Overview

What is Camect?
Camect is the brains of a home surveillance system, allowing you to easily build a sophisticated system from the IP cameras of your choice. It automatically configures your IP cameras, records video continuously, lets you view live and recorded video securely, and applies a deep-learning AI model to pick the most interesting video events to inform you about.

Camect offers many features that the alternatives do not, such as a large choice in cameras, low monthly costs, use of cloud storage you actually control (e.g. Google Drive), and AI-based alerts that actually get better as you, and other users, train the system. It’s also easy enough that anyone can get these benefits without having to get a degree in computer networking first!

There are two parts to the Camect experience:

  • Camect Home is a fully functional smart network video recorder for all of your cameras. It plugs into your home network and provides 24×7 recording, viewing from your home network, and AI-powered smart alert detection and review via the app. These features, and automatic software updates, are provided for life with no subscription cost.
  • Camect Go is a subscription service that adds features that require the use of the internet, such as seamless remote access from anywhere outside your home, delivery of alerts (in email, app notifications, or Telegram instant messages), backup of motion video to cloud storage, sharing with others, etc. Camect Go is available free for life for two cameras with your Camect Home purchase, but a subscription plan is required to extend this functionality to additional cameras.
How will Camect improve my home surveillance experience?
Simply put, Camect brings you the benefits of great camera management software at an affordable price. It will also protect your privacy and is likely to save you money if you’re using any other cloud-based camera service.

There are many consumer-oriented camera systems available today, but only a few come with good software.

Cloud-based systems often have good software, but the cameras and subscriptions are expensive, you get to choose from only 2-3 camera models, and the system is only as reliable as your internet connection. Cheaper standalone IP cameras are often great optically, but come with software that is difficult to use, insecure, or is hardly, if ever updated. Camect combines the best of both worlds.

Consider Camect if you’d like:

  • your video recordings kept on your own hardware, ensuring your privacy.
  • a system that does not depend on your internet connection.
  • choice in cameras — use the right camera for each scene, but have a single way to record, access and manage the video from all of them.
  • smart activity notifications that get even better when you provide feedback about them.
  • a low monthly cost for optional internet-based features.
  • alert video backup up to cloud storage you control, like Google Drive, dropbox, or Youtube.
  • video management from a US company that actually has a clear privacy policy, and tries to know as little of your information as possible.
  • access to your cameras from your laptop or desktop rather than just from your phone.
  • the ability to easily share access to your video with friends, family, or neighbors.
  • easy management of multiple recorders at multiple locations.
  • a secure device that gets automatic updates to improve both security and functionality.
  • a device with low power consumption to replace a power-guzzling desktop you’re using to record your video.
How much does it cost?

Camect is available on Indiegogo now! See our campaign page here for launch deals while they last!

What do I need to get started?
Assuming that you already have an internet connection and a home network that uses it, you’ll need:

  • One or more IP cameras. (See recommended hardware if you don’t have any yet.)
  • A source of power at each camera location, i.e. a power outlet for cameras that use a power adaptor, or a network cable running back to a POE (“power over ethernet”) switch if you bought POE cameras which are powered over the network cable.
  • Ability to connect to your network at each camera location, i.e. a good wifi signal for wifi cameras, or a network cable connected to your home network if you buy wired cameras.
  • Camect Home network video recorder, which can be placed at any convenient point in your home, and requires a power outlet and a wired network connection.
  • A phone, laptop, or desktop computer to use to access Camect.
  • A Google email account. If you don’t have one, create one just to be used to sign into Camect.
What comes in the box?
    • Camect Home network video recoder.
    • Power supply. (US plug, input voltage 110-240V.)
    • A “quick start” card, telling you how to connect the recorder and find our web site.

Usage and Features

How long will my recorded video be stored?
Your video will be stored as long as the available disk space permits, or you can specify a maximum age in case you need to limit to less than that. For a typical home with 4-5 cameras of 1080p resolution and no movement occurring a large fraction of the day, you can expect several weeks of footage stored on the 1TB internal drive.

More accurately this depends on the number of cameras you have, the resolution of those cameras, and the amount of movement that the cameras pick up. Camect Home stores your video efficiently in scenes where nothing appears to be occurring, while also storing as much detail as possible in scenes of interest.

If you find that you need more storage than what is available on the internal drive, you can plug in an external USB drive, or you can use a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device.

What are the benefits of storing video locally?
Longer viewable history and higher video quality at a lower cost than you could get if storing your video in the cloud.  🙂

Cloud providers that offer a month of video storage usually charge high, recurring monthly fees for the storage. By keeping your video locally, you avoid the monthly charge for disk space.

Constantly uploading your video to the cloud can also take up a significant fraction of the upload bandwidth on your internet connection, especially if you save video at high quality. A single 1080p camera may use 1-4 Mbps depending on the amount of activity it is capturing, and many internet providers limit the total upload bandwidth for your connection to 6-10 Mbps. If you want to have several cameras, or cameras with higher resolutions, you’ll likely have to sacrifice image quality when uploading continuously to the cloud.

Isn't cloud storage safer in the event of theft?
With a Camect Go subscription – which is much cheaper than paying for 30 days of video storage in the cloud – you can choose to automatically upload alert video (i.e. video from when unusual activity is detected) to a cloud provider of your choice. This gets you most of the benefit of uploading to the cloud without the cost and bandwidth usage that come with uploading everything.

Currently supported storage providers include Google Drive, Dropbox and Youtube. More will be added in future.

Is it easy to view my live and saved video when I'm away from home?
Very easy. Connect to https://home.camect.com/, log in, and select the Camect Home from which you want to see video — just as you would when viewing at home.

The experience feels much like using a cloud-based system, but your video is streamed directly to your viewing device from your Camect Home recorder rather than being stored in and streamed from the cloud.

What is a WebRTC connection?
WebRTC is the technology that Camect uses to your viewing device to contact your video recorder to retrieve your video without having to send the video to a cloud server.

Camect’s cloud infrastructure only helps your Camect Home recorder and your viewing device establish a connection to each other, and then steps out of the way. Camect’s servers never see your video, or any of your other interaction with your Camect Home recorder. Camect does not utilize any third-party providers for WebRTC.

I have multiple locations (e.g. my home and my business) to monitor. Can Camect handle this under a single account?
Yes, very easily. When you sign in to your home page, you’ll see a list of the various homes you own or have access to. You can expand their cameras inline on that page, or open a page showing the cameras from any one home at a time.

Cameras

Which types of camera work with Camect?

Please see our camera compatibility page at camect.com/camfaq to figure out whether your cameras will work with Camect. 

The easiest IP camera brands to use with Camect are Amcrest, Vstarcam, Reolink, Foscam and Trivision. These cameras should not require any manual configuration, and if the camera has a Pan/Tilt capability, that capability is supported by Camect. Note that Reolink Argus cameras are not IP cameras, and will not work with Camect.

Hikvision and Dahua cameras, popular with many enthusiasts, also work well. New Hikvision and Dahua cameras come set to use a static IP, unlike the above brands. You’ll need to plug them in one at a time, allowing each one to be detected and configured before plugging in the next one.

Camect also works with any camera that supports Onvif, and with cameras that support RTSP without Onvif.

  • Cameras that support Onvif can be detected and configured automatically.
  • Cameras that only support RTSP will be detected, but may not be configured correctly in all cases. You may need to supply the correct RTSP url to Camect to get an RTSP-only camera to work.

Nest and Arlo cameras work too, on an experimental basis. These cloud services could someday make changes that prevent them from working with Camect, so we do not recommend that anyone depend on continued support for them. However,  if you have either brand already, you can use your cameras to try Camect’s features, and to see what Camect can offer you on IP cameras that are much cheaper but have equal or better optical quality.

Is it easy to configure a new camera?

A supported camera is very easy to configure. Plug the camera into your network, and Camect will automatically find it and set it up.

Other cameras may require that you take care of getting the camera connected to your network, e.g. by following the manufacturer’s installation process. Once your camera is online, you may need to tell Camect the RTSP video streaming url for the camera in order to view video from it.

I don't own any cameras. How do I figure out what to buy?

We have suggestions for specific camera models on our hardware recommendations page.

I already have a working camera setup that uses another product. Can I try Camect without affecting my existing system?

Yes. When you claim ownership of your Camect Home recorder, uncheck the box that says you allow it to make configuration changes to your cameras. That way, you’ll be sure that Camect Home will not change any settings that your other system may be dependent upon – so you should be able to run both side by side.

Will battery-operated (aka "wireless") cameras work with Camect?

Camect records video continuously. We don’t recommend battery-operated models because continuous video recording will run down your batteries rapidly. However, you  can use a battery-operated Arlo camera with Camect if you wish. If you have another brand of battery-operated camera and know the local video streaming url, you may still add such a camera to Camect manually.

Security

Can anyone else see my video when I view my cameras remotely?

No. Your video is encrypted while in transit. It travels directly from your Camect Home recorder to your viewing device, without passing through any other computer that decrypts it. (This is in contrast to most cloud-based services, where your video is available unencrypted on the cloud server that hosts your content.)

Can anyone else steal my recorded video?

No, as long as you ensure that no one else has access to the account you use to sign in(i.e. don’t share your password), and ensure that your Camect Home is in a location that’s secure against theft.

Access to your Camect Home recorder via the internet involves signing in with a cloud identity (“sign in with Google”, “sign in with Facebook”, etc) and optionally providing a secondary password, that is unknown to anyone else (not even to Camect, Inc).

Setting a secondary password ensures that there will be no unauthorized access to your video even in the unlikely event that your cloud identity got hacked, or that Camect’s servers got hacked.

Why do you require that I use a cloud identity provider for remote access?

Most of you would rather not have yet another password to remember,  and we’d rather know as little about you as we can — so we’d rather not store a password for you in our cloud servers.

However, for extra security, you may choose to set a secondary access password on your Camect Home device. That password will be required for all accesses, and is unknown anyone to else, including Camect.

When I use my Google (or other cloud) account with Camect, what am I allowing Camect to do with my account?

You are allowing your cloud provider (e.g. Google) to tell us your email address, and to share some very limited profile information (such as your profile picture) with us. Camect isn’t allowed to access or modify any information in your cloud account.

If you enable sync’ing of alert videos to a Google drive account, you are separately asked to allow Camect to create a directory on your Google drive, and to add and delete files in that directory. (This is not granted when you sign in. You’ll be asked to permit if you try to use it.)

You don’t have to use your main account  for Google Drive or Youtube access — simply create and use a different cloud account if you have any doubts about using your primary account.

Is using Camect safer than using "port forwarding" for remote viewing?

Yes, much safer, because your cameras and your Camect Home recorder remain protected from hacking attempts by your internet firewall.

If you use port forwarding, you ask your firewall to make your cameras directly accessible to incoming traffic from the internet. This is risky for two reasons:

  • Hackers can probe your cameras and will be able to access them if they know your password.
  • Your cameras accept incoming connections from all sources. This means that they will accept connections made by hackers, and may be hacked if the software handling those connections has flaws. Most camera brands have released software with security holes from time to time, and unfortunately few of them automatically update the software on your camera as new bugs are found.

Camect uses WebRTC connections (described earlier in this FAQ) for video viewing. When you view your camera remotely:

  • No changes are made to your firewall, so your firewall protects your cameras and your Camect Home recorder from all unsolicited traffic from the internet.
  • Camect Home does not accept any inbound connections. It connects only when instructed to contact a viewing device that has been authorized based on the verified identity of the user seeking to connect.

Lastly, in the unlikely event that any security flaws need to be corrected on your Camect Home recorder, it will automatically receive and apply updates to correct them.

Is using Camect less secure than using a VPN?

Using a VPN to connect to your home network is something that’s too complex for many home network users, but it is very secure, because you configure it with a password known only to you.

Using Camect Home with a secondary access password is comparable to using a VPN, but is much easier to set up. Using Camect Home without the secondary password is very slightly less secure (because it’s vulnerable to a compromise of your cloud login credentials) but  still much less risky than using port forwarding, and a good compromise for most users.

Camect Home Recorder

How big is it?

About 5″ x 5″ x 2″.

Where does my Camect Home recorder need to be placed?

Place your Camect Home recorder in a convenient indoor location where you have a network connection. Camect Home is designed to operate at normal room temperatures, like other consumer electronic devices such as  a laptop. Please ensure that you leave a few inches around it to allow for adequate air flow, and don’t place it somewhere where temperatures are excessive (e.g. an attic or uninsulated garage).

Will it work outside the United States?

Yes, it will work in most countries. We have tried it from several locations around the world with acceptable performance.

If you are using it outside the US, be aware that:

  • Our servers are located in the USA, so
    • Connecting to your home may be slow if you have poor connectivity to the US.
    • After a connection has been established most operations will be fast, because communication is directly between your browser and your device (and is not traveling to the US and back).
    • If your ISP is one of the few who block WebRTC connections, your encrypted traffic will be relayed through an intermediary. In this case, poor connectivity to the US may cause slow operation even after the initial connection.
  • If your country does not allow connections to Google servers at all (e.g. in China?) you won’t be able to use any Camect Go services.
    • The Camect network video recorder can operate without access to Camect Go after it has been activated, but
    • There is no way to activate it without internet access to Camect’s servers.
  • All machines ship with a US-style power plug. You’ll need an adapter to convert it.
  • We will be shipping worldwide for our crowdfunded launch, but we may be unable to ship internationally for a while as we ramp up availability after that. Contact us if you’re really interested and need some help to buy our device.
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