Wyze Person Detection is coming back, but with a huge change

Eric Abent - Jul 20, 2020, 4:06 pm CDT
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Wyze Person Detection is coming back, but with a huge change

Last year, Wyze announced that it was removing Person Detection from its Wyze Cam after a disagreement with the company that powered the feature. Ultimately, Wyze removed the feature in January, but said that this was merely a temporary measure and that the feature would be returning someday. Wyze is about ready to send Person Detection live again, but there’s going to be a big change shipping along with it.

Back when Person Detection was originally available, it was offered as a free feature because it ran on-device. When Wyze announced it was removing Person Detection, it also said that the feature would continue to be free upon its return, even if it needs to use the cloud instead of running on-device.

Well, Person Detection is coming back and it needs to use the cloud, but the question of whether or not it’s free has a more complicated answer. In an email it sent to users earlier today, Wyze says that this cloud-based version of Person Detection is “very expensive to run, and the costs are returning.” The good news is that the service has been running well in beta testing, but we all know where this is heading.

“We hate asking our customers to pay subscription fees, but the most logical solution seems to be to at least put subscriptions on the features where we have recurring monthly costs,” Wyze said in the email today. Before you cry foul and bring up the fact that Wyze promised Person Detection would be free upon its return, the company covers that too, saying: “Our issue is that in an email last year, we promised 1.3M of our earliest users that when we finished building person detection that it would be free; even if it was cloud-based.”

So, for those 1.3 million people, Person Detection will re-launch with a “name-your-price” scheme. Users will be able to pay nothing and still access Person Detection, but those who want to pay something can name their monthly subscription price. “We will reevaluate this method in a few months,” Wyze continued in its email. “If the model works, we may consider rolling it out to all users and maybe even extend it to other Wyze services.”

If you’re not one of those 1.3 million people who received this email today, it sounds like you won’t be able to get in on the name-you-price action, but Wyze hasn’t revealed what the standard monthly cost will be. We’ll keep an eye out for more details around the launch of Wyze app version 2.13 in September, which will contain Person Detection, so stay tuned for more.


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