Keeping your home surveillance private

Residential Security Handbook 2022: SMART Living Smart Home Automation

The number of private homes using video surveillance as part of their security infrastructure is continually growing, and there are a number of cameras and video kits available for home use on the market. While it is easy enough to set up a PC or NVR/DVR to store video data, most suppliers also offer a cloud service for remote viewing and storage.

The range of options available starts from the ultra-cheap and increases to the expensive, with homeowners getting what they pay for – especially if they opt for the convenience of cloud services. The cloud option always brings up the question of privacy. While an office environment does not guarantee privacy, one wants your home security system, especially video-based systems, to ensure you are the only one able to access your video – live and stored – unless you decide to give it to someone else.

Arcanum Africa sells a product that makes it easy to collate video from almost any camera into a private recorder, which can also be available for remote viewing via a laptop or mobile device and includes advanced artificial intelligence (AI) functionality. The product, Camect, is a small box that you connect to your router, after which it will automatically discover any cameras you have on the same network.

The Camect website lists many cameras that are autodetected, with the device able to use ONVIF or RSTP streams to find cameras and provide streaming along with its AI services. It also sports 1 TB of storage in the box for continuous recording, which allows users to view recorded footage as and when they choose.

Arcanum’s Peter Stolwerk and Aaron van Schaik add that Camect offers much more than camera streams. It has an advanced AI that can detect over 30 types of objects with a false alarm rate of less than 0,5%. It differentiates between animals, people and vehicles, and can alert users when a person is seen at the door, for example. The AI is also able to learn, so if it sends an alert that is incorrect, the user will mark the object as safe and the system will learn accordingly.

A night vision option is also built in, which makes investigating an alert at night easier as the user will have a better view inside dark rooms or yards.

Cloud with privacy

Users have the option of buying the Camect box as a standalone solution, in which case their footage stays on the box and is accessible via the home network. The system supports up to 24 MP of total video resolution, which equates to about 12 HD (1080p) cameras.

There is also an annual subscription option which includes cloud services, but also guarantees privacy. With three or four points of authentication, the system is only accessible to the authorised user. Moreover, with this option users can choose to backup video footage to the cloud service of their choice.

The subscription also guarantees weekly updates to the system, keeping it current and also continually updating the AI system. Given the size of the Camect box, it can be used anywhere and even moved without losing the settings or footage.

While the Camect device, created by two ex-Google employees, is aimed at providing private video surveillance for home users, Stolwerk says it can also be used by security companies looking to take advantage of the AI functionality, due to the less than 0,5% false alarm rate and constant upgrading of the system and the AI, and of course, any cybersecurity updates that are required.

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