Home Security – Finally Consumer Friendly!

Technology is changing rapidly in the home automation and home security markets.  The old wired (various cable options) is now becoming a thing of the past with new technologies that leverage batteries and have a life span of multiple months if not years!

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2017 is going to be my year to upgrade a variety of Foscam cameras at my home.  I opted for 480p (indoor) or 960p (outdoor) wireless technology that is incredibly frustrating to maintain, configure and leverage.  Seems like I have to reconfigure everything at home and on my phone every time the power goes out, my router resets, or any other changes like that.  But when it works, everything records (motion) to my desktop. The mobile app is also cheap, maybe $3, from Foscam (real time view/audio, etc.).

Current Inventory:

  • 4 Foscam Interior Cameras @ 480p Resolution (Wifi)
    • One is mounted at front door outside! Works fine 1+ years (but looks terrible)
  • 1 Foscam Exterior Bullet Camera covering driveway

Before I explain some key decisions, I want you to be familiar with a couple terms, as well as some key features that are important to me.

New Buzzworthy Terms

  • Lithium Ion Battery – More expensive battery, but enables longer camera battery life.
  • Geo Fencing – This is a nifty feature that can detect when you’re home (such as detect your phone) and turn off false alerts when you are home.
  • In a perfect world I’d like free cloud storage for ~ 1 week.  This means I don’t need to have a computer always recording material.  Usually if a robbery or security issue occurs you’ll be able to pull material within a few days that is relevant.  I’m not interested in storing years of material even though storage is cheap.

My Recommendations as of May 2017:

Interior Only Winner:

  • Winner Chicken Dinner : Logitech Logi Circle $170
    • 1080p video streaming
    • Alerts on your phone when Circle detects motion
    •  FREE CLOUD RECORDING & STORAGE for 24hrs 
    • The only camera with a free 30-second time lapse Day Brief created from the last 24 hours
    • PORTABLE & RECHARGEABLE: Move Circle off the charging ring (up to 12hrs)
    • I am specifically not discussing other available pay/subscription features

The next few suggestions are some of the highlights out of the 10+ camera solutions I reviewed and investigated.

Interior & Exterior Consideration:  The one-two punch at a price.

  • Arlo Pro –  3 Camera System + Base Station $579
    • My Pros:
      • Wire free solution
      • Weatherproof – Indoor & outdoor
      • “Pro” model introduces rechargeable batteries, lasts perhaps 3 months, plus or minus
      • 2 Way Audio available
      • 7 Day free cloud recording (5 devices)
      • 100 Decibel Siren (mounted where you want, can be motion sensing)
      • Night vision
      • Local backup options by directly attaching a hard drive to base station
      • A bit future proof by interfacing with other smart home devices
      • Powerful brand, so tends to have better app interfaces, etc.
      • Very easy to setup
    • My Cons:
      • Most expensive solution by far, at this price you just expect the best of every feature
      • May require accessories for mounting and protection
      • Video delay when it begins recording.  Much worse with first generation but still a continued problem with second generation
      • May be tricky to swap batteries based on mounting locations
      • Video quality is not scoring as high as other cameras

My Choice:  Blink, but I have to waaaaait until 2Q2017 or 3Q2017

CES2017 announced a new suite of cameras and home security options for Blink slated for later in 2017.  So in my mind it is worth the wait for both better technology (XT Models which just hit the market May 2017) and package deals with the home security suite.

The home suite leverages things like water sensors, door sensors, an arm/disarm panel, etc.  I am a very OCD homeowner in regards to prevention and this seems to be the right blend of technology pieces finally coming together.  I’d love to be notified of a leaky basement if I am out of the house!  Another brilliant feature I didn’t see with other competitors is the ability to hire a professional to monitor your system while you are on vacation for a few bucks (3Q2017). The icing on the cake is that it’s the value leader and by far the best bang for your buck.

I will be investing in the second generation Sync Module and XT (2nd Gen) cameras.  In addition, when the bundle for home security options become available I will be investing in that as well.  This camera met my needs of being able to spy on my house (did I leave the garage door open?!) and also capture any criminal activity which are my primary needs (not talk to my dog).

Blink XT Indoor/Outdoor 1080p Security Camera  (I would suggest waiting for the 4G capable 2nd generation Sync Module)

My Pros:

  • Motion Detection Recording
  • Wire free technology and leverages WIFI to send alerts
  • Battery powered using lower cost easy access AA Lithium Batteries and gets an industry leading 2 year life span! (This is due to Sync Module + Special chip technology)
  • Easy to install, leverages apps for mobile devices
  • Free cloud storage with NO monthly fees
  • Integrates with Amazon Echo

My Cons:

  • No audio options
  • Will eventually need to switch batteries.
  • Around 100 ft proximity from Sync Module

Current Generation:  Still a great 720p solution that is compatible with XT Cameras (Sync Module). So if you’d like to pull the trigger now, feel free.

 

DIY for life,

Justin

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