While working with a client for a high end residence, he brought up the video door bell gadgets that are all over the internet and in every Lowes or Home Depot. The objective was to have a decorative camera that would recognize video motion and record video and sound for visitors at the doorstep.
There are quite a few of these products available on the market, and for the general consumer they are probably a good fit. But for our client base, a high end residence will typically have an integrated security and access control system, including video cameras. Products like Ring and SkyBell must be used with a contract service that stores the video in the cloud, and are typically accessed and viewed via a smartphone app and are proprietary in nature. This means they don’t support standards like RTSP or ONVIF which would allow off the shelf network video recorders (NVR) to record the video on-site or remotely as part of a comprehensive monitoring service.
To make things worse, these cameras typically operate over WiFi, and do not have any kind of battery backup. Unreliable wireless communications and unreliable power don’t make for good security. But at the same time we don’t want to add some industrial looking door bell to the client’s residence. So what residential products like this are available currently that we can connect to our own NVR? Nothing. Really…. nada, zip, zilch. There are currently no low profile, decorative products commercially available that will support a hardwired video connection and operate as a standard doorbell camera.
Another option was a product with a security camera integrated into the porch light. Kuna makes some great looking products that would fit most any residential style and decor. But again, these products lock you into a monthly cloud service contract with proprietary protocols that are not available to 3rd party NVRs. The Kuna Maximus product almost fits the bill too, providing good looks with security lighting, 720P video and two-way voice communications, but it still requires WiFi and is proprietary.
Someone Please Build This:
Here’s a product idea for high end residential and ornate commercial environments that want additional security. Take a product like the Kuna Maximus where you have a decorative security light with a built in camera, but instead make it with the following features:
- Motion Triggered Lighting (two-level lighting for soft accent lighting and full power security lighting when motion is detected).
- 2 Megapixel IP Camera with Night Vision, H.264 video codec.
- Two way audio communications with built-in microphone and speaker.
- Support for HTTP, ONVIF, RTSP, FTP, SMTP, DHCP, DDNS, and SNMP protocols.
- 10/100 Ethernet via built in powerline adapter, plus 802.11ac Dual Band 2.4G/5G Wireless support
So here’s the thinking behind this. Almost every residence has a porch light at the front door. This device would replace the existing wall mounted porch light, using the exact same 2-wire 12o VAC power that already exists. It operates as any other motion security light, either “off until motion sensed”, or “1/2 brightness until motion sensed and then full brightness”. It takes any standard Edison bulb. The good part comes in where we add the camera that can use WiFi (if you must) or the built-in powerline Ethernet interface, allowing you to connect it to your own home network using a powerline module plugged into the wall near your router and then via CAT5 to your router. From there it can behave as any other network camera on your NVR, or it can operate standalone with video motion detection and send emails when triggered, or upload via FTP to a web server, or whatever. The powerline Ethernet adapters allow us to avoid WiFi where we can, and use the existing power wiring, eliminating the need for additional CAT5 cabling to the light. If video is centrally monitored, the remote operator could communicate via IP audio to the person in front of the camera using a video management server.
This product should already exist, and quite frankly I can’t believe it doesn’t. It would probably cost less than $300 retail, and I’d not only be using them on every executive residence that I was responsible for, I’d have one on my own home too. And if you really want to have some contract service to store video in the cloud, fine… just don’t make it the only option.