Wyze cameras are about to lose a key feature, with person detection set to stop working in January 2020.
Wyze emailed customers this week to inform them that the feature will disappear in an update mid-January. The reason? Wyze's person detection AI is actually borrowed from Seattle-based company Xnor.ai, which has abruptly terminated its contract.
Wyze says it's working on its own person detection tech for its cameras, but only gives the nebulous launch window of "next year." Wyze does say its own version will still be free to users, however.
In truth, the person detection feature on Wyze's cameras was always wonky. Two of us at The Ambient tested the feature and found it to be inconsistent, so perhaps Wyze can conjure something better in-house
Still, for people who bought Wyze's cameras because of the person detection technology, this news sucks.
Wyze says that Xnor.ai will be wiping all videos that were submitted, while Wyze will keep those it received in order to build its in-house AI.
The company is also exploring recurring revenue streams. Earlier this month, it announced a new feature that allows Wyze Cams to record motion from start-to-finish, whenever motion is detected, and costs $1.49 per camera per month.
Wyze has built its name on cheap smart home devices that offer many of the same features as their more expensive rivals. But it's reckoning with some of the consequences that can come with the territory, this, sadly, being one of them.