Smart Doorbell Cameras: An Instructional Guide

Doorbell cameras have advantages for homeowners and busy people wanted extra security. Statistically, doorbell cameras and home invasions and crime by up to 50%. Because of this fact, every homeowner should look into buying a smart doorbell camera.

Over 33% of home invaders enter through the front door. Having a smart doorbell camera prevents them from entering your house and causing potential property damage or physical harm. Continue reading to enhance your home security and keep burglars off your property.

Smart Dorbell Camera

These changes become compared to the baseline values and create a thermal image. Despite having a lower image quality than cooled thermal detectors, uncooled cameras are less costly, smaller, and are open to a myriad of commercial applications.

What Is A Smart Doorbell?

When discussing electronic devices, a “smart” device is a device that’s capable of connecting to the internet. A smart doorbell is exactly that; a doorbell that can connect to the internet. Most smart doorbells consist of built-in microphones, cameras, and speakers.

Smart doorbells work by notifying the smartphone when a guest arrives at the door entrance. It activates when a guest presses the button on a doorbell, or when it’s built-in motion sensors detect the guest’s movement.

Smart doorbells allow homeowners to interact with the guest via the device’s built-in high definition microphone and camera. Some smart doorbells use remote locks to let the user accept guests remotely.

Convenience is its main advantage. For instance, there’s no learning curve for your visitors. They simply have to press the doorbell like they would any other doorbell model. Once they ring the bell, it sends an alert to your phone. You can communicate with them via microphone and see who it is with the camera.

Also, smart doorbells offer protection. If a suspicious visitor appears in front of your home, you can record their identity. Smart doorbells ensure that you’ll be able to protect you and your family from burglaries and home invasions without answering the door.

Smart Doorbell History

Smart doorbells were first seen in 2012. James Siminoff, the founder of Ring, created the first smart doorbell with only 3 engineers and 1 intern. By November 2013, Ring released Doorbot into the public. The prototype smart doorbell used VOIP video call on connected smartphones to allow access to the user’s home.

Ring CEO Standing In Front Of Doors

After its release, Ring received an increase in sales and popularity. The company increased sold 20,000 units and shipped their smart doorbells over 85 countries. As a result, smart doorbells became mass-manufactured due to their increased demand.

Features

Here are a few features to consider when searching for your first smart doorbell camera:

Communicating Via Smartphone With Your Guest At Doors

Some models allow users to communicate with their guests via smartphone. When the doorbell is pressed, the phone will create a video that displays who’s at the door. Then, the homeowner can accept or reject entry through the app.

Your smartphone can be used to scare burglars, vandals, and home invaders. By sending an audio alert, it will scare them away from your home. Once they are gone, you can use the video recordings to report them to the police. Smartphones allow you to control your home remotely and stop potential home invasions.

Watch Over Your Home Entrance

Find a smart doorbell that has a wide viewing range. This allows you to see everything that’s occurring on your doorstep. On average, the optimal viewing range is between 120° - 150°.

Smart doorbells with motion sensing will start recording and alert you when someone approaches your door before they even press a button. Being able to watch over your home entrance is helpful if you want to know if your package has been successfully delivered or stolen.

The best smart doorbells have a 1080p resolution, making it easier to recognize their features. Make sure that your device has low-light and night vision capabilities. Doing this helps you control who enters your home without compromising your safety.

Infrared Nig​​​​ht Vision

Infrared vision is used to detect visitors via infrared radiation. They work on the principle that objects emit energy as a function of their temperature. In general, the hotter the object, the more radiation it produces.

There are two forms of infrared imaging detectors: uncooled and cooled. Uncooled infrared cameras operate at room temperature while cooled cameras use cryogenic cooling to temperatures under 200°K.

How Does Uncooled Infrared Vision Work?

Uncooled infrared detectors work at room temperatures. This is a safer alternative than being frozen at extremely cold temperatures by expensive and bulky cryogenic coolers.

Illustration Of Uncooled Infrared Vision Work

When infrared radiation focuses on uncooled detectors, the heat creates changes to the detector material’s electrical properties.

Uncooled Infrared Vision Cameras

PROS

  • Easily detects people, objects, and vehicles
  • More reliability than cooled infrared images
  • Higher contrast
  • Inexpensive in comparison to cooled infrared cameras
  • Not affected by vibrant light sources

CONS

  • Can’t be used for high speed or multispectral infrared applications
  • Low sensitivity

How Does Cooled Infrared Vision Work?

Cooled Infrared Vision cameras are cryogenically cooled and placed in a vacuum sealed case. Cooling the detectors (at a temperature setting below 110K, a value that’s lower than the temperature of the objects being detected) increases their sensitivity. Without proper cooling, the detectors would be harmed by its own self-radiation.

Cooled Infrared Vision Cameras

PROS

  • High thermal sensitivity
  • Can detect people and vehicles at extended distances
  • Able to conduct multi-spectral and high speed infrared imaging
  • Unaffected by bright light sources

CONS

  • Might require a few minutes of cooldown
  • Bulky
  • Limited operating lifetime
  • Expensive to operate and purchase

Smart Lock Compatibility

Smart locks are electromechanical locks designed to perform unlocking and locking operations on a door once it receives directions from an authorized device. It works by using a cryptographic key and wireless protocol to start the authorization process.

Authentication Methods

Previously, mechanical keys were the main source of authorization. However, keys have a tendency of becoming lost, stolen, or left at home. Smart locks have a multitude of authentication methods to choose from.

Using Smartphone To Unlock Doors

Here are some of the most common authentication methods:

Pin Codes

Smart locks that use a numerical code for authorization are called digital keypad locks. They have combination lengths that range from 4 to 12 digits and don’t require users to have a physical key to gain access.

Biometrics

Biometric locks have gained popularity due to their increased security procedures and unique identification. Biometrics refers to locking systems that use human physical characteristics such as hand geometry, fingerprints, or eye scans to verify identities and grant access.

No matter which smart doorbell you buy, make sure that its smart lock compatible. Smart locks make your home safer and allows for more control. If possible, look for models that give “digital keys” to family, friends, caregivers, and other authorized guests.

Motion Detection

Your doorbell’s motion sensor is a main component of your security system. It’s the main device that detects when authorized users are in your home. Motion sensors use one or multiple technologies to spot movement in your area. Motion detection offers the following advantages:

  • Trigger the doorbell when a guest approaches the front door
  • Alert you when your pets enter areas they aren’t supposed to be
  • Save energy via using lighting in unattended spaces
  • Notify you when your kids enter restricted areas, like the medicine cabinet, workout room, or the basement

The main goal of motion detection is to find an intruder and deliver an alert to your control panel. Then, it sends an alert to your monitoring center. Motion sensors work when you’re not at home or when you tell the system you’re not present.

Doorbell Camera vs. Other Types Of Intercoms

Doorbell cameras are a used by smart home enthusiasts. One press of a button can give you all the information needed about the visitor at your door. The wireless doorbell intercom system uses no wires and utilizes a good Wi-Fi connection to access the locks when you’re not home.

Wireless Intercom

Wireless intercoms are a great choice if your door doesn’t have free wiring slots (or you don’t want to pay extra for wiring slots). They are easy to install and have similar capabilities to wired equipment.

Wifi Intercom System

Also, they cover a myriad of two-way communication systems such as handheld radios, outdoor call boxes, and traditional desktop intercoms. Getting the best wireless intercom depends on the distance it takes for your message to reach its receiver.

Doorbell cameras are better because of its night vision technology. Video doorbells can see each visitor in plain view before opening the door. They offer more security, making it a great choice if you’re concerned about you and your family’s safety.

Wired Intercom 

Wired intercoms are installed when the house is under construction. They are less expensive than their wireless components. And, some areas disable the use of wireless intercoms (i.e. the basement; in these areas a wired intercom is suitable.

However, they are more limited than doorbell cameras. For example, they are unable to alert you when unwanted visitors are present. Doorbell cameras are easier to install; taking 30 minutes less than their wired counterparts. Invest in a doorbell camera if you want to improved alerts and better control over who enters your house.

Safety Concerns With Doorbell Cameras

While doorbell cameras offer an increased level of protection, there are a few safety concerns. Take note of these concerns and their solutions so you can effectively utilize your camera.

Privacy Issues

There are a few instances where doorbell cameras caused controversies, especially in commercial and professional setups. Since alarm systems can be ineffective, strangers can enter your home.

False Alarms

Even if the burglars don’t steal anything, most homeowners will feel that their privacy is compromised. On some occasions, reactive home doorbell cameras can fall short when it comes to protecting privacy. Here are a few facts regarding false alarms:

  • 10-20% of police calls come from false alarms
  • False alarms cost about 1.2 billion annually
  • About 94-99% of home invasion calls are false

False alarms trigger because of human error or pets accidentally hitting the motion sensors. When getting a doorbell camera, set up the alarm system to alert you when a real emergency happens. Make sure that your doorbell camera has a responsive alarm system to prevent false alarms and aid in protecting your house.

Solution

One way to prevent false alarms is by adjusting the motion detector sensitivity. Have a low motion sensitivity during the day time and in the night time, set it higher. This will keep your motion detector optimized and enhances its performance.

Adjusting The Motion Zones

Wi-Fi Vulnerability

When we use doorbell cameras for security, we try to remain updated on the latest technologies. But, criminals are also doing the same with their hacking equipment. A good trespasser will find a way to get into your wifi system undetected.

Tech-savvy burglars can use your smart doorbell camera against you. Plus, hackers can wreck havoc on your security system by using your internet and spy on you instead. We suggest that you protect your Wi-Fi network by making a secure password that’s unable to be hacked.

Solution

To fix this, there are three forms of security you can use:

  • Encrypted wireless
  • Wireless
  • Wired

Wired security is unable to be hacked, but the wires can be cut. Ideally, you should create an encrypted wired connection and a wired connection. Following this step will protect your camera from hackers and extends its lifespan up to 5 years.

Unable To Stop Threats

Doorbell cameras help users record footage, help capture criminals, and gain justice from the law. They aren’t able to stop a crime that’s in progress. In addition, they can’t alert the police or neighbors like an alarm system.

This means that you’ll gain losses when you run to court, reorder stolen inventory or make insurance claims. Expect to wait at least 4 months to receive a reimbursement on your stolen possesions if this happens.

Solution

You’ll have to be alert and proactive when threats happen. Once your camera alerts of an unwanted presence, call the police once you’ve identified the criminal. This stops them from damaging your home and costing you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

Manufacturers

Selecting the best doorbell camera requires you to buy from the best manufacturers. The following manufacturers are recognized for their high-quality cameras, long years of service, and maximum security.

Ring

Ring is a home security company whose goal is to reduce crime in neighborhoods. Currently, the company has raised $61.2 million and sold over 50,000 units units in a month. It received funding from famous entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Mobile Group.

Ring Doorbell Camera

Due to the funding by Branson and other investors, they developed newer models with better facial recognition and improved motion detection. It’s a great manufacturer for those wanting a reliable home security and surveillance system.

SkyBell

SkyBell was created with the mission to improve homeowners everyday lives by making useful and simple products for smart homes, beginning with the front door.

When the SkyBell motion sensor is activated, users receive a video feed and alert if someone is at your door for more than 15 seconds. This manufacturer is a good choice for people who need an inexpensive doorbell camera for their household.

Zmodo

Since its development in 2009, Zmodo has gained a strong reputation for excellent customer service and delivering innovative video products. With almost 7 million products sold, Zmodo has turned to a fast-growing enterprise with global reach in Europe, Austrailia, and North America.

Zmodo provides products such as security cameras, intelligent management systems, and integrated video platforms. Additionally, the company offers professional solutions in multiple industries such as public transportation, justice, public health, and education.

With over 8 years of experience, Zmodo is determined to become an international leading brand in the security, electronics, and the intelligent devices industry. Buy from Zmodo if you want responsive doorbell cameras with lifetime product support.

Smart Doorbells And IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of home appliances, vehicles, and physical devices. Each device on this network is eligible to exchange and connect data. This results in an open network where each smart device can be used interchangeably with one another.

Smart doorbells are an integral part of the Internet of Things. They are expected to grow by 70.70% by 2020. Based on this information, expect to see more developments, innovations, and new additions to the market in the future.

US Market Size

The U.S. market is expected to see growth, due to the increasing cloud computing applications and large data in the IT structure. We expect the US market to receive the highest market share in the IoT field during the forecasting period.

The major vendors and companies in the IoT market include:

  • Google Inc
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • International Business Machine (IBM)
  • General Electric

Companies inside the U.S region have established economies, making it easier for them to invest in the IoT market. This is because of their technological advancements, digitization across the industry, adoption of smart devices has further increased IoT’s growth within this region.

Maintenance

Your doorbell camera is an investment and one that needs to be maintained so it can stay in good condition. To get the best performance out of the camera’s security system, we recommend that you schedule regular system maintenance. Here are a few tips to maintain your smart doorbell camera system:

Assembling Doorbell Camera

Semi-Annual Inspections

Inspect all your outdoor and indoor cameras and check for signs of rust or corrosion. Replace any cameras that have corrosion. Corrosion makes your equipment short out, resulting in a loss of efficiency and surveillance.

Inspect your power supplies to ensure that your system did not lose power due to a storm, tampering, or some other unwanted event. Look at your unit and make sure the battery doesn’t show warning lights and is fully charged.

Replace Poor Quality Cameras

If the image quality of your camera becomes poor, replace the camera before it becomes useless. When inspecting the camera, look for any broken parts that need replacements or repairs.

When getting replacement parts, make sure it’s from a trusted seller or the same manufacturer. The parts are less prone to deterioration and have a warranty to protect it from further damage. This saves you from spending money on faulty parts and keeps the camera running properly.

Clean Camera Lenses

Your doorbell camera is exposed to germs, bacteria, and other ailments daily. Dirty lenses negatively affect the camera because it changes the video and image quality; making it hard to see the image.

As a rule of thumb, clean the camera lenses twice a year. This stops it from accumulating dust, water spots, and smudges. Use a wet cloth with warm water and wipe off any debris located on your camera. Your camera will run as good as new and continue to protect your home from uninvited guests and criminals.

You should also use a voltmeter to guarantee that your camera is getting its full power requirements. Giving a camera too little or too much power will cause it to fail faster. It’s cheaper to replace a power supply than it is to replace a doorbell camera.

By performing regular maintenance on your doorbell camera’s security system. You’ll get the most out of the system and protect your investment.

Keep The Cables Securely Connected

Worn out cables or loose connections is the main reason why your doorbell camera system isn’t working. Check all the cable connections and see if any cables show signs of wear and tear. This includes cables connected to doorbell camera.

Putting Wires Inside Of Doorbell

Monitor them to make sure that your cables receive power and stays securely connected. If possible, place your wires in a hidden location to prevent the burglars from cutting and tampering with them.

Final Word

With their enhanced detection, good image and audio quality, and instant alerts you can’t go wrong with a doorbell camera in your home.

That being said, you need to know which doorbell cameras are worth your money. We invite you to take a look at our buying guide that’s designed to make your decision-making process when shopping easier.

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