Adam Darack is the IT administrator for the town of Edgartown. He writes regularly about the technological issues facing Island business owners. Got a question? Send it to onIsland@mvtimes.com with the subject line “Dear Geek.”
I know you wrote about surveillance cameras last summer, but I’m looking for a setup that’s a bit different and need to have it up and running quickly. It’s for a couple of cameras in a place where I don’t have electricity but can see from my house. Are there any cameras that work on a battery that I can still see with an app on my phone?
Hi Camera 2.0,
No worries on the repeat question — I am literally asked about cameras each and every week. I recently had a request for a similar setup, and have a solution that will work for you.
I was asked to put cameras up on trees to be able to view an event, and the person requesting the work needed to be able to watch the live camera feed on their phone and record the event as well. To be honest, I didn’t have much experience with a setup like that, but knew I could figure something out. After speaking with a friend who owns a retail location with wireless cameras and scouring over tech blogs, I decided to try out a product made by Netgear called Arlo.
Arlo cameras communicate with a base station, similarly to how cordless phones work. The base unit for those cameras is a wireless router preconfigured to connect with the cameras, which then allows the video to be automatically sent to the Arlo website. Your camera feeds are then viewable on their website, and on an app on a cell phone. The cameras are completely wireless, running on four 3.7v batteries (rechargeable batteries are available).
My scenario had another twist: Internet issues. There was no Internet at the location, just cell phones and tablets on a data plan. Thankfully, mobile hotspots and routers that can provide Internet using a cell carrier’s SIM card are available. I used a router made by Cradlepoint, which used a Verizon wireless connection to provide Internet. There are other solutions that can do the same job, but there is likely pre-existing Internet service where you are doing your installation, so this is probably not something you’ll need.
The system I purchased contained two cameras and a base station for $220. Video is stored in the Arlo cloud for seven days, but for $100 to $150 per year, you can extend that to 30 or 60 days. Typically, people know within a couple of days if they need to review something that happened, so that seven-day window will likely suffice. You can always download the videos as well, for long-term storage.
I purchased my cameras on my own, and have no affiliation with Netgear or Arlo; I just like tech that fits a need, is easy, and is somewhat affordable. Sometimes my articles seem like a pitch for a product, but they aren’t. There are always multiple ways to solve a problem, and I prefer to comment on what I have experience with, not something that might hypothetically work.
Hope everyone is having a great summer, and as always, please feel free to write in with any question or tech stories.
Cheers, The Geek