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Technology Untangled: Easy video security with Internet cloud camera

Stephen Bour
December 19, 2012
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technology-bourToday we will look at a simple and effective Web-based network video security camera from D-Link that makes it easy to remotely monitor your home or office over the Internet.

I became intrigued by this subject after recently working on a project that included evidence from a home surveillance camera. That camera recorded an incident as a series of hundreds of individual snapshots. Using editing software, I was able to stitch those shots together to produce a smooth, moving video of the event. This home surveillance system was set up with multiple cameras that were wired to a computer acting as a DVR. While elaborate setups like this are certainly achievable, I was looking for something similar yet simpler to set up and operate, something that required just a minimum of technical skill.

What I discovered was the D-Link Cloud Camera 1200, model DCS-942L, a simple yet feature-filled wireless Internet camera. This camera communicates with the wireless network router you probably already own. It connects via WiFi in a manner similar to a wireless printer. It is about the size of a deck of cards. This allows for great flexibility in camera placement, allowing the unit to be placed anywhere within signal range that a power connection is available. Network cameras like this are different than Web cameras because they can operate independently of a computer (they have their own built-in CPU) and can be accessed directly through the Internet.

The D-Link stood out for me because of several key features. Because it communicates with the cloud, it allows for remote viewing of your live video feed from any iPhone, iPad or Android phone or tablet. You can, of course, also view from any computer on the Internet, as well as control a host of recording and viewing options from your computer while at home or away.

Next, it allows for easy recording of video because of the included microSD memory card slot. Most similar cameras have provisions for recording video to a connected computer or for uploading video to a server, but the D-Link’s onboard memory option makes recording, storing and reviewing video very easy.

Initial setup was straightforward. Begin by attaching the camera directly to your router with the included Ethernet cable, then turn on the power. Next, use your computer to download and run the setup Wizard software. The hardest part was thinking up yet another username and password! Note that the Ethernet cable is only required during initial setup. The camera can operate wirelessly after that.

With the free mydlink app, your phone or tablet easily becomes a remote viewing device. After installing and launching the app, you enter your username and password (the first time only) and then tap to view your camera. Remote viewing includes the ability to monitor audio as well. You can also instantly capture and save a snapshot of any activity as you are viewing it on the screen.

Full functionality and control of the network camera can be achieved by logging on to the D-Link Web browser from any computer. This makes it easy to monitor, adjust and control the camera from anywhere in the world. In addition to providing many video quality and motion-trigger adjustments, the camera also can be configured to provide a two-way audio link, thus allowing it to act as an entryway monitoring and communication device. This camera is also night-vision capable due to the included infrared illuminator and sensor. The D-Link system allows for installation of multiple cameras to your router so you can monitor, for example, both the parking lot and the lobby of your office.

Because of the onboard SD card, you can easily set up the Cloud Camera 1200 as a continuously recording stand-alone security camera. It does not need to be communicating continuously with your computer to accomplish this. A 16GB memory card will record a full week of clear time- and date-stamped video before it begins to overwrite the oldest data. The default video is recorded in 60-second segments at 320 X 240, 10 fps (frames per second), and a single snapshot also is recorded once per minute. Adjustments are available for higher resolutions and longer segments.

Perhaps the more practical method of recording is to set up the camera to record only upon detection of motion. Motion-triggered events are stored to the SD card, and email notification can be set up to instantly send you several snapshots from the recorded event. You can then log on through your computer to view the recorded video. This could be useful for monitoring deliveries to your home or office.

If you are interested in a relatively inexpensive ($150), uncomplicated and practical video security solution, try the D-Link Cloud Cam 1200. You can learn more about the D-Link Cloud video products at http://www.dlink.com/us/en/home-solutions/mydlink/stay-connected. Information on their more robust business products can be found at http://www.dlink.com/us/en/business-solutions/ip-surveillance.•

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Stephen Bour (bourtech@iquest.net) is an engineer and legal technology consultant in Indianapolis. His company, the Alliance for Litigation Support Inc., includes Bour Technical Services and Alliance Court Reporting. Areas of service include legal videography, tape analysis, document scanning to CD and courtroom presentation support. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author.
 

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  1. No second amendment, pro life, pro traditional marriage, reagan or trump tshirts will be sold either. And you cannot draw Mohammed even in your own notebook. And you must wear a helmet at all times while at the fair. And no lawyer jokes can be told except in the designated protest area. And next year no crucifixes, since they are uber offensive to all but Catholics. Have a nice bland day here in the Lego movie. Remember ... Everything is awesome comrades.

  2. Thank you for this post . I just bought a LG External DVD It came with Cyber pwr 2 go . It would not play on Lenovo Idea pad w/8.1 . Your recommended free VLC worked great .

  3. All these sites putting up all the crap they do making Brent Look like A Monster like he's not a good person . First off th fight actually started not because of Brent but because of one of his friends then when the fight popped off his friend ran like a coward which left Brent to fend for himself .It IS NOT a crime to defend yourself 3 of them and 1 of him . just so happened he was a better fighter. I'm Brent s wife so I know him personally and up close . He's a very caring kind loving man . He's not abusive in any way . He is a loving father and really shouldn't be where he is not for self defense . Now because of one of his stupid friends trying to show off and turning out to be nothing but a coward and leaving Brent to be jumped by 3 men not only is Brent suffering but Me his wife , his kids abd step kidshis mom and brother his family is left to live without him abd suffering in more ways then one . that man was and still is my smile ....he's the one real thing I've ever had in my life .....f@#@ You Lafayette court system . Learn to do your jobs right he maybe should have gotten that year for misdemeanor battery but that s it . not one person can stand to me and tell me if u we're in a fight facing 3 men and u just by yourself u wouldn't fight back that you wouldn't do everything u could to walk away to ur family ur kids That's what Brent is guilty of trying to defend himself against 3 men he wanted to go home tohisfamily worse then they did he just happened to be a better fighter and he got the best of th others . what would you do ? Stand there lay there and be stomped and beaten or would u give it everything u got and fight back ? I'd of done the same only I'm so smallid of probably shot or stabbed or picked up something to use as a weapon . if it was me or them I'd do everything I could to make sure I was going to live that I would make it hone to see my kids and husband . I Love You Brent Anthony Forever & Always .....Soul 1 baby

  4. Good points, although this man did have a dog in the legal fight as that it was his mother on trial ... and he a dependent. As for parking spaces, handicap spots for pregnant women sure makes sense to me ... er, I mean pregnant men or women. (Please, I meant to include pregnant men the first time, not Room 101 again, please not Room 101 again. I love BB)

  5. I have no doubt that the ADA and related laws provide that many disabilities must be addressed. The question, however, is "by whom?" Many people get dealt bad cards by life. Some are deaf. Some are blind. Some are crippled. Why is it the business of the state to "collectivize" these problems and to force those who are NOT so afflicted to pay for those who are? The fact that this litigant was a mere spectator and not a party is chilling. What happens when somebody who speaks only East Bazurkistanish wants a translator so that he can "understand" the proceedings in a case in which he has NO interest? Do I and all other taxpayers have to cough up? It would seem so. ADA should be amended to provide a simple rule: "Your handicap, YOUR problem". This would apply particularly to handicapped parking spaces, where it seems that if the "handicap" is an ingrown toenail, the government comes rushing in to assist the poor downtrodden victim. I would grant wounded vets (IED victims come to mind in particular) a pass on this.. but others? Nope.

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