Are you interested in setting up a simple camera monitoring system at home (or at a small office)? Here are a few options.
Nest, the company that brought you the “smart” thermostat (and is now owned by Google), has a new product that we’re interested to learn more about. It’s called Dropcam.
Dropcam is a video camera that can be used for home security and baby monitoring (and business security too, if you have a small business). Cost is $200 for one camera.
It’s supposed to be super simple to set up, and works on your wifi network. Plug it into your USB port on your computer for initial setup; then disconnect and put it wherever you want to start recording.
You can watch the video from your iPhone or Android phone using their app. Camera can be set up to turn on or off at specific times, or it can be motion-sensitive. It can even push alerts to you if it senses movement. The camera is also infrared, so it can “see” in the dark.
There’s also a separate charge if you want Dropcam to store your videos on its website for a week ($99/year) or a month ($299/year). So you can go back and review the footage if something has happened.
Another option is Vuezone, from Netgear. It’s a small wifi camera with infrared that you can set up anywhere in your home. It has iPhone and Android apps so you can see what’s being recorded. With this system you also need to purchase a base station. For 1 camera and base station the cost is $130; for 2 cameras plus base station it’s $200 (so you get twice as many cameras as the Dropcam for the price).
If you want to get alerts and have Vuezone save your video for later viewing, the cost is $50/year for up to 5 cameras and 250MB of storage, or $100/year for up to 15 cameras and 500MB of storage.
A third option is Belkin’s NetCam. Like the others, it connects to your wifi network, and you can watch video from your mobile phone (or computer). Also like the others, it’s got an infrared camera.
The camera, which is HD wide-angle, costs $130.
You can set up an account to have video saved whenever the camera detects motion, for later viewing (up to 30 days). Right now the cloud video saving service is free; after the initial testing “beta” phase there will be a monthly fee (prices to be announced).