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Have you ever wanted to setup a simple camera that you could watch live on your smart phone? Have a favorite pet you would like to check in on often? Or a child with a babysitter? Would you even like to speak to your doggie through the camera? How about watching the maid as she cleans your hotel room? Or maybe you would just like to see a live video of your living room while you are on vacation just to be sure the front door is still closed and your house has not burned down!! Have some latchkey kids you would like to keep an eye on? Or an elderly parent you would like to check on frequently? How about an area in your business that you would like to keep an eye on? Many of you have a warehouse with an open door that makes you a more likely candidate for intrusion and theft. Or how about a one person office with walk in clients? Want to go out back for a quick smoke? You can setup a camera at the front door and have a text sent to your smart phone as soon as anyone enters the room….

If you have security cameras at your office or home and someone breaks in and steals or destroys your DVR, the entire system is worthless, even though you probably spent well over $1,000 to have it installed. If you have no video recording of the crooks, you might as well have been using $19 dummy cameras!

A few years ago, you could not purchase any type of internet camera for less than about $300. The prices have begun to drop much lower the past year or so and I have begun testing various models to identify the most cost effective, reliable and user friendly unit available. I am a very big fan of Netgear and Dlink networking components, so I was very disappointed to find the cameras made by both companies were either very difficult (and in some cases, impossible) to set up or the accompanying software did not work at all, or both! I have spent lots of time and money in this endeavor and I could fill several pages telling you about the problems I had with all the various models, but instead I will tell you about the positive experiences I have had with the Dropcam pictured above.

  • The camera is very easy to configure. You will probably have your new camera connected and available to view online in less than 10 minutes. (If you try to connect your camera and it says it cannot connect to your wireless network, just try it again and it will usually connect on the second try).
  • You can position it on top of your furniture or desk, or you can attach it easily to the wall or ceiling with the included mounting plate. The camera itself is about the shape of a hockey puck and is slightly larger than an Oreo cookie.
  • You do not need to connect it to your network using a patch cable to set it up like you do for most other cameras; you simply connect the included usb cable to the camera and plug it into your computer. Then you run the setup program that is stored in the camera itself. Select your wireless network, enter the password, create a free Dropcam account and you are finished! Could not be easier. If you have several cameras, you will see a thumbnail of each one. Simply touch or click on one and you see live feed almost immediately. The video and sound quality are very good. Click here to see an example.
  • You can view the live video and very clear audio by logging onto your account at, or you can download the free dropcam app from iTunes or Google for your android.
  • You can actually speak through the camera to anyone you see in the live feed.
  • You can easily rewind the live feed for 30 seconds.
  • You can enable motion detection for any camera for any period of time. Turn it off during business hours, and on when you are closed.
  • When motion OR sound is detected during those times, you will receive a text and short video with the title “Motion detected” or “Sound detected”. And if the camera has seen the person before, it will label the message "Recognized video event". If not, it will say "Unrecognized video event"....
  • On some of the models, you can select the motion detection zone (high, med, low) so you won’t get alerts when your dog enters the room, but you will if a person enters.
  • The audio quality is extremely high. You could hear people talking in a room several feet down the hallway.
  • You can record video to the cloud for free for 14 days. After that, you can subscribe to any of several different plans. I use the 7 day plan which gives me 7 days of video and it costs $9.99 a month for the first camera and $5.00 a month for each additional camera. Of course if you plan to be away for more than 7 days and have alerts turned off, you might want to opt for a longer period of archived recording time.
  • If you have a recording subscription (called CVR) and someone breaks into your home or business, they can steal the cameras, but not before they are recorded and you are alerted (unless you install the cameras in a way that they can be removed from behind).
  • Although the quality is not exceptional, it does have night vision and will record in total darkness.
  • You can access (and configure) any camera on your network using your smart phone or your computer internet browser.
  • You can have an unlimited number of cameras installed at your home and office and see a thumbnail of each when you log onto your account. Then you simply touch the thumbnail you wish to view and  you will see it full screen, including crystal clear audio.
  • If you have a particularly beautiful garden, etc. and you want to make it available for viewing for everyone, you can set that camera to be accessed by the public and people from all over the world will be able to see your creation.(Click here for one example)
  • Or if you have something more private to show to your close friends or family members, you can easily send each of them an email with an invitation to log on and view the camera in real time. Just let your imagination be your inspiration here!!

At $150 each, these cameras are not the cheapest available, but if you buy a less expensive camera and the web interface does not work seamlessly for you on your smart phone and web browser, you have wasted your money. I have installed many of these cameras for my clients, but you probably won't need me to do it for you since they are so simple to set up.

Keep in mind, if you decide to replace your current security camera system with these cameras and you will be installing lots of cameras, you may need more internet bandwidth to handle the 720p video uploads when the cameras are on line and activated or being viewed by you.

You can purchase these cameras a many places, including Dropcam, Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, and Frys but the price is pretty much the same at all locations.

If you would like to visit the Dropbox website to get more information, click here.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact me at 214-773-7377 or send me an email.


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