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There are plenty of cameras like what you're describing on the market today. Modern incarnations of the Panasonic Petcam. Search 'WiFi IP camera'. You just don't hear about them because they aren't hyped to high hell like Dropcam.

Yes, I've got a couple. I was sort of changing the subject to other home automation devices, without really being clear about that. Nest is clearly the market leader in the home automation category; at least for thermostats. I'm sure there must be others, but Nest is the only one I see at Home Depot and Lowes. I think they've executed on their plan remarkably well, so taking them on with something that is a much lower margin product (a hardware device that doesn't hold the consumer for ransom for the monthly bill) would be extremely difficult, I think. And, because they do so much of their thinking in the cloud, their devices can be dumber/cheaper. So, they win on two fronts, as long as consumers don't mind being fleeced in this way.

And, yeah, hype has a lot to do with it. How have products like Dropcam and Nest generated so much buzz? I guess people genuinely prefer them, and consider the user experience worth the price (both in terms of money and in terms of privacy and choice).

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