer on their way in. But it never even occurred to them, because they only think of what they can think of
 
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Dashmellow

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The root of the problem is the exact same as the one with security camera system design-- The belief that you will be alerted and that's enough. The storage place I use has a camera system that only stores the previous 30 minutes and then deletes. They said it only gets saved if the alarm is triggered.

The problem is that if someone gets in without triggering an alarm, there will be zero video, and that's when you really need it. That can easily happen with someone waiting and ambushing a customer on their way in. But it never even occurred to them, because they only think of what they can think of

Most every security camera system I'm familar with records to local storage whether it sends out alerts or not, especially my CCTV systems. Even the little IP camera I bought recently that sends motion and sound detector triggered alerts and records them to it's own proprietary cloud service has onboard full time microSD storage. Sounds like you need a different system.
 

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Even the little IP camera I bought recently that sends motion and sound detector triggered alerts and records them to it's own proprietary cloud service has onboard full time microSD storage.

Wyze cam?

I also picked up two Xiaofang cameras. One captures the entire terrace and the other looks down the staircase with a bit of overlap between their FOV. Both working well for the past month.
 
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Dashmellow

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Wyze cam?

I also picked up two Xiaofang cameras. One captures the entire terrace and the other looks down the staircase with a bit of overlap between their FOV. Both working well for the past month.

Yes, the WyzeCam. Fantastic product for twenty bucks!
 

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As someone very new to the dash cam world . I got hit with a quick reality as soon as I purchased one. I purchased dash cams for my three young drivers in the house . Not more than 3 days of ownership ,someone smashed the side window of my sons car and took the camera and raided the glovebox. So why this looks to be a nice setup ,it screams "steal me" in plain site. Its great they will replace it but the side window cost almost as much as the camera. Ive since returned the cameras ,that did have a small screen on them and ordered the blueskysea. So far Ive heard decent reviews . After Ive done my research and have half a clue .I dont know why I ever considered a screen on the device. I myself believe the wifi option to be the safest bet going right now. I wish they would have a option where you could have a screen/control box that could be hidden in center consul or where ever for those that dont like to use the phone where you could plug in micro sized cameras in discreet locations from long cords .Just run the cords like you would the power cords we have now. Let all the electronics be hidden with a few cameras peeking out.
 
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