If you’re a Wyze home security camera user like me, you may recall receiving an email from the company informing you that “Person Detection will be temporarily removed from Wyze Cam beginning with a new firmware release planned for mid-January 2020, due to the unexpected termination of our agreement with our AI provider.”
It turns out the reason behind the “unexpected termination” of the agreement was Apple’s acquisition of Seattle startup Xnor.ai, which specializes in on-device artificial intelligence and was the supplier of the software to enable person detection on Wyze cameras.
The Verge reports that support for the feature has been pulled in a beta firmware update currently rolling out to Wyze Cam V2 and Cam Pan devices. Wyze says it is still working on an in-house people detection feature and promises to launch the feature sometime later this year.
GeekWire reported on Wednesday that Apple had acquired Xnor.ai in a deal worth around $200 million. Apple basically confirmed the deal when they responded to GeekWire with the usual statement for cases such as this:
Apple emailed us its standard response on questions about acquisitions: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
The three-year-old startup’s work has to do with AI-powered machine learning and image recognition tools that can be executed on low-power devices (like a Wyze cam), rather than relying on the cloud.