A security expert once said how astounded he is by the fact so many victims of crime say the criminals “came out of nowhere“. Clearly, they didn’t … they’re around us all the time. So, why don’t we spot them more easily? Ok, so they don’t have identifying signboards around their necks, two heads, or even look dodgy half the time, so how can we be expected to notice them, let alone catch them in the act?
That’s just the thing. Today we can catch them in the act – from anywhere in the world! Integrated into a home automation system, IP cameras (Internet Protocol cameras) are changing the way people live and interact with their homes.
But CCTV has been around for years, you say. What makes IP cameras different or special? IP cameras are CCTV’s sophisticated cousin and home automation systems‘ new best friend. Basically, an IP camera is a video camera that can transmit images and video through the Internet, and the camera itself has an IP address.
What this means for a home or business owner is you can see what’s going on at your property from your computer, tablet, or smartphone with Internet access, from any remote location – on the planet – at any time.
It gets even smarter though. As part of your home automation system setup, IP cameras can be programmed to alert you when they receive certain responses. For example, you could set up your IP cameras to send an alert to a certain device or set of devices (laptop, smartphone, or both) whenever someone approaches your gate or front door.
So, you’re in a hotel room in Florida, USA. You get the alert, check what’s going on and there, at your gate – halfway across the world in Johannesburg – are three strangers, looking suspicious. You have cause for alarm and are now thanking yourself for having invested in a home automation system with IP cameras, because it would now appear your house is about to be broken into.
It will only take you a few seconds to hit the right buttons and send the right help to your property, avoiding a possible crime and even, perhaps, getting the bad guys into cuffs. Crisis averted, and you can get back to enjoying your holiday.
The capabilities of IP cameras also include two-way connections that enable a user to talk to someone in view of the camera. Take the above scenario as an example. You’ve contacted your security company and now the guys are on your property doing an inspection. They’re well aware you have a home automation system with IP cameras and know where the cameras are. So, when one of them is in view, you can actually have a conversation to get even better insight into what’s going on at home.
Homeowners have also been impressed with how flexible IP cameras are, as they can be installed anywhere on a wireless network and moved and changed around at will without affecting their performance.