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Keep Tabs on Doors, Windows, and Dogs with the Dropcam Tab


Do you receive push notifications every time your dog escapes through the fence in your yard? No? Read on to find out how you can patch up this gaping hole in your life. The new Dropcam Tab, available in black or white, is the latest addition to Dropcam’s line of connected home-security products. Simply put, it enables you to keep "tabs" on what’s happening when you’re not around.

The Tab connects wirelessly to a Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi camera and detects motion. Simply set it for the place it’s going to be used (such as on a door, window, or something that's going to be leaving the house), attach it to said door, window, or entity that will be leaving the house, and walk away. Far away, if you like. If you’ve put a Tab on the front door, when it opens, it will send a notification to the Dropcam Pro camera, which will then send out an email notification and/or a push notification to your Android or iOS mobile device that has the Dropcam app installed, letting you know something happened and you might want to check the video live feed. The Tab is weatherproof, so feel free attach it to a gate and find out if someone enters the backyard, or the pool area.

Keep in mind that the Dropcam Pro camera doesn’t have the ability to record video on its own. You can subscribe to a paid cloud service, which will store up to a month of video for you, but without the cloud, you wouldn’t know what’s happening at home unless you stare obsessively at the live feed in the app. However, with a Tab or two installed, you can receive a heads-up every time something interesting may be happening.

Cloud Recording (CVR) automatically saves video on a rolling basis, so you can easily review footage from the past week or month.

More possibilities present themselves when you consider that there doesn’t seem to be a limit to the number of Tabs that can be paired with a single Pro, so you can pepper them around and receive notifications when anything happens within range of the Pro. Consider these possibilities:

  • On the doors around the house: Know almost instantly when a door is opened, whether you’re at work and the kids are getting home from school, or you’re in for the night and your teen tries to sneak out.
  • On your kids' keychain: When they leave in the morning you’ll get an alert that it’s out of range, and when they come back later you’ll get another alert that the Tab is back in range.
  • The dog’s collar: That pesky pooch keeps finding ways out of the yard? Now you’ll know when it happens and can catch him quicker.
  • The painter’s pocket: Having work done at the house while you’re at work? Give one to the contractor and you’ll know when they get there. Have another on a door, and know instantly when they leave.

You’re going to need to have a Dropcam Pro for the Tab to do more than look confusingly like a first-generation iPod Shuffle. The Tab connects to the Pro via Bluetooth and uses its network connection to communicate with the outside world. Tentatively, they’ve given the Bluetooth a 100' maximum range, which is basically an unobstructed clear line-of-sight. Add walls, wiring, furniture, pets, and people into the mix and you’ll see the range drop off. The Tab comes with two CR2032 button batteries, and you can change them fairly easily when they run down. Don’t go out and buy the batteries in bulk, though. Dropcam is giving them a run time estimate of about two years, with normal usage.

Expect an update to the Dropcam app to support the Tab’s release. Through the app, you’ll pair the Tab to the Pro, change the settings, set up push and email notifications, and everything else.