KEEP AN EYE ON THINGS

We all love our cars. We maintain them, clean them, live in them, rely on them and, occasionally, use them for getting to places too.

Despite car sharing schemes, cars have never been more personal, with individual paint jobs and manufacturer fitted customisations to really make a vehicle your own. And, despite official government statistics showing a downward trend for car crime, thanks mostly to improvements and more sophisticated in-car technology, theft sadly still occurs. As cars have become smarter, so have thieves who now don’t waste their time trying to hack into a complex car but instead find it easier to break into your home and grab the car keys.

With electric vehicles requiring expensive electrical cabling to recharge at properties, these too contain valuable amounts of copper that are all too tempting for some.

However, technology is once again the answer to these types of crime as CCTV and other safe­guards have lowered in price and increased in usability.

Car manufacturers too are busying themselves with new security tech including facial recognition, finger print readers and even keyless cars that use your mobile phone rather than a physical key all help make life more difficult for the would-be thief.

Here are some of the advanced security devices available for the home market.

Blink internal cameras

Blink, like most battery powered cctv systems, is a newcomer to the market. The compan/s solution to CCTV is to keep things simple and, fortunately, theyVe been mostly successful with this. Starting with the packaging, it’s small, neat and includes all you need to get going – batteries included.

In our kit were two cameras and one sync module. The sync module is used to setup the cameras and is a bit like their own wifi-router. The cameras connect to this, rather than to your home wifi, whereas the sync module connects to your wifi. Get your head around that and you can position your cameras around your home.

have the sync module located beside your router, which is a distinct advantage over Netgear’s Arlo. One thing to note is that right from the get go, you need a compatible smart phone (Apple/Android). Sadly, Blink doesn’t currently support any web viewing of your videos, although the company has told us that they’re working on this and it will be made available in future.

Your first setup task is to use your phone to create a new Blink account. This takes a matter of seconds, as no unnecessary inside- leg-measurement details are requested. The Blink App will ask for the sync module’s serial number and following the on-screen steps you’ll have it connected to your wifi in no time at all. Up to ten cameras can be added using a similar method.

Once you’ve positioned the cameras roughly where you think you want them, using the app you can then either start videoing or take a handy photo. Other settings for motion detection are comprehensive and allow adjustment of sensitivity, duration and even to pause detection for a period of time in- between motion detections. There are further settings for the flash light, which works well to illuminate a dark room at night. It might have been nice to see InfraRed (IR) as an alternative (which Arlo uses) but the light is surprisingly bright and arguably provides a clearer picture than IR can. 720p video resolution is reasonable too and offers a compromise between quality and upload speed. Higher quality video would require tonnes of bandwidth. The videos store audio too, although only one-way so you could use the system as a baby monitor but not to sing a remote lullaby.

When motion is detected, the system automatically sends push notifications to your mobile phone, even if the Blink app is closed, and stores the video clip online. A welcome recent addition to the app is the ability to download or share videos too. Perhaps the best thing about Blink is they don’t charge for

this storage, whereas Arlo charges for videos older than 1 week old. Overall, the speed and simplicity of setup is impressive, as is the overall quality of the video.

The Blink App could do with a bit of refinement, but it works well and the only real downsides relate to the camera hardware – namely indoor use only and no IR. At their price. Blink cameras offer a superb no-wires camera solution for the home, just so long as you’re happy that they can’t go outside. Blink are, however, working on an outdoor version that will likely cost a bit more but provide greater flexibility than the indoor-only variant you see here.

 

 

 

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