A Home Security Camera
Security has never been more important to ordinary people. It used to be that only companies and those with million dollar homes cared about their houses being secured. But that’s changed now and part of that reason is because the devices needed for security are no longer exorbitantly expensive. Think of the past when you had to buy an expensive subscription to a company who so nicely provided security devices to use in the home — the price of the devices didn’t matter because what was paid every month was huge in comparison. But now just about anyone — not highly technically minded or heavy on DIY (do it yourself) — can install devices on their own to provide security in the home. So what choice does one made when looking for a security camera that can be easily installed and used? Obviously the biggest issue is being able to plug that camera into a wall outlet for power — needing to have electricity nearby dictating where the camera can be installed really doesn’t scream ease of use. So the mindset needs to move away from a camera that must be plugged in to a camera that has its own internal battery for supplying power. But even that is not enough, because that battery has to last long enough to make putting up a camera worthwhile (especially if the camera is being used outside where getting to it and taking it off for charging turns out to be more trouble than it is worth). With all of this in mind, that the SpotCam Solo 2 has all kinds of additional features seems almost unimportant. But it does make a difference in choosing this camera over others. So let’s drill down the details.
Storing What Gets Captured
Capturing and storing the video that the camera is seeing can be done in two ways: the first and most privacy-oriented method is to use the built in SD card slot. This will take an up to 128 GB SD card and so stores the data inside the camera. For sure the card can be removed at any time, but that does mean removing the camera from its mount. The second way to store what is being captured is through the “Cloud.” a number of services are provided here, with the first being totally free and based on 7 days, at which time all contents are flushed for the new 7 days to begin again. Other choices increase the storage capacity time — 30/180/365 days — obviously there is a monthly cost attached. Please note that the app will allow you to “grab” content and download/save locally.
The camera physically is designed to withstand the elements, and so can be used outdoors as well as indoors. The 180 degree wide angle lens gives you an efficient view that takes the peripheral into account. That it is 1080p high-definition means that fine details show up, both in normal lighting as well as when the “night vision” goes on (using invisible LEDs) to illuminate for a great distance. Two-way audio lets you hear and talk through the camera, so if its being used at the front door, then it’s an easy matter to have a conversation.
Power needs to be provided to the camera, and as noted earlier it uses an internal battery — but for indoor use the fact that you can use an adapter to plug into a wall outlet is a nice addition. For outdoor use the battery makes the most sense, and it charges over a few hours to provide up to a month of use (obviously the more time it is activated, the more use of the battery and the less time before it needs a recharge). We set it up outside our garage overlooking the street and after 10 days it was still going strong. So even if it doesn’t last for weeks on end, it certainly lasts long enough to make using it wire free worthwhile.
Mounting and Connecting
The biggest bugaboo about using an internal battery has always been just how much trouble was involved to get the camera off its mount and then restore it to the original position. In this case, the camera uses a mount, which is normal for most cameras, but how the camera itself attaches to the mount is different. Instead of the camera being secured to the mount using screws or some adhesive, what is being used is magnetic attraction. Strong magnetic attraction of course, which makes for easy mounting and angling of the lens.
Now once the camera is charged and mounted, it’s time to get it on the home Wi-Fi network. To be reasonable, it makes more sense to do this with the camera in hand, rather than mounted. Regardless, the app (iOS/Android) uses Bluetooth and so makes it a simple process to have the camera join the network — working on the 2.4GHz network which allows for a good distance between camera the router/Wi-Fi transmission. The app, which is already being used for a video doorbell, provides simple functionality for motion detection as to when something passes into a created “zone” or for viewing what the camera sees or being informed as to the camera viewing potential invasion of the lens’ space. Alerts can be sent as messaging or emails and so being kept in touch is a simple manner.
The SpotCam Solo 2 does not require a hub and connects with digital assistants Amazon Alex, Google Home, IFTTT and Conrad Connect. It retails for under $100 and further details can be found at https://www.myspotcam.com/en/welcome/wire_fre