Author Topic: Smart doorbells  (Read 481 times)

Smart doorbells
« on: July 26, 2020, 07:39:37 am »
Morning all, we’ve had a noticeable increase in petty crime in our area, car theft, break ins etc. I’ve noticed a lot of people installing the above to try and Fight back and am curious what experiences people have had with them. Ease of use, effectiveness etc etc.

Any comments?

Tks

A

Regulator

  • That's Councillor Regulator to you...
Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2020, 08:12:13 am »
We have a Ring doorbell (Mr R is a gadget freak).  It works OK but can’t be wired in - it uses a rechargeable battery.

My policeman neighbour suggests the fact we have an alarm (which we never use) is a big deterrent.  Our back garden, where the bike shed is, is also overlooked which helps.   We also have some dummy cameras which I got cheap at an auction. 

Gadgets/tech has its place - but having a vocal dog is the best defence! :thumbsup:
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I completely agree with Reg.

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MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2020, 08:14:57 am »
I'd be interested in this discussion.
We had a pair of plants stolen from either side of our front door about a month ago - mature hydrangeas in fairly pricy tubs. Trivial in the grand scheme of things, but unusual for this area.
I've already bought into the Tuya Smart ecosystem of smart plugs controlled through my Google Home Hubs, so I bought a cheapish Smart Doorbell that is compatible with the  Tuya app. I've had it since Tuesday.

It works. The bell sounds on my phone, and the lockscreen (android) changes to a view of the doorstep, two way audio is adequate. This is all on WiFi in the house, I'm unsure that the instant response would be as good on a cellular connection.
Where it falls down is that it requires one of us the constantly have the phone with us. I can hear my traditional doorbell in the garden, now I have to take my phone. There us no reliable or consistent storage of movement outside the door - it picks up some passing movement but not all, so it doesn't work as a security camera might.

The battery life is unknown - it uses rechargeable cells. I'd not put it where it was in direct rain as it doesn't seem particularly well sealed. It is, of course, reliant on your WiFi network being consistent and fairly strong.

Based on this entry level device I'm a bit of a sceptic, but am prepared to accept a higher quality /priced device might overcome some of my doubts, that's why I'm interested.
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2020, 08:35:51 am »
When I addressed this question after £300 of wing mirror was taken off my car in broad daylight, I asked myself, what I wanted to achieve. I decided that I wanted a deterrent - Pls Mr Thief to be walking on to the next house who doesn't haz CCTV - and also images of sufficient quality to be meaningful capturing goings on in the vicinity.

For the first, two yellow CCTV signs by the front fence along with the glow of infra red LED around business like cameras was called for. For the second, no current generation WiFi camera produces anything like the resolution needed. Also, it is pretty much axiomatic that you need two angles of  image, the first at face level the second from a high level for identification purposes (to easy to defeat a single camera). Finally, even WiFi cameras would need power via wires (or, battery phun) and the whole shebang needs to be recorded it is to be any use.

All that ruled out the Ring style stuff for me and I went with one of these https://www.digitaldirectsecurity.co.uk/hd-tvi-2-cctv-kit.html with a camera upgrade. After 2 years, it is chugging along happily, it has been "used" a handful of times. The quality isn't quite as good as I was hoping for, eg reading number plates being driven by at night is challenging, but anything less would be truly shit.

Obviously the doorbell/wifi sort has their place, (if I'm being cynical, that's for sharing videos on your local FB group) but as I started out, decide what you want it to do and you will be able to judge on that criteria.

ETA - as an advanced entryphone, they seem excellent

EATA - if you are considering this, do think about the physical installation, where you are going to site the recorder, how to achieve the cable runs For two cameras, only a single 6+ core cable is needed outside (2 power, 2 signal for each camera, route from one camera to the other, starting with one that is inaccessible

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2020, 10:42:36 am »
We have a Ring doorbell (Mr R is a gadget freak).  It works OK but can’t be wired in - it uses a rechargeable battery.

Main question for me about that sort of thing is "will it work through a metre-thick stone wall?"  The answer is usually no.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2020, 10:45:45 am »
When I addressed this question after £300 of wing mirror was taken off my car in broad daylight, I asked myself, what I wanted to achieve. I decided that I wanted a deterrent - Pls Mr Thief to be walking on to the next house who doesn't haz CCTV - and also images of sufficient quality to be meaningful capturing goings on in the vicinity.

For the first, two yellow CCTV signs by the front fence along with the glow of infra red LED around business like cameras was called for. For the second, no current generation WiFi camera produces anything like the resolution needed. Also, it is pretty much axiomatic that you need two angles of  image, the first at face level the second from a high level for identification purposes (to easy to defeat a single camera). Finally, even WiFi cameras would need power via wires (or, battery phun) and the whole shebang needs to be recorded it is to be any use.

All that ruled out the Ring style stuff for me and I went with one of these https://www.digitaldirectsecurity.co.uk/hd-tvi-2-cctv-kit.html with a camera upgrade. After 2 years, it is chugging along happily, it has been "used" a handful of times. The quality isn't quite as good as I was hoping for, eg reading number plates being driven by at night is challenging, but anything less would be truly shit.

Obviously the doorbell/wifi sort has their place, (if I'm being cynical, that's for sharing videos on your local FB group) but as I started out, decide what you want it to do and you will be able to judge on that criteria.

ETA - as an advanced entryphone, they seem excellent

EATA - if you are considering this, do think about the physical installation, where you are going to site the recorder, how to achieve the cable runs For two cameras, only a single 6+ core cable is needed outside (2 power, 2 signal for each camera, route from one camera to the other, starting with one that is inaccessible
Very useful analysis and link.
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2020, 10:49:56 am »
Ironically round here (SW15) the Nest/Ring/etc doorbells are being constantly stolen. Thieves don balaclavas to mean any footage of them doing it is pretty much useless, they just rip them off the walls.

I've no idea what kind of secondary market there is for them, or whether it's just a pre-emptive strike (rip them off now then go back a few days later knowing they won't be there at all), or it's part of a grander plan (see below).

They're also riddled with undiscovered security vulnerabilities. Personally I wouldn't go near one (but then I live in a 1st floor flat so I have to think about security a lot less than most people, and my downstairs neighbour has already installed cameras that work with his Ubiquti home network.)

There have even been cases of people with wired (Ethernet) cameras/entryphones/etc being unscrewed/unplugged so that thieves have access to the house computer network. Most people won't think of firewalling off the external devices so those cables have the same connectivity as something internal. (My downstairs neighbour hadn't thought of doing this at all until I mentioned it to him and there are at least 5 ethernet cables accessible on the outside of the house, at least his networking equipment can do this if required but it's a lot of configuration/faff and easy to get wrong.)

There was a rumour at one point that the wireless Ring/Nest/etc cameras were being stolen to order from high net worth houses so that the wireless network details could be extracted from them, then someone would return a few days later in a car/van with a laptop in the back that connects to the wireless network and attempts to get in to any machines on the home network and extract passwords/logins/emails/bank-details/etc.

It's all getting a bit sophisticated.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2020, 11:40:15 am »
As per Ham’s solution, digital recorder and POE cameras. Ok, you can’t chat to the Amazon delivery man from your office desk, but that’s a small price to pay.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2020, 11:59:12 am »
Just FTR, PoE is a possibility but actually adds cost for little benefit as you can use one twisted pair for power and one for video. The cameras I have are video with the Sony starlight chip. One area where ethernet could benefit might be if the video signal degrades unacceptably, but typical runs aren't likely to be a concern.

Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2020, 12:32:19 pm »
I have considered this too.  I would like a camera that installs like a peep hole in the door and is either connected to a transmitter on the inside of the door connected to the WiFi or even hard-wired.  Such a thing doesn't appear to exist.

Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2020, 02:06:28 pm »
Just FTR, PoE is a possibility but actually adds cost for little benefit as you can use one twisted pair for power and one for video. The cameras I have are video with the Sony starlight chip. One area where ethernet could benefit might be if the video signal degrades unacceptably, but typical runs aren't likely to be a concern.

Really depends on the camera more than anything. If you want to rely on the footage for identification purposes (rather than just giving the Police a random blurry picture of "someone or something") then you'll want at least 24bit 1080p.

1920 * 1080 * 24bit * 30fps = 1.5Gbps uncompressed. So you need compression done in the camera, and the cheaper cameras have rubbish compression meaning your FullHD TrueColour(TM) 1080p camera still looks like someone has smeared the lens with Vaseline. Unsurprisingly good quality reliable stuff isn't inexpensive.

If you're running power to and video from the camera then TP for video is a bad idea especially if it's not shielded from the power in an adjacent TP. I'd be wanting video sent over shielded coax rather than TP, even on short runs, the signal will degrade very quickly.

A camera that does PoE GigE solves many of the problems at the expense of money and subsequent faff of management, storage, etc. I know I don't want to be running sodding PoE switches, NVRs and NASes at home purely to cover enough footage in case I go on holiday for 2 weeks.

If you're not worried about the identification part then you may just as well fit dummy cameras that actually output IR (the clever thieves will be able to spot the difference a mile off if it doesn't actually output IR) which means providing power to them.

More often than not a camera will come in useful not for providing stills to the Police because of a crime, but from a local neighbourhood dispute that it can solve (e.g. finding your car scratched/dented and finding out that it was actually a neighbour that you can now confront with footage).
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2020, 02:36:53 pm »
A camera that does PoE GigE solves many of the problems at the expense of money and subsequent faff of management, storage, etc. I know I don't want to be running sodding PoE switches, NVRs and NASes at home purely to cover enough footage in case I go on holiday for 2 weeks.

Passive PoE with cheap fanless midspan injectors is fine for home use, where you can be reasonably sure that people aren't going to go plugging random things into it.  (Indeed, 24V passive PoE seems to be a popular approach for some security cameras.)  Proper 802.11af devices don't care, as long as they get their 48V.

The storage is still an issue, unless you're already running a disk array for some other purposes.


Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2020, 03:52:13 pm »
Just FTR, PoE is a possibility but actually adds cost for little benefit as you can use one twisted pair for power and one for video. The cameras I have are video with the Sony starlight chip. One area where ethernet could benefit might be if the video signal degrades unacceptably, but typical runs aren't likely to be a concern.

Really depends on the camera more than anything. If you want to rely on the footage for identification purposes (rather than just giving the Police a random blurry picture of "someone or something") then you'll want at least 24bit 1080p.

1920 * 1080 * 24bit * 30fps = 1.5Gbps uncompressed. So you need compression done in the camera, and the cheaper cameras have rubbish compression meaning your FullHD TrueColour(TM) 1080p camera still looks like someone has smeared the lens with Vaseline. Unsurprisingly good quality reliable stuff isn't inexpensive.

If you're running power to and video from the camera then TP for video is a bad idea especially if it's not shielded from the power in an adjacent TP. I'd be wanting video sent over shielded coax rather than TP, even on short runs, the signal will degrade very quickly.

A camera that does PoE GigE solves many of the problems at the expense of money and subsequent faff of management, storage, etc. I know I don't want to be running sodding PoE switches, NVRs and NASes at home purely to cover enough footage in case I go on holiday for 2 weeks.

If you're not worried about the identification part then you may just as well fit dummy cameras that actually output IR (the clever thieves will be able to spot the difference a mile off if it doesn't actually output IR) which means providing power to them.

More often than not a camera will come in useful not for providing stills to the Police because of a crime, but from a local neighbourhood dispute that it can solve (e.g. finding your car scratched/dented and finding out that it was actually a neighbour that you can now confront with footage).

I'm sure you're right (said in the tone of someone listening to proof that bumblebees can't fly). Isn't compression pretty  much standardised at H264/5? And yes, quality of camera makes a difference, but my two cameras feed fine down a single TP cable (not even STP) with power. Main issues are around night time resolution and exposure, along the field of view and practical resolution limit being hit. Don't forget, a 1080p "highres" camera is only around 2mp image, mine are 5mp, 2592 x 1944 in yer actual pixels. With a 95 degree field of view (sub 20mm 35mm equivalent) that's not an awful lot of pixels to go about. It does mean that anything close by is recorded in decent resolution, though.

Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2020, 05:18:06 pm »
We have a Ring doorbell (Mr R is a gadget freak).  It works OK but can’t be wired in - it uses a rechargeable battery.

My policeman neighbour suggests the fact we have an alarm (which we never use) is a big deterrent.  Our back garden, where the bike shed is, is also overlooked which helps.   We also have some dummy cameras which I got cheap at an auction. 

Gadgets/tech has its place - but having a vocal dog is the best defence! :thumbsup:
My Ring camera/doorbell and Ring garden camera are both wired in.
Never knowingly under caffeinated

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Smart doorbells
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2020, 10:02:12 am »
As said, what do you want to achieve with a camera? The chap down the road had his garage emptied a month or two back. All captured in full HD. And then? Unless the police recognise them from previous encounters or you've modelled your life on The Equalizer, not much will happen. In practice, the apprehension rate for burglary is close to zero.

Discouragement is your friend. Thieves are lazy, they'll take the paths of least resistance and minimal risk. Somewhere they can get in and out quickly, and if it will take time, somewhere they can take that time without being seen or interrupted.

I don't think having an actual alarm is worth the expense (we got rid of our ours) but having a good facsimile of an alarm is a very good discouragement (we kept the boxes and a LED). Given a choice, thieves will go for a house without one. Make the house look occupied, smart lights or dumb timers, and motorized blinds etc. It's astounding here in winter when it's dark how many houses are clearly empty. You make sure everything is reasonably secure, but that's really to reduce the wriggle room for insurers, you can have all the fancy deadbolts and locks, they'll smash a window, patio or door, or UPVC panel. The back of our house has more glass than brick. Security lights can be useful, but if it's a secluded place, you might just be giving them some light to work under. Think about how you'd break in, access routes etc. and what would stymie you. Thieves generally aren't the brightest people.

We do have five Arlo cameras. I'm happy with them. They're mostly for reassurance, bought back when we both travelled a lot. They're wireless and run on batteries – the original lithium cells lasted about six months, I got some rechargeables that last a couple of months. There's couple in the house covering entry points (all that glass), one on the garage looking back at the house and anyone trying to get into the garage itself, one on the porch and one on the side of the house looking down the driveway. The driveway cam activates the porch, so works like a Ring and we get a mugshot. They're the original models, a couple of years old now, so 720p. Close up the quality is fine, you're not going to identify a face at the bottom of the drive. Night vision is fine close-up as the IR is internal. I did wonder about the wifi as we've always had issues, but it works fine with the cameras outside the house. It's a dedicated network and seems to pump out one hell of a signal.

But again, what would we do with the footage? The same applies for a full high def wired CCTV system (we got quotes for several thousand pounds not to mention the monthly subscription, the Arlo cost about £500). You could film the miscreants in the act – in Imax quality – and obtain a DNA fingerprint, and their home address, but the might of Surrey's finest would not exactly swing into action. You'll get a crime number and many, many unhappy hours filling out insurance claims.

(and a nod to off-site computer backups, something like TV can easily be replaced, a computer full of photos, all your music etc. less so. I know several people who lost their computer and, oh, the USB drive they'd been using a backup...)
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