Testing $20 WyzeCam, The Money Losing Amazon Vet Startup

By: IPVM Team, Published on Dec 12, 2017

This startup is perfecting the old adage:

We lose money on every sale, but make it up on volume

But it is no joke. The company, Wyze Labs, is led by ex-Amazon managers, who clearly have money for an incredible PR campaign, including fawning coverage in the NYTimes, CNET, Engadget, and more plus slickly produced marketing videos like so:

 

Wyze's pitch is simple and amazing - IP cameras for just $20 sold on their website and Amazon, with 2 weeks free cloud recording.

Indeed, the NYTimes, evidently seriously, declared:

Wyze did not create a home internet camera for a tenth of the price of rivals by skimping on quality.

However, our tests results show the quality is significantly inferior to competitors like Nest and others on many dimensions but we do believe there is potential for this as a business.

Testing ********

******* ******* **** ********** problems, ********** ****** *********, poor *** ***** ***********, poor ***** ******* *** non-existent **** *******.

** *** **** ****, it **** ****** *** record *****, ***** *** *** price (~$** *** **** a ********** ********* ** card) **** ** ********** for ****** *** **** want *** ****** ** a ****-****** *****.

Market ********* **********

******* *** ******* ******* problems, ** ******* **** has * **** ** being * ****** *********. They **** ******* ************ strong ********* ********* *** obviously * ******* ****** that ** ******* ** lose ***** *** **** time ** **** ***** up. ** **** *** scale **, **** **** have *** *********** ** add ** ****** **** / ****** ****** ******* and ****** ********* ** ongoing ************ ******** *** various ***-*** (****** *******, advanced ********, ***.). **** are *** ***** ***** low-cost ** ****** ******** who ******** ********* ***** and ****** ** ******* funding. **** *********** ***** work.

Impact ** ***** *************

*** ******* **** ** to ******* *************, **** Hikvision / *****. ****'* super ***-**** ***** ******** with ***** ******* ********* is **** ***** *** Chinese ************* ** *****. For *******, **** *** gotten **** ****** ** in **** *** **** month **** ***** *** ever ******. ** **** can ***** ** (*** there's ********** ****), **** could ********* ********** ** the **-**-***** *** ***** low-cost, ********/'****-******' ** *******.

Physical ********

******* ** ******* **** most ********/*** *******, ******** slightly ****** ** ******** from *********** ****. **** noticeably, *** ******* *** its **** *** **** from *******, ****** *** camera **** ********* ******** to *** ****.

***** ** * ******** overview ** *** *******:

*******

*** ******* *** ** ********* directly **** ********** ********** ~$** ***. **** pricing ******** *** ****** and 14 **** ** **** rolling *******. **** **** this ** *** ******* sale ***** *** *** camera ** ********** ~$**.

******* ** *** ******* is ************* ***** **** other********/*** ************* *** ******** ***** >$100.

Non-Existant Tech *******

****** *******, ******** ******** to ******* **** ******* were ****. **** ********** phone ******* ** **** informed **** ** ***** were ********* ** *** time *** ** ****** instead **** *** ********* through *-****. ******** ** contact ** *-**** **** replied **** ********* *********.

Frequent ********** ******

****** *** *******, ******* had * ****** ** issues ********** ** *** ******** network, ********* ****** ******** ******** ** connect. **** **** ******* can **** ******* ** 2.4Ghz ********. ***** ** the ***** ******** **** attempting ** ******* *****:

**** ** ** **** inserted, *** ******* *** be *** ** ************ ******. *******, when ****** ** **** playback, ******* ********** ******* us **** *** ****** is *** *********. *** alert ***** ******* *** ~5 ******* ****** *** tabs ****** **********. ***** is ** ******* ** the "****** *** *********" alert:

 

Motion ****** **********

****** ******* ****** ****** provided ** **** ************ despite ***** **** ** turn **** ** ** off.

****** ****** **** ****** ** be **********, ********** ** shadows *** ***** ******* at **** *** ****** settings. ******* ****** ** way ** *** ** preferred ****** ***** ** combat ******** ******. **** below ** ** ******* of **** ***** ******* ****** recording:

**** ***** ****** ***** triggered, ******* **** ****** a **-** ****** ****, after **** **** ** recorded ******* **** *** record *** ***** ****** events *** * *******. In *** *******, **** proved ** ** *** short, ********* ******* *** event ********* ***** ** front ** *** ****** after ********* *** ****.

***** ****** **** ****** of * **** ** all ***** ************* **** deleting *** ****** *** then ****** ** ***** to *** ******* *** the ****** ** *** named *** **** ** it ********** ***.

Full ***** ***** *******

*** ***** ***** ***** the **** ***** *** both *** ******* *** Nest. **** **** *** Nest ****** *** * wider ***** ** ****, resulting ** * ***** pixel *** ****.

** ~**' *** ******* offered *** **** *******, Nest ******* ******** ****** than *******.

** ~**' *** ~*** lux, ******* ******* ****** facial ******* **** **** but ****** *** *** chart, ****** ********** **** the ***** **** **********.

Dark ***** ******* *** ** *******

******* ********* ********* ** Nest ** ***** *********. Nest ******* **** ****** clarity ** *** ***** below, ***** **** ***** of *** ***** *** visible **** *******.

*** ** ****** ** WyzeCam ****** ** ********** the *******, ****** *** person barely ********** ** ~**'.

App *********

*** ******* *** ** ********** simple *** ***************, ****** it **** *** ***-****-***** people ** ********** *** of *** ******** *********. During ******* ** *** have ******** **** **** notifications *** ********* ** alert **** * ****** event *******. ***** ** ** overview ** *** *** and *** ********:

Test **********

*** ********* ******** ******** **** used ** **** ****:

  • *******: *.*.*.**
  • ****: ***-******

Comments (31)

$20 camera. $0 a month for the cloud recording. There is no way this company will be around in a year without a serious pivot. Who is going to pay the AWS bill indefinitely?

Why does the lux go up in the scene when the distance to target increases?

 

Why does the lux go up in the scene when the distance to target increases?

It is just the way the lighting is in the room this was shot in. At ~10' I am at the front of the lighting and at ~18' it is on top of me.

Ah, ok.  Not sure why, but I was assuming that just the camera moved back further. Thanks for clearing that up.

is it xiaomi square or just the same box design?

xiaomi

Wyze says they are OEMing Xiaomi's hardware but the firmware and the app are their own.

Also, ironically, Wyze is selling their version at less price than online pricing for the Xiaomi one.

Any Wired connectivity?

PoE?

OnVIF?

 

Any Wired connectivity?

PoE?

OnVIF?

The camera has no Wired connection and does not support OnVIF.

onvif with a custom FW

onvif with a custom FW

Can you clarify what firmware? Is it WyzeCams own firmware?

I'm not sure. I was going to buy this xiaomi one and I googled if I can get rtsp of it, then I found some information on a forum how to hook it up to any third-party NVR and not to use chineese cloud

I have two of these at my house and they are decent enough for what I need.  I have found that they are VERY active on Reddit, and most support issues have been resolved there quickly.  

They are even addressing some of the network security concerns some users had after doing wireshark analysis on the traffic.  

I have 64GB sd cards in each one of mine and recording/playback seem to work well.  I am not using any of the alert features, which means I am not using any of the AWS stuff either.  I did not see the need for it.  

Scott, good feedback, thanks! Btw, very interesting / peculiar that they are providing support via Reddit. I am sure it works for some people but I doubt it works for most.

I habe no idea if that was an intentional choice or not, I stumbled onto it by mistake.  It is a good resource though if they keep it up.

Testing $20 WyzeCam, The Money Losing Amazon Vet Startup

So this camera was designed for vetrinarian’s offices to track pets?

Update, Wyze has launched a forum with thisstrange marketing video:

On the plus side, the forum has a lot of activity, which is likely a product of their mass sales at $20 each plus non-existent real support.

 

Recent article: Business Insider - How a tiny camera startup is taking on Amazon and Google, key quotes:

  • Claim no business model / way to make profits - "not trying to make money on any individual product but getting as many products out there because we really believe that this technology can help people and we want to get it in as many hands as possible." They must have some idea but it's not disclosed.
  • "We sold 100,000 in our initial sale and sold out almost immediately and have been chasing inventory since then." That's $2 million in sales at ~$20 a piece

Would like to see a Browser way of viewing these(multiple streams at once) or a app on pc, I have three of these in my house, the android app is nice but only allows for 1 view at a time. They have a workaround for pc, but it involves a virtual box to run android and run an instance of the wyze app, but it is a resource hog. Each instance allows for only 1 view at a time.

https://openip.cam check this out. I have personally tested it and can confirm it works with Spectrum, Milestone, etc. 

Funny...

It's an OEM Xiaomi Dafang or whoever manufacturers for both of them.

https://www.geekbuying.com/item/Xiaomi-Dafang-Smart-1080P-WiFi-IP-Camera-White-384022.html

 

Dori, that's Wyze's business model. (1) Resell Xiaomi low end cameras with a 10% markup, (2) spend millions on US marketing, (3) profit

Wyze says it is their own firmware and have an experienced management team, so there is certainly a plan to make money at some point, though I am not clear how.

It's pretty clear to me.

No profit from the Camera, RMR from the cloud services.
Or at least that's what they hope.

Nope, the service / camera includes free 14 days of cloud storage.

I'm pretty sure that after the 14 days it's not free.

Sure, but how many consumers buying $20 cameras are going to pay for storage beyond 2 weeks? That's not a business model.

I have had this up and running for about a week now and it works great.  The only issues I have with it is the motion tracking basically sucks and no way to turn off alerts automatically when I (my phone) is home.  Otherwise, this camera is pretty sweet for the money.   

ONVIF capability tested with top VMS systems.

 

https://openip.cam

Do they have onvif? I know, wyze promised to update the FW but it doesn’t make any sense for them 

Wyze now has a pan tilt model for $30. Review here: FOX 31 Denver: Tech Junkie Review: Wyze Cam Pan – $30 Panning Wi-Fi Security Camera. https://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwjaLoujs

 

Product page here https://www.wyzecam.com/product/wyze-cam-pan/

See above, John mentioned this last month and included a link. 

I agree 100% with the included review though!  Thanks for including that.

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