Lots of homeowners hope to get away for a vacation this summer, but they may be somewhat apprehensive about leaving their house and property unattended and vacant. There are lots of steps that can be taken to help ensure the safety and security of your home and valuables while you are away, and one category of options that many people are exploring is high-tech surveillance equipment.
There was a time not too long ago when these kinds of technological tools were really only available to law enforcement agencies, commercial businesses, or actors in James Bond movies. But with the widespread use of the Internet and a proliferation of technological breakthroughs in the field of wireless communications and digital imaging, camera-based surveillance systems are now affordable to almost everyone. Homeowners can set up a system or have a qualified contractor install it for them and then check on their home, their belongings, and even their pets while away – using simple, easy-access Internet connections via a basic laptop computer or similar Internet-enabled device.
The system from the company Avaak Vue, for example, includes a camera and a motion detector. Each part of the system costs about $200, and additional cameras can be added for about $100 while an outdoor camera capable of withstanding the elements will cost about $150. So if you wanted to install a camera on each floor of a 2-story house plus an outdoor camera – and attach motion detector systems to each camera – the whole package would run approximately $1,000. Once it’s up and running you can get mobile alerts sent to you via e-mail or cell phone to let you know if something has activated your motion sensors and cameras.
All of the cameras are battery-operated, which makes this particular system easy to install, and wireless info is transmitted to you via your network router. You can then view the images on a secure website page.
The Logitech Alert system, on the other hand, costs a bit more (about $300 more per camera) and uses your home electrical system to power itself. The software runs on your home computer, and you can get alerts and other info sent to you for about $80 per year in additional service fees. Similarly, there are lots of other systems in the marketplace from companies like Schlage – the same enterprise that is known for making padlocks and dead bolt systems.
One of the most evolved home camera surveillance systems is made by Cernium, a business that is responsible for many of the security cameras in places like public airport terminals. The home equipment with a 4-camera configuration costs around $1,500. The resolution on the Cernium Solo System is superior to that of most home camera systems, so that instead of seeing rather blurry or grainy pictures you can expect a crisper and sharper image.
This comes in handy, for example, when you are trying to determine whether the object moving around the room is a person or your Saint Bernard or whether the car in the driveway belongs to your friend, your neighbor, or a vehicle that you’ve never seen before that is driven by a complete stranger. Communications from the cameras go to the company’s server by using your Wi-Fi network or Ethernet connection. You can check in remotely as with other systems, but while the system is a bit more sophisticated that those offered by other companies you will also pay a small monthly maintenance fee for Cernium’s service.
Of course there are many, many other options for creating a system that helps you keep an eye on things while you are away, and your local security companies or electronics retailers can provide you with more detailed information. But the idea is that you can go away without being out of touch. Just because you cannot see your home from a café in Paris, your rented beachfront condo, or that fishing lodge hideaway up in the mountains, in other words, there is no reason why you can’t beam it up through your portable computer and check your home while you also check your email and Facebook accounts.