Smart security cameras explained

Side angle view of Hive Outdoor Camera and Hive Indoor Camera, in black and copper, on a white background

For years it hasn’t just been burglars put off by security cameras. Ugly and complicated, they haven’t been that popular with homeowners either. However, smart security cameras are helping to change all that.

A quick Internet search will show you lots of great cameras. But it’s easy to get confused by what features are essential and which ones are useful perks. So, let’s tackle some of the important features you want to consider when choosing a smart security camera.

Features to look out for:

Indoor or outdoor: It might sound obvious but do make sure you choose the type of camera best suited to the environment you want to monitor. Some are waterproof, some aren’t. Some need a plug, some don’t.

Record and live stream: Ensure that the camera can record and live stream footage direct to your phone or tablet. This enables you to check up on your home in real time: great for peace of mind wherever you are.

Night vision mode: This is really handy for both indoor and outdoor cameras so you don’t end up with endless footage of shadows moving in the dark.

Motion detection: This enables cameras to check for movement and send notifications direct to your phone when it does. It also means it can turn itself on and start recording, rather than recording continuously (and you only have to check footage that matters).

Cloud storage: Some smart cameras use a cloud service to store footage and enable you to access it remotely. So it’s worth checking how much free storage you get with your camera and linked app. Here at Hive, for example, you get a set amount of cloud storage, then the option of more via Hive Video Playback.

Design: It’s important that it’s simple to set up and use. But beyond that, it’s helpful if the design suits your needs. So it’s worth having a think whether you want a discreet device that blends into your home, or a more obvious deterrent.

Wireless: The term Wi-Fi smart security camera is a little confusing - in different places you’ll find it refers to a camera powered by batteries and a camera that connects and works via Wi-Fi. Either way, both features are really useful, particularly if you’re using a camera outside.

Smart security cameras: latest features

Of course, smart security cameras are continually getting more advanced. So if you’re looking for an extra level of security, some of these features might be helpful too.

Two-way audio: this enables you to communicate with whoever is at home: great for checking up on the kids or speaking to the postman to tell them where to leave your parcel.

Noise cancellation: Echo suppression and noise cancellation can make a big difference to the quality of your audio, as well as the ease with which you can watch footage back.

HD monitoring: Recording and streaming at full HD resolution, 1080p, is useful because it means that you can zoom into the footage and get a more accurate look at anything suspicious.

Person detection: To avoid false alarms, some cameras (like ) can also recognise the difference between a pet and a person – and only notify you when it’s a person, sending a video clip straight to your phone.

Siren: If you’re watching footage remotely and you spot an intruder in your home, many cameras give you the ability to set off a loud alarm to scare them away. Some go as loud as 90+ dB which, believe us, is very loud indeed.

So hopefully that’s given you a bit more of an idea of what to look out for if you’re thinking of buying a smart security camera! If you’re keen to compare a few different models, check out Hive’s on our website.

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