There is no doubt that home surveillance camera has been one of the highlights for the smart home in recent years. Up until now, the majority of smart home cameras on the market have been for indoor use, and options for similarly equipped outdoor home cameras have seemed limited in comparison. By similarly equipped we are referring to features like easy installation and setup, motion detection, remote viewing of live or recorded videos from a smartphone or a tablet, instant mobile/email alerts, and local or cloud storage. Popular home cameras like Piper nv, Netatmo Welcome and Withings Home all made their debut at CES last year, and they are all indoor cameras. Nevertheless, more smart home cameras for outdoor use have started to surface since last year.
In April of 2015, FLIR released a multi-purpose Wi-Fi camera for indoor, outdoor and sports use called FLIR FX. Later in November, Zmodo announced a new home camera line, which includes Zmodo Replay – a four-camera kit with two indoor and two outdoor cameras. And during the recently held CES 2016, Ring released Stick Up Cam, a wire-free outdoor camera featuring two-way talk, and Netatmo released Presence, an outdoor camera that can tell whether it detected a person, a car or an animal. Both Zmodo and Ring have a smart doorbell in their product lineup, and Ring specifically states that the Stick Up Cam is designed to supplement Ring Video Doorbell.
Generally speaking, outdoor cameras mainly differ from indoor ones in having weatherproof capabilities and longer detection ranges. For cameras to be installed outside, they have to withstand exposure to rain, sunlight and dirt. Outdoor cameras also need to see out further. Netatmo Presence features a detection range of up to 20m / 65ft.
Outdoor installations of cameras that require wiring or chords can be a real hassle. Luckily, there have been more wireless and wire-free outdoor home cameras released to the market to make installation simpler. Some cameras, like Zmodo’s outdoor camera, use wireless communication, but they have to be plugged in for power. Others, although in the minority, are completely without wires. Arlo by NETGEAR released in 2014 is a classic example. Ring’s Stick Up Cam is one of the latest to join the cohort – it is Wi-Fi connected and operates on a rechargeable battery that will last 6 to 12 months on one charge with regular usage.
As more activities take place outside of home than inside, motion detection has to be more precise and smarter to prevent false alerts. Dividing the field of view into “zones” and allowing users to choose which zones to look for activities, all from within the app, is a popular technique for selective detection of meaningful events. Cameras like Stick Up Cam, FLIR FX and Edimax’ IC-9110W all use this technique. For FLIR FX and Stick Up Cam, users can further customize sensitivity. Although it doesn’t support face recognition like Netatmo Welcome does, the company’s newest addition Presence uses Smart-Sight technology that leverages deep learning algorithm to detect people, cars and animals so users can quickly grasp the situation.
7 Pioneering DIY Outdoor Cameras of 2015 / 2016_
1. FLIR FX Outdoor
The versatility in use is definitely a highlight for FLIR FX. The outdoor model has a weatherproof housing locked around the camera, where the housing also provides 4 extra high-powered IR LEDs for clear night vision. Besides its versatility, the camera also has rich features to top things off. It supports live streaming to a smartphone or tablet, even without an Internet connection. Videos can be recorded to an onboard microSD card or to the FLIR cloud. With FLIR’s cloud-based RapidRecap capability, users can quickly review hours of footage. It also supports 2-way audio and temperature and humidity monitoring, which are features rare to find in outdoor cameras for the smart home.
2. Ring Stick Up Cam
Just released at CES 2016, Ring’s Stick Up Cam adds to the ring family, which previously included the Video Doorbell and the Chime.
According to Ring, Stick Up Cam complements the Ring Video Doorbell, and uers can keep an eye on their back or side door in addition to their front door. “We expect users to put Cam on their side or back door – in places that their Ring Video Doorbell doesn’t cover. Stick Up Cam extends the ring of security from the front door to the entire home,” says Ring.
The camera also features two-way talk with built-in speakers and microphone. Video recordings are saved in the cloud, and users can view and download up to 6 months of activity. The recordings can be shared with others such as friends, families or authorities. The camera shares the same app and cloud storage plan as the Ring Video Doorbell.
3. Netatmo Presence
Presence elegantly combines a floodlight with an outdoor security camera. The camera’s ability to distinguish between a car, a person and an animal also sets it apart from its competitors. What is also appealing is that it offers free video storage so users don’t have to subscribe to storage plans or pay recurring fees. Users can store the videos on the onboard microSD card, or they can take the option to store them in their personal server using FTP.
4. SwannOne SoundView Outdoor Camera
With the built-in microphone, the SwannOne SoundView Outdoor Camera can listen for glass door and window breakage and alert the user of the incident. Optional plans are available for expanding the camera’s listening capabilities, so that sounds of smoke, carbon monoxide alarms, car alarms and gun shots can also be detected. The camera can be used as a standalone security system, or it can join the SwannOne connected home system when combined with the SwannOne Smart Hub and other accessories. The company offers optional pay-as-you-go service plans including centralized professional monitoring, home automation and cloud video storage.
5. Zmodo Replay
The HD outdoor camera included in the system has an extended Wi-Fi range thanks to its long range Wi-Fi antenna. While some cameras only record when motion is detected or when the user manually hits the record button, this camera records continuously for up to 50 days to the included 1TB hard drive. With smart recording, it claims to save up to 80% of hard drive storage. No monthly fees are required.
6. Edimax IC-9110W
IC-9110W is a HD camera with a diagonal viewing angle of 139 degrees. It comes with an indoor Wi-Fi unit to make placement of the camera more flexible. The camera is physically connected to the indoor Wi-Fi unit through the wall with a unit cable developed by Edimax, and recordings are saved to the microSD card (up to 64GB) on the indoor Wi-Fi unit. The camera features an anti-cut bracket system to prevent the cable from being damaged. The viewer software supports simultaneous access of up to 16 cameras, offering the possibility of expansion for homeowners.
7. TRANWO GigaAir SMH101
Designed for outdoor surveillance, GigaAir SMH101 consists of a control panel, a wireless outdoor camera and alarm accessories including intruder alarms and a smoke alarm. Featuring a 7-inch or 10.1-inch touch screen display, the control panel can also act as a smart home gateway.
The control panel communicates with the wireless outdoor camera using Wi-Fi, and the rest – PIR sensor, window/door sensor, siren, smoke detector and remote control – using proprietary RF technology. The control panel can support up to 4 cameras. The camera can pre-record 5 to 15 seconds prior to detected motions, and it also supports scheduled recording and playback while recording. Up to 128GB of recordings from the camera can be saved onto the microSD card located in the control panel.
Features at a Glance
|Product||Protocol||Video||Field of View||Night Vision||Weatherproof||Two-Way Talk||Storage|
|FLIR FX Outdoor||Wi-Fi||1080p||160°||IR LEDs & IR cut filter
Up to 65 feet
|IP66||Yes||Cloud – three monthly plans, including the free FLIR CLOUD BASIC|
|Ring Stick Up Cam||Wi-Fi||720p||80°||IR LEDs||IP54||Yes||Cloud – monthly plan or annual plan|
|Netatmo Presence||Wi-Fi||1080p||100°||IR LEDs
Up to 50 feet / 15 meters
|IP66||No||Local – microSD card up to 32GB
Option to store in personal server using FTP
|SwannOne SoundView Outdoor Camera||Wi-Fi||720p||76°||IR LEDs
|Weather resistant||No||Cloud – two plans for 7 or 30 days (rolling)|
|Zmodo Replay – Outdoor camera||Wi-Fi||720p||81°||Automatic IR-Cut
Up to 50 feet
|IP65||No||Local – 1TB hard drive|
|Edimax IC-9110W||Ethernet & Wi-Fi||720p||139°||IR LEDs & automatic ICR||IP66||No||Local – microSD/SDHC card up to 64GB|
|TRANWO GigaAir SMH101 – Camera||Wi-Fi||720p||60°||ICR filter auto switch
Up to 10 meters
|IP66||No||Local – microSD card up to 128GB (located on the indoor monitor)|