Surveillance cameras are widely available and relatively easy to install. However, if you want to search and access recent recorded events from your cameras then you either need a cloud service, network video recorder, and a new category of device called a smart camera hub. We have collected tons of feedback from pro installers, commercial business owners, and home owners on the pros can cons of these options. Below is a summary of our feedback so far.
Cloud Camera Systems
Cloud camera systems can generally be accessed from anywhere, but storing data in “the cloud” can have expensive monthly fees and have privacy risks. You can connect your camera to the internet and the cloud camera will automatically transfer your live and recorded video to a cloud based server. Here you can usually use apps to access the video. The video is transferred over your network so these systems can slow your network down. Also, since your video is stored on cloud based systems it can be susceptible to hacking. Some cloud based camera systems have even been hacked providing bad actors direct access to live video in peoples homes.
Network Video Recorders
Network video recorders have traditionally been used for video surveillance systems. Network video recorders store the data locally on a hard drive so they do not have the same privacy concerns, but their initial costs may be a bit higher. They are able to store video locally which keeps your data private, but most do not have intelligent alerts or AI. This means that if something happened you need to manually review the hours of video feed to try to find it.
Smart Camera Hubs or Advanced Network Video Recorders
Smart camera hubs (also called advanced network video recorders) are a new category where advanced software processes camera video feeds, AI analyzes the video with real-time alerts, then stores the alerts and full video history on the device. This keeps the video safe and is more secure than cloud camera systems. Smart camera hubs also can process high resolution video (up to 4k) without impacting your home or business internet bandwidth significantly. This can free up much more bandwidth than cloud base systems.