We live in turbulent times. Even though COVID-19 dominates the headlines it doesn’t mean that illegal activities have disappeared. Unfortunately, people need cash to finance their drug habits and who knows what else.
When my next-door neighbor’s home was robbed recently, the concept of breaking and entering became very real. It was time to batten down my Kaimuki home and, look around for a camera system.
My main parameters were that it had to be wireless and easy to install. I did some online homework and found a well-reviewed system from Arlo was sold at Costco. This unit was tempting but all the video was stored in the cloud and you had to pay the company a monthly subscription to access it.
I was looking for an option to review content locally.
I found a product called EufyCam 2, which is manufactured by Anker, which makes high quality chargers, power banks, and other peripherals.
The EurfyCam2 comes with two (Wi-Fi) enabled, battery-powered cameras. One of the big selling points is that the cameras can run on a single charge for up to a year. The set is priced at $300 on Amazon.
The cameras feature a 140-degree field of view, and capture video in 1080p resolution which is plenty high res. They also provide night vision, two-way talk, and motion detection. The cameras are engineered for outdoor use and rated “IP67”, meaning they are waterproof. The system will integrate with both Alexa and Google Assistant as well as Apple’s HomeKit, so video can be viewed on an iPad or AppleTV.
It will also store video on 16GB of embedded memory. You can get additional storage option in the cloud through a pair of subscription options.
Installation was painless. Simply add a phone app and charge the cameras in the same manner as charging your cell phone. Just follow the directions on the app and add an ethernet cable from your router to a base station (that comes with the unit). Then, synch each camera with the base station by pushing a button.
The next step is to determine how strong the Wi-Fi signal is between the cameras and the base station. If it’s not strong enough, you may have to shuffle the location of your Wi-Fi booster, which is what I did with my Eero unit.
The time-consuming part is to figure out where to place the cameras for maximum coverage. This took some time. The manufacturer recommends you mount them 7 to 10 feet high which entailed mounting a ladder and experimenting with the camera angle. Figuring out the best placement takes some time.
The kit comes with mounts and requires you to drill a pair of holes into an exterior wall. Not terribly complicated. You just need a cordless drill.
The EufyCam 2 works really well. Motion detection was reliable and the quality of video, which I watched on my cellphone, was excellent. It will alert you whenever the camera spots movement. A human-detection option allows the system to recognize human shapes and filter out cars, animals, and other moving objects. It works most of the time although I occasionally get alerts at night, perhaps from a stray cat. (We’ll see if the batteries last a year).
I consulted with my brain trust, Andrew Lanning, co-founder of Integrated Security Technologies, an Oahu company that installs high end security systems for DoD and Critical infrastructure. He’s leery of wireless systems (they can get hacked) and pointed me to https://nvd.nist.gov/ a U.S. government repository that tracks product vulnerability. I did not find any reported issues with the EufyCam 2.
The cost of wired systems, installed by professionals, says Lanning, depend on variables such as camera megapixel capacity, day/night vision, length of data storage, etc. Prices can range from $25-$40.00 month plus $500.00 worth of gear at the low end for an easy install and short-term cloud storage, to $40 or $50, or more per camera per month plus $2000.00 for higher end system.
If you have the means, a wired system is the best bet but if you’re a DIY practitioner, the EufyCam2 is a great, inexpensive option.
Rob Kay, a Honolulu-based writer, covers technology and sustainability for the Honolulu Star Advertiser and is the creator of Fijiguide.com. He can be reached at Robertfredkay@gmail.com.