Nest Hello: Better access control or privacy threat?

Steve Summerton
By Steve Summerton
Nest Hello is essentially a video doorbell.
Nest Hello: Better access control or privacy threat?
It combines all the familiar functionality of the traditional doorbell, but brings it into the modern age with the addition of the Nest camera. It delivers 24/7 live streaming, HDR imaging and night vision technology so you always “know who’s knocking” but perhaps unsurprisingly, this relatively new technology has been met with mixed feelings.

The mixed feelings come due to the Nest Hello’s main differentiating feature: machine learning technology and their long-standing partnership with tech giant Google. This machine learning technology analyses the video data captured by the Nest Hello camera and combined with facial recognition software and user input can automatically identify named visitors the next time they call.

In theory this sounds great. It means the Nest Hello can not only alert you that someone is at the door, but it can also tell you who is at the door so you can respond accordingly. However, in a post GDPR world and with much of the population already sensitive about privacy, this functionality has for some, raised concerns.

For one thing, Google (the owner of Nest) is renowned for already harvesting huge amounts of data about millions of internet users around the world so the fear is, that with potential access to the data captured from Nest as well, Google will significantly expand their monopoly on personal data. Why is this an issue? Well, the worry is that Google could listen in to your mundane chats about your favourite car or your need for a new TV and start using this information to bombard you with advertising.

Now we’ve been installing access control systems that use similar features to Nest Hello for some years now and there are some very real benefits to this type of technology. For one thing, Nest Hello and other access control systems are great for giving you peace of mind whether you are in or out. They can show you who is on the doorstep and allow you to communicate through the door without having to open it, ideal for when the caller isn’t familiar or expected. Access control systems can also keep track of who visited your home and when so you know who has been in or around your property at all times.

So the question if you are considering installing a Google Nest, does having the peace of mind outweigh the potential loss of privacy around your home? If it does, then products like Nest Hello are a relatively low cost access control solution, but if it doesn’t, then you may want to talk to our experts to find out what other access control alternatives could work for you.

Let’s talk.

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