Netgear brings person detection and E911 capabilities to its Arlo cameras

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Nearly a year ago, Netgear announced Arlo Smart, a new service built using artificial intelligence that would add new features like person detection and smart notifications to improve the experience with Arlo cameras across the board. Now that service is here, and Arlo Smart will bring a host of new features, including the ability to remotely call 911, cloud activity zones, and rich notifications to every Arlo camera the company has released — for a small fee.

There are three main aspects of Arlo Smart. The first is person detection, which is designed to cut down on the number of false positive notifications users of any smart camera know about all too well. Netgear says person detection will stop false positives that have popped up in my experience due to cars, animals, a gentle breeze — literally anything that moves. From my time testing Arlo Smart, it worked pretty great.

You’ll also be able to use cloud activity zones on wireless Arlo cameras for the first time, which will let you define motion zones and further cut down on false positive notifications. You can tell your Arlo to only send you person detection alerts and limit it to areas like your front door so your neighbors don’t trigger it when they walk down the street. My notifications were notably cut down — so much so that I thought my cameras were offline. They weren’t; they were just working better than ever.

Speaking of notifications, Arlo Smart will also bring rich notifications to your smartphone, which will let you view images and video from your lock screen, see live footage from your cameras, and sound your alarm without having to open the app. You’ll also be able to call 911 directly from those notifications if you spot an intruder.

Netgear says the E911 feature is a first for a smart home security system. The feature puts you in direct contact with dispatchers closest to your home, no matter where you may be calling from. The feature is only available in the US, but it will be available nationwide. Netgear is also updating the Arlo Apple Watch app — letting users disarm cameras from their wrists, which is a nice touch — and it will let you filter your library by person detections and by camera. So even if you get some false positives, you don’t have to search through the footage to find the important stuff.

Most importantly, Netgear says this will have no effect on battery life of any of its Arlo cameras. Most of this work is done in the cloud, so your battery should be about the same as it was before you got Arlo Smart.

As for pricing, Arlo Smart will cost $2.99 per month per camera, but that doesn’t come with the E911 capabilities. For that, you’ll need to pay 9.99 a month for Arlo Smart Premier, which covers up to 10 cameras and extends your cloud storage from the free seven days to 30 days. And if you want even longer cloud storage, Arlo Smart Elite will extend storage time to 60 days for $14.99 a month for up to 20 cameras.

If you currently have an Arlo subscription plan, your plan will be automatically converted to the respective plan mentioned above. That means Elite customers will pick up the option to add five more cameras to the 15 cameras already supported on that plan.

Netgear says every Arlo user will get Smart Premier for free for one month to test out the new features. Arlo Smart is available today.

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