ever wanted to setup a simple camera that you could watch live on
your smart phone? Have a favorite pet you would like to check in on
often? Or a child with a babysitter? Would you even like to speak to
your doggie through the camera? How about watching the maid as she
cleans your hotel room? Or maybe you would just like to see a live
video of your living room while you are on vacation just to be sure
the front door is still closed and your house has not burned down!!
Have some latchkey kids you would like to keep an eye on? Or an
elderly parent you would like to check on frequently? How about an
area in your business that you would like to keep an eye on? Many of
you have a warehouse with an open door that makes you a more likely
candidate for intrusion and theft. Or how about a one person office
with walk in clients? Want to go out back for a quick smoke? You can
setup a camera at the front door and have a text sent to your smart
phone as soon as anyone enters the room….
have security cameras at your office or home and someone breaks in
and steals or destroys your DVR, the entire system is worthless,
even though you probably spent well over $1,000 to have it
installed. If you have no video recording of the crooks, you might
as well have been using $19 dummy cameras!
A few years ago, you could not
purchase any type of internet camera for less than about $300. The
prices have begun to drop much lower the past year or so and I have
begun testing various models to identify the most cost effective,
reliable and user friendly unit available. I am a very big fan of
Netgear and Dlink networking components, so I was very disappointed
to find the cameras made by both companies were either very
difficult (and in some cases, impossible) to set up or the
accompanying software did not work at all, or both! I have spent
lots of time and money in this endeavor and I could fill several
pages telling you about the problems I had with all the various
models, but instead I will tell you about the positive experiences I
have had with the Dropcam pictured above.
- The camera is very easy to
configure. You will probably have your new camera connected and
available to view online in less than 10 minutes. (If you try to
connect your camera and it says it cannot connect to your
wireless network, just try it again and it will usually connect
on the second try).
- You can position it on top of
your furniture or desk, or you can attach it easily to the wall
or ceiling with the included mounting plate. The camera itself
is about the shape of a hockey puck and is slightly larger than
an Oreo cookie.
You do not need to connect it to your network
using a patch cable to set it up like you do for most other
cameras; you simply connect the included usb cable to the camera
and plug it into your computer. Then you run the setup program
that is stored in the camera itself. Select your wireless
network, enter the password, create a free Dropcam account and
you are finished! Could not be easier. If you have several
cameras, you will see a thumbnail of each one. Simply touch or
click on one and you see live feed almost immediately. The video
and sound quality are very good.
Click here to see an example.
You can view the live video and very clear audio
by logging onto your account at
dropcam.com, or you can download the free dropcam app from
Google for your android.
You can actually speak through the camera to
anyone you see in the live feed.
You can easily rewind the live feed for 30
You can enable motion detection for any camera
for any period of time. Turn it off during business hours, and
on when you are closed.
When motion OR sound is detected during those
times, you will receive a text and short video with the title
“Motion detected” or “Sound detected”. And if the camera has
seen the person before, it will label the message "Recognized
video event". If not, it will say "Unrecognized video event"....
On some of the models, you can select the motion
detection zone (high, med, low) so you won’t get alerts when
your dog enters the room, but you will if a person enters.
The audio quality is extremely high. You could
hear people talking in a room several feet down the hallway.
You can record video to the cloud for free for 14
days. After that, you can subscribe to any of several different
plans. I use the 7 day plan which gives me 7 days of video and
it costs $9.99 a month for the first camera and $5.00 a month
for each additional camera. Of course if you plan to be away for
more than 7 days and have alerts turned off, you might want to
opt for a longer period of archived recording time.
- If you have
a recording subscription (called CVR) and someone breaks into
your home or business, they can steal the cameras, but not
before they are recorded and you are alerted (unless you install
the cameras in a way that they can be removed from behind).
- Although the
quality is not exceptional, it does have night vision and will
record in total darkness.
- You can
access (and configure) any camera on your network using your
smart phone or your computer internet browser.
- You can have
an unlimited number of cameras installed at your home and office
and see a thumbnail of each when you log onto your account. Then
you simply touch the thumbnail you wish to view and you
will see it full screen, including crystal clear audio.
- If you have
a particularly beautiful garden, etc. and you want to make it
available for viewing for everyone, you can set that camera to
be accessed by the public and people from all over the world
will be able to see your creation.(Click
here for one example)
- Or if you
have something more private to show to your close friends or
family members, you can easily send each of them an email with
an invitation to log on and view the camera in real time. Just
let your imagination be your inspiration here!!
At $150 each,
these cameras are not the cheapest available, but if you buy a less
expensive camera and the web interface does not work seamlessly for
you on your smart phone and web browser, you have wasted your money.
I have installed many of these cameras for my clients, but you
probably won't need me to do it for you since they are so simple to
Keep in mind, if
you decide to replace your current security camera system with these
cameras and you will be installing lots of cameras, you may need
more internet bandwidth to handle the 720p video uploads when the
cameras are on line and activated or being viewed by you.
You can purchase these cameras a many places, including
Frys but the price is pretty much the same at all locations.
you would like to visit the Dropbox website to get more information,
you have questions or need assistance, please contact me at
214-773-7377 or send me an