Basic Functionality Still Not Here?

Here’s how your original post came across.

You went to a posh restaurant, you enjoyed the meal especially the complimentary glass of wine. But you would prefer a much more affordable check.

So you went to the corner diner, the meal was passable but they didn’t offer the free glass of wine. And you ask, why can’t they do the same and give me a free glass of wine?

I’m glad the alert > timeline feature is in beta. That is a huge improvement, because the biggest problem is finding the beginning of the motion in the timeline. Yes, a flag is a good way to describe it. Regarding the 12 second clips being needed for the notification, it’s kind of weird to me that Wyze decided to go that route, considering they have talked about the cost of cloud storage in the past. It’s not necessary to upload a 12 second video for someone that would just like a simple alert to take them to the timeline.

Regarding using the playback feature, that is kind of just a workaround. Let’s say a cleaning company has come to clean the house, and they worked on the house for two hours. If you have four of the Wyze cameras, that would take eight hours to manually get all of the footage. Although the full event motion capture is a huge improvement, I’d actually prefer to just download the full two hours so if there was a problem there isn’t a claim that the footage is missing something. Sure, some might say just take out the microSD card, but that is challenging for some people.

Regarding the 12 second clip automatically downloading, your assumption is correct, and everything is listed under Google Photos in my case. It’s possible other applications are doing the same thing, but it is hidden and doesn’t appear under Google Photos. I’m suspecting even Spotify is downloading stuff, because after a while it’s using a lot of storage, although I’ve selected streaming, and have not instructed it to download anything. It is frustrating though, and doesn’t seem necessary for Wyze to save everything in a format that Google Photos will pick up. I’d prefer Wyze to download in the background, not having it appear on Google Photos, and then automatically remove the clip from the device later on if the person doesn’t actually choose to download it. If they decide to download it, then Wyze can just change the format to the saved file so it’ll appear to Google Photos, saving them data from redownloading it, which appears might be their intention from the post you linked.

Thank you for the welcome back. It has been a while, so I’m going to try to catch up on a lot of stuff. I’ve seen the community is most of what I’ve expected. There are some that will continue to defend Wyze, even if they are clearly at fault, while others will try to maintain a more neutral viewpoint, and give credit to Wyze for their hard work and progress, while also mentioning some valid criticism.

Thank you for your response to my post.

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I’d like to clarify something regarding my post.

My post is regarding basic functionality, that the average person would likely expect.

So, let’s imagine an elderly couple, that although have had a smartphone for a few years, never had a security camera. After deciding they’re not in the best health to clean their house, they decide to hire a cleaning company. After telling a friend about it, they are advised to get a camera to make sure nothing is broken or stolen. They are recommended by a friend (who isn’t aware of their financial situation) to get an Arlo Q, but see the cost is out of their budget. They head to Home Depot, and see Wyze has a nice display there, and is much more affordable. They pick up the camera, and are stopped by an employee, recommending they get a microSD card for continuous recording, so they don’t miss anything. After they get back to their house, they call another friend to help them get setup. After they leave, they are confident they will have what they need if something were to happen with the cleaning service.

Then, they realize that every time there is motion, they just see 12 seconds. They can’t understand what the problem is, because their friend did put in the microSD card as recommended by the Home Depot employee. They keep choosing the motion alert, but just see the 12 second clip, and nothing else. They also notice that these clips are with pictures of their friends and family. They don’t understand what is going on. They call their friend back to see what the problem is, and are then explained that it’s actually a more complicated process (needing to remove the microSD card, transfer the data, put it back in, etc), so for their case, they really should just invest in something else that is easier to use, because otherwise they will need to stop by on a regular basis to help them out.

So, my point is, Wyze is still missing the basic functionality that most people would expect. That’s the reason, in my opinion, this should have all been taken care of before adding person detection, a smart bulb, smart plug, etc.

I’m a fan of Wyze, and am glad to see them continue to improve. I’m just surprised, that one year later, there is still not the most basic functionality available out of the box.

Right, they are so much more affordable. I’m looking forward to recommending Wyze to friends and family, and have some in mind for the upcoming outdoor camera. It’s just I’m not able to recommend Wyze to anyone with basic functionality missing. After their latest cloud recording feature is available, I’ll be able to recommend it to some, and explain that even with the monthly cost it’s still cheaper than most other options out there.

Right, I’ve avoided some other brands altogether, not due to lack of development, but more due to security concerns. Wyze has a community here, some of which analyze every little thing, and if they find a security concern, report back. Rather than Wyze delete the post or try to avoid the topic, they respond clearly addressing those concerns. Because of that, I’m much more trusting of Wyze.

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Sorry, that was not my intention. For some reason, I’ve had trouble in-person, and now online, expressing myself. I’ve seen that people think I’m complaining about them or their business, even if I’m actually giving them a compliment. This is something I’m going to need to work on. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

I’ve posted this above, but will respond to your post with the same thing:

I’d like to clarify something regarding my post.

My post is regarding basic functionality, that the average person would likely expect.

So, let’s imagine an elderly couple, that although have had a smartphone for a few years, never had a security camera. After deciding they’re not in the best health to clean their house, they decide to hire a cleaning company. After telling a friend about it, they are advised to get a camera to make sure nothing is broken or stolen. They are recommended by a friend (who isn’t aware of their financial situation) to get an Arlo Q, but see the cost is out of their budget. They head to Home Depot, and see Wyze has a nice display there, and is much more affordable. They pick up the camera, and are stopped by an employee, recommending they get a microSD card for continuous recording, so they don’t miss anything. After they get back to their house, they call another friend to help them get setup. After they leave, they are confident they will have what they need if something were to happen with the cleaning service.

Then, they realize that every time there is motion, they just see 12 seconds. They can’t understand what the problem is, because their friend did put in the microSD card as recommended by the Home Depot employee. They keep choosing the motion alert, but just see the 12 second clip, and nothing else. They also notice that these clips are with pictures of their friends and family. They don’t understand what is going on. They call their friend back to see what the problem is, and are then explained that it’s actually a more complicated process (needing to remove the microSD card, transfer the data, put it back in, etc), so for their case, they really should just invest in something else that is easier to use, because otherwise they will need to stop by on a regular basis to help them out.

So, my point is, Wyze is still missing the basic functionality that most people would expect. That’s the reason, in my opinion, this should have all been taken care of before adding person detection, a smart bulb, smart plug, etc.

I’m a fan of Wyze, and am glad to see them continue to improve. I’m just surprised, that one year later, there is still not the most basic functionality available out of the box.

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You keep harping about “basic functionality”

Why do you think you alone gets to define what a company needs to provide as “basic functionality”? They are free to define it for their own products! And the market will decide whether they are right or wrong. And if you think they are wrong, you’re also free not to buy their products. That’s what free enterprise is.

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It’s not just me that should decide what is considered basic functionality. It’s people in general. I’m expressing what, in my opinion, the average consumer would expect to see included in a camera purchased from a large retailer, such as Home Depot.

I’m assuming a lot of people on here are those who like to experiment with new technology, and not the average person walking in Home Depot for a camera to monitor their cleaning person.

I’d think the majority of people would find it disappointing seeing they can’t just choose a motion alert and see the whole motion event, that they can’t choose a time range to save, and that every 12 second clip they watch is saved with their pictures of their friends and family.

From Google Photos, you can go to Settings / Backup & sync and disable the folder where Wyze videos are downloaded.

You can also delete all of the downloaded cache videos from the Wyze app using the Account tab at the bottom then App Settings / Clear Cache.

Hope this helps.

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That’s how my Blink cameras are. I bought some on Prime Day, but as soon as Wyze’s outdoor camera comes out, I plan to sell them on eBay. They seem to have practically abandoned the product since they were bought by Amazon. Other than ONE incremental upgrade of the camera, they’ve scrapped every single new product that was planned before the buyout, and they haven’t added any compelling new features or anything. By contrast, I’ve had my Wyze camera for about 2 months and they’ve already added several new (good!) features in that period of time.

It’s not a workaround at all. It’s the way the app functions. I agree that it isn’t the most straightforward user experience, and I know they’ve talked about redesigning the way that interactions happens, but that would be a GIANT overhaul of the app. Certainly not something that happens overnight, or even within a year necessarily. It’s certainly not unusable, though. Any new product is going to have some learning curve.

You definitely don’t have to do ANY of that to view the playback from the MicroSD card. You just go to the playback section and find it in the timeline. (Or with the new feature in beta, click from the 12-second clip to view it in the timeline. As I said, I agree that it’s not the most straightforward user experience, but it’s not rocket science either. Redesigning that would require a fairly significant reimagining of the app UX and probably the way the data is structured as well. I think they’re planning to do some of those things, but you act as if they can snap their fingers and suddenly have the most beautiful, well-thought-out, and perfectly intuitive user experience in the world. It takes a long time to refine these things, especially if they want to do it right without interrupting the experience for existing users.

I’m not sure what you’re even talking about here. This sounds like a weird issue related to Android or something maybe. My videos don’t show up anywhere near my family photos, unless I actively choose to download them to my photo roll.

What functionality? Unlimited cloud recordings? You can get that already (though it will be a premium feature) if you want to download the beta app.

Now you CAN “just choose a motion alert and see the whole motion event” in the beta app. But even before that, it certainly wasn’t THAT difficult to cross-reference the timestamp. I agree it wasn’t as straightforward as it should be, but certainly not the kind of thing that would be a dealbreaker for me.

I’ve never needed to choose a time range to save. In general, I’m not saving many videos off the camera at all. They’re just so I can keep an eye on things, just in case. If I DID need to download a larger range, I’d remove the SD card and do it that way, but it’s not something I’ve had much need to do, so far. So it’s not a feature I’ve “wished for” or been disappointed about.

As for the “saved with pictures of their friends and family,” again, I’m not really even sure what you’re talking about. Since that doesn’t happen on iOS, it sounds like it may be something specific to the way Android’s file system works, but I’m not really sure. If so, you should complain to Google. But maybe other Android users can shed some light on this?

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That is an option, but is a lot to explain to someone that isn’t experienced and would like it to work out of the box. It appears most people on here are experienced with technology, and don’t mind finding a workaround. I’m referring to those that really need something to just work, without needing to look online to figure out what’s wrong.

I’m using professional video surveillance software at my house, but it took me hours of research to set it up, and it’s still not working as good as I’d like. For my family and friends, I’m going to need to recommend something much easier. Wyze is right between my complicated video surveillance software and Ring / Nest. Ring / Nest are super easy, but expensive. My surveillance software is affordable, super powerful, but really complicated. Wyze is super affordable, somewhat powerful, and a little complicated.

So, whether it’s a workaround or not isn’t the issue, the problem is what could take seconds, can take hours with Wyze. Sure, removing the microSD card is an option, but that’s a complicated process for some people. Maybe they don’t even use a computer, and just use a tablet, that doesn’t take a microSD card. It’s just not a user friendly process.

I’m really glad they are going to allow the alert to go to the timeline. Between that, and the full motion capture cloud storage at the affordable price they’re offering, I’m going to be able to recommend Wyze to some people. It’ll work great most of the time, but in the case they need an hour’s worth of footage, they will need to call me to transfer the data for them, so they don’t need to take an hour to save the footage within the app.

This is something that should have been done within a year, in my opinion, but I’m also not an expert with design and development, so it’s totally possible I’m wrong on this. It just doesn’t sound right to me that person detection, a video doorbell, outdoor camera, smart bulb, smart plug, and sensors have all been added or are coming soon, yet the super basic functionality that I’ve mentioned still isn’t ready.

I’ll need to check to see what’s going on with Google Photos. Maybe I’m incorrect and everything is not mixed together.

So, the basic functionality I’m referring to is the ability to select a motion alert, see the whole event, download the whole event, and also choose a time frame to download. It doesn’t matter if it’s connected to the cloud or not. That’s an extra feature that is helpful, but not necessary with the microSD card.

Again, I’m really glad they are adding the feature where you can jump to the start of the motion event in the timeline. They’re definitely going in the right direction. It’s just taking a while.

@cam,

This is already in the #wishlist here:

It has quite a few votes, but is still in “Maybe Later” status.

You can search using these links:
Search Wishlist (enter your search word/s after #wishlist in the search box)
Search Roadmap (enter your search word/s after #roadmap in the search box)

Please read through How to Use the Wishlist and How to Read the Roadmap.

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I will add a general comment here: Wyze runs a very “lean and mean” company. Pricing products as they do doesn’t allow for a huge staff. There are tons of product and feature requests (just take a look at the #wishlist). Choosing which of them to work on first is not an easy task and isn’t strictly driven by user votes (although that is a factor). Other factors include ease of implementation (which isn’t always obvious to the user), cost, integration with other features, security concerns, etc.

My personal opinion (I’m not a Wyze employee) is that for a company such as this, they are doing a pretty good job of keeping the feature set moving forward, even if not at a pace to most of us would desire. And they do so with more transparency than I’ve seen from any other company.

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If you’re trying to download hours of video off of those cameras over Wi-Fi, it’s not going to be a “seconds” operation in the first place. I know that from trying to download a 10-minute time lapse video from my camera. It timed out several times because iOS only lets the app work in the background for so long. I had to keep the app open the whole time and make sure my phone didn’t automatically turn off.

I’m not sure if that’s because of the processor in the camera or the RAM or the wireless connection, but regardless, it’s a budget camera. It’s not a smartphone or a laptop. It’s not built for speed. It has the hardware it needs to get its job done, and very little extra.

Another reason is that the file architecture on the SD card recordings is such that it records a series of 60-second video clips. That means that if you want to select a range and download it all, it’s going to have to stitch them together first. These cameras don’t have the kinds of processors or RAM that your phone or laptop have, so that may not even be possible. (I don’t know for sure.) To the extent that it is possible, there’s a good chance that it will at least take forever. I’d much rather take out the SD card and deal with it on my laptop if I need to deal with a huge amount of video data like that. What I’m saying is, this may be a hardware limitation that will never happen, even if they wanted to devote the dev resources to it.

I suspect the “super basic functionality” you’re talking about isn’t as “super basic” as you think it is. And personally, I’m glad that they’re devoting more resources to adding new features and functionality than they are to polishing functionality that already works.

I definitely agree that there are areas where the user experience can improve, but everything you’re talking about can already be done. It’s just not as finessed as it could be. Between the two, I’d rather have a camera that can do more things, even if it means I have to do a little research to learn how to use it.

I don’t agree that the features you’re talking about are things that “most people would expect.” While they’d be nice additions, they’re certainly not priorities for me, at least.

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I’m having trouble understanding what the problem is though, because they received funding, and people are willing to pay for better service (such as the cloud feature they are adding). Also, they are developing many new products. So, it doesn’t look like the problem is financial.

They said their CEO and software engineers were helping with shipping. That’s concerning. If they need to take their highest paid and most qualified people to assist with shipping, and can’t get someone else to handle that work, then that’s really concerning.

Thank you for explaining the possible technical limitations of the camera. If it can’t handle downloading even a ten minute clip, that is concerning, but offering continuous cloud storage should work, assuming the camera is able to handle that. Do you think it could handle a constant upload of video to the cloud? I’ll need to check, but some might have this set up using RTSP for continuous recording, so looking at their experience might help us understand if it’s capable of it.

Regarding what I’m considering super basic functionality, we disagree, and that is alright. Personally, I’m not able to fully recommend a camera that won’t just work out of the box, allowing someone to see a full motion event and download it, with the option of choosing a time range (since someone on a property can trigger multiple motion events, and saving one continuous time period would make sense in that case, especially if it’s needed for legal or insurance reasons). If there is a hardware limitation on the time range like you mentioned, that’s where continuous cloud storage can help.

I know a bit about development, but I don’t know much about designing firmware architectures and whatnot, especially when it comes to devices with inherent hardware limitations like these.

I’m pretty sure that the “Complete Motion Capture” events are capped at 5 minutes. (I haven’t seen Wyze confirm that, but in my testing, that seems to be the case.) However, there’s no cooldown period, so if you had 10 minutes of continuous motion, you’d end up with two subsequent 5-minute recordings in the cloud, with one starting immediately after the other one ended.

I will say that the one time my camera recorded a 5-minute event, it didn’t upload successfully – but it IS still a beta feature. If it failed because of hardware limitations, they may need to lower the maximum event length a bit more – but hey, that’s why it’s still in beta.

Streaming works differently, but I don’t know any specifics. I know it’s possible to continuously stream. (You can do this by looking at the camera’s live view, for example.) If it’s only live-streaming, it doesn’t really need to save anything in its RAM for very long. Just long enough to send it off, and then it can immediately purge it. But when it records events and saves them in the cloud, it’s storing the whole video event in the camera’s RAM before it uploads it. It doesn’t “live-stream” it to Wyze’s servers. So that’s a fundamental difference.

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Thank you for the information and for explaining the problem with saving and then uploading the video, vs uploading the constant stream.

So, if there is a five minute maximum for each cloud motion clip, and it can restart again, that is reasonable and should work for most people. If someone is going to need more than that, then a continuous cloud feature would make more sense for them, and assuming the hardware is really capable, I’d expect Wyze to add that option.