Way back in the beginning of this series, our very first post entitled Front Door Security is Part 1 of 12 Months of Smart Home Improvements explored how smart doorbell cameras are one of the primary components in the creation of a safe and secure smart home. After that we went on to explore products such as smart locks (under the Safety and Security pillar of the 3 pillars of smart home products); smart lights, plugs, and switches (under both the Comfort and Convenience and Energy and Efficiency pillars); and smart voice assistants (solidly under the Comfort and Convenience pillar). These are just a few of the areas we have covered in the smart home improvements series thus far, before returning today to smart security cameras, with the goal of boosting their presence in and around your home, because, after all, more than just the front door needs protecting.
Join me in the remainder of the article as we discover why smart cameras are an essential component of a fully realized smart home, explore some of the key features to look for in smart security cameras, and take a look at a few examples of both indoor and outdoor smart camera setups.
Why Add Smart Security Cameras?
Smart security cameras come in 3 main varieties: indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, and cameras designed for use in either scenario. There are many good reasons to add a smart camera (or better still, a few smart cameras) to your smart home setup. These include protecting your family and property, being able to monitor what’s going on in and around your home (even when you’re not there), and overall peace of mind when it comes to your home’s security. Whether it’s indoor or outdoor cameras (or both) that most interest you, there’s something for everyone in this particular realm of smart home products, and their features are many and varied.
Key Smart Camera Features to Look For
Some of the key features you might want to look for when choosing your smart security camera setup are as follows (please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and not every smart camera model is going to have every feature mentioned):
- HD Video Recording – Most (if not all) of the top smart security cameras on the market today are going to offer a reasonably high level of at least 720p, if not 1080p, video resolution quality. This will ensure that you get the clearest possible view of anyone that might have the nerve to trespass on your property.
- Motion Detectors – Most smart security cameras today offer motion detection capabilities, meaning that if/when someone moves in front of the camera, it will detect that movement and then begin recording. This means that the camera doesn’t have to record video constantly, which would lead to its internal storage being overwritten very quickly and frequently, and would also make it nearly impossible to watch back all of the footage you’d capture when trying to check for trespassers.
- Night Vision – It’s obviously very difficult to see anything clearly in the dark, but cameras with infrared night vision can give you a very clear image of whatever they happen to see. If you’re concerned about people prowling your property in the wee hours, you’ll definitely appreciate a camera with night vision capabilities.
- App-Based Control with Smart Phone Compatibility – Smart cameras today feature their own dedicated app with which to control them, and those apps are usually fully compatible with both iOS and Android based smart devices. Always check that your own specific device is compatible with your desired camera model before you make your purchase.
- Instant Notifications & Alerts – If you’d appreciate an instant heads up whenever your camera catches something worth recording, you’ll want to make sure that your chosen system offers text or e-mail based notifications to let you know immediately whenever something is going on. This way you can quickly assess the situation and react accordingly (i.e., you may need to call the police, rush home quickly, or take some other action to protect your home and family).
- Two-Way Communication – Sometimes you may need to speak to someone that’s on your property when you’re not there yourself. It could just be a delivery person, but it’s always good to have 2-way audio communication for just such circumstances. If the person you’re addressing has evil intentions, you’ll be happy to have the chance to scare them away when they realize that they’ve been caught in the act, whatever it may be that they’re up to.
- All-Weather Durability – If your camera is an outdoor model, it’s probably going to have at least some level of all-weather durability. Still, not every model is created equally, so you’ll want to look for something that’s certified to stand up to intense cold and driving rain (such as having an IP66 Certification for protection against heavy rain).
- Cloud Based Storage of Your Video Recordings – Many, but not all, security camera systems offer you the ability to store your recorded clips remotely via a cloud based storage service. Sometimes there’s a basic level of storage that’s free and a higher level of storage that requires you to pay a monthly fee. Alternatively, some cameras record to external hard drives or have built-in Micro SD cards to handle your recordings. Space is likely to be a concern with some of these options, so cloud based storage can be an excellent feature if you don’t mind paying the monthly fee.
- Easy Installation – You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches if you seek out smart camera systems with a reputation for easy installation. Always look for models that offer simple and straightforward installation to help you get your system up and running as quickly and easily as possible.
A Few Excellent Options
Indoor Smart Camera from Nest
An excellent example of an indoor smart camera is the Nest Cam Wi-Fi Indoor IP Camera, which offers such features as 24/7 live video streaming, night vision capabilities, 2-way audio communication, wide angle viewing, smart phone alerts, easy installation, and numerous other features. You can even use this camera with a Nest Aware subscription (for saving your footage to a cloud, among various other benefits), and, of course, it also “Works with Nest” (as in it works in conjunction with other Nest smart products that you may have in your home). With a camera like this on duty, you can leave your home for periods of time ranging from a few hours to a few days or even weeks while always feeling like your property is safe and secure under the protection of its ever watchful eye. It’s the ultimate in indoor peace of mind!
Outdoor Smart Cameras from Netgear Arlo
On the outdoor side of things, you might like the NETGEAR Arlo Wireless Security System with 4 Wire-Free 720p Cameras (these are the cameras pictured in the header of the article, as well as again immediately below). Key features here include an entire network of cameras working in conjunction to keep your home safe, fully wireless (Wi-Fi) connectivity, wide angle views of your property, night vision capabilities, 720p HD video quality, long lasting batteries, and an all-weather design that’s fit for Canada’s many diverse climates. Whether you’re at home or away, for work or for play, the exterior of your home is always in good hands with Arlo! And always keep in mind that Netgear Arlo has a wide selection of indoor cameras available for your protection as well.
No modern smart home would be complete without a decent smart camera setup in place, and there’s certainly no shortage of high quality brands and camera models to choose from. I would suggest spending a little bit of time on Best Buy Canada’s Smart Security Camera web page to see all that’s available and determine which brands and models have the features and specs you’re looking for in a style you find appealing. Taking the time to make the best possible selection for you and your home will leave you feeling safe, satisfied, and filled with peace of mind.
Check out Best Buy’s other great articles in the 12 months of smart home improvement series!