A Smart CCTV System or IP Camera System brings the ultimate in security to your home. Home security cameras installed around your home give you a complete view on what's going on. Main entry points and any potentially vulnerable points such as gates, fences and french doors can have their own surveillance cameras to protect them. You can watch the video and images in real-time on a computer, smartphone or even your TV. Importantly, they can be recorded to a DVR (hard-drive) or even the cloud - this means you can always look back to see events as they happened. This can be a huge bonus in the unfortunate event of a break-in.
Vesternet have a very wide range of Smart CCTV and IP Camera systems which will meet all your needs whether you want a stand-alone system or one that integrates with a home automation system.
Choosing Smart CCTV and IP Camera Systems
There are a few things to consider when choosing a smart CCTV system. Some of this may sound like jargon, but each of the following points do make a difference in how the system can be installed, how it works and if it can be used with other systems.
Although there are numerous types of CCTV or IP camera available we broadly categorise them as Indoor, Outdoor and Doorbell/Intercom. The first two types probably need no explanation - Indoor Cameras are designed to be discrete and used inside the house, Outdoor Cameras are more robust, weather-proof and can be used outside. The Doorbell or Intercom type of camera aren't a CCTV system in a traditional sense, but they do allow you to view who is at the door. You can see the person on your smartphone or tablet, you can talk to them and operate access to your home. All of this can be done even if you're not actually at home.
This is an important area to consider as it affects how you will install the cameras around your home and how you can view them. There are three main types of camera connection:
- Wired IP Cameras - these cameras work directly with your home network (IP network). They are wired back to your Wi-Fi Router or other hub using Ethernet cable. This means that you need to plan how you will get cables to the cameras and around your house. As these are IP cameras their images are directly available on your home network and can be easily viewed on Smartphones and Smart TVs.
- Wireless IP Cameras - these are very similar to the wired IP cameras, their images can be easily viewed on smartphones as they directly interface with your home (IP) network. But as they're wireless you don't have to lay data cables to them as they simply connect to your Wi-Fi network. However, even though they are wireless you still need to have power available for them, although we do have some battery-powered Wi-Fi cameras available.
- BNC Wired CCTV - these are the traditional CCTV systems. They use BNC or Coax cable to connect each cable back to a hub or recording station. These aren't that common in the home automation or smart security world as IP-based systems are much easier to use with smartphones and TVs.
Storage and Recording
Storing images or video is an important part of the CCTV system. It means that you can take a look at what has been happening while you've been away - and can even help in catching people if there has been suspicious activity. The two basic ways to store video is locally in your home using a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) or in the Cloud.
- Digital Video Recorder (DVR) - this has been the traditional way to record images and video. Most vendor's offer a DVR style hub as part of their range - they are quick and easy to use. The DVR is a good system as once installed you can basically forget about it as it runs itself.
- Cloud Storage - this used the CCTV vendor's servers to store all the information on. This is convenient as you don't need any hardware such as a DVR in your home. However, you need to check how much storage you get for free and what the costs are for additional storage. Some vendors offer 7-days free and then charge for larger amounts of storage time (30-days etc). the other thing to remember is that you need a fast, reliable good broadband connection as the camera's will be streaming video up to the cloud all the time - if you have many cameras that can be a lot of data!!! This also raises a question of data security - the vendor servers are secure, but do you want all your activities filmed and streamed to the cloud 24/7? So if the system you are considering is cloud-based only, then consider cost, broadband speed and data security.
Home Automation Integration
The last thing to consider is how the CCTV or IP Camera system can interface with a home automation system. this may not be important if you are installing a dedicated CCTV system or one from the same vendor as your smart security alarm system. But if you are looking at Z-Wave home automation, then consider how your Z-Wave controller can handle IP cameras. Although the video isn't carried on the Z-Wave network, in can still be processed by the Z-Wave controller and displayed in the same app as you use for all aspects of your smart home.
Smart CCTV and IP Camera Systems from Vesternet
We have a wide range of IP Camera and CCTV systems from the world's major vendors in this market. We will have a system suitable for whatever your requirements are.
Foscam have probably the widest range of IP cameras available. They offer a huge variety of IP cameras including wireless and wired models, all types of resolution and size, accessories, DVRs, hubs and Kits. They also offer free cloud service if you prefer that option, and even have battery-powered true wireless cameras.
Yale offer a traditional wired (BNC-style) CCTV system with cameras and DVR. This will not work with home automation systems but can work with the Yale Smart Living alarm systems.
Nest IP Cameras are easy to use and install. They are purely cloud-based - all storage is on the Nest servers, and many features such as motion activation are done in software running in the cloud - so you must have a powerful broadband connection.
Ring have some unique Wi-Fi cameras that also incorporate a loud siren, so that they can act as an alarm if motion is detected as well as filming it. They also have their video doorbells if you prefer an intercom style device.
Beautiful indoor IP Camera with HD resolution.
From the makers of the VERA series of Z-Wave controllers, the HD cameras are available in indoor and outdoor versions, with optional cloud storage if required (paid for).
Nice range of Video Doorbell style intercoms with HD resolution and 180° viewing anvgle.
Other Security and Smart Home Guides
These guides show extra information on what can be done with Smart Security and home automation systems.
- Smart Security Guide - main overview guide explaining what's possible with Smart Security systems
- Securing your Home - complete guide about smart alarm systems at Vesternet
- Controlling Access to your Home - guide looks at smart access control systems and locks
- Protecting your Home - covers everything from smoke and fire to flood and leak protection
- Getting Started - short overview guide showing what is available in the home automation world
- Choosing a Z-Wave Controller - help selecting the most suitable Z-Wave controller for your needs.
- Choosing a Z-Wave Sensor - find out what Z-Wave sensors do and which are best for you.
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