Would you like the ability to peek into the baby’s room from downstairs…or halfway around the world? Make sure the kids got home from school OK? Check in on the pets? Be alerted to unexpected movement in the house? The VueZone video camera system makes it possible to take a remote look via the Internet, using a web browser or a smartphone. And thanks to the wireless cameras, setup is a simple do-it-yourself job.
The cameras themselves are small and inconspicuous. They come in two versions, the more capable of which offers motion detection and measures just 2.19 x 1.82 x 2.5 inches. They run on two camera batteries, so you don’t have to worry about running electrical wires. Avaak, the manufacturer, claims that the batteries will last 90 days if the camera is used five minutes a day.
They came up with a very clever mounting system, a rounded semicircle that connects to the back of the camera via a magnet, letting you freely position and reposition the viewing angle. The mount can be permanently attached to a wall, using the adhesive backing, or hung on a screw. And thanks to that magnetic connection, you can easily install mounts in several spots in your home and move the camera as you see fit.
The other key component is the base station (called a “gateway”) that attaches to your network router with an included Ethernet cable. Establishing the wireless connection is a cinch—simply press the sync button on the gateway and the components search out each other automatically—and you can have up to 15 cameras connected at once.
As for viewing, you can use any web browser, or download apps for iPhone, Android or Blackberry. The system doesn’t offer audio, but you can record video, either manually or on a predetermined schedule, and take snapshots. Video resolution isn’t exactly high-def, but it’s good enough to clearly see what’s going on, and works surprisingly well in low light. And if you like, you can allow others to have a look through your camera remotely as well—a grandma-friendly option, but also worthwhile if you’re using the system to keep an eye on your business.
Systems start at $200 for a gateway and one motion-detection camera, with additional packages and individual camera options available.