Arlo|Smart Home Security|Wireless HD Security Cameras
× Arlo End of Life Policy Notice
To view Arlo’s new End of Life Policy, click here.

Why do I need a subscription to use activity zones?

Reply
Discussion stats
  • 6 Replies
  • 1290 Views
  • 4 Likes
  • 3 In Conversation
Tekto
Aspirant
Aspirant

This documentation says that I need either a subscription or continuous AC power to use activity zones on my camera:

 

https://kb.arlo.com/1001908/What-are-Arlo-Activity-Zones-and-how-do-I-create-them

 

My question is, why?? Is there some reason why I should not be able to do this, besides Arlo trying to get me to buy a subscription? It's hard to imagine a technical reason why this feature would only work with AC power when I don't have a subscription, but works on battery when I do.

 

I've invested a lot of time and money to set up a security system with local storage, and this feature is pretty critical, so I don't get recordings for every car that passes down the street.

 

I am still in my 30 day trial and I am thinking I will return all this hardware because viewing footage is too much of a pain when I have 10 second videos for every car that passes by.

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
StephenB
Guru Guru
Guru

@Tekto wrote:

 

My question is, why?? Is there some reason why I should not be able to do this, besides Arlo trying to get me to buy a subscription? It's hard to imagine a technical reason why this feature would only work with AC power when I don't have a subscription, but works on battery when I do.

 


Actually there is a technical reason.  When the cameras are on AC power, then the camera hardware is used to create the activity zone.  That isn't possible when the camera is on battery - the battery would drain very quickly, because the video would always being captured and analyzed.

 

When on battery power, the zone is created in the Arlo Cloud.  Video is still streamed to the cloud whenever motion is detected.  The cloud suppresses recordings and notifications when the motion is outside the zone.  This definitely increases the processing done in the cloud, and Arlo has decided to charge for it.


@Tekto wrote:

 

I've invested a lot of time and money to set up a security system with local storage, and this feature is pretty critical, so I don't get recordings for every car that passes down the street.

 


Note that cloud-activity zones (the ones that need a subscription) can't improve battery life.  

View solution in original post

6 REPLIES 6
jguerdat
Guru Guru
Guru

Zones require either server processing or AC power to the camera so it can process the videos. I suppose without AC power the battery woulld run down quickly.

Tekto
Aspirant
Aspirant

Thanks for your response.

 

I suppose without AC power the battery woulld run down quickly.

 

That's why I bought the 25 foot charging cable.

StephenB
Guru Guru
Guru

@Tekto wrote:

 

My question is, why?? Is there some reason why I should not be able to do this, besides Arlo trying to get me to buy a subscription? It's hard to imagine a technical reason why this feature would only work with AC power when I don't have a subscription, but works on battery when I do.

 


Actually there is a technical reason.  When the cameras are on AC power, then the camera hardware is used to create the activity zone.  That isn't possible when the camera is on battery - the battery would drain very quickly, because the video would always being captured and analyzed.

 

When on battery power, the zone is created in the Arlo Cloud.  Video is still streamed to the cloud whenever motion is detected.  The cloud suppresses recordings and notifications when the motion is outside the zone.  This definitely increases the processing done in the cloud, and Arlo has decided to charge for it.


@Tekto wrote:

 

I've invested a lot of time and money to set up a security system with local storage, and this feature is pretty critical, so I don't get recordings for every car that passes down the street.

 


Note that cloud-activity zones (the ones that need a subscription) can't improve battery life.  

Tekto
Aspirant
Aspirant

Thanks StephenB. That actually makes sense. Now I feel like a bit of a putz for asking my question rudely.

 

I have to wonder, though, why not do SmartHub to create the activity zone, instead of the camera?

jguerdat
Guru Guru
Guru

I would guess that the bases and hubs are simply dedicated routers with other functionality stripped. I suppose that zone determination could be added but whether the hardware exists to handle that is something that someone would need to tear one down and reverse engineer to figure out. Don't forget that Arlo was originally part of Netgear, hence the stripped down router path would make sense.

StephenB
Guru Guru
Guru

@Tekto wrote:

I have to wonder, though, why not do SmartHub to create the activity zone, instead of the camera?


They would need a GPU or a much higher speed processor to decode the video and do the pixel processing (looking for motion).

 

Theoretically the camera could look for motion inside/outside the zone while recording, and then tell the cloud whether or not it should supress the recording/notification.  But there's no way to tell how much that would affect battery life.

 


@Tekto wrote:

Now I feel like a bit of a putz for asking my question rudely.


Arlo doesn't make it easy to figure out, they do their best to mask the fact that there are two completely different ways that activity zones are implemented.  I think that's because they want to present it as a single feature (which makes sense), but it would be good if there were a kb article that explained how it works under the covers.