What if Wyzecam goes out of business? Do cameras become mostly useless?

wyze-cam

#1

Just playing the role of Devil’s Advocate, I’m just wondering what happens if the Wyzecam company goes out of business. Does the app stop working and the Amazon storage becomes unusable because it all routes through the Wyze infrastructure? Does everything go through Wyze servers and would we still be able to stream anything via the app even if we were using an SD Card?

I’m not inferring anything bad is going to happen, just brainstorming all the pros and cons I could think of.


#2

You can still record to SD card. This raises a complete other issue or idea. Could it be possible to redirect where the cam is sending events? Could it go to your computer somewhere? Drobox or some other storage site perhaps?


#3

The app would not just stop working. However, you would not be able to update the app… Also, You can use TinyCam as an alternate choice for accessing the camera. There are plenty of people using TinyCam to control their cameras.
Wyzecam also uses AWS, not a personal server. If in fact they did use a personal Server, then TinyCam would be inaccessible in connecting to the Wyzecam Apps…
Ending, Wyzecam is not going anywhere. I think most if not ALL naysayers and doubters fail to realize they are not a huge company… So it does take them time to update things. I was a full-time coder for over 15 years and everything is not as simple as people think it is when it comes to updating algorithms , writing code and also testing that code to make sure everything is working properly…

The company is still getting their feet wet in a ocean of sharks. Just give them time and you will see what I see: The Take over of Wireless Cameras…


#4

Until someone captures the data packets from the camera and from the mobile with the App, I don’t think anything accurate can be said. My guess is that the cameras would be about as useful as an Amazon Echo or a Google Home without a host to connect to.

I just did the following experiment. I determined the private ip address of my v2 camera on my LAN (in my case 192.168.0.68 at the moment). With windows PC, I started a ping -t <wyze ip address> Then with the App on an Android phone with mobile data turned off, and wifi only connection, I started a live stream from the v2 camera. Then I disconnected the WAN connection on my wifi router. Pings still worked between PC and v2, live streaming still worked between Android and v2. I could navigate to other screens. Conclusion: if the devices are on the same LAN, the wyze app will use the local connection. So when you are streaming locally from a android device, the data won’t be making a round trip to Wyze and back. It appears your data stays local. I was of course not able to connect to my v1 cameras that are 10 miles away.

But, then I restarted my phone. I started the Wyze app but it never got past the WYZECAM screen. I gave it 5 minutes just to make sure it wouldn’t timeout and get past the initial screen. Then I plugged my router’s WAN connection back in, and re-selected the WYSE app and the picture popped up. My working hypothesis is that the App has to authenticate with the Wyze server before you can use the app to control your camera.

So I am reasonably sure that the answer is: the camera will be useless to most people without Wyze. If someone can show otherwise, speak up.

While it may still be able to record to a microSD card, if you had not turned that feature on prior to the Wyze servers going offline, I don’t know how it would be possible to control anything on the camera. So for most people, they would be worthless. For makers and tinkerers, they could probably be re-purposed, but my guess is that would be a less than 1 percent of the sales.

With v1 there is openipc which I have not tried. I think they are looking at the possibility of making a version for v2. That would give you some local control. And a bit of a fallback position.

All this said, I still think they are worth $26. Just don’t expect them to work forever.


#5

BuckEye,

Based on your testing I think you are right on. In my opinion, if something were to happen to Wyze, I would imagine someone like Amazon might pick them up, much like they did Ring. It might fit well within their portfolio. If not, there are enough hackers out there that I am sure someone would figure out how to get it to work locally.

Like you said, still worth the investment.


#6

I placed an order for 11 cameras yesterday for a bunch of people at work. Our security guy got two of them. He said once he gets it home he’s going to add it to his network and scan the crap out of it to see what he can find. Should be interesting.


#7

There should be a requirement that when a company goes out of business, its software products must become open source so that the “community” can keep the hardware going.


#8

So true. I have a tablet that is no longer supported, and many new apps are not compatible with the older OS.


#9

This isn’t a Wyze only issue. There are many IoT devices that rely on cloud services provided by the seller. Wemo switches rely on Belkin.

In addition, almost anything with firmware that needs to be updated periodically relies on the manufacturer. As Bob stated, many devices are abandoned shortly after release, and although they may continue to work at a very basic level, new apps will likely not be supported, and they probably have many security vulnerabilities that will never be patched.

What should your expectations be? Manufactures can’t support devices indefinitely, especially when they aren’t getting a revenue stream from the devices after they are sold. I think that the echo devices only claim to provide services for 1 year from date of purchase (although I can’t find that info now), although my original full size v1 echo is still working and getting updates. Amazon hopes you will allow voice purchasing, or purchase a subscription to Amazon music. Same with Google Home, which hopes you will buy into a Youtube Red/Google Music subscription.

For example, read Amazon’s fine print: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201809740

“3.3 Changes to Alexa; Amendments. We may change, suspend, or discontinue Alexa, or any part of it, at any time without notice. We may amend any of this Agreement’s terms at our sole discretion by posting the revised terms on the Amazon.com website. Your continued use of Alexa after the effective date of the revised Agreement constitutes your acceptance of the terms.”

Under “Alexa Calling and Messaging Schedule” at the end.

“1.6 Fees. AMCS does not currently charge fees for Alexa Calling and Messaging, but reserves the right to place limitations on use of certain services or features, including subscription or other fees. You and/or the recipient of your calls or messages may be required to pay carrier fees for data usage. AMCS has no responsibility for such fees.”

Look at what happened to Revolv’s smart home hub.

I have an Obihai 202 that gives me VoIP phone access using Google voice as well as SIP. It also supports an ObiTalk device to device protocol that routes through Obihai’s servers. Obihai was just acquired by Polycom at the beginning of 2018. For now there are no noticeable differences, but only time will tell if Polycom will continue to provide firmware support for the Obihai devices. I just tried the Obitalk **9 <obi device number> and that is still working at this time. Even if the device stopped working tomorrow, I have saved much more than its cost over the 3 years I have had it.

What would be the incentive for the “community” to continue to support cloud storage and notification which do have costs and provide it for free? My point is that even with source code, I really think the cameras would stop being useful for people that don’t have the ability to host their own server. Having source code would be a big advantage to the hackers that want to use it locally, but as I said before, that is probably a small portion of the market. And there may be software from the camera manufacturer that is encumbered and wont become open source.

I don’t mean this as doom and gloom. My only point is: Don’t expect free (or even prepaid “lifetime”) services to last forever, or you will be disappointed.

So enjoy the camera. When you weight the cost and benefits, hopefully you will come out ahead.

 


#10

There is already third-party firmware that is compatible with the Wyze cam. Since they’re Xiaomi hardware, there is a lot of support out there. Any use of this will break any ability to use the Wyze cloud storage and Wyze app.


#11

Once Wyze Labs get a large customer base and brand loyalty, there are many things they can do to generate recurrent income.

For example, $0.99/month 7 days cloud recordings for a single camera.

It costs $10+ to get a 32GB micro sd card. And cloud recording will ensure the video being available even if the camera is stolen.

For example, they can make and sell some cute and practical masks for the cameras.

Hope they can resolve all the issues with V2.

So far set up 3 V2. One is out of foucs. One is very sharp. And the 3rd one is a bit worse than the sharp one.

And there is no way to adjust the focus.

Looks like QC can be an issue.

 

 


#12

I believe the focus CAN be adjusted if you are willing to take the unit apart. It uses a screw style lens that can be twisted in or out depending on which way it needs to focus. The factory installed a dab of glue on the screw to keep it from wiggling loose, so that will have to be busted free before it can be adjusted.


#13

Thanks for the suggestion.

I have opened a ticket but no response from customer support yet after couple days.