Security is something that most home and business owners are concerned about. The use of 24-hour monitoring and electronic security equipment is actually quite common in urban areas, and in many business locations. There are also many rural properties that are wired to send alerts to police or emergency services should an alarm be triggered too.
Is there any sort of system that can be set-up without the need for a fee-based 24-hour security system? Yes, it falls under a few different names, but is generally known as IP based video surveillance. This is a DIY project that requires only a bit of research, planning, and comparison shopping in order to achieve optimal results.
The advent of the wireless era has done much more than allow people the ability to make telephone calls from just about anywhere. It has also created a unique opportunity for a homeowner to purchase cameras, receivers, and software that can be used wirelessly to create a non-stop form of surveillance. The homeowner will need only to understand the sort of monitoring required in order to choose the best components. For the purpose of this discussion we will closely examine some of the costs and materials required for the installation of a home-based IP video surveillance system.
What does a video surveillance system require? Generally, the equipment includes:
- software installed on a dedicated or home computer;
- A USB receiver plugged into an available outlet;
- Wireless security cameras mounted in all appropriate locations; and
- Network-attached storage (NAS) devices or a DVR.
A summary of the fees for such a system would include:
- Cost of 2 digital cameras with an LCD monitor: $450;
- NAS equipment with 1 TB of memory: $168; and
- Installation fees of four hours with licensed electrician: Between $260 and $340.
he prices for this list of items can vary wildly according to the options selected by the homeowner. For example, software can be entirely free of charge and allow the user to rely on the company website to log in and see what the video surveillance system is recording. Alternately, there are high-priced packages that ask the user to manually configure cameras to the PC or Mac and will then use the home network for advanced remote operation through a mobile phone or laptop computer. The average prices for "pro" versions of software, however, stand at $75, with some asking annual membership fees.
The data recorded by the cameras can also be retained permanently if the homeowner invests in a DVR or NAS. The NAS is a collection of hard drives that can store the hours of footage, and provide up to 4TB of memory. The average NAS will cost $499 and is the best option for IP video camera surveillance.
Where costs vary most dramatically, however, is in the price of the cameras. According to Popular Mechanics the cheapest options will cost around $100, and the most high-quality models will reach around $950. The differences between them include the ability to pan, tilt and zoom, to run microphone and audio out jacks, and WiFi functionality without the use of the PC. Opting to rely on full-featured video surveillance cameras would mean that the homeowner who checked in through a web browser and saw neighborhood children playing near the backyard pool could activate the microphone and give them a verbal warning to leave the premises!
If cameras are equipped with wireless sensors their prices can climb even higher. For example, there are some units with the ability to detect motion, sound, and even temperature fluctuations. These are also usually "smarter" cameras that will begin recording when an event is detected and which will also send out images or alerts via a LAN (local area network) connection in the way the owner requested. For instance, a motion sensor that detects movement at a back door might trigger a cell phone call to the homeowner, and also send an image file depicting the event. The starting price for cameras of this type is $280, according to