If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Security is imperative for companies to deter trespassers and would-be thieves and to protect valuable equipment crucial for businesses to operate successfully. A robust setup with cameras, sensors, and night vision can take the pressure off security teams and give business owners peace of mind out-of-hours. Luckily for organizations, the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, mobile connectivity, apps, and cloud technologies has radically changed the security landscape and made it easier than ever to set up multi-room and on-premise systems. The possibilities are endless: cloud or local feed storage, customizable or automatic alerts and alarms, smartphones and tablet connectivity, wired or wireless, battery-powered or mains options, video capture, night vision, audio feeds of varying quality, and the ability to check-in, in real-time, are all on offer and can be tailored depending on the requirements of your business. To make navigating the variety of hardware and vendor ecosystems available to today's company owners less of a challenge, we have assembled our top ten picks for businesses.
This week our reviews cross several categories: first up, Andrew Tarantola drove the VW ID.4 EV around the Bay Area to see how Volkswagen fared with a compact SUV. Meanwhile, Nicole Lee found a lot to like about Mila's smart air purifier, which has several themed filters and modes that can be customized. Billy Steele listened to Bose's new Sport Open Earbuds, which are designed to sit just outside the ear to allow for better awareness of one's surroundings. And in a quest for better home security, Devindra Hardawar installed Arlo's Video Doorbell and Pro 3 cameras around his home to check out what the system could do. Nicole also considered several smart lights and clocks to see which deserves a spot on your nightstand, and I tested four smart white noise makers designed to be used in a nursery. After driving the VW ID.4 EV, Andrew Tarantola concluded that it's a solid first attempt at a practical electric car from the German automaker.
Soon after moving to a house in the Atlanta metro area last year, I knew I needed a video doorbell. UPS and FedEx would often drop boxes off and never alert me (not great when package thieves are everywhere!). Plus, sales people had the gall to ring my doorbell, unmasked and oblivious to the global pandemic. And if I was playing with my toddler in the backyard or working in the basement, I had trouble hearing if someone was at my door. A video doorbell would solve all of those issues, and give my family a little peace of mind to boot.
Amazon Echo speakers and smart displays, like the Echo Show 5 (pictured), come with a sliding mic mute button that prevents Alexa from listening. Privacy might seem like a thing of the past, as everywhere you go, there's some computer watching or listening. But in your own home, you can do a few things to protect your privacy, even from naturally invasive Alexa-friendly smart home devices. Amazon reviews voice recordings, including the wake word and voice command that follows, in an effort to improve the overall user experience. However, you can opt-out of having your voice recordings included in the review process by going to Settings Alexa Privacy Manage Your Alexa Data, then toggling off the setting that says Use Voice Recordings to Improve Amazon Services.
Battery-powered security cameras are a great option for outdoor use, because they remove the logistical hassle of finding a convenient electrical outlet to power them. But their easier installation comes with a cost, as they tend to be priced higher than their AC-powered counterparts. The $139 Vacos Cam would seem to be the best of both worlds, then--supremely flexible, modestly priced. Unfortunately, testing revealed this camera to be far from a polished product. While its video quality and smart motion detection are solid, its barely baked app makes the camera virtually unusable. The camera is the latest to crib its look from the Arlo line of home security cameras, in this case the Arlo Go (except that camera connects to the internet via an onboard LTE radio).
The Arlo Pro 4 is a small but mighty outdoor home security camera. The Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight camera has higher video quality and better field of view than almost any camera we've tested--including the popular Nest Cam Outdoor. Other Arlo Pro 4 features include color night vision output, two-way talk capabilities, timely smart alerts, and easy integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The Pro 4 is entirely wire-free and runs on a rechargeable battery that can last up to six months per charge. It also has a built-in spotlight that illuminates when motion is detected, and a smart siren that can be triggered automatically or remotely via the Arlo app.
The Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight camera performed beautifully in all of our tests. Touting a 160-degree viewing angle and 2K video with high-def resolution, Arlo's Pro 4 offers a wider range of view and higher video quality than the Nest Cam Outdoor, our previous No. 1 pick, and is our new recommendation for the best outdoor smart security camera. Arlo's video quality is just as clear at night as it is during the day thanks to the camera's color night vision output. It also has a built-in spotlight that illuminates when motion is detected and a smart siren that can be triggered remotely or automatically. We found the installation process to be fairly uncomplicated, though a 2.4 GHz WiFi connection is required for setup. There are no wires to fiddle with, as this camera includes a mount that can easily be screwed in on the exterior of your home. Before you place it, we suggest giving it a good charge right out of the box using the included magnetic charging cable.
Arlo has announced updated versions of two of its wireless security cameras. The $199.99 Pro 4 can capture 2K HDR footage in a 160-degree field of view. It connects directly to WiFi, so it can work as a standalone camera. However, you can integrate the Pro 4 into an existing Arlo setup by connecting it to a SmartHub or base station. The Ultra 2, meanwhile, boasts 4K HDR video capture along with an ultra-wide, 180-degree field of view.
To better compete with rivals like Ring, Arlo has launched the Essential Video Doorbell, a wireless version of last year's Video Doorbell. As before, the most notable feature is square aspect ratio video capture, giving you a head-to-toe view of visitors or a good look at any packages left at your door. On top of the 180-degree video, you get night vision and HDR modes that show extra detail both in bright and dim lighting conditions. If you want to monitor specific regions like your driveway or porch, you can set up detection zones and receive alerts if something changes. And it can automatically contact you via direct-to-mobile video calls so you can remotely see who's ringing.
You no longer have to live in an Amazon-focused household for Arlo's Video Doorbell to make the most sense. Arlo has introduced Google Assistant support to deliver notifications and send commands. If you're worried about the ruckus outside, you can ask Google to "show me the front door" and get a video feed sent to a smart display like the Nest Hub Max. The Video Doorbell normally sells for $150. That's more than rivals like Ring's new starter doorbell, but it gives you the choice of both Alexa and Google Assistant.