Home security cameras & Alarm systems - Time to push the button, advise me!

A year into my rennovations and its time to begin putting product in.

My two main issues right now are -

  1. Thermostats
  2. Security

The thermostat ive almost sorted (evohome is winning)

That leaves security.
Im looking for 2 interior cameras, 2 external cameras, ive got a ring pro already (to make 3 externals in total)

Both external sites have mains cable ran to them.
One is within cable run distance of ethernet, the other isn’t.
Both internal sites are next to a mains socket, One is next to a ethernet port, the other could be moved to be by one at a push.
Im running a ubiquity Ac Pro, so adding extra wireless connections isn’t a worry.

I need also an alarm system (more conventional type), doesn’t have to be tied to smart things (i don’t trust the two working together well) however some form of smart system on the alarm from my phone would be good.

I have read the threads on POE/Mains powered cameras tying into blue iris(BI). Did some research on blue iris but cant find anywhere with UK Support or pricing?

So my query’s:

  1. Can BI link up with wireless IP cameras?

  2. I realize BI needs an always on system, would an old laptop hooked up in the corner with one or two HDD’s plugged into the side of it suffice?

  3. Can BI integrate well with smart things?

  4. Can BI integrate into action tiles (live view via tablets around the house?)

  5. can anyone suggest any interior and exterior cameras that would suit if i was going the BI route?

  6. would an all in one system be better, arlo’s, blinks?

Outside of the cameras, is there any smart alarm systems that dont have a monthly fee (i dont care about external company monitors) and that are reliable enough to be worth the cost. Ive looked at the YALE smart kit which i can get with a pretty good discount, but there has been talks about the manual only guaranteeing the servers until end of this year, so im worried that it will be useless come next year.

Any and all other advice gratefully recieved.

I gave up with BI as it trounced the CPU on my fairly old PC, strange considering the one I do use sticks to <1% CPU (I use TrendNet View for TN cameras and one other). However I can answer some of your questions, BI is entirely US based, payment in US and support in the US, but in my experience trying to debug my own problems they were pretty good. BI is also hugely flexible in being able to do so many things and integrating well with ST. If you give it a go first then you can confirm quite a few things about performance and features.

You can integrate a good number of camera feeds into AT, they just need to have a mpeg standard feed available from a URL (I think a lot of the ‘smart’ cameras dont have this such as Ring/Arlo). Normally in my experience it is easier to pull from the camera direct, rather than BI/NVR since you save an interim step which can fail. Though possibly if BI can integrate with Ring/Arlo (not sure it can) then you could get AT to work with those cameras through a BI feed.

As for alarm, I can definitely recommend Visonic Powermax, as a totally standalone alarm system which is super reliable and super secure (dont use ST as it isnt reliable enough and will have a much shorter shelf life). I have done the Visonic integration with ST myself and it is one of my most useful/reliable ST devices so worth a look as the price is fairly reasonable, and you can use the motion sensors from the alarm inside ST (for triggering lights for example).

Take this recommendation with a pinch of salt as it is coming from the person who wrote it, but I picked Visonic originally because it suited my requirements best, just needed a Smart plugin. The plugin is designed to be entirely served on your own network, so wont break if some company decides to stop a server. I’ve also been updating my integration so it supports various other smart home systems using MQTT in parallel, so that Im not wedded to ST and can change my hub without many worries.

Thanks for the feedback.

My concern with BI is shared with your experience, i don’t want to have to consider the cost of a dedicated computer build to support it really.

My research has led me to a slight preference for the Unifi G3 cameras and possible NVR (although i might get a NAS setup and use that instead of NVR box) that would alleviate the need for BI but still keep me with standalone POE cameras, rather than ring/Arlo.

It would mean my ring camera would be separate but i could live with that as its in a recessed porch.

Il have a look into the alarm system, im less choosy with that than the cameras as i just want something to work and be reliable.

If you have another use for an NVR, then go that route, they are good at coping with a few cameras (just cant deal with 4/5+) and can then do so much more. Seems like a good enough model for POE camera, though a bit expensive for the resolution, probably because of the web features they provide (irrespective of whether you use them).

If you have a PC that stays running all the time, then BI is worth it, but otherwise it isnt very energy efficient. Also as in my previous post, that PC needs to have a processor from the last 5 years in order to avoid using the entire PC resources.