Best camera options for SmartThings integration

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(www.rboyapps.com - Make your home your butler!) #1

So, I'm starting this thread because in the past week or so I've received about 10 eMails and messages from folks asking my views of the "best" camera for integration with SmartThings. The most common question being would I Blink or Foscam if I were to start over again (given that we've written Device Handlers and SmartApps to integrate Blink, Foscam and others and Blink and Foscam being the popular ones).

Here's my response to @johnconstantelo, just to kick start the discussion:


Oh absolutely, there's no way I can do what I've done around my house/labs without Blink. The BIGGEST plus is that it's wireless and at my consumption rate the battery will last years. I use it primarily as a motion sensor when away from the house and camera (obvious) but also to peek in from time to time to see what's happening and with teh price I have almost 20 of them covering every inch of my house inside/out. So it's great peace of mind to check in on the dog or kids. A few days ago my door was ajar accidentally (hence my latest app) and ST didn't tell me and my dog got out. Thanks to Blink I was able to track him down in seconds.

Now the downside it isn't for continuous viewing (unless you're using USB power in which case I can find better cameras). The second downside is that it can't move. So around key places in the house where I need 270/360 viewing I use Foscam. The third downside it that it can't tell the difference between a pet or human which even a Foscam can't.

So both have motion sensitivity settings but I feel Blink has a greater range in selection. Foscam on the other hand can setup a motion detection section (ie. detect motion only in certain sections). To be honest I've never used this stuff, unless you have a specific reason for it but I know there are folks who do use it given their setup.

Overall very happy with blink, I arm my exterior cameras at night so it catches folks passing by which is good security for me.

Really it comes down to do you want constant viewing and motion pivot or a wide view sneek peek and totally wireless.
The other plus of Blink is the motion detection is more reliable just because it uses push v/s foscam pull which could miss a notification (again if that matters to you).

Summarize:

Foscam PRO's

  1. SD/720p/1080p/indoor/outdoor (lots of models)
  2. Pivot and rotate
  3. Cruise actions (sentry mode)
  4. Night vision (IR)
  5. Constant live view
  6. Motion detection region selection
  7. Picture and Video through ST
  8. 2 way communication (not via ST though)
  9. SD card storage/FTP storage

Foscam CON's

  1. No battery option, need power wire
  2. Not completely discrete
  3. Low range of motion sensitivity
  4. Pull notifications (push for SD cams) (motion sensor)

Blink PRO's

  1. Runs on a batter or power
  2. Great battery life (compared to an Arlo)
  3. Wide angle lens view
  4. Great range of motion sensitivity
  5. 720p resolution (1080p maybe in future, but it's good enough for me)
  6. Discrete and mount pretty much anywhere (outdoor camera in the works)
  7. Flash/light (which actually help sometime scare intruders away if they know they're being recorded)
  8. Online video storage
  9. Push notifications (motion sensor)
  10. Picture and Video in ST

Blink CON's

  1. No IR
  2. Only 10 second video clips
  3. Cannot get only motion notifications without video clips in ST (minimum 1 second)
  4. Limited battery life for extended video viewing (~20,000 seconds of videos) without USB power (on battery)

Hope this helps.


Blink vs Arlo Q vs Foscam
Recommendation for indoor camera
[RELEASE] [Universal] Foscam Camera Device Handler with Discovery, Live Video Streaming, Motion Sensor/Alarm Integration (SD/HD/Ambarella/R2)
(Zachary) #2

Thanks @RBoy, this is very informative!


#3

This is great @RBoy, thanks for starting this. The Blink system fits my needs perfectly, especially the form factor. My order has been placed (via Amazon, and BLINK200 for 10% off)

I currently have a Samsung Smartcam HD Pro in ST, and I like the integration with SHM and the wide angle view. It's form factor is big, and it's certainly not discrete. It also isn't cheap, but at times you can find deals.


(Merlin) #4

I have been using the Netatmo "Welcome" camera.
I wish there was some direct SmartThings support for it.
Instead, I've been leveraging IFTTT as the middleman.

What I like most about it, is the facial recognition features.
It allows me to create custom events based on individual people being seen (or, based on "unknown face" being seen.)

It also has "motion sensor" functionality.

Recently, it added some sort of "audio/alarm" notification, too!
e.g. If/when it hears something LOUD/STEAD (like a smoke alarm,) it will send you an email/text/alert.
(Unfortunately, it thought that the vacuum cleaner was an "alarm," too.) <-- That's how I learned about this new "feature."

The facial recognition has allowed us to create things that say things (via SmartThings and Sonos/Samsung smart-app) "Welcome home, princess." or "Welcome home, Joe." or "Good morning, Jane" and such.

I haven't tied to "view" the Netatmo camera via ST, however. At the moment, I just open THEIR "app" if/when I need to actually see/review an event.

I also like that I can see/view it via any browser/PC, too (not just the smartphone app.)

CONS:
1.) Can't "blackout" areas of the screen image (yet.)
e.g. if the edge of your camera's viewing angle can see into your bedroom, then it's indeed going to see/capture that.
My issue: The edge of the camera can see the big-screen TV in the living room. So, it keeps seeing actors, and trying to add them as "new faces." I had to literally tape a business card to the side of the camera, to put "blinders" on it.
In reality, I'd still like the camera to RECORD that area of the room. I just don't want it to perform facial-recognition in that area of the image-scape. (e.g. I want the ability to "mask" areas out of facial recognition.) But, I'm sure some people would respectively want to "mask-out" some of what gets recorded, too! (bedrooms, door lock combinations, kids bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.)

2.,) No "then" events for IFTTT.
I would like to be able to tell the camera to turn on, or off -- based on "then" events (such as smart things triggers.)
e.g. turn the camera ON when we leave the house.
Turn the camera OFF after 10pm.
Turn the camera ON if there is motion from ANY of our indoor sensors, when our ST status/mode = "away."

PROS:
I LOVE that we don't have to pay any monthly service fees, or cloud-storage fees, etc.

WISHES:
I wish we could map the storage location to a network drive or NAS device or cloud server of our own. (I assume that will be some sort of "future/feature release?")

Brownie Points: If there's a way to indeed save these into some decent file structure, so we can access/manage them via our Plex server, too. That way, we can more-easily see them on ANY device, ANYWHERE!


Face recognition, each member of the family to control the television channels each member 's favorite
(www.rboyapps.com - Make your home your butler!) #5

I think I forgot to mention, Blink will have local storage on flash drive in future, Foscam already supports SD card but no cloud.


#6

will blink ever have night vision via IR? that is the showstopper for me right now.


#7

Great post!
I had written Blink off because I plan on 2-3 cameras all outside.
However, the mention of outdoor model with local storage is very appealing. Also, future IFTTT integration per their website.


(Peter Davis) #8

Just saw that ST / Arlo integration is offical. Can anyone compare that with support for Blink or other community-supported cams? @RBoy, it's obvious you do a tremendous amount of work to support community-requested features. Wondering how official support compares.

I'm in the market for a battery-wireless cam. Was almost sold on Blink...now I'm curious.


(George) #9

Since this thread got reincarnated, perhaps I could get this answered--
Need a camera to record clips in a small office, in case of unexpected intrusion(s). Need:
-night recording (IR)
-powered (will run power to it)
-to be mounted on ceiling
-can be triggered to record via ST sensors (directly by command to camera dth or via IFTT as long as that's reliable)
-likewise, can be turned off via ST
-cloud recording -- if camera is stolen or office ransacked, need to have the recordings preserved (monthly fees ok)
-great if can be viewed via ST, but not required
-very wide field

Would Nest and Samsung Pro work? Any other recs?

Thank you!


#10

I figured I would post my experiences now that I have tried Blink.
For the relatvely minimal cost, I figured I would try a two pack because I could use one in my garage and one on my front porch outside (protected from weather).
Although the Blink worked as advertised, I realize the 10 second clips were too short for what I was looking for.
Outside, I could not see a situation unfold. For instance, the UPS guy dropped something off and it recorded him walking up. Then turned off...then turned back on as he was filling out paperwork. I did not like missing the time in between because I could not see the entire picture. For this main reason, I returned the cameras. My wife realized she would like more of a 'surveillance system' now that she has a taste for security cameras.
Therefore, I am thinking Foscam POE system and install cables where needed to accommodate installation. I like the Amcrest as well due to free cloud storage but there is no way, from my understanding, to currently receive push motion alerts using the custom Smartthings code.


(Omri Amos) #11

Important note is that the integration is ONLY FOR THE REGULAR ARLO, not the Arlo Q (with the 2-way audio and hard-wired power).


#12

I use ring cameras for outside. The IFTTT integration of ring.ocmto Smartthings.com works great. The doorbell has both motion and ring triggers, the stick cam only motion. The recordings are done automatically in ring.com. Sometimes I think using ZWave is more trouble than it's worth and joining the two clouds together with IFTTT is a superior alternative to joining the devices to the hub. The stick cam has the advantage of using a solar collector and having livecam.


(Ed) #13

I have nest dropcam, and samsung also.
Both are good quality video. The samsung is not as well built as nest, and samsung software is very clunky. Samsung works with SHM (i can't comment on reliability) and smarttings directly. You probably can get nest to work with ST with some effort but I haven't tried.
Nest is only cloud storage while Samsung is both local and cloud storage. My original use was pointing the Samsung through front window to watch deliveries and I use local storage for that (no cost). The video records continuously and overwrites old video so I don't have to delete files. Now my wife uses it as a baby cam only which it does a good job for as well (aside from clunky software) samsung's smartcam website supports windows video viewing with a plugin and win 10. (didn't work for months because the plug in didn't work but I just checked now)
Consider the next blink if it supports longer record time. 10 sec isn't very long and by report the next 10 sec segment takes a while. When I think about it I don't necessarily need ST to integrate with a video camera directly.
Look at Arlo integration as well. Since the baby keeps us home much more, I don't need a video camera solution right now anyway.


(Patrick) #14

Can you setup the blink to only operate when nobody is home?


#15

What do you mean by operate? If you mean actually viewing a live feed, no you can't (that I know of); but if you mean sending alerts for motion detection, then yes you can.


#16

@Merlin: I have pretty much the same requirements. Have you made any progress on your solution?

Thanks


(African hut) #17

We are intergrators and installers of HA and security sytems. We have installed the wirefree Arlo (outside), Ring doorbell at the gate and Smartcam HD Pro on the inside. The night picture of the Arlo is not that great but we plan to use IFTTT and link it to Phillips Hue lights on detection of motion. Smartcam is great even in darkness and has a good two way communication. Picture quality is great. The Ring requires a stronger Wifi network which is not generally available in South Africa. We also didn't like the recording time lag of the Arlo but we are still troubleshooting. We are betting on the new integration announced by Smartthings and IFTTT to make all these three cameras work smoothly. We couldn't get the Foscams to work wirelessly and we are still trying to get their support to help us. We don't have experience with Blink. You can mail us on info@africanha.com if you need further details on our experience.

Will update you as we get more experience of running this system.


(Mark) #18

Did I miss something?


(Shawn Djernes) #19

Can someone recommend a camera that meets the following?

  1. Can be viewed in SmartThings and SmartTiles
  2. IR Nightvision
  3. Ethernet w/ PoE
  4. Support storage to local NVR solution.

The first and second items areobvious why I want them. Both indoor and outdoor options are needed. I have 16+ camera locations to install.

Item 3: There are times when my WiFi can get crowded as we are a very connected house. Even with 2 APs (soon to be 3 Ubiquity Unifi UAP-AC-PRO) it can get slow when everyone is doing there thing. I have invested in a 48-port managed PoE switch, which is on a UPS battery backup. So wanting the cameras wired has two advantages, save on wireless bandwidth and keep them running through short power outages.

Item 4: My ISP (Charter Communications) max available upload bandwidth is 4Mbps. This is not anywhere close enough to upload all camera video to the cloud so local storage is the only option.

I have been looking at the newest Ubiquity Unifi Cameras and the Hikvision Cameras


(Smuts) #20

You can only view video from the officially supported cameras in the SmartThings app. None of them are POE. I wouldn't make viewing from the app a priority. It will limit you to inferior cameras.

You can get pretty much anything viewable in Smarttiles. There are authentication issues getting the HIKVisions to stream in ST, but the stop motion feed is nearly as good.

I have a few of those HIKVision mini bullets. They are very good cameras. I'm using Surveillance station which integrates nicely with Smartthings.

I think others have Blue Iris integration working.

Today I read about these, but I can't find them for sale.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-arrival-rotary-bullet-PTZ-camera-2mp-10x-night-vision-IR-80m-IP-camera/32437446186.html