Wyze trials experimental ‘pay what you want’ Person Detection

The previously available, then removed, and then returned again Person Detection feature for Wyze home security cameras is available to some Wyze customers at a pay-what-you-want rate, the company has announced. We’ve known about this intended business model since July, one that underscores the costs associated with offering this AI-powered capability. Whether this pricing structure works in the long run is yet to be seen.

The Wyze Person Detection feature is exactly what it sounds like — a feature that can detect people in motion events, alerting the user that someone was detected in the video frame. Wyze previously made this feature available to its users for free, but a surprising Apple acquisition brought an end to its licensing deal with Xnor.ai. Wyze decided to develop its own substitute, but there are costs associated with this.

Paying for a feature that was previously free probably wouldn’t sit well with Wyze users, so the company is trying a different method: letting users decide to pay whatever they want (and that includes paying nothing if they want it free). Early Wyze adopters have received an email from the company giving them the opportunity to sign up for this new offering.

This pay-what-you-want option won’t be made available to everyone; starting October 9, Person Detection will only be available under the $1.99/month Cam Plus subscription. Between now and October 9, invited users can take advantage of the pay-what-you-want opportunity, ultimately giving them the chance to get the feature free as they were originally promised.

Wyze notes that its general motion events feature is free — and it says that if the pay-what-you-want option works out well with the small number of people who are given the opportunity, it may make this same subscription model available to more users in the future. Ultimately, Wyze calls this an ‘experiment’ while taking jabs at competitors, noting that, for example, Ring users pay $3/month just to get access to motion events.

Who, exactly, qualifies for this promotion? Anyone who created their Wyze account on or before November 26, 2019. The company notes that this offering differs from Cam Plus, which removes the 12-second alert video limitation and the five minute cooldown period that exists between video recordings.

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