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There’s not a worse feeling than pulling up to your front door and seeing it left wide open. Glass shattering on the ground, the uneasy feeling chills up your spine. But, we’re sure you already know the value of smart security cameras. Today we’re going to give you the low-down before installing smart security cameras.

Do you know what’s worse? Knowing you could have done something to ramp up security, but continuously put it off.

If you’re a complete beginner to smart home security, you don’t need to spend a fortune, and you don’t need to lock yourself into a prohibitive contract either. Sure, you can get plenty of professionally-monitored systems, but it’s certainly not necessary.

Another point worth noting is that if you tried experimenting with the old-school IP cameras, you might have found them ridiculously complex. Tech has evolved significantly and ushered in ease of use alongside enhanced video and security.

So, before we walk you through what you need to know before installing security cameras, here are some general questions to consider…

  • Are you happy with a static camera, or do you want a camera you can shift around?
  • Do you want to access the app from your computer as well as from your smartphone?
  • How comfortable are you with tech in general?
  • Do you need a high-resolution video, or is standard definition OK for capturing security footage?
  • How would you like video footage saved, using cloud storage or locally with an SD card?
  • Is it your intention to use your cameras in tandem with other smart devices?
  • What’s your overall budget?

Taking the time to ponder these questions should point you in the right direction. There’s no right or wrong answer either, so think carefully about what you want from smart home security.

It’s now time to deal with the first decision you’ll need to make: indoor or outdoor cameras?

Indoor or Outdoor Security?

Smart security cameras are available for use indoors and out
in the yard.

If you’re looking to monitor kids or pets when you’re not at home, an indoor camera is perfect.

For anyone looking to improve security and deter burglars from trying to gain access, a weatherproofed outdoor camera achieves the best result.

Given the reduced use cases of indoor security cameras, for today, we’ll be focusing on outdoor cameras.

So, assuming this is the route you want to take, you’ll immediately see another confrontation appear

Wired or Wireless?

Outdoor security cameras come in 2 main variants:

  • Wired Security Cameras
  • Wireless Security Cameras

Wired Security Cameras

Wired cameras need wires for both power and also for video
transmission.

These cameras can be hard-wired
analog
or Power over Ethernet.

With this type of camera, don’t expect interference issues as the data is highly dependable.

If you have a large, sprawling home and you’re looking to
create separate protection zones, wired cameras can work well.

The severe drawback is installation; it’s not
straightforward. You’ll be looking at drilling plenty of holes for all the
wiring. Unless you’re confident with electrics, wired cameras are likely to
involve calling in a contractor, too. If you’re renting your property, this
type of camera is impractical.

Luckily, you can go wireless instead.

Wireless Security Cameras

The vast majority of wireless security cameras still need to
be plugged into mains power.

Some models have back-up batteries catering for any
interruption to your power supply.

Battery-powered models are more flexible to install since
you don’t need a power outlet but factor in the cost of replacement batteries.

You can also get solar cameras which are entirely wire-free.

Wireless cameras are super-simple to install, and you’ll get a versatile, portable security solution.

On the flipside, wire-free cameras tend to be costlier, and
they’re also prone to interference from nearby smart devices. Also, while
negligible, there’s more risk of being hacked than with a wired alternative.

With those significant decisions made, you should think next about connectivity.

Connectivity

Most security cameras use WiFi, but they won’t all use this protocol consistently.

Bluetooth cameras allow you to control things locally while also setting things up with your smartphone.

You can also find cameras that use Z-Wave
and Zigbee
.

With the vast bulk of cameras, you’ll be able to control them remotely using your smartphone. Many cameras are highly app-dependent.

You should also make sure the camera you’re looking at
supports your favorite digital assistant. Most now support Alexa and Google
Assistant. Some offer HomeKit and Siri support.

If you use IFTTT with your camera, you’ll be able to create ambitious automation incorporating other devices in your smart home. You can ensure the lights are activated, for example, in the event of any motion detection.

All you need to focus on here is finding connectivity that works for you. There’s no boilerplate solution, so make things personal.

App Compatibility

Almost all smart security cameras will offer free apps for both iOS and Android.

We would also advise downloading the app before you buy it anyway. After all, buying a camera and then finding you loathe the app interface is senseless when you can check it out first.

With compatibility established, look for what features on the camera come as standard and which you’ll need to lash out more.

When it to the app itself, it’s all about ease of use and user experience. See how the app feels and make sure you do your research.

Resolution

The standard resolution for security cameras as we approach
2020 is 1080p.

Most cameras zoom digitally and allow you to manipulate and
crop footage. The higher the camera’s megapixel rating, the more effectively
you’ll be able to zoom without sacrificing too much clarity.

Arguably more important than resolution in the field of
vision. A wide-angle lens will give you a field-of-view from 100 to 180
degrees. For more significant properties, opt for a camera at the upper end of
that range. You should also search out models that allow for mechanical
pan-and-tilting to let you monitor even more.

So far, so good.

How about storage, though?

Cloud or Local Storage?

Cloud storage is now the norm and means you won’t need to rely on SD cards unless you want to.

Check carefully for whether the cloud storage deal is tiered
and whether or not you’ll need a paid subscription. As a rule, the longer you
want footage stored for, the more you’ll need to shell out.

Many cameras will only start recording footage when motion picks up. It prevents hours of aimless recording and useless video eating into your storage allowance.

Although some people have security concerns about data
stored on the cloud, but imagine this…

Even if you’re concerned about the security risk of footage in the cloud, ask yourself this…

Also, if someone breaks into your house and steals not just your Christmas gifts but also the physical security camera, what happens to the evidence then? It’s gone, that’s what.

What Else To Look Out For

  • Audio Recording: One-way audio is perfect if you just need to hear what’s going on in general. The two-way recording comes into its own if you want to communicate with your kids indoors.
  • Facial Recognition: Some cameras like Google Nest Cam IQ boast face recognition. This means you’ll only get an alert if an unfamiliar face appears.
  • Night Vision: Make sure any outdoor camera you choose has night vision robust enough for your circumstances.

1) Flexible Systems Available For All Needs

With a wireless surveillance system, you’ll be up and
running in no time without needing to call in the electrician.

A wireless system is renter-friendly, and you won’t need to concern yourself with drilling or rewiring.

If you’ve got plans on moving any time soon, you’ll be able
to take a wireless system with you.

Wireless systems also make it easy if you need to re-position cameras at any stage.

2) Improved Security with Reduced Vulnerability

While wired security cameras work well most of the time,
that’s not the case in the event of a power outage.

Wired cameras are also vulnerable if there’s any
interruption to phone or internet services.

The finest completely wire-free alternatives come with battery back-up and a dedicated cellular connection. With wireless, you can protect yourself at all times.

3) Easily Expandable

Things change, and you might not always have the same needs with smart home security.

If you have kids, maybe you want to shift your focus indoors.

You might also find that you want to expand your outdoor
security.

Making any changes to a wireless camera system is a breeze, and you can ensure your system changes with your needs.

Let’s face it; everything changes…

4) Ideal For Multiple Homes

If you’ve got a second home, whether a vacation home or an
Airbnb, it’s invaluable to be able to check-in remotely and to get alerts of
any security breaches.

If you need to hire someone to look after properties, it can
be costly. Why not automate the process with a WiFi camera?

Many cameras allow you to have the authorities alerted automatically in the event of any irregularity, which can be extremely useful for second homeowners.

4) Ideal For Multiple Homes

If you’ve got a second home, whether a vacation home or an
Airbnb, it’s invaluable to be able to check-in remotely and to get alerts of
any security breaches.

If you need to hire someone to look after properties, it can
be costly. Why not automate the process with a WiFi camera?

Many cameras allow you to have the authorities alerted automatically in the event of any irregularity, which can be extremely useful for second homeowners.

4) Ideal For Multiple Homes

If you’ve got a second home, whether a vacation home or an
Airbnb, it’s invaluable to be able to check-in remotely and to get alerts of
any security breaches.

If you need to hire someone to look after properties, it can
be costly. Why not automate the process with a WiFi camera?

Many cameras allow you to have the authorities alerted automatically in the event of any irregularity, which can be extremely useful for second homeowners.

5) Highly Interoperable

The most effective smart home is far more than a cluster of
discrete devices operating independently.

You can easily integrate a wireless security camera into a
robust connected home. Watch out for the compatibility flashpoints we outline
above and enjoy total home security without spending a fortune.

Automating security gives you a sense of accomplishment, security,

Final Word

So, we hope you’ve got a solid overview of what you need to
know before installing security cameras.

Bookmark our blog for all the latest smart home news, products, and how-to guides. If you’re tempted to treat yourself to some new security cameras, why not sign up for our email newsletter?

The post What to Think About Before Installing Security Cameras appeared first on Smarthome Blog.

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