Home Security Camera & Automation Tech

staz

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Dec 2, 2004
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The cradle of the game.
[Background: Our Dynamark home security system protects against burglary/intrusion/fire and is monitored remotely via landline to a staffed service center. An alarm results in the immediate dispatch of PD and/or FD. Our insurance discount basically pays for the security and landline services. But our system has no cameras. And adding Dynamark cameras increases the security service costs, but doesn't increase the insurance discount.]

So I'm shopping for 3rd party security cameras - mainly so we can keep an eye on deliveries, arrival/departure of service personnel, critter visits, etc. Consumer Reports ranks Nest #1, followed closely by Arlo, Ring, and Eufy. Looking for 3 or 4 well-built, wireless/rechargeable outdoor cameras, with good range, and viewable remotely on an iPhone. Don't really need to store video for more than a day or so. Thinking further steps might include home automation (lights and HVAC), so expandability and compatibility with something like HomeKit or Alexa is important.

Eufy looks interesting:
https://www.eufylife.com/products/variant/eufycam-2c-4cam-kit/T88331D1
Thoughts?
 

tonyandpals

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Mar 18, 2004
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I have Reolink poe (not wireless) cameras at home and I like them. We have Ring to watch coming and going on a vacation property. I'd just say you might want to expand the need to look back further than one day. If there is a crime or something you need to check up on, it could be unnoticed for days or weeks. That said, most of the ones you mentioned have online storage for at least a week at very little cost.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Nov 8, 2004
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Thoughts?
I love my Nest cams. Dead simple to set up.
I've owned Arlo and Blink (I think my robo-vac is Eufy), but Nest is the bomb when it comes to your needs. I live in a city, reasonably high traffic and these have never failed in the dozen or so instances when needed (big, small or nothing at all). Like T&P says, it is worth paying for at least a week of history... you won't be reacting in real-time.
 

lars10

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Jul 31, 2007
7,862
Have three nest cameras and I think in general they're great... very easy to set up as others have said.. and we have two of them on solar panels which seems keep two of them charged for a really long time. The batteries aren't bad either..it really depends on how often they alert. There are two downsides... if you lose power, you lose wifi and they basically become useless, but this is probably true of all cameras really...but also if your wifi goes down you lose contact with them. The other issue we've been having is that it will sometimes alert, but the video seems to start late. Not sure why it's happening that way, but there will be times I'll walk in the door without getting filmed. Generally it's a really good system and Ring's family of products in general are really good and there are a lot of items other than just the cameras and security.
 

Batman Likes The Sox

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Dec 28, 2003
1,864
Madison, CT
Like most, I can probably only talk about what I've got. It was time for us to update our wifi and the good reviews of the Google Nest mesh Wifi router system led me down that path.

Then when it was time for video doorbells (installed in the event that our kids ever get home from school and we're not there, so they could at least alert us and go to a neighbor) we stuck with Google Nest. Those worked well and when I wanted a camera outside for the other part of the house, same thing, Google Nest. This in particular (along with some Google thermostats we then had installed) was to make sure that all of these things were more or less visible on the same app for ease.

Now we can control the HVAC and use the cameras all off the same Google Nest app, which is what I was looking for.

It all works well.

I don't like to fiddle around with different systems unless there's a very good reason to, and so I'd suggest looking at what you think you might install over the next 5 years or so and see if you can get that all within the same ecosystem.
 

jercra

No longer respects DeChambeau
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Jul 31, 2006
2,866
Arvada, Co
Have a look at Wyze. The Wyze outdoor fits all of your needs and costs around 1/3rd of other systems. They have a doorbell cam coming out in January and their other cameras are also excellent. If you pair with their "cam plus" cloud service you get access to bunches of other services such as cloud recording, person detection, person ID, pet detection, car detection, package detection, etc. for $13 a year. I've been a huge fan of theirs since they launched a few years ago and they've just continued to get better and better while keeping prices very low.

Edit to add a bit related to the above comments: They do also have door locks, open/close sensors, thermostats, sprinkler controllers, lights, plugs, etc. so you do get the benefits of an expanded ecosystem. To some degree, it's my biggest complaint with them. I hate trying to squeeze everything into one app. I want an accessible API so I can connect home automation software into my systems and Wyze does not support that yet. They integrate with Alexa and Home/Nest, but not things like OpenHAB.
 
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Gash Prex

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Apr 18, 2002
5,455
I use Ring Alarm and Ring cameras all integrated in the same app (along with some Alexa devices in our home).

All works really well together - I can answer any specific questions.
 

staz

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Dec 2, 2004
17,868
The cradle of the game.
Have three nest cameras and I think in general they're great... very easy to set up as others have said.. and we have two of them on solar panels which seems keep two of them charged for a really long time. The batteries aren't bad either..it really depends on how often they alert. There are two downsides... if you lose power, you lose wifi and they basically become useless, but this is probably true of all cameras really...but also if your wifi goes down you lose contact with them. The other issue we've been having is that it will sometimes alert, but the video seems to start late. Not sure why it's happening that way, but there will be times I'll walk in the door without getting filmed. Generally it's a really good system and Ring's family of products in general are really good and there are a lot of items other than just the cameras and security.
Like most, I can probably only talk about what I've got. It was time for us to update our wifi and the good reviews of the Google Nest mesh Wifi router system led me down that path.

Then when it was time for video doorbells (installed in the event that our kids ever get home from school and we're not there, so they could at least alert us and go to a neighbor) we stuck with Google Nest. Those worked well and when I wanted a camera outside for the other part of the house, same thing, Google Nest. This in particular (along with some Google thermostats we then had installed) was to make sure that all of these things were more or less visible on the same app for ease.

Now we can control the HVAC and use the cameras all off the same Google Nest app, which is what I was looking for.

It all works well.

I don't like to fiddle around with different systems unless there's a very good reason to, and so I'd suggest looking at what you think you might install over the next 5 years or so and see if you can get that all within the same ecosystem.
Have a look at Wyze. The Wyze outdoor fits all of your needs and costs around 1/3rd of other systems. They have a doorbell cam coming out in January and their other cameras are also excellent. If you pair with their "cam plus" cloud service you get access to bunches of other services such as cloud recording, person detection, person ID, pet detection, car detection, package detection, etc. for $13 a year. I've been a huge fan of theirs since they launched a few years ago and they've just continued to get better and better while keeping prices very low.

Edit to add a bit related to the above comments: They do also have door locks, open/close sensors, thermostats, sprinkler controllers, lights, plugs, etc. so you do get the benefits of an expanded ecosystem. To some degree, it's my biggest complaint with them. I hate trying to squeeze everything into one app. I want an accessible API so I can connect home automation software into my systems and Wyze does not support that yet. They integrate with Alexa and Home/Nest, but not things like OpenHAB.
I use Ring Alarm and Ring cameras all integrated in the same app (along with some Alexa devices in our home).

All works really well together - I can answer any specific questions.

Thanks everyone, very helpful. My only reluctance to Nest is bringing in yet another (Google) ecosystem, as we already have Amazon/Alexa and Apple/Siri stuff everywhere. But maybe there's a way to integrate Nest with what we already have.
 

lars10

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Jul 31, 2007
7,862
Thanks everyone, very helpful. My only reluctance to Nest is bringing in yet another (Google) ecosystem, as we already have Amazon/Alexa and Apple/Siri stuff everywhere. But maybe there's a way to integrate Nest with what we already have.
Sorry.. I meant to say ring cameras.. we have nest door locks.. I don’t think you could go wrong with either though.. their apps are easy to use and their products are very nice. I understand the reluctance to have multiple systems though.
 

staz

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Dec 2, 2004
17,868
The cradle of the game.
Ended up going with a 2-pack of the Arlo Pro 2:
https://shop.arlo.com/cameras.pro2/VMS4231P-100NAS.html?_ga=2.221382353.876378185.1606404597-1879096087.1606404597
Apple Homekit compatible
Wireless, outdoor-rated
Free 7-day recording to cloud
1080p
$249.99

Wanted a 3 or 4 camera system, but for $250, I can start small and see if this platform is work investing in further, with additional cameras down the road.

Thanks again to all!

edit: Update

10 days in, really satisfied with the Arlo Pro 2. Very easy install, good hub to wireless camera range, 7-day video archive is "free forever", good image quality. Only con is the hub must be connected to ethernet cable - can't work off a wifi signal alone. Will be adding a 3rd camera soon.
 
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FanRoy

lurker
Aug 14, 2008
39
Orlando, FL
Hello,

I own a small business - a class-based microgym. In a few months I will be moving to a new facility that's about 2,500ft2. When I move, I want to offer 24/7 access to members who choose to upgrade to that feature. This is kind of a lot to ask in here, and I still think I haven't quite fleshed out entirely what I need to switch to this type of system. But I was hoping some of you here may be able to guide/help.

I'm looking for a bunch of tech that I can "integrate" into one hub. I'll have security cameras, smart lock, and maybe a Sonos music system connected, if it makes sense to do so.

I'm thinking four cameras should be able to cover the entire inside of the facility (outside cameras are taken care of by the owner of the building). Ideally those cameras will store to the cloud, though if it's better to simply buy cameras that connect to a hard drive, I'm open to that. But I definitely want to always have access to the security feed from my home/computer. I think I'd prefer wireless cameras, unless wired cameras are simply better tech/value. The smart lock will be on my front door only, and I'd want it to be able to handle up to 100 or so unique fingerprints/bluetooth connections for my members. And I'd like for it to be connected to the system so I can check on who is entering the building and when. And, because I have no idea how smart locks work, I assume it will automatically lock itself as soon as someone has entered and the door has shut behind them? At least that's what I'll want it to do. Even better if I can have it on a schedule for that type of thing. Also, is there a way to connect a motion-sensing smart light that would be by the door for whenever people enter at night?

A friend of mine has told me about a device called the Ubiquiti Dream Machine Pro that should be able to integrate everything, but when I try to read about it, the tech jargon is a little much for me to be able to parse what's being discussed. Any thoughts/recommendations? Also, do you all have any preferences for cameras/locks/lights/technology that I am probably missing for this undertaking? Am I missing anything? Ideally, I'd like to stay as close to $1,000 as possible, but I would definitely spend more if it makes sense and makes my life easier.

Thanks so much to anyone who might be able to help!