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Use spy camera to fight with the burglars in house breaking

The following is the true story. Mr. John’s house was broken in when he was on vacations. The burglars took the vault out of the wall, leaving a big hole on it. John did install HD IP cameras at the entrance. Unfortunately, it didn’t help. The cameras’ power were dis-connected by burglars. Actually, the burglars didn’t take the further steps immediately, they waited three days to verify no one returned to repair the connection. The conventional CCTV system can be omitted, Simply by avoid the shooting direction or sabotage the connectivity. If John has deployed a spy camera inside the house, it could have provided value information to identify the burglars. “The burglars definitely took plenty of time to get the vault out of the wall” according to the police officer said. The spy camera is powerful tools to improve your home security. Without knowing the camera hidden inside the camouflage house. It will capture the criminal in surprise. How to use the hidden camera for home security?

First of all, You will need to look for a place to hide the cameras in the house. The photo frame, flower vase, book, clock even the tidy bear. Choose the object with less value. Putting up the camera in a bag may draw the burglars’ attention once they go through it. If there’s no clean shoot after hide the camera, a small hole will need to make on the surface. You can use drill bit at 3.5mm-4mm to drill a hole. This is the dimension for the typical pinhole lens. Over large size could expose the covert. Reserved a notch on the opposite site may need if the surface is too thick. It helps pinhole lens achieve better field of view. Check the demonstration image below. If hiding a pinhole camera is not easy, pick camera with camouflage house, such as smoke detector camera or PIR motion sensor camera. The smoke detector camera is the IP camera hide in dummy smoke detector housing which installs in the ceiling. It is probably the last place the burglars want to look for.

The power source is the second thing need to consider. Most of the hide cameras support Wi-Fi , you can connect the camera to the home network thru Wi-Fi. However, The power cord may still required unless it is battery operated cameras. The advantage of battery operated is the camera can be placed to different place without re-wiring a cable, but re-charge the battery could become your routing work. The 6 months standby battery operated camera doesn’t actually work for 6 months. It depends on the change in the sense. Every time when the camera pick up motion in the sense, it will be woke up and consume a lot of battery power. 10000mA full charge battery only can supply 48 hours continuous recording. Normally Wi-Fi signal strength is not the issue when you deploy the camera indoor. If you plan to set up the spy camera outdoor, you should test the Wi-Fi coverage before making any permanently setup. Grab your mobile phone, check the Wi-Fi signal strength around the installation spot, it has to be better than middle. Just be ware single wall can block the Wi-Fi signal seriously.

The remote view is the necessary function for spy camera. You may want to check the live video during vacation. The free app simply can let you watching the live video on the mobile phone or tablet remotely after camera is connected to the home network. Some of the spy camera has motion detection function, which will send a message when the camera detect the change in the scene. The motion detection is not such reliable algorithm. It generates the false alarm, Any change such as flash light, day night switch will trigger an alarm message, but it is still helpful. Image you are on the vacation, you receive the alert message, then you can check live video to verify any possible break in. Motion detection also can be used to save the time to view the recording video. After enable the motion detection recording, only the video with change will be recorded which means what you watch later is only the video with change in the sense instead of the whole week recording files, meanwhile, it saves the memory space as well. The motion detection function can be scheduled or turn on/off by mobile phone app. When you are on vacation, you can enable the notification function to send message to the mobile phone even the false alarm message is included.

The mission of spy camera is to deliver image detail for evidence. The image quality of spy camera depends on not only the sensor, but also the quality of the pinhole lens. Sometime, the pinhole lens plays more important part, because the lens is tiny. Source the high quality pinhole lens is not easy. The image will still look fuzzy if  low quality pinhole lens is mounted to 2 megapixel sensor.

Do you need night vision? It depends. If the spy camera work as primary surveillance. The night vision is necessary, or the camera will go blind at night. Night vision is another challenge for the spy camera, the pinhole lens is so small. Only few light can pass the lens. Unless the spy camera has built in high power infrared LEDs, otherwise the night vision performance is poor, but high power LEDs generates too much heat inside the plastic housing, Consequently it shorten the use life of the camera. External infrared LED lamp is the solution. Keep the infrared LED separate from the camera, you can use high power invisible LEDs lamp.

The video need to be recorded, so it can be playback or exported for evidence. TF memory card recording is the most cost effective solution. The footage will be recorded to TF memory card keep inside the camera. It doesn’t involve in any other external devices. The TF memory card support is limited to the 128GB in the market which can provide 10 days around motion recording. It depends on the change in the sense. If you want to keep the footage longer, the standard alone NVR or VMS software are the solution. The compatible issue has to be addressed before you plan to integrated spy camera to 3rd party recorder. Onvif protocols is something you need to look into. ONVIF is an open forum that provides and promotes standardized interfaces for both IP devices to communicate each others. If both cameras and recorder support Onvif protocols usually have no issue to work with each other. The TF card can work as backup recording even after the spy camera is integrated in case the whole IP camera system is compromised.

After you setup the your spy camera system, don’t forget to return and check regularly. Login the app on your mobile phone, you are able to watch the live video. One important thing is checking the recording function as well, not only the live video, making sure the camera is actually recording. You can see the live doesn’t tell it is recording as well. Only if you can view the recorded video.


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The highlight about installing a smoke detector camera

The smoke detector camera is an IP camera hide inside dummy smoke detector housing. Deploying a smoke detector camera allows people to investigate the loss prevention case such as employee theft, inventory shrinkage. Comparing to the conventional CCTV camera, the smoke detector camera can watch the area without being notice. It may even provide better shopping experience. What you need to concern before you install a smoke detector camera?

All the CCTV camera should provide useful information for evidence. The evidence rely on both pixel density and the shooting angle. Pixel density is decide by the sensor resolution and the FOV (field of view).  The wider the camera can see, the smaller density the camera deliver and less detail for the person of interested, vice versa. The second is the shooting angle, if the camera shooting from top to the bottom, you will only see the top of the head of the person. If you want to capture the facial detail the camera need to maintain some proper distance from the watching spot. Use mobile phone to shoot to spot and take some pictures can give you general idea what the smoke detector camera will see after setup is completed. The smoke detector camera normally has twice wider angle than the mobile phone cameras. If you could get an snapshot example from the camera even test the live demo, the result will be more accurately.

The next thing is the power. All the CCTV cameras require power. You still need to wire a DC power cable to a Wi-Fi smoke detector camera, the Wi-Fi connectivity only eliminate wiring one Ethernet cable to the network switch. If it is the battery operated Wi-Fi smoke detector camera, the battery re-charging cycle is something you have to calculated. 10000mA battery can supply around 48 hours continuous recording. The 6 months so-call battery camera doesn’t work for 6 months actually. The camera will wake up when it detect the change in the sensor which may not suitable for the business, because customers or employees could keep walking around, the battery will eat up very soon. The Wi-Fi strength is another thing need to test before install. The mobile phone is the handy tool. Check Wi-Fi signal on your mobile phone and make sure it stays better than good. If the signal is too weak, use a Wi-Fi booster. Creating a new password for your camera, most of IP cameras get hack because people use default password. Once you complete all the setting, the rest of the thing is cabling. Use the DC extension cable, so the power adaptor could be far away from the ceiling. Fix the camera to the ceiling, plug the power, the system is ready to go.

What if you just want to use the wire smoke detector camera instead of Wi-Fi connection. The wire is always more stable. The PoE can make the wire installation simple and easy. The PoE injector and splitter inject the power to the Ethernet cable and separate on the other side to power up camera. In this case, you will only need simple Ethernet cable to carry both network signal and power. Always test everything before you try to set it up permanently. It could be time consuming to test and correct the setting in the sense.

There are some advanced function about smoke detector cameras.

Footage exporting.

Most of the smoke detector cameras have mobile application and PC software. You can either export the footage to your mobile phone and PC computer. Make sure the camera’s system time is correct after you set up the camera, otherwise, it will be difficult for you to locate the right footage.

Motion detection.

The motion detection is useful function for smoke detector camera. The camera will detection the video change in the sense and trigger the video recording. This function may generate the fault alarm, but it is still useful. You can turn on the 24/7 continuous recording with motion detection, then the camera will flag the video section with motion. It saves time to locate the interested video.

Push message.

The camera can send a push message or email once it detect the motion in the sense. As we mention above, the motion detection is not accurately, the flash light will trigger the motion. Watching live video allow you to eliminate the false alarm.




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Choose hidden camera to investigate employees theft in retail

What would you do if you realize the cashing is missing on POS or inventory keep shrinking in your warehouse? Install a CCTV camera properly the first thought. However, you may never find out who is the rat after you setup a camera in the sense. People can spot out the camera’s shooting direction easily. They will stop stealing under your cameras. Shoplifting and employee theft account for 66.5% Inventory shrinkage in 2017. More than 50% loss could be avoided if the owners have deployed properly loss prevention solution. We will see how the hidden camera can help with those issues.

Hidden camera is so-call spy camera or covert camera. Is it legal? Basically, the hidden camera has to follow the same rules as conventional camera does. Signage may need to be put up to tell your customers or employees CCTV cameras are recording in the sense. The signage doesn’t have to be next to the cameras. Install a camera in privacy space such as change room are forbidden. Audio recording is totally illegal in the business application.

The key value of hidden camera is people don’t know “that is the camera” which gives you an advantage to investigate the case of loss prevention. In order to maintain this advantage, you need to find a proper place to install the camera without exposure the cover. The ceiling is a nice place to go. People seldom pay attention on the ceiling. The camera can even be placed in the plenum space. In this case, a small hole with 3.5-4mm diameter has to made for the pinhole lens to see thru. It is the common practical application to watch activities in POS with this kind of setup. The shortage is the camera can’t see the facial detail, because it is watching straight down from the top.

Getting evidence is the primary purpose to set up the hidden camera. Both camera’s shooting angle and image quality contribute to the useful evidence. One of the real case is an owner installed hidden camera, when theft happen, he looked back the video and tried to identify the face, but the footage couldn’t deliver what he wanted. If you just want to record the activity, shooting the camera from the top is fine. otherwise maintain a shooting angle between the camera and watch spot is necessary. The mobile phone is useful tool. Hold up the mobile phone close to the installation position and shoot to the watching spot, take some pictures. Those pictures can give you a rough idea what the camera can see after installation is completed. On the other hand, the image quality of hidden cameras not only reply on the sensor resolution but also the lens. Somehow the pinhole lens plays more important part than sensor, because high quality pinhole lens is difficult to source. If 1.3 megapixel pinhole lens is used with 4 megapixel sensor, the image will be fuzzy.

No matter what kind of camera you choose, complete the installing as soon as possible. You certainly don’t want to disturb your business or let people you are putting up the hidden camera in the sense. Most of the hidden cameras supports both Wi-Fi and wire connection. Here is the tips, always test and configure the camera before you fix it. If you plan to connect the camera to your Wi-Fi network, check the Wi-Fi coverage range around the installation position. The signal need to be always better than “good”. I know people said the signal coverage is enough inside the building, but the walls still could block the signal seriously. The next thing you need to decide is power source — battery or DC power. The Wi-Fi camera still needs power wiring. It just doesn’t need to wire back to your network switch port. Unless the camera is deployed temperately, DC power cable is better choice. Otherwise changing the battery will become your routing work. Some of the battery operated camera claim to be standby for 120 days, that is not actually working time. The camera simply go sleep to save power and wake up once it detects the change in the sense. The problem is the business sense could keep changing. The camera will be woke up every time when customers or employees work around. The battery will be eat up very soon. 10000mA full charge battery only can support 48 hours continuous recording.

All the CCTV camera need to be recorded in some ways, so you can retrieve the footage when you need it for evidence. The hidden camera can connect to a recorder or VMS software for recording. Compatible is the issue which need to be concerned when integrate hidden camera to existed IP surveillance system. Fortunately, there is organization Onvif which provides and promotes standardized interfaces for both ip cameras and recorder suppliers. As long as both sides follow the Onvif protocols, the camera should have no problem to talk to the recorder or VMS software. Some of the hidden camera has TF-card slot. It is the most cost-effective recording solution. Footage will be recorded to TF memory card directly without involving external devices. The maximum Micro SD card capacity support is 128GB in the camera. With latest compression technology H.264+ or H.265. 128GB can supply up to 10 days 1080p video recording. If you want to keep the video longer, schedule recording function could help. The hidden camera can set to record only during working hours. Once the TF-card space is full, it will keep recycling recording from the beginning automatically. TF memory card also can work as backup redundancy recording. Even the whole security system is compromised, there is still have video back up inside the TF memory card.

Maintain is easy part, but can’t be ignored. Checking the camera with the mobile phone once or twice in a week, make sure it is still working properly. Never forget to check the video is recording. You can watch the live doesn’t mean the camera is recording properly. Most of the advanced system allows you configure alarm, once the Micro SD card go error, the camera can send you a notification message to your mobile phone.