Answering the strangely obvious question

“I can’t believe this app is free!”

A number of users who have been using our apps have sent this or a variant of this question through our Feedback interface – wondering why we are offering an app that most people would gladly pay for.

Believe it or not, it is very simple: we are looking to engage and create happy users. I, as a user, have been incredibly frustrated with two things: overly technical apps and poor usability. It might sound strange for a technical person to say this, but one thing I learned in my career as a developer and then a manager, the biggest frustration for users is the lack of understanding of what and why they use an application and designing it for ourselves, rather than for the users we are building it for.

That is a different matter. You purchased the camera, you have it in your home and you have not bought some system like Nest, Y-Cam or Canary to manage all of the goings on in your home. You bought a standalone IP camera and you want a certain level of control. And to that, we are happy to build out our product in that fashion.

“So how are you going to make money?”

The honest answer is “with services that you value and would be willing to pay for”. We are building the interfaces (app) so you can have a great experience with the app and build a great relationship with us. As we understand your needs, we will find out things you want us to do and see how the market will bare it. For instance, we are currently investigating:

  • Secure storage of your camera footage (with encryption using your phone)
  • Improved notifications through intelligent learning algorithms to better alert you with your existing cameras
  • Secure/trusted family and friends monitoring of events that happen on your camera
  • Integration with your smart home systems

Does this mean that the OWLR apps will always be free? I have no idea. Right now, for all intents and purposes, I can say yes. I can also say that there will be a freemium model (get some things for free and scaling up for a fee) or premium services (like the ones listed above) or even reselling arrangements — we would love to help you purchase great cameras from Foscam, D-Link, Axis and any other manufacturers we work with.

That is all in the future. And we will do our utmost best to give you the best service and offering we can. And – as always – we are listening to you and your needs and would love to make this solution the best for you.

Send us an email at and tell us what you think. We are offering admission into our OWLR Beta Program – giving people free access to our newest version of the app before it comes out to the public – just send us an email.

And, as always – Happy Viewing!

Sanford and the OWLR Team