Right now, more people are working from home than ever. Because of increased called for virtual conference calls, webcams are now a hot commodity and hard to find in stock. Wyze wants to help, so it released firmware to turn your Wyze Cam into a webcam for free. It’s also offering a free month of complete-motion-capture. And it’s selling thermometers. And more.
In an email sent out to users, Wyze comes right out and says the basic truth: “It’s a crazy time.” Much of the world is staying home to fight COVID-19, and like many other companies, Wyze wants to help.
If you’re following our advice, you’re holding conference calls over a video chat app of some sort and not on the phone. But that means using a webcam. Most laptops have a webcam built-in, but most desktop monitors don’t. Thus, a rush on webcams has led to shortages.
To help with that, Wyze released free firmware that can convert your Wyze Cam into a webcam. To get started, you’ll need a Wyze Cam V2 or a Wyze Cam Pan. You’ll also need a microSD card and a USB-A to USB-A cable.
To convert your camera, download the firmware and load it to the root directory of the microSD card. Then unplug the Wyze Cam, insert the microSD card, and hold the setup button while you plug the camera back in. When it’s flashing blue and yellow, you’re ready to go.
Wyze does note that your Wyze Cam won’t contact their servers while on this firmware, which means it can’t function as a Wyze Cam. The firmware is also “as-is,” Wyze has no intention of further updating or troubleshooting it. But the webcam should work with the latest version of macOS, Windows 7, and Windows 10. And you can convert back to a regular Wyze Cam later.
It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s probably easier to get a USB-A to USB-A cable right now than it is to buy a webcam. So if you already own a Wyze Cam you’re not using, it’s worth a shot.
That’s not all Wyze is doing to help the stay at home effort. The company realized there is a shortage of thermometers, so it partnered with a trusted manufacturer to start selling them directly through the company’s site. It’s an iHealth No-Touch Digital Forehead Thermometer, but unfortunately, as of this time, it’s already on backorder.
Wyze also offers a complete-motion-capture service for its cameras. That removes the 12-second record limit you usually encounter with the cameras. Typically, the service is $1.50 a month per camera. But Wyze is offering a free month to every user. All you need is to input code RESPONSE to redeem it.
And if you’re a business owner in Washington State, Wyze has an excellent offer for you. Staying home is likely nervewracking, as you might be worried about the security of your business property. Wyze is offering a free security camera to Washington State business owners; all you have to do is fill out an application.
And in other important news, Wyze added Alexa support to its lock. We noted that as a significant omission in our review, so it’s good to see the company working on improving the Wyze Lock. The company promises Google support is coming.
Right now, staying at home is more important than ever. So every company that tries to help is a good thing. Whether it’s Apple and Microsoft shutting down retail stores and paying employees anyway to Wyze offering free webcam firmware, it’s good to see companies stepping up.