I have thought about adding cameras to my home to be able to monitor my kids when I am not home. They are teenagers, and we all know we did things as teens when our parents were not home. I am the parent that wants to see what they are doing.
I had the chance to review the DropCam WiFi Security Camera with Audio. DropCam allows you to remotely see and hear what’s happening while you work, or travel – no matter where you are. The Dropcam Echo sets up in a flash. No technical skill required, just plug it in and it simply works. You can use the wireless network you already have, just connect the Dropcam to your Wi-Fi network using 802.11 b/g. A wired connection also works by using the included Ethernet cable. Dropcam is compatible with all types of consumer routers and supports WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryption. For those who travel frequently or work away from home, DropCam allows you to monitor your home or business while traveling. Dropcam automatically detects motion and sound to record important events that happen while you are away and can bet setup so that you receive automatic alerts to these activities. You can set up multiple cameras on your account and monitor each of them.
To set the camera up I just had to connect it to my router and plug in the power. Then I logged into the DropCam site to enter my activation key. Then I unplugged the camera from my router and placed it where I need to keep a watchful eye. I placed my camera on my mantle to my fireplace where I could monitor if anyone came into my living room from either side, front, or garage doors. also I could see if anyone entered my bedroom.
Pretty cool. So here is my story. I give all my kids assigned kitchen duty nights. My oldest son Kevin failed to do his kitchen night so when I came home for lunch I took his WiFi connector from his computer and went back to work. When I came home from work, everyone told me the internet was not working. I noticed the router unplugged. I knew already that Kevin had unplugged it in revenge. So I connected everything back and turned on my computer. I logged into the DropCam site to see what had happened. There was a time frame that did not record, because Kevin had disconnected the internet from the router. But the DropCam recorded everything up to that point. I was able to see Kevin going thru the house looking for his connector. Then entering my room and looking thru my drawers. Then the camera was turned off. The router is in my room, so I knew he had disconnected it from in there. I caught him red handed. Even though it did blow my cover of having the camera. I had not yet told any of my kids that I had a camera watching them.
With the DropCam you can also watch a live feed and even share it if you have another family member that you want to watch over you home. There are also free apps for the iPhone and Android phones. These help you monitor the camera(s) from anywhere. You are also able to set up your account to email you when an event happens. And event is when the camera notices movement. I had to turn the notifications off because if someone was up late watching TV, each time the screen changed DropCam emailed me. The camera noticed the light color changes as motion.
There are 3 types of Dropcam accounts. A free account which allows you free live viewing from anywhere in the world using a computer, and access using the free Dropcam for iPhone and Dropcam for Android app. The Plus account allows you all the features of Basic and seven days of online recording on Dropcam’s secure servers. Thanks to Dropcam DVR, you can always go back one week in case you miss anything. In addition, you can download screenshots or video clips to archive footage permanently. The Pro plan comes with 30 days of online recording and all the features of Plus!
For security without having a full security system in your home, DropCam is pretty handy. My only device improvement that I would suggest is the power cord should be smaller. It is currently thick and very noticeable, which makes the DropCam a bit hard to hide.
Obviously this is not a security service, so common since would tell us that if the connection is interrupted or power is out, you will not be able to monitor with the DropCam. Overall, I believe this is a great alternative to a security system.
*I received a DropCam Echo from DropCam to write my unbiased review.