Smart cameras - install

Smart security cameras can enhance security and peace of mind. They are popular devices, and for good reason. These intelligent surveillance systems offer advanced features that go beyond traditional security cameras. In this article, I’ll explore what smart cameras are, and why you should consider adding one to your home.

Smart cameras - rain

What are smart cameras

Smart cameras, also known as IP cameras or Wi-Fi cameras, are connected devices that capture and transmit video footage over the internet. They are equipped with various features such as motion detection, night vision, two-way audio, and mobile app integration. Unlike traditional security systems, smart cameras can be accessed remotely on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. This allows you to monitor your home and control the smart camera in real time, provided you have internet access.  

There are indoor and outdoor options available. The outdoor cameras are designed to withstand the elements such as rain, wind, and sun exposure.

Benefits of smart cameras

Smart cameras are easy to install. You simply need to download an app and follow the instructions to get them up and running. Once set up, you can enjoy the following benefits.

Increased home security

One of the primary reasons you might want to opt for smart cameras is to enhance home security. Smart cameras offer several features that bolster your safety measures. First, they act as a deterrent. The presence of visible cameras makes potential intruders think twice, reducing the risk of break-ins and theft.

Second, smart cameras detect motion within their field of view and send instant alerts to your smartphone. This enables you to promptly respond to any suspicious activity, whether you’re at home or away. Lastly, they capture high-definition video, allowing for clear and detailed footage. This is invaluable for identifying individuals or providing evidence in the event of an incident.

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Remote monitoring

With smart cameras, you can monitor your home in real-time—even when you’re not physically present. This remote monitoring capability brings several advantages. For one it brings peace of mind. Whether you’re at work, traveling, or running errands, you can check on your home and loved ones at any time. Another advantage is vacation monitoring. They enable you to keep an eye on your property while on holiday. This way, you can monitor for any unexpected activities or ensure that your home is secure.

That’s not all. Smart cameras are also great for remote pet and child monitoring. They can be particularly useful for keeping tabs on pets or monitoring children when they’re home alone or under the care of a babysitter. You can check in, communicate, and ensure their well-being from afar. A good tip is to let pet caretakers and babysitters know that you have cameras setup. 

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Real-time alerts

Smart cameras offer real-time alerts, keeping you informed of any suspicious or noteworthy events. For example, when a smart camera detects motion, it sends instant notifications to your smartphone. This allows you to take immediate action, such as contacting authorities or assessing the situation remotely.

Another real-time use case you might appreciate is package delivery notifications. With porch pirates becoming a concern, many smart cameras have package detection features. You’ll receive alerts when a package is delivered, ensuring that it is collected promptly and preventing theft. Lastly, smart cameras provide sound detection. Some smart cameras are equipped with sound sensors that can detect loud noises or specific sounds like glass breaking or smoke alarms. This feature is helpful for early detection of potential emergencies, such as a break-in or a fire.

Integration with other smart home devices

One of the key advantages of smart home technology is its ability to integrate and work seamlessly with other devices. Smart cameras are no exception. If you already own other smart home devices, you can integrate cameras with them with smart home automation. I recommend connecting them with smart lights or smart locks so you can create automated actions such as nighttime routines to arm cameras and lock all the smart locks. Another example of integration is when motion is detected by your smart camera, all the outdoor smart lights can automatically turn on. 

Voice control

Many cameras are compatible with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. You can use voice commands to view live video feeds or control camera settings without having to use your phone. For example, if you hear something at night, use voice assistant to play the footage on a bedside smart display to remotely review any suspicious activity. Without using your phone, and just using voice control, you can view live feeds on smart displays or even smart TVs.

Smart cameras - outdoors

Smart camera features to consider

There are a wide variety of cameras to choose from. To help decide which one is right for you, there are several features to consider. First, decide how you want to power the camera. There are both wired and wireless cameras. If you have a power source nearby the area you want covered, choose a wired camera. For other areas without a power source, wireless cameras are a great option. They are battery-powered so they will need to be charged a couple times a year. A good tip is to use wireless cameras for nighttime monitoring. That way, they only turn on when motion is detected extending the battery life over time.

Another consideration is storage options. Most record footage to the cloud whereas others record to a micro-SD card. If you go the cloud option, you will likely need to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee. This allows you to record multiple feeds of video footage directly to the cloud for remote viewing.

Getting started with smart cameras

Smart cameras are a great investment but with so many choices, it can be tough to know where to start. Read this smart home security camera buying guide. It tells you everything you need to know about smart cameras and setting up your own home security system. If you’re new to smart devices, read this buying guide first to learn how you can create your own smart home.

Shop smart cameras at Best Buy online and in-store.

Andy Baryer
Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.