FAQ

Ding dong! Who’s there? Now you can find out with­out even get­ting up. David Crookes ex­plains the benefits of a smart door­bell

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Nest Hello

When your door­bell rings, usu­ally the only way to find out who’s there is to peer out of the win­dow or open the door – nei­ther of which is ideal if you’re hop­ing to avoid some­one. Nest Hello ( bit.ly/ hello453) is a new Wi-fi-con­nected smart door­bell that alerts you to vis­i­tors and lets you see who’s there via a widean­gle camera. Since it works over the in­ter­net, the de­vice is par­tic­u­larly use­ful if you’re away, adding an ex­tra layer of se­cu­rity and let­ting you bet­ter mon­i­tor any com­ings and go­ings at your home.

How does it work?

Nest Hello is de­signed to re­place your ex­ist­ing door­bell and can stream video footage 24-hours a day over your Wi-fi net­work. You can use the Nest mo­bile app to check what’s hap­pen­ing out­side your door, but the magic hap­pens when some­one walks close by or presses the bell. At that point, you’ll re­ceive an alert on your phone and can view a live stream to de­cide whether or not to an­swer – ei­ther in per­son if you’you’re in or re­motely if you’re out. This can be done from any­whe any­where you have an intin­ter­net con­nec­tion.

How can I re­spond when I’m away?

The apapp has an op­tion called Talk which, when press pressed, al­lows you toto use Nest Hello’s built­built-in speaker and mi­cromi­cro­phone. You can have­have a two-way chat with­with wwho­ever is out­side your hhome, which means you can talk to de­liv­ery peo­ple from the com­fort of your work­place, for ex­am­ple, or fool po­ten­tial bur­glars that you’ve just stepped out of the shower, which is why you can’t get to the door.

So it’s like the Ring door­bell then?

Yes, to a de­gree. Ring (for­merly Door­bot, see box on op­po­site page) re­leased its first video door­bell in 2013 and, like Nest Hello, it also lets you con­duct two-way video calls with vis­i­tors. What Ring doesn’t pos­sess, how­ever, is ma­chine learn­ing – a very use­ful func­tion that’s in­te­gral to Hello. Rather than rely on mo­tion and sound when is­su­ing an alert, Nest Hello analy­ses the video footage to dis­cern if a per­son is ap­proach­ing the door, walk­ing by or hanging around. It can also tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween hu­mans, birds, cats and dogs, so it doesn’t waste your time with non-events.

Can it recog­nise in­di­vid­ual peo­ple?

Yes, but only if you pay for a Nest Aware sub­scrip­tion, which costs from £4 a month. This al­lows Nest Hello to recog­nise your fam­ily and friends, and send you per­son­alised alerts when they call round. Con­se­quently, you’ll also know if the per­son at your door is some­one you aren’t fa­mil­iar with.

A Nest Aware sub­scrip­tion also gives you a con­tin­u­ous video his­tory of be­tween five and 30 days, rather than the stan­dard three-hour snap­shot his­tory you get with the free ver­sion.

How good is the camera?

The 3-megapixel camera has an 8x dig­i­tal zoom and can cap­ture 1080p high­def­i­ni­tion video at up to 30fps (frames per sec­ond). It also fea­tures night vi­sion so you don’t need to worry about cap­tur­ing video footage after dusk. Nest Hello has a 160-de­gree field of view, with a 4x3 as­pect ra­tio as op­posed to the 16x9 of ri­val prod­ucts. This lets you see a full image of your vis­i­tors and en­sures you can see parcels that have been left on the ground.

Is the au­dio qual­ity good, too?

Nest Hello has a high-qual­ity speaker and mi­cro­phone, and its HD Talk and Lis­ten fea­ture of­fers noise-and-echo can­cel­la­tion for clearer sound, en­sur­ing you’ll be able to hear vis­i­tors even on a noisy street.

What if I can’t talk when some­one calls?

There are three built-in phrases in­clud­ing “we’ll be right there”, which you can ac­ti­vate by tap­ping Re­sponses. Th­ese al­low you to com­mu­ni­cate with the per­son at the door dur­ing in­con­ve­nient mo­ments such as when you’re in a meet­ing and can’t speak. Although you can’t set up your own mes­sages at the mo­ment, you can ac­ti­vate Quiet Mode, which si­lences Nest Hello when you’re asleep or away.

Won’t peo­ple think they’re be­ing spied on?

Pos­si­bly, but that de­pends on where you live. If your home is se­cluded, then you’re un­likely to have a prob­lem. How­ever, most of us have a front door fac­ing the street, which means you’ll un­doubedly end up with footage of passers-by. There are also pri­vacy con­cerns sur­round­ing fa­cial recog­ni­tion. The In­for­ma­tion Com­mis­sioner’s Of­fice is cur­rently re­view­ing its guid­ance fol­low­ing the new Data Pro­tec­tion Act 2018 and in­tro­duc­tion of GDPR – you can view the lat­est info at bit.ly/con­sumer453.

Nest stores a data­base of peo­ple you iden­tify, but prom­ises that all the video footage it cap­tures is se­cured by 128-bit en­cryp­tion and two-step ver­i­fi­ca­tion.

Does Nest Hello fit into the Nest ecosys­tem?

Yes, it does. You can con­nect Nest Hello to your Google Home speaker to have it an­nounce who’s at the door if it recog­nises the per­son, and hook up the door­bell to other smart de­vices, per­haps trig­ger­ing a se­cu­rity light when a stranger comes to the door or, if you’re plan­ning to buy a Nest X Yale de­vice, un­lock the door to let some­one you know into your home. In­deed, Google is also look­ing to launch more home-se­cu­rity prod­ucts in the UK, among them the Nest Se­cure alarm sys­tem ( bit.ly/se­cure453), and Nest Hello will work with them all.

How much does it cost?

Nest Hello costs £229, and you’ll also need to fac­tor in the cost of in­stalling it if you’re not con­fi­dent you’ll be able to fit it your­self. The door­bell is not bat­tery op­er­ated but draws its power from your elec­tric­ity sup­ply. A size­able chime unit also needs to be in­stalled and plugged in, and there’s a bit of drilling in­volved, so you’ll prob­a­bly need an elec­tri­cian – or, for an ex­tra £100, one of Nest’s own engi­neers – to set ev­ery­thing up.

You can check if Nest Hello is com­pat­i­ble in your home at bit.ly/ door­bell453.

It doesn’t look like much but Nest Hello helps you avoid an­noy­ing vis­i­tors

Nest Hello can tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween hu­man vis­i­tors and pass­ing an­i­mals

Nest Hello lets you view and talk to de­liv­ery men with­out open­ing your door

Check whether you’ll need a pro­fes­sional to in­stall Nest Hello in your home

You’ll soon be able to use the Nest Hello with the Nest Se­cure alarm sys­tem

The camera’s wide field of view shows you the full hor­ror of un­wel­come guests

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