How to choose a good IP camera
5 top tips for simple home surveillance
Always have everything within view via your smartphone, tablet or laptop – this is the promise of IP cameras, which are increasingly becoming just part of the furniture in homes across the UK. An app on your smart device controls the camera, so you can check with at the click of a button that everything’s fine at home when you’re on holidays, watch over the baby in the nursery or ensure the pets are behaving themselves. If any movement or sound is detected, users receive an email or a push notification on their mobile device.
Nowadays consumers considering buying an IP camera face a tough choice, with a wide number of models in store and online. The ‘perfect IP camera’ will always differ for each user, depending on their usage requirements, but the following five tips could help facilitate the selection.
Price isn’t everything – it’s performance that counts
For many, the price is the decider. There are cameras available for around 50 quid – even in the supermarket. However it is in a user’s best interests to closely scrutinise all options. After all, what good is a bargain basement baby monitor camera that only works in the day because it doesn’t have night vision function?
Easy to install and manage
If the camera isn’t simple and quick to install, those extra features users pay for seem unnecessary. Some users find they need a tech expert to become involved in what should have been an easy installation, or have to thumb through hefty handbooks to learn how to use the camera. Smartfrog has proven that installation of IP cameras need not take longer than 5 minutes – its new low-cost solution for home monitoring has been on the market since October this year.
Don’t compromise on the essential functions
Quality of the primary functions shouldn’t be ignored when buying an IP camera, even with a less-expensive model. One of the deciding factors should be the image quality: better to go with HD and resolution from upwards of 720 pixels. Models with VGA level (640 x 480 pixels) are not recommended. Other key features should include live view, alarm upon movement or noise detection, microphone, speaker and night vision function.
An essential aspect in the selection of the camera is safety – after all, we’re talking about sensitive data. Taking care to choose a trustworthy provider is crucial for anybody who wants the convenience of checking in on their living room from anywhere in the world. Top among criteria for this should be that all transmitted data is encrypted via SSL, similar to the online banking process. The video data should be stored in ISO certified high-security data centres.
It is possible to find an affordable camera model with a number of great extra features. In addition to the important basic functions, Smartfrog offers a package from £4.95 per month, including video cloud storage, geo-fencing and time-lapse function, along with the ability to turn the footage into short video clips and share them with friends privately or across social networks. In addition to this, the user can mark out a specific zone that they want to monitor closely (for example, the front door or elderly parents’ medicine cabinet).
Smartfrog (http://www.smartfrog.com/) is a tech company focused on the “Internet of Things”, which is about making everyday objects more intelligent and connected to the internet, e.g. via an app. The aim is to make the everyday lives of people more comfortable and more secure by making modern technologies user friendly and affordable. For this, Smartfrog has developed a universal IoT-Platform designed to build dedicated solutions across product areas. Having started with security and monitoring as a primary area, it offers an easy-to-use and affordable complete home security solution, so that users can always keep an eye on their home and business at any time and from anywhere. The package starts at €5.95 (£4.95) per month, with no minimum contract period and monthly cancellation. It includes the Smartfrog app, allowing users to manage up to ten cameras, a Smartfrog Cam and video storage.
Among the shareholders and management of Smartfrog are the founders of internationally renowned IT and internet companies. Charles Fraenkl is CEO. International VC-funds such as e.ventures, Target Global and renowned family offices as well as Jean-Pierre Wyss, co-founder of u-blox AG, a leading Swiss high tech company, are involved as investors.