(Pocket-lint) - UPDATED: Arlo has been in touch with Pocket-lint to clarify the interview comments referenced below, saying that Arlo is "looking into the program this year", rather than making a firm commitment to bring it back in 2021. The original article continues below.
Arlo has confirmed to Pocket-lint that the Works with Arlo programme will be resurrected in 2021. Adrienne Sharkey-Perves, marketing director at Arlo, confirmed the details on the Pocket-lint Podcast.
Arlo originally announced the Works with Arlo programme in January 2019 at the Consumer Electronics Show held annually in Las Vegas.
It was the first indicator that Arlo was looking to expand beyond supporting first-party devices, to becoming a smart home platform in its own right, with the ability to control third-party devices as well.
Since that announcement was made, however, not much has happened on Works with Arlo. While Arlo has seen a positive refresh in the cameras it offers, including a video doorbell, the platform ambitions seem to have been on the back burner.
When asked what happened to Works with Arlo on the Pocket-lint Podcast, Sharkey-Perves responded: "So this is a programme we're actually bringing back this year, we've had to put it on hold for a period of time because we wanted to focus on our core offering."
Those core offerings include things like back-end billing and subscription services, through to how notifications can be customised to enhance the customer experience.
"Now we're getting to a good place with our smart security platform that we think the time is right to bring back the Works with Arlo programme and so there's a number of initiatives underway to fill this out further," said Sharkey-Perves.
That's going to come as great news to those who have invested in the Arlo system and see that as their core smart home platform.
The smart home market has evolved since 2019 and indeed Arlo's own offering has changed too. When the announcement was made, most of Arlo's devices connected to an Arlo hub and offered free cloud storage.
Arlo has pushed its Arlo Smart subscription service over the past couple of years, while also offering a number of devices that don't need a hub, but will connect directly to Wi-Fi under the Arlo Essentials label.
Works with Arlo originally highlighted brands like Bose, Hue, LIFX, Schlage, Sonos and Yale as compatible partners, although nothing was said about how the programme would work with those devices.
For a Hue bulb, for example, it's easy to see how motion detected on an exterior camera could be used to turn on a Hue bulb indoors, but for brands like Bose and Sonos, it's a little more obscure - unless you're looking at allowing notifications through those devices.
The big challenge that Works with Arlo will face is convincing people that they need another smart home platform. Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit are all supported by Arlo, and perfectly capable of creating these inter-linked home networks already.
Exactly how Arlo is going to differentiate remains to be seen. Arlo is a big name in smart security cameras, but it is a market with plenty of options. Having a platform can make a difference, allowing you to own the experience for customers - and once you have someone using your platform, they're unlikely to leave.
You can hear more about what Arlo had to say on the Pocket-lint Podcast, episode 96.
Corrections - [14/04/2021] Arlo has been it touch to clarify the comments made by Adrienne Sharkey-Perves in the interview we quote, saying that Arlo is "looking into the program this year", rather than making a firm commitment to bring it back in 2021.