It’s been a while, but the Cocoon: Smart Home Security Camera review is a bit of a techy one so I’m handing over to Dave:
I’m very home security conscious. I go round every night making sure that all the doors are locked and windows are shut properly. When I’m away I worry that Colette will forget these things and we’ll be burgled. I have to fight the urge to text her and ask every single time I’m away. No joke. I’m also interested in tech. No joke. So when the chance came to review a tech based home security product I was all too keen to get involved.
The Cocoon smart home security camera is a tennis ball sized camera that sits in one corner of your house and with the hope of providing you with peace of mind when you’re out. The camera connects to your WiFi network and you can interact with it via an app. The app lets you watch what the camera can see at any point just by opening it. The app also lets you set up profiles for anyone who has a smart phone and will be in your house regularly. As people with profiles leave your house the camera knows, because they’re no longer connected to the WiFi, so it arms itself. If the camera detects something while you’re out then you get a notification and you can watch a video of your house to see if you should be bothered. Pretty good so far.
You might think one camera can only provide you with protection for one or two rooms of your house depending on how you position it. To get round this the Cocoon smart camera uses ‘subsound’ technology. What this means in essence, I think, is the camera listens to your house and analyses the sounds. If it hears something out of the ordinary then it lets you know and you can decide whether to set the alarm off or not.
Setting up the camera through the app is painless. Create an account. Add WiFi password. Add other members of family with phones and you’re away. As this is a ‘smart’ device it tells you that in the first few weeks you will get false alarms. These are a part of the learning process. You telling the camera that what it heard is fine allows the camera to adjust itself to the unique noises of your home. And false alarms you will get. When one of these comes in you have the choice to watch the video its recording. There’s two options then, tell Cocoon everything is alright or sound an alarm. If you sound the alarm it’s pretty loud. I’m quite confident that if anyone was in your house and you set this off they’d shift pretty quickly (that sentence also works if you remove the ‘f’ from ‘shift’).
A problem we both encountered with this system is that showing a video feed requires a decent internet connection. When I’m at work the reception can be a bit hit and miss. Sometimes I’d get a notification and try to watch the video. It would buffer for a minute until the video ended, then the notification would disappear. You can’t go back and re-watch it after the fact to train it when you’ve got a better connection. While it’s buffering you still have the option to tell Cocoon everything is alright, or set off the alarm, but if you can’t watch the video then it seems a little pointless. As it won’t be learning correctly and you don’t actually know if everything is alright.
We’ve been using the Cocoon for about eight weeks now and here are my thoughts. In practice our Cocoon gave us false alarms all the time. It did get better after the first few days but goes through phases of constant false alarms which we had expected would have passed by now. I had to switch my phone to silent while in work because I was consistently getting notifications, which other people in my office were commenting on. While away for the weekend both Colette and I ‘disarmed’ the camera remotely, using the app, to stop the constant notifications which of course defeats the object. The camera forgot who I was meaning that I would set it off whilst in the house on my own because Colette had gone out so the camera had ‘armed’ itself. Whilst doing DIY I could stop and watch little videos of myself sawing or painting while the Cocoon panicked that I was an intruder. To combat this I reset the camera, I reset the app, I re-did my profile and reconnected to the camera. Each time the camera would forget me again, I don’t know why. The camera never forgot Colette though – maybe she’s more memorable than me? I don’t know.
The idea for the Cocoon smart security camera is good. It looks good, it’s unobtrusive (so I don’t think you’d necessarily notice it if you were breaking into someone’s house), the set up is easy and the app works well, when you’ve got a decent internet connection. The video quality is good, which would aid in the identification of any robber who was caught by the camera, and as I said if you put that alarm on then it is loud. The only thing which doesn’t seem to work is the ‘smart’ part of the camera. Ours learned but not to the extent we had hoped and returned false alarm after false alarm over the whole eight weeks – perhaps we just live in a really noisy area? It can be pretty frustrating having to take your phone out of your pocket for the fiftieth time to tell Cocoon that everything was alright. And for us that’s the deal breaker – whilst we love the idea of being able to see what’s going on in the house when we’re not there, the constant false alarms are just too much for us. I’d be interested in seeing the next version of this product to see if it actually learns. If it does then we’ll be interested.
So all in, the Cocoon smart home security camera is a great idea, but we just haven’t been able to trust it and rather than thinking “Oh heck what’s going on in the house” it has tended to be more of a “God there’s another Cocoon notification, turn the damn thing off.” For us I can see the Cocoon being really handy as the kids get older and we want to know that perhaps they’ve got home from school ok – but I would definitely do this by just watching the app rather than having the Cocoon armed and notifying me!
*We received the Cocoon smart home security camera free of charge for the purpose of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*