XNOR.ai Terminates Wyze

By John Honovich, Published Nov 27, 2019, 09:31am EST (Info+)

Wyze has shocked the industry again - this time with a major setback. Just months ago, Wyze triumphantly added AI analytics to their ~$20 cameras, which IPVM testing showed worked better than Axis and Hikvision analytics.

Now, Wyze has announced XNOR.ai, their analytics provider, has terminated them, leaving Wyze scrambling.

Inside this note, we examine the challenges for Wyze and the opportunity for XNOR.ai, the startup that developed YOLO, to expand in video analytics.

Terminating ****

**** **** * ****** ***** ****** AI *********,**** ************* *** ******** **** **:

*** ***** ******** * *** ******* which ** *** *** ******* ****** into ****** ** *******. *** ** those ******* *******Xnor.ai ** ********* *** ***** ** *** ****** ******* ******, forcing our next firmware release to omit the Person Detection feature. [emphasis added]

**** ** ** ************* ********* ** (1) ****** ** ********* ***** **** issues *** (*) ****** ** **** enter **** ********* *** **** *** features ******* ********** ** *******.

2 **********

***** ******* **** *********, ** **** two ********** ****:

  • **** ***** *** *** *** ***** that ****.** ******. **** *** ** was ********** *** **** **** ** inferred **** ******** **** ****.**, ****.** was *** ***** **** **** (** anything) *** *** **** **** *** that *** ******* **** ****.** *** was ****** ********* (*** ********** ********* at **** *** * ******* **** minimal ***** *********** ****** **** ****). So ****.** *** **** ****** **** to *** **** ** **** *** clearly ******* *********** ***** **** ****.**'* technology.
  • ****.** *** **** ********* ****** ** do ****, ******* **** **** * larger ********, ******* ** ******** **** views **** ** * ********** *** wants ** ******* **** **** ****** access ** ****.**'* **********.

Benefit *** ****.**

****** ***, **** ** ****** ** be * ******* *** ****.** ** they **** **** **** ** ***** that ***** ********** ***** ** **** extremely ************, ***-**** ***** **** **** uses.

Problem *** ****

**** ******* ******** **** **** *** not ******* **** ** ** **** can ******* * ********** *** ******* on ***** ***-**** *******, ******:

***good **** is that when we do re-roll out this feature it will still be free for you - even if we end up using the cloud instead of edge-AI.

***? ******* **’** *** ** *** business ** ****-***-********* *** ***** *** we’ve **** * ******* ** *** that ****** ********* ***** ** * free *******.

** **** ** **** ***** ********* for ****, ** ** ***** ** cut **** ***** ******* ******* *******.

Wyze ****** ** ****

** **** **** **** *******, **** says **** *** ******** ***** *** AI ****:

** ******* *** ********** ** **** feature *** *** ********** ** ** going ******* *** *** *******, **’** already ****** * **** ** ******** AI ********* *********** ******* ** *** Person ********* *******.

***** ** ** ***** **** **** can ******* *** *** ** ** there ** ** ******* ****** ** publicly ********* ********* ** ***** ** in ******** ****** (********* **** ****.**). The ********* ** ** **** ***** models *** ********** ** *** **** of ************, ***-**** ***** **** *** in ****'* *********. *********, *** ******** cost ** ***** ** ** *** cloud *** **** ******** ** ******* could ** **** ********* *** ********* the **** ******** *****.

"Too **** ** ** ****"

**** **** ******** *** ****.** ******* AI, ***** ******* **** ***** **** was ** "************ **** ********** ** create *** **** ** ** **** products":

\

**********, **** *** **** ****.

Outlook ***** ******** *** ****

***** ****** ** **-***** **** *** literally *******, ******** ** *** ***** of *** *** ** ****, *** losing ** ** ************ *** * setback, **** ***** *** ** ********* combination ** ***** ***-**** *** ******* marketing **** **** ******** ** ***** its ********* **** *** ******** ******.

*******, *** **** ***** *** ******'* ******* ******* ******* ********* **** **** ** ****** ******* challenges ** ** *******.

Vote / ****

Comments (37)

Open communication like this wins every time. This may be a major setback, but it's only temporary. The cult following will, for the most part, see this open communication as a good thing and will likely be patient.

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The cult following will

From the balance of responses to their announcement, this looks to be the case. One thing helps them is limited competition in or near their price range that has AI.

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John, does the below inclusion on the xnor.ai website violate your terms?

Webpage

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Yes, moderately and I have asked them to change or remove.

As you allude to promotion violates our terms of service and more broadly our rights in how company's use our trademark in marketing.

We do allow companies to link / cite the headline exactly, e.g., the center and right boxes link to the same article which we are ok with if it is exact - i.e., Startup XNOR.ai, Inventors of YOLO, Video Surveillance Plans Examined. In this way, they are simply sharing the fact as is, but their language can be viewed as us endorsing them in marketing, which we do not allow.

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We do allow companies to link / cite the headline exactly, e.g., the center and right boxes link to the same article which we are ok with if it is exact...

btw, the link on the left has yet to updated with the “now terminated” verbiage :)

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Update: XNOR.ai has now removed the IPVM references. Thanks #9

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Terrible news for Wyze.

I am excited to see what prompted XNOR.ai to make this move. Seeing how fluid their edge AI is, I hope they are soon landing on products used within a traditional / larger VMS.

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Huge development! I assume existing users can choose not to install the firmware that removes Xnor person detection. I have a few Wyze cams deployed at home and chose Wyze mostly because of the person detection analytic. It can't be legal for them to remove a major functionality after the purchase...

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It could be possible that you don't have to upgrade to the patch that removes Xnor person detection, you are already able to cancel firmware upgrades and stay on older firmware.

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I searched their forums/the Wyzecam reddit which both had no answer on whether you can cancel firmware update, tech support said that you can stop the upgrade until they release an app update but then when I asked for clarity they told me "unknown at this time" and "can't guarantee that it (cancelling the upgrade) will work".

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I voted "Very", but in retrospect, how bad can this be? Wyze's market is producing cheap but usable cameras. Yes, the analytics were amazing to have and would have opened up a lot of markets, but just like you said about XNOR.ai, I think this served to get Wyze's name out there. If it hadn't been for this deal, I probably would have thought of them as just some cheap camera company, but ever since the deal was originally announced, I've considered them worthy of paying attention to.

In the short run, this will set them back a little, but I expect them to recover using their original model of selling cheap cameras, and then when they start getting into the fancy stuff again, they'll be a force to be reckoned with.

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two hypotheses here

I think it's very likely to essentially be both - XNOR.ai wanted more money from Wyze than they were willing to sustainably pay, because XNOR either has customers in hand that will pay significantly more for a level of exclusivity, or XNOR believes they will find those customers.

This is a similar pattern as the earlier cycle of analytics adoption - the first time the "true cost" of analytics was underwritten by venture capital. Here it's being subsidized by a hypergrowth strategy - not enough money (or even a loss) being made on the analytics, but as an attempt to grow the adoption rate as fast as possible, figure out profit later.

Give Avigilon credit - at this point, their strategy of funding analytics through product differentiation and brand credibility seems to be the most stable successful road so far (leaving the whole perhaps patent trolling part to the side).

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Give Avigilon credit

Note: this is actually from a Avigilon competitor. At first, I was thinking wow that’s one hell of a self compliment from an Avigilon employee but it was not.

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stock up on the old firmware while you can!

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99.8% of Wyze customers won't know the difference. They either won't see the change, or appreciated what they had...

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They either won't see the change, or appreciated what they had...

That does not make sense. Even Wyze acknowledged that inaccurate motion detection was one of their customer's top complaints. Unless Wyze can immediately roll out a substitute that works just as well, a significant number of customers will notice and be disappointed.

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Actually I meant it more as a homage to IPVM. 99.8% won't realize how good they had it because they don't belong to IPVM, yet.

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or appreciated what they had...

The greatest customer, in the world, the "Don't tell me what you're doing for me now, remind me of the thing you took away from me" customer.

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If you read through reviews for consumer grade camera systems, probably 30-40% of lower ratings is because of motion detection quality and configuration issues.

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I agreed, then i thought about it and have chosen to disagree. One would think that a person paying $25 for a camera would not really care about features as long as the product worked reliably.

But from my experience the customers who buy the lowest cost products generally demand the most and often have unrealistic expectations of what a product could/should do.

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I think both companies had good synergy. Maybe employees loved each other on a personal level. XNOR used Wyze for training purposes. Wyze offred people detection for free. But a long term business model did not work out.

However, I think that Wyze is just an early bird for the trend:

AI is here, it works and it's free in cheap hardware.

So we are about to face major changes in the industry. Still, IMO, traditional players have time to polish their analytics. They just have to make it a priority.

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I scanned through some comments online and quite a number of Wyze users are blaming XNOR.ai, such as:

It's pretty funny that they are claiming XNOR was greedy when there are no indications that XNOR was actually making real / material money from this partnership.

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Granted, this Twitter user has 1 follower but it's a funny tweet:

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is this a joke?

@Allaboard45 has similar tweets about AT&T and DirectTV....

waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, et al.

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*eyeroll* xnor only cancelled because they want RMR. Its all greed. Just like every other analytic/ AI company out there saying that they need RMR to facilitate updates YET you really see no change over time.

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Greed, really? They solved a problem few, if any, have by allowing analytics to reside on low end chipsets. Who are you to tell them how and what to charge? It is greedy to think you should get this product without a monthly fee.

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And why shouldn't they ask for RMR. Wyze is charging RMR, only fair Xnor.ai gets their fair piece of that. It costs money to develop these AI's, especially making changes and updates and all that. So either take a piece of the RMR, or pay for it upfront. I doubt Wyze was giving Xnor lump sum payments, as I believe they operate just barely above cost.

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Wyze is charging RMR

Wyze only started to charge for RMR 8 days ago with their 'Complete Motion Capture' offering at $1.49 per camera per month.

Wyze so far has been very focused on selling as many units as possible at the lowest possible price.

To be clear, I am not defending Wyze here, just clarifying what role RMR plays in Wyze's business.

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the real story behind the AI bailout?

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And now we know why Xnor.ai pulled their software from Wyze - they were being acquired by Apple and Apple probably didn't want anyone else have rights/using the software.

Apple buys Xnor.ai, an edge-centric AI2 spin-out, for price in $200M range – GeekWire

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Bob, thanks for sharing!

Good move for XNOR.ai It struck us that they were still figuring out the business mode but this is an excellent quick exit for them.

It may not be good for the industry as this likely means Apple will keep this for its own products and not license for IP cameras, but we will see.

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I don't see it showing up in anything low cost.

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What a huge win for XNOR. Congratulations.

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I would probably mortgage the house on a bet that you won't see Xnor software in IP cameras. Apple will keep it for themselves (if they even use it). Picking up a great team of AI/Neural Network experts is worth the $200M spend. Here on the west coast these types of talents are commanding extraordinary compensation.

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I think they have purchased them to bolster HomeKit Secure Video which works with compatible third party cameras. It actually processes on device rather than send to cloud for analysis. This is how it works HomeKit Secure Video explained: Apple's plan to keep your security cam vids safe | TechRadar

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Right. Apple will keep it for themselves and the industry loses it... Just like when companies acquire a competitor and the lays everyone off. What's the point...

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Update, a year and a half later, Wyze is still working on replacing XNOR.ai, latest update:

As long-time users know, after the whole Xnor.ai fiasco we took a BIG bet and started investing heavily into our in-house data scientist team. Now we have so many Ph.Ds we could probably start a small university.

Here’s the latest on Wyze AI.

  • This month, we added tens of thousands of pet videos to the algorithm as part of the Pet Detection feature we’re working on. This will help correct some animals being recognized as humans. (Or maybe they’re Centaurs?)

  • We’re moving into version 2.0 of our closed-group Facial Recognition testing. This time, the model is being improved with a new patent-pending method we came up with that you can read about here if you’re into scientific papers.

Every day we get thousands of submissions from users to help us get better, and the metrics on all our algorithms continue to improve. Thank you for your help!

This month we are specifically hoping to get:

  • More videos of animals; specifically dogs, cats, and...bears (safety first!)

  • Videos with babies and babies crying (for new baby cam features... Not as heinous as it sounds.)

  • Videos with dogs barking

  • Videos of packages

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