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It’s Boxing Day and that means all the tech that we’ve been eyeing all year is on sale! While you’re browsing the latest and greatest, I want to share a few reasons why I recommend picking up a web-enabled security camera.

I never thought I’d want a security camera at my home. After all, they are a little invasive and cost more money than I cared to part with… and for what purpose would I really need one?

Fast forward to today; not only do I own several security cameras… but here I am, writing about why I think you should also consider getting one too!

My first experience with a security web camera wasn’t even my own. My parents were getting ready to go on vacation and happened to pick up a small cheap web camera to watch over their home.

My father is always adamant about someone going to the house every few days to check on things, citing insurance reasons as to why he wants to check on the house (floods, burglary, etc.). My dad was concerned that his children (ahem… me and my brother mostly) may be too busy to check on the house as often as he would like. He may have had some experience with this during a past trip. But I digress.

My father pulls out this little white box and asked that I help him install it (read: install it for him). The installation was an absolute breeze and took less than 5 minutes and practically installed itself. Wow. That was easy. However, my hopes weren’t too high as he told me it was just a cheap (about $40) camera.

I pulled up the app on my phone and signed in, and passed the login details to my brother as well. At first, the quality looked a bit rough, but then I realize it defaulted to SD (standard definition) mode, so I switch to HD (high definition) mode, and then a crystal clear 1080p image came through. I can easily “check in” on the place from anywhere… less driving for me! I can even launch the app and live stream to my phone.

Fast forward a few days and my parents are sailing on some boat in paradise enjoying the tropical breeze, while I am stuck in a typical frigid Canadian winter. I think I had logged into the camera once to check the place out it was night and the camera has an infra-red sensor making it very clear to see in the dark. It was all quiet and everything was in place. It didn’t take long for me to decide watching paint dry is about as exciting. So, I exited the app. My duty as a son was done for the day, the home fort was safe.

In the middle of the next day my phone abruptly got an alert… There is motion detected at my parents' home, it warned! Oh my… I quickly click the button and launched the app on my phone, mentally preparing myself to catch a burglar red-handed. As I pulled up the clip to watch it, I catch the neighborhood cat, walking by the window on his way to enjoy sunning on the deck. Whew. Crisis averted.

Wait a second! I didn’t realize this camera did motion detection. Heck, it even drew a green box around the area where it has detected movement, so you can focus your attention on it! This is when the camera started to get more interesting to me.

The next day I got another alert… the cat again. Later that day I got another alert… it’s a cloud that choked out the sunlight. At this point, I was very impressed, but also a little annoyed, so I quickly went into the settings and to see which sensitivity settings I can change.

The next day I got a notice of a sound detected. This thing detects sound too? I quickly launch the app and much to my surprise, it’s the phone ringing in their house.

Now you’re probably thinking that this could get annoying – and it could – but a quick adjustment to the sensitivity settings. Problem solved.

This simple camera has gained my respect… It automatically detected MOVEMENT and SOUND, and uploaded a small clip to the cloud for free, where it stayed for about 14 days.

Fast forward a few weeks and my parents arrive home at 8:14 PM. How do I know? The camera alerted me. I launch the app and see the little clip that is sent to the cloud. I then click to see a live stream. I could hear them clearly talking and walking around the kitchen area. I notice there is a microphone button on the app, and so I start to have a conversation with them, through the camera. Granted it’s not as natural as talking through the phone (due to a slight delay), but it did the job, and they told me about their adventure traveling home.

While using the app, I wondered, how much bandwidth it uses. It shows the live amount of data while you are streaming, and its jumping from about 70kb/s to 120kb/s when in HD mode. Keep in mind it isn’t using this much data all the time, as the camera is pretty smart and only uploads small clips (when motion or sound is detected), to the cloud.

After having used my parents' camera for a few weeks, I have to keep reminding myself this is only about $40. Wow, the IoT (Internet of Things) revolution has arrived, and items are starting to become affordable!

Fast forward one year: I get a dog. A puppy. He’s cute. He’s small. His name is Gizmo, the red Toy Poodle. This is my first dog ever. I’m new to this...

Gizmo being weighed

So, can you guess what I got? Yup. I broke down and bought the camera.

I truly believe you should consider getting a security web camera for several great reasons:

  1. Watch over your house and valuables!
  2. Watch over your pets and kids!
  3. Peace of mind.
  4. It’s kind of cool. (Bonus reason!)

These devices are far more than just cameras. They are peace of mind. My anxiety around Gizmo is eased knowing that I can check on him when we do leave him for short durations. I can even talk to him, if necessary (though extremely confusing for him).

At the end of the day, I am very, very happy to be enjoying this technology, that just a few short years ago, I would not have considered, plus would have cost a lot more money.

As rural Canadians, it can be nerve-wracking when there are no neighbours nearby to hear a ruckus or keep an eye on things. A camera might ease your nerves.

It is also a great warning to any potential intruders or porch pirates: SMILE! You’re on camera.

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