Devices for Your Goals Smart Cameras
What It Is
A smart camera is a video camera that connects to a mobile app. There are smart cameras for outdoor and indoor use. They can be purchased on their own or as part of a package of devices (such as a smart security system). In addition, some smart devices have cameras built in, such as smart displays and smart doorbells.
Smart cameras use Wi-Fi so you can view the camera feed on the app on your smartphone, the screen on a smart display, or even your TV screen. Some cameras have microphones that provide audio with the video feed, and still others have speakers built in enabling you to speak with someone on screen remotely, like an intercom.
Smart cameras may come with the ability to detect motion and send notifications to your mobile device or smart speaker; record portions or all of the video feed and store it on the cloud for a specified length of time; and pair with other smart devices such as lighting. Some smart cameras can even distinguish between people and other signs of movement so you aren’t getting a notification every time the wind blows a leaf across the screen.
How It Helps
Smart cameras can be used in a variety of ways. They can make it possible for you to see areas of your property that may otherwise be inaccessible, and to check in on your property remotely, providing peace of mind. You may also choose to give a family member or caregiver access, making it possible for them to check in on you.
Here are some examples of what you may be able to do with a smart camera:
- Receive a notification when someone is at the door and view the visitor without having to physically go to the door.
- View hard to reach areas of the home such as closets to identify clothing or an attic that is inaccessible but used for storage.
- Monitor pets in various parts of your home.
- Keep an eye on your home or property if there is any risk of burglary or trespassing in your community.
- View the pantry to check what you have in stock while you’re at the grocery store.
- Receive remote support and check-ins from family and caregivers from a distance.
By mounting a camera in an area you use frequently that may have a higher risk for falls caregivers can check in – in a garden, for example.
- Keep an eye on the nature that surrounds your home or watch your garden grow.
- Hold a conversation using a two-way camera with the person on the screen.
By installing a camera with a microphone and speaker by your door, you can receive an auditory notification that someone is there and speak with your visitor. You can tell a delivery person to leave a package, or tell your neighbor you’ll be home later.
- Receive a notification of movement inside or outside your home on the app or via a smart speaker.
If your smart camera allows, you might set it to record a portion of video any time the motion detector is triggered, in case you’re unable to check the feed at the time of the notification.
- Pair your camera with another smart device such as a light.
Set up the camera’s motion detector to trigger a hallway light so you don’t have to walk down a dark hallway at night.
Choosing Your Device
Choosing the right device for you depends on many factors, including:
- What you want to do with the device
- How you want to do it
- Your accessibility needs
- The layout of your home
- Your internet connection
- What devices you would like to integrate together
Once you have a good idea of what you want and need, research which products can help. Reviews can be very useful to understand each product’s strengths and limitations.
The following guides from Wirecutter review a number of smart home devices, including smart cameras:
- These Smart Home Devices Can Enhance Independence for People With Disabilities and Mobility Needs
- The Best Smart Home Devices to Help Seniors Age in Place
Below are some of our favorite review websites. Many of them have “best of” lists for smart devices, as well as in-depth reviews of specific products. Try performing a search online using the name of the website plus the device type and the year. For example: Wirecutter best smart camera 2021.