Samsung’s Dropcam competitor is called Perch, helps you monitor your home from an Android phone


samsung cameraSamsung SmartCam HD (not the Perch)

One of the biggest trends in technology right now is home automation. Before smartphones it was nearly impossible to know what was going on at your home while you were away. New products, like the Google-owned Dropcam, have made it possible for ordinary people to easily monitor their home from afar at a reasonable price.

Samsung is the another company looking to break into home automation. Last year they acquired SmartThings, a company who has created a popular open platform for connected devices. A new patent from Samsung suggests they are ready to create their own hardware or software for the platform, and it could be a direct competitor to Dropcam.

The patent filed on April 1st, 2015 is for something called “Perch.” Here’s what the description says:

“computer application software for mobile devices for remotely controlling and monitoring video cameras and video feeds; computer vision system for home automation comprised of methods for image and signal processing, object detection and recognition, and motion analysis”

It’s not far of a stretch to see how this is a competitor to Dropcam, a device that you can perch on a shelf to watch your home. The patent is for a mobile application, but we would be surprised if Samsung didn’t have hardware to go with it. They’ve already created home WiFi surveillance cameras in the past. The interesting thing is that Dropcam already works with the SmartThings system, but a device from Samsung could offer more tightly integrated features and software.

This would be a huge move for Samsung. With Samsung’s ability to pump out hardware, and the excellent SmartThings platform, there is massive potential here. Many companies are dabbling in home automation, but there are no clear front-runners yet. Samsung could be the one to step into that position. Have you bought any home automation devices? Would you buy a Dropcam competitor from Samsung?

Joe Fedewa
Ever since I flipped open my first phone I've been obsessed with the devices. I've dabbled in other platforms, but Android is where I feel most at home.

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  1. Let me record to my home NAS or my own storage and not pay a silly monthly cloud storage fee and I’ll buy 3.

    1. Trendnet and Hikvision make IP cameras that can record directly to a local file server. I’m sure there’s a bunch of other brands that can do that also. I particularly like Hikvision though. They make some great outdoor cameras that you can find at reasonable prices.

      1. Do you have any model numbers or links to the cameras you recommend?

        1. I really like Hikvision cameras, but they are not intended for novice users. You can find people selling them on places like Amazon or NewEgg. For outdoor cameras, the model that I use is the Hikvision DS-2CD2132-I. That’s a 3MP dome camera. The DS-2CD2032-I is the bullet equivalent. They also have similar 1.3MP models that are slightly cheaper. One thing to watch for when ordering is the specified lens size. 4mm is the normal size. A smaller lens would cover a wider area with less detail, and a larger lens would basically be zoomed on a smaller area. Those cameras could powered either through PoE or through a power adapter (which is normally not included).

          1. thanks for the reply. Just looking into a shelf camera system.. like the look of the Hikvision DS-2CD2432F-IW but I see in the comments on Amazon warnings about Chinese version vs US version for English updates. Nothing is simple eh?

          2. thanks again for this. I am looking into getting a Hikvision camera.. trying to figure out all this Chinese vs English firmware talk along with what software I can access the camera from my iPhone/Android phone, PC/Mac browser etc. Any tips appreciated.

          3. I’m not sure if the China/English firmware is still an issue with the latest version. I have several cameras. One has a China serial number and the others have US/EU serial numbers. The China one came with the latest firmware, but I updated the others with the firmware from Hikvision’s FTP. The web interface on them looks exactly the same.

            For viewing the live stream remotely, I use the “tinyCam” Android app. The cameras that I have encode in two streams: One 3MP H264 stream, and a lower 704×480 stream that could be configured to use either H264 or MJPEG. If you use MJPEG, it would be compatible with just about any cam viewer app out there. But tinyCam can work with the H264 stream and that uses much less data.

            For viewing the live stream from a PC, you could either use the web browser plugin, or any app that supports H264 through RTSP. VLC Media Player handles it just fine.

            If you want the ability to view camera recordings remotely, I believe the Hikvision app can do that if you have configured the cameras to save to a file share, but I haven’t used that method myself. My cameras save to an NVR unit which has its own app.

    2. Then when they break into your house all they need to do to cover their tracks is take your NAS. Would not be that hard to find. Online storage eliminates that. Instead, I would like the option to store it wherever I want, on a NAS maybe with a daily backup to Google Drive or something off site even.

      1. Actually my NAS is hard to find in my house. And it auto backs up to cloud storage offsite already so it would be in two spots. Online cloud storage fees are for idiots who dont know better or have excessive disposable income. For the cost of 1 year of dropcam storage a person could buy 1 Terabyte of cloud storage anywhere and 1 tb home nas is under 100 bucks.

  2. Why is it that when companies decide to make home automation products, they often focus most of their attention on IP cameras? There’s no shortage of quality IP cameras on the market. Rather than make yet another one, how about make some more interesting home automation products?

    1. I completely agree. Where is the product that washes, dries, and then folds and puts away my clothes? It’s 2015 for Pete’s sake.

  3. What’s new here? I’ve been using the DLink 940L connected to my NAS for almost two years now. It comes with a free Android app and even when in New York I was able to see my home. Just because Google and samsung have jumped on the bandwagon doesn’t mean anything’s new!

    1. What would you recommend today, if I was looking for something Similar? I cant seem to find one decent camera. Would be nice to get a better than 640×480 resolution too.

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