Xbox One Getting Wireless Home Security Surveillance Device

This sort of news could almost feed back into why a lot of people were afraid of the Xbox One, and why a lot of people didn't like the original policies after it was announced back in May of 2013. However, this device isn't quite as spy-thriller-y as you might be thinking, as it's more like a companion device than an actual means to have the NSA peep in on you during inconvenient times.

So, just as a little history: The Xbox One came under some heavy fire for the camera attachment known as Kinect 2.0. Germany and Australia had prominent cultural officials denounce the device as a “surveillance” tool and that it was a security “nightmare”.

What made the original Kinect 2.0 so scary was that was it always on and, at one point, it was required to be plugged in at all times in order for the Xbox One to function at all. Microsoft later modified the operating policies so that the system could work without Kinect and that it didn't always have to be on (this was also a troubling thing given that Kinect 2.0 has facial, body and heat signature registries and collects, stores and sometimes send the data to Microsoft.)

While this news might seem to fit in line with the scary 1984 thought-police agenda that the Xbox One originally maintained in its early announcement phase, the Homevue wireless camera is a bit more tame in the sense that it's all user-controlled, and can be activated/deactivated with a user-specific app. This enables users to remotely keep an eye on the home, receive notifications and upload videos or footage seamlessly to the cloud, allowing for retrieval either on PC, mobile or the Xbox One console.

Martin Renkis, founder and CEO of Smartvue Corporation, commented about the Homevue device saying...

“Our mission is to make the world a safer place with amazing surveillance technologies that help people stay connected to what they love,” ... “Xbox is a very robust platform that offers a perfect gateway into the intelligent home for our cloud camera solutions.”

You can store up to a month's worth of video footage on the Homevue cloud service and then retrieve it from applicable devices. In a way, this kind of ties into the latest October update for the Xbox One, which allows for better snapping, easier snapping and access to apps while you're already engaged in something else.

For instance, this means that while you're playing a game you can snap the side panel to the side and check the security footage. I imagine this would probably work better for couples or families, as a parent could check the home security footage while they're out via mobile devices and then send a text message or whatever to a teenager babysitting at home and have them keep the Homevue camera footage snapped while they play games.

Now I know some people will say “Isn't this just like Kinect?”, in the sense that they're cameras with motion detection, yes. And technically, the scary part is that this is like a miniature series of Kinect devices scattered about your home. However, the good part is that they're all controlled by the Homevue app and can be easily modified or disabled with a lot of user variance control. So Homevue puts a bit more control back into the hands of consumer, as opposed to Kinect – where users have very little app or software control over the device.

The press release notes that Homevue will be available starting this January and that pre-orders are available now, but the device first has to get through the Kickstarter phase. I'm not entirely sure how well it'll do but I imagine that so long as they really push that it's about user control and safety (and they really can't stress that point enough) they may not have any problems from most people.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.