The Evolution of Home Camera Systems

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The Evolution of Home Camera Systems

This may come as a surprise, but evidence of first surveillance cameras dates back as far as 1913. Historians point to photographs taken throughout the Holloway prison as proof of the first known use of camera surveillance. Over the next century, camera technology has become state-of-the-art with HD resolution, compact size, and AI capabilities. Today, homeowners seek to protect their families and property with home security cameras.

A study conducted by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology showed that communities, where surveillance stickers had been posted outside of houses, saw a 75% reduction in burglaries. While protection is overwhelmingly the number one reason for investing in a security camera, homeowners are also motivated by its tools for efficiency and peace of mind.

According to ‘The Connected Home’ summary from McKinsey, one third of US residents “wonder what is happening while they are away”. The simple solution is a home security system which can send an alert to your smartphone if motion or abnormal sound is detected or provide a livestream that the owner can watch from anywhere using the app on their smartphone. This investment goes beyond safety and security and brings peace of mind.

In 2016, The National Purchase Diary released a report showing that home surveillance systems have been adopted by 10% of US homeowners. Within this group, 33% use only cameras, while 25% opted for additional accessories like motion, door and window sensors. These additional products allow for a more comprehensive

Of the homeowners that had security systems, 53% said that their incentive for using it was “peace of mind”. This ability to check in on family, pets, babysitters and elderly parents with the tap of a button is one that resonated with those consumers interested in a home security solution.

Sensors – A 360 Degree Secure System

Sensors allow for monitoring where installing cameras may be cost prohibitive or privacy could be compromised. A well-executed security system should allow for a large, or infinite, a number of sensors to be connected to a hub. This is because the majority of these devices run using Zigbee, a low power, low data rate, a wireless protocol which works between 10-100 meters. The sensors are battery powered and fixed-function products. Common sensors used worldwide include carbon monoxide sensors, water flow sensors, and motion (PIR) sensors.

When used in conjunction with cameras, sensors can make for a robust home surveillance system. There are many types of sensors that can be used throughout a home, not solely for security purposes, so it’s best to zone the home based on privacy levels and hazard zones. Please refer to the chart below with examples of which sensors will complement particular hardware solutions.

Room Type Privacy Hazard Zones Sensors
Bedroom High Emissions Motion Sensor (PIR) , CO Sensor
Bathrooms High Water Waterflow Sensor
Kitchen Low Water, Fire, Emissions Connected Camera, Waterflow Sensor, Heat Sensor, CO Sensor
Living Room Low Electrical Connected Camera, Smart plugs, Infrared Motion sensor for Night vision

Monitoring the System

Today’s smart security systems typically have three modes of monitoring:

  1. Professionally Managed
  2. Do It Yourself (DIY)
  3. A Hybrid of Both 1 & 2

The key differentiator amongst these offerings is how a 911 call is handled and managed.

Professionally managed systems have an active call center monitoring for any security alerts, such as a break-in, break-ins and calling 911 on the customer’s behalf. These services are costly and typically cost around $500 per year for the surveillance portion. While this provides “peace of mind”, the steep price isn’t the only challenge facing customers who opt for professional systems. The installation process usually requires a professional and there’s always the risk of a false alert resulting in dispatching the police, which could result in a fine.

Do It Yourself (DIY) is the wallet-friendly option, as it does not have active monitoring by a 3rd party, and the only cost is the price of the hardware. Many young people use a variety of sensors and cameras across different companies which may result in unforeseen challenges, whereas staying loyal to one company may lead to a lack in the motion sensor portfolio. Many DIY security systems offer E-911 capabilities through their apps, for a fee. This feature is especially useful when traveling because E-911 helps reroute the call to the appropriate 911 zone.

What about a third option? A hybrid that takes the benefits of both of the previously mentioned options and blends them together — this currently does not exist in the home security industry.

However, YI Technology’s line of Kami products allow users to use their AI-Edge driven connected cameras as a DIY-offering. The Kami Smart Security Base Station and its various sensors can be easily mesh-networked. In the near future, the Kami Home App will provide support for E-911 calls, thus creating a hybrid DIY-full-scale professional monitoring solution with fewer false alarms. Once this feature is launched, Kami customers will have the option to use an external call center to filter and route their 911 calls to the appropriate agency and location.

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