Goodbye, Owl Cameras; hello, Owlcam. The well-regarded Owlcam dash cam, which nearly died when startup Owl Cameras, Inc. ran out of money earlier this year, officially rehatched Thursday as a consumer security service run by CallPass, under license from Xirgo Technologies.
Xirgo, the enterprise IoT company that acquired all the Owl Cameras intellectual property in February, 2020, will continue to develop the technology pioneered by the failed startup. The company immediately sought a partner to continue the consumer service, and in May licensed the brand to Clearwater, Florida-based CallPass.
“After we completed the purchase, one of our top priorities was finding a partner who has the experience and expertise to support Owlcam’s existing customers, and make sure those cameras could stay online,” said Mike Lavery, senior vice president of sales & marketing at Xirgo, in a statement.
CallPass reached out immediately to offer LTE service and technical support to existing Owl camera users. “We are committed to providing the best possible continuity of service and experience for them that we can,” said CallPass president Jason Ashton in a statement. According to Ashton, so far about 40 percent of the original Owlcam users have moved their subscriptions to the new company.
PCWorld reviewed the original Owl products as part of our ongoing roundup of the best dash cams, and we liked them. They were very expensive, but they also offered what was then a unique service: the ability to upload video data automatically via LTE to a cloud service, and then download it to an app in your smartphone. The camera connected via the OBD-II port, so it could run even when the car was turned off. That meant the dash cam could be used for video surveillance of your parked car, and the data would be safely stored in the cloud even if someone stole the dash cam itself.
As CallPass revives the brand, the company plans to emphasize the security aspect even more strongly. Ashton pointed out that because people are driving less during the pandemic, their cars could be parked in open parking lots or street spots for longer durations, making them easier targets for thieves.
In addition to servicing existing customers, CallPass will start selling dash cams again. The Owlcam Classic, the exact same camera sold before with 32GB of onboard storage, is scheduled to go on sale later in August, though only to existing customers. Sometime in Q4 2020, a completely new dash cam will be launched to existing and new customers, with 4X the storage of the Owlcam Classic (128GB), plus other new features.
Old and new users alike should appreciate that both Xirgo and CallPass are established companies. After Owl Cameras’ roller-coaster ride into oblivion, stability is a good thing.
Editor's note: This article was corrected to reflect the accurate onboard storage amounts for Owlcam Classic and the new Owlcam due later this year. They are 32GB and 128GB, respectively. PCWorld regrets the error.