Dropcam wants to open its doors to developers

Dropcam's newly announced API Beta Program could make the company's cameras even better.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Calling all developers: Dropcam has just announced an API Beta Program. This API precursor gives interested third parties the chance to woo Dropcam with mutually-beneficial software integration proposals. The successful ones will get the chance to collaborate directly with Dropcam, working toward a shared goal -- to make the startup's app-enabled IP cameras even more convenient to use, while introducing new features.

In its test state, companies and developers first have to apply to the program. Then, Dropcam will evaluate each candidate based on three key factors: if the proposed idea makes sense for Dropcam; if it will improve the way people use its products; and it's consistency with Dropcam's security and privacy policies.

One obvious integration I'd like to see is with IFTTT. Other camera- and sensor-based smart home brands, like Belkin WeMo, Withings, and Netatmo, work with IFTTT and have logical applications with the automation service. The same could go for Dropcam.

Recipes such as, "If Dropcam detects motion, turn on Philips Hue light" could introduce security-specific smart home capabilities that don't currently exist for Dropcam. Factor in the recent addition of Dropcam Tabs -- $29 movement and motion sensors designed to work with Dropcam Pro cameras -- and these highly rated webcams are well on their way to being considered full-on DIY home security systems.

I spoke with Dropcam co-founder Aamir Virani earlier today, and he referenced an IFTTT-style integration that may be forthcoming. "If Dropcam detects motions, something else happens." He just wouldn't say what that something else is just yet, or whether it would be true IFTTT compatibility or a separate Dropcam service that offers similar functionality.

Virani also said Dropcam is holding off on video feed accessibility for now due to security considerations, but that cloud video recording (CVR) subscribers might see changes to their activity feeds in the future, thanks to the API. Subscribers currently have access to events triggered by the camera, but may soon be able to integrate activity info from third-party products, like a smart garage door opener. I'll continue to track this news and add updates as the API begins to take shape.

 

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