How to keep an eye on your home when away from home.

How would you like to use your mobile or tablet to check up on your property while you are at work, or even away on holiday?

Modern surveillance systems are now available off the shelf in many electronics stores. They offer peace of mind and constant over-the-web access to the people and places you value most.

But are they any good and more importantly are they secure?

 

First up, let’s look at the premise.  These plug and play systems are advertised as being designed to “help you watch over the people and places you care about the most.” They are good for general home monitoring and peace of mind while at work or on holiday.  Pet enthusiasts can use them to keep an eye on Mr Tibbles during the day.

I should stress that these are not “spycams” or nannycams which are generally disguised to look like other objects.

Both of the systems tested for today’s show are relatively simple to set up. However, as with most network connections, you’ll need to be patient and prepared to read the manual.  It is very important that you follow the instructions to make it secure as it is possible for ne’er do wells and tabloid journalists to gain access to unprotected systems.

I am of course referring to last weeks sensationalist story in a Sunday Tabloid which claimed video cameras were being hacked into.  The article provided “proof” by mentioning three links the reporter had found online and one live camera link to a PC repair shop in Canada.

In reality most leading camera systems are secure, but you do need to apply the correct security protocols depending on your level of paranoia.

My advice: 1. Make sure they are password protected. 2. Don’t point them at anything that could identify the premises or individuals. 3.For real peace of mind use dynamic ip addresses (these change constantly so even if someone gained acces they would lose it 5 minutes later). Your ISP can help provide these for about $20 per month.

And now, to the cameras and viewing systems:

Petvision is a plug & play internet camera allows users to remotely view their pets from a mobile phone. Using the touch screen on the mobile device, the camera can pan & tilt around a room, enabling owners to check in on their beloved pets.

Remote viewing is achieved by using a smart device, such as Apple iPhone/iPad or a wide range of Android Phones/Tablets. Alternatively, users can view live video via the supplied PC software or by logging in online using a standard internet browser.

PetVision Live is very secure and cannot be accessed by unauthorised users for two mains reasons:
Each camera requires a specific Camera ID and Password to gain access
The cameras use Dynamic IP Addressing (as opposed to Static IP addressing, which ISP’s charge users around $20 per month). The advantage of Dynamic IP addressing is the IP address is constantly changing, making it virtually impossible for unauthorised third party access.

Website: http://www.petvision.co.nz
Price: $499 inc GST (each), two camera bundle $898 (save 10%), four camera bundle $1696 (save 15%), flexible operating lease packages, starting at $29 per month
Rating: 4 out of 5
Logitech Alert Outdoor Master System

The system is a weatherproof, night-vision video security system that lets you monitor any outdoor space. It comes with a smart camera, powerful software, and free remote viewing. You can log in to a secure site to monitor your property live from anywhere, on your smartphone or any computer and record up to a week of HD video, even when your PC is off.

Product Website: http://www.logitech.com/en-nz/webcam-communications/video-security-systems/master-systems/devices/7252
Price: RRP $549.90
Rating: 4 out of 5.

And you can monitor your system on a tablet device such as the Huawei MediaPad from 2 Degrees.

The MediaPad is a very well featured 7” Android 3.2 tablet offering fast internet speeds, great battery life and a slim profile for the ultimate portable media experience, including the ability to monitior your video security system through a browser or an app.

This sleek and compact all-in-one tablet offers social networking, emailing, e-books, music, games, access to the web and more.

Price: $549 including the first 2 gb of mobile data
Available from: 2Degrees stores and website, http://www.2degreesmobile.co.nz
Product website: http://www.huaweidevice.com/worldwide/productFeatures.do?pinfoId=3135&treeId=3290&directoryId=5011&tab=0

All prices correct at time of publishing. Products subject to availability.