Dropcam Debuts Beta API Program

Eric Z
Jun. 12 2014, 11:00AM EDT

Dropcam today announced the Dropcam API Beta Program, through which companies and developers will be able to access the tools necessary to add Dropcam to their own products. The company makes and sells cloud-based cameras that can be used to provide real-time video footage of businesses and homes. In addition to the cameras, Dropcam sells service packs for recording and storing video for later access.
 
According to Dropcam, the API itself can provide information about Dropcam devices, their settings and any activity tracked by those devices. The APIs and their endpoints all use HTTPS, while requests and responses are in JSON. For authentication and authorization, Dropcam uses OAuth 2.
 

 
The API Beta Program isn't available to just anyone, however. Dropcam is wading into this pool cautiously and promised to vet each applicant thoroughly before pulling back its kimono. Dropcam began accepting applications today and said it will review each request on a case-by-case basis. It will consider whether or not the requests show the potential for integration, are complementary with Dropcam's own offerings, improve the user experience, and align with the company’s existing security and privacy policies. Dropcam takes security and privacy very seriously. If Dropcam sees a fit, it will contact the applicants and eventually supply the API resources and documentation.
 
Its two main products are the Dropcam and Dropcam Pro. The first is priced at $149 and the second at $199. The major differences between the two are field of view (107 degrees versus 130 degrees) and the quality of their night vision. Either can be paired with recording packages. The first package offers seven days of recording for $99 per year, and the second offers 30 days of recording for $299 per year. The cameras always offer a live view, which is encrypted by Dropcam and can be streamed securely to the owner's smartphone. Further, the cameras are able to detect human beings and can tell the difference between human movement and that of a small animal, such as a pet cat or dog.
 
The APIs will tap into this data and, for example, allow developers to create custom actions when a camera captures human movement. At present Dropcam will alert owners to the presence of a person in their home or business, but that's all. It is up to users to call 911 if they think there is an intruder. This is where developers and companies can really enhance Dropcam's offerings.
 
Dropcam also makes $29 Tabs, which are sticks that can be attached to movable objects, such as doors, windows and pets. The Tabs have motion and proximity sensors and talk to the Dropcam (Pro model only) via Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy. The sensors can be used to send alerts if, for example, a door or window is opened or shut. The company didn't say if the API will be reserved for the cameras alone, or will also include the Tabs.
 
"This is just the beginning," said Dropcam. "Ultimately, we look forward to working with companies and developers on exploring exciting, meaningful and complementary integrations with Dropcam."

Eric Z I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for Programmable Web and other online properties.

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