Where once a domestic CCTV system was the preserve of the paroanoid or the oligarch, today the web makes it easy and fairly affordable.
The trouble is that what can be done by a geek for about £50 is also quite tricky to pull off for the mainstream consumer, and hence the rise of a host of various solutions to make the process rather easier. Some of these attempt to utilise existing, redundant mobile phones, whose cameras may be able to become webcams that act as anything from a baby monitor to a security solution, while others use fuller service solutions. Some record to hard discs, while other, more sophisticated, use the cloud.
HomeMonitor is one of the latter. Made by Y-Cam it offers indoor cameras from £166, outdoor versions from £291 and free online storage for the last seven days, with more available if you want it for a one-off charge. An app or a web viewer lets you see what’s going on and notifications tell you if movement has been detected, in zones you can specify. Night vision makes these useful when it’s dark, which is more than your recycled smartphone could likely offer.
All of this makes for a superb system that is easily set up – plug in the camera, enter its unique code, and away you go. Wireless or wired options are supplied, and screwing the robust yet lightweight cameras to the wall is straightforward.
Critics will suggest that this is much more money than anyone needs to spend – Y-Cam is not the cheapest way of setting yourself up with an external camera. But the app is straightforward, the website decent enough and the various controls make it easy to define specific areas that are the ones where movement between certain times might make you suspicious.
All of this adds up to a powerful if pricey system, adding the web to an existing idea, and removing the need for tapes.
Rival systems do exist – electronics giant Maplin sells huge amounts of the UK’s CCTV cameras – but where HomeMonitor excels is in a single, simple set-up that is expensive but neat. If you’re not a geek, it offers the power of the cloud and the security of CCTV for a similar price to other, less sophisticated systems that require hard discs.See also: