My First Consumer IoT: IP Camera Hands-On

Recently, I got myself surveillance cameras. With the intention for a security purpose, as for quite some time there was a man just scouting around my neighborhood. So, it was like a thief looking for the next target. 

Or maybe it was just me wanting to try something cool. As my neighborhood is quite crowded, it is unlikely for any thief to do their things.

Before buying this product, I am familiar with IoT. When I was in college, there were many occasions that ought us to make one. Though it was on prototype level or model level. For those of you who don’t understand, prototype means it is meant to be close to the production one and model means it is a smaller version for something that has to be deployed.

I bought two cameras, Bardi Smart Indoor PTZ and Bardi Smart Outdoor STC. Still can’t figure out what PTZ and STC mean. But the point is the PTZ for indoor use and the STC for outdoor use. 

Smart Indoor PTZ specs:

  • Image sensor 1/2.9” 2Megapixel CMOS
  • Effective pixels 1920(H)*1080(V)
  • Shutter 1/25~1/100,000s
  • Min illuminance Color 0.01Lux@F1.2
  • Black/White 0.001Lux@F1.2
  • IR distance Night visibility up to 10m
  • Day/Night Auto(ICR)/Color/ B/W
  • Lens 3.6mm@F2.0, 105°
  • Video&Audio
  • Compression H.264
  • Bitrate 32Kbps~2Mbps
  • Audio input/output Built-in mic/speaker
  • Network
  • Alarm trigger Intelligent motion detection
  • Communication Protocol HTTP,DHCP,DNS,TCP/IP
  • Interface protocol Private
  • Wireless 2.4G WIFI(IEEE802.11b/g/n)
  • Supported mobile phone OS iOS 8 or later,Android 4.2 or later
  • Security User authentication,software encryption
  • General
  • Operating temperature −20 °C to 50 °C
  • Power supply DC 5V/1A
  • Consumption 4.5W max
  • Pan/Tilt Pan: 0~355°, tilt: 0~60°
  • Storage SD card(Max.128G),cloud storage
  • Dimensions Φ87.4×123.3mm

Looking at the specs, I think it is good as it can capture 1080p video. For the quality itself, I also think it is quite good for a home surveillance camera. I don’t have any deep knowledge about surveillance though. So, maybe it is a bit overrated from my perspective. 

Smart Outdoor STC specs:

  • FHD 1080p & Night Vision
  • Two Way Audio
  • Intelligent Alerts
  • Weatherproof IP65

Unfortunately for the STC, I couldn’t find any full specs. Not on the market place page, manual on the package, or even the official website. But from what I see, it most likely has the same core specs as the PTZ. The only difference is the wall mounting mechanism and extra protection from the IP65 certification.

Anyway I got them for a good price as it was discounted. Though the pricing is somewhat not consistent as follows.

Smart Indoor PTZ

  • Rp383.000; bought on 31st October 2020 
  • Rp479.000; pricing on market place (22nd November 2020)
  • Rp480.000; pricing on official website (22nd November 2020)

Smart Outdoor STC

  • Rp399.000; pre-ordered on 31st October 2020 
  • Rp499.000; pricing on market place (22nd November 2020)
  • Rp500.000; pricing on official website (22nd November 2020)

The body itself is not quite precise. As seen on the photo, the right side and the left side are not placed perfectly. 

The STC has some differences with the PTZ. The first is the outdoor model has extra protection for the micro SD slot. Then it has to be angled manually because it doesn’t have movement control like the STC. The last is the external antenna. Maybe it will make a wider network coverage, though I can’t confirm this one.

Something I didn’t consider is the micro-SD on the device itself. What if the device is stolen or is broken by someone. The best case scenario wouldn’t be as long as we placed at a right corner and may be covered by more cameras to minimise blind spots. There is no way to record on the local network. Though cloud function is available for subscription.

The setting up for the device is pretty straightforward. We use an app called Smart Life. Then to get the device connected, we point a QR code from the app to the camera. The camera itself will then scan and try to connect to the local network (Wi-Fi) that is in use by the phone. 

The mounting mechanism is also so simple for the PTZ. We only need to attach the round plastic bracket included to mount the camera. Finally insert the camera and fasten it. 

The STC has to be mounted directly without any bracket as it has built in one. Then the other thing that we need to do is to tighten up the nut after the camera angle is fixed to our needs.

  • Screenshot

It’s straightforward. This feature for taking a screenshot.

  • Speak

Other than the microphone, the cameras also have a speaker as audio out. So we can use the app to communicate either one way or two ways.

  • Record

Also like the screenshot feature. We can record a video to save on our phone.

  • Playback

Playback is a feature to open recordings that have been saved on the microSD. Unfortunately the navigation only has a slider to move around the timing. There is no such thing as specifically insert a date and time. 

  • Cloud storage

Other than microSD, we can save the recordings to the cloud. But this is a paid subscription based feature. 

  • Direction

We can change the direction with the PTZ as this model can rotate around. As for the STC, there is no such feature.

  • Motion Detection Alarm and Sound Detection

As these are detection features, I don’t think these are suitable for a crowded neighbourhood. May be more suitable for places like storage rooms, farms, etc.

There are some things that are not on the main screen of the device:

  • Amazon Echo and  Google Home Support

Only available on STC. Though I haven’t been able to try as I don’t use any home assistant.

  • Flip screen

When the device is placed upside down, it needs to be flipped. So, the view of the video is normalised.

  • IR Night Vision

Both the models have a night vision. It can be turned on manually or automatically, based on the light they received. 

  • Share a Device and/or Room

So when I already registered two devices on my phone, I also make a ‘room’ for them. The purpose is that I can share easily with other households.

One more interesting feature is that we can view many sources at a time when there are more than one camera in one network. So far I can only confirm 2 cameras’ surveillance  on one screen. But looking at the screen UI, maybe a maximum of 4 cameras’ surveillance  can be seen at one screen.

It’s been fun getting my first two consumer level IoT. Both from the installation perspective and the exploration from the software side (Smart Life application). Also they are a good product for the price. Though the pricing isn’t consistent.

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