Wi-Fi-based webcams or IP-cameras are becoming more and more prevalent in the home. A main reason for this is their decline in price in recent times as well as the ease with which they can be installed. A recent entry into this already jam-packed market is the new Ezviz Mini Wi-Fi camera. The Ezviz Mini is a simple, 8.9cm tall unit that weighs less than 120g featuring a 16GB memory card. It is very simple to install once the camera has been activated through the free Ezviz application available for both Android and iOS. The activation process involves making use of a basic QR code check to link the camera to the app followed by linking it to a nearby Wi-Fi network. After that, the video camera and its integrated microphone will keep an eye on everything in its field of view, with users able to access the device directly or through the internet. The application itself can supply live feeds from 4 Minis, as well as serve up saved pictures or video clips from either the integrated memory card or from the cloud. It can also be used to make real-time video captures and pictures. The included 16GB memory card is able to capture approximately four days of intermittent video clips even in the most active of domestic environments, but if more is needed, the SD card can be replaced with a larger size up to 64GB. When the memory card is full, the oldest clips are then overwritten with new ones. The Mini also has night vision which is very responsive to changing lighting conditions, automatic switching on when light levels are too low. The sound, meanwhile, was pretty much the only negative, as it tended to be inconsistent and sometimes difficult to understand. It also generated some pretty annoying feedback sounds if the smart phone application was open within earshot of the Mini’s microphone. Nevertheless, this is yet another good contender for keeping a close eye over your most valued possessions.
A new company based in San Francisco has combined a computer, a home security system, and a personal assistant into a single device called Angee. The unit can be managed remotely and is able to send out alerts to owner’s smartphones, and features an HD video camera for both day and night use. Once set up, Angee gets to know the habits of family members, activating and deactivating as appropriate. In addition, its video camera revolves around its axis to provide full 360-degree surveillance of the area it is located in, as well as using several passive infrared motion-sensing tags. These tags are small discs that can be attached to doors and windows anywhere in the home, providing complete surveillance coverage. Angee can also be untethered from its power supply as it contains an integrated rechargeable battery which keeps it operating for another eight hrs without external power – also useful in the event of a power cut. Angee identifies unusual events using a variety of parameters, including motion, access to the home, alterations in background sound, and voice recognition. The device also keeps track of family members in the home via their Bluetooth signal being emitted by their cell phones and by their voices. If Angee senses troublesome activity when homeowners are away, an alert is sent out through WIFI and the internet followed by video streaming from the device. It doesn’t stop there, with Angee including other neat features for example, if rain is forecast, Angee notifies house members to close the windows. Now all we need it to do is actually close the windows itself…maybe a future iteration!