The do’s and don’ts of security cameras

If home security cameras seem a little extreme to you, consider that surveillance tech isn’t just for spy movies anymore; it can have a lot of very important uses, from nanny-cams to helping seniors stay in their homes longer by allowing caregivers to monitor them remotely. Home security surveillance systems also, of course, allow you to monitor unusual activity, enabling you to find out who is outside your home and what they’re doing there. With prices for security cameras typically in the hundreds of dollars, deciding on the right type of camera is important, but not always easy. Here’s what to look for and what not to do, when choosing a security camera for your home or home office.

DO:

Your research! Do you want full colour video or will black and white do? Are you concerned about setup, compatibility, features? You can easily research the latest security cameras online, but sometimes reading about these next-gen systems can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re not entirely tech-savvy. That’s when it’s good to have experienced people to talk to, like the knowledgeable techs at the Pro Locksmiths showroom.

Plan for the future: Before investing in a security camera solution, make sure it’s one that can be upgraded, rather than scrapped, when your needs change in the future. If you move to a bigger house, will you be able to add more outdoor/indoor cameras to cover the extra space? Is your camera system compatible with ‘smart’ products, which will soon dominate the surveillance system marketplace? What about the operating system, are there apps that can render systems compatible?

Spend the money: When it comes to home security of any kind, cheaping out isn’t always the way to go. You may wonder why two cameras that look identical are so different in price. No, people who buy the trusted brand aren’t necessarily burning $100 bills; often, cheaper cameras also come with cheaper hardware and software, and inferior ease of use to boot. When in doubt, go with the reliable brand; if nothing else, it will be better supported in the event that you do have trouble down the line.

DON’T:

Skimp on features. Can your camera record good footage at night? Will it alert your phone to suspicious activity or act as a communication device? Does it have free clip storage? These things might not seem important at the moment, but you have to plan for worst-case scenario, which after all is why you’re getting a security camera in the first place.

Forget to factor subscription fees into the budget: The cam itself may be cheap, but is there a monthly fee for features that are actually pretty basic? There are so many companies out there; some charge nothing on a monthly basis, others are heavy on the ongoing OpEx and you should take that into consideration when comparing systems.

Rely solely on the Cloud. Cloud-based services are better for camera manufacturers because it cuts down on the programming complexity required to process data, but the fact is that privacy breaches can and do occur; do you really want absolutely every detail of your comings and goings to be out there for all to see? Also, what happens when the Internet goes down? You lose complete control of your system. Hybrid devices that do use the Cloud but can also perform some functions locally, may be a great compromise.