Home & small business surveillance systems are almost exclusively found in one of two categories; highly complex and expensive, or wildly inadequate and of poor quality, yet cheap. The journey for many people starts when they have some sort of incident and realize a camera system is likely a good idea. This leads to investigating options where they find a basic system will cost them well over $10,000 for the hardware alone which simply isn’t in the budget. Naturally they find themselves turning to consumer grade systems such as Wyze, Ring, or whatever cheap knockoff brand Amazon is selling this week – a big mistake that can prove costly when the system fails at the exact time you need it functioning. Thankfully, there’s a middle ground.
I work almost exclusively with Unifi’s “Protect” system which offers a simple, yet robust lineup of options at a price point that’s well within reach of even home users. Let’s take a look…
The Unifi Protect system is based on the idea of a “controller” with various devices (cameras) connecting into it. The controllers come in two main flavours, the UDM-Pro (A full router, switch & NVR together as one), or the CloudKey Gen2. Both options offer onboard video recording to a hard drive, and operate as the brains of the system. If you wish to add redundancy to your surveillance footage, or to expand your storage pool beyond the basic single drive, you can add on the NVR (Network Video Recorder), which allows expansion to 4 drives (including storage redundancy). The software based controller takes care of all of the heavy lifting, and acts as your full featured interface. You can connect into your device using any web browser, or a dedicated app on any Apple or Android smartphone to view real time footage, archived footage, or even make adjustments as needed. Alerts can easily be setup for motion, and can be customized to send different types of alerts to different types of users!
Want to receive motion activated alerts, between specific times, on specific days? No problem! Do you want to get notification from a specific camera, but you don’t want other users to receive them too? We can do that. How about customizing the view of what cameras can be seen by different users? Absolutely! Block access to more sensitive cameras for some of your employees, while still gaining access yourself. Everything is granular, and we can customize it all. When an alert comes in, you can be notified by an email, or through your mobile iOS or Android app. See the alert, and get a snippet of what just occurred. It’s quick, easy, and you’ll have full control at your fingertips.
Sometimes checking a web browser or your mobile device isn’t the solution you’re looking for – but instead a display of sorts. For your business you may want a view of all cameras behind the counter, in your office, or for your concierge or security desk. Get creative and provide a live view of your loading dock for your shipping department, or behind the reception desk to monitor the vestibule or a lobby out of sight. For home uses you may want a small monitor somewhere in your home to monitor the backyard, the pool, places where your children play, or even the front door. It can all be done easily with the UVC-ViewPort PoE. Just a simple small adaptor that’ll plug into your network on one side, then provides an HDMI output to any monitor you’d like. Setup a customized view of anywhere from 1 to 26 cameras all on one screen.
Through ample research and some customizations, I can even integrate snapshot footage of any of your cameras into a (seemingly) live view of any of your cameras. Ubiquiti provides instantaneous photo snapshots through API calls into any camera protected by a secure connection. Pull your images in real time and utilize an image refresh interval for almost live action ( > 1 second) to periodic snapshots (~15, 30, 60 seconds, etc). You could even broadcast a live feed of a camera to your family website, write a script to scrape stop-motion progress on a project being built, or use the images to display real time footage on your home automation control tablet. We’re happy to help you find awesome and creative uses!
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