How to properly install your connected surveillance cameras

Do you want to install security cameras to go on vacation or weekends with peace of mind? The choice of products is one thing, but achieving the most efficient installation possible requires a little preparation beforehand.

While a burglary takes place every two minutes in France, investing in a connected surveillance camera system is as much a way to protect your home as your peace of mind.

However, this purchase should not be made without a minimum of reflection. How many cameras should you buy for optimal efficiency? How to install them? What are your legal obligations? So many questions that are too often eluded. We will therefore guide you to design a real personalized connected security strategy.

What does the law say about connected surveillance cameras?

Installing a surveillance camera is not a trivial act, especially if it is installed outside. The legislator imposes a very strict framework both in terms of positioning and the information you must provide.

Thus, your cameras must limit their fields of action to your home only. In theory, they should not capture images of public roads or your immediate vicinity. In the case of your front door, if it faces the street, then you need to adjust the camera so as not to film passers-by, for example. Alternatively, some products can “hide” entire areas of the image and thus preserve the privacy of passers-by and your neighbours.

Let’s go inside the house. And here the law is once again very clear. Thus, whether it is the person who shares your life, your roommates, your friends, your children and their classmates, anyone who risks being filmed must be informed. In the case of professionals (plumber, babysitter, cleaning person), the latter must be informed in writing.

As a reminder, according to the Penal Code, you risk one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros if you infringe on the privacy of others by broadcasting images without their consent. If the person who does not respect the rules is a relative (spouse, signatory of a Pacs or cohabitant), the law is even more severe with penalties of up to 2 years in prison and a fine of 60,000 euros.

What are the areas to monitor?

There are two large families of areas to monitor, access and more global. Thus, the first to monitor are often the front door and the windows, without forgetting that it is often necessary to also have a slightly more general view. So placing an outdoor security camera that perfectly monitors your front door and garden path is fine. However, the small wall behind the garden is perhaps a much more discreet entry point for criminals. So take the time to create a plan of your home and exteriors. You can then more easily determine the possible entry points for burglars. The most sensitive areas are often:

  • entrance doors or gates;
  • the windows, those that face the street and even more so the others;
  • garden paths;
  • the garden itself or other outdoor space such as a balcony or terrace;
  • compulsory passage areas such as a hallway or stairwell;
  • the essential living rooms, those where burglars will stop with certainty to search like a living room.

This is a non-exhaustive list, you must above all identify the main weak points of your home in order to size your installation correctly.

How to optimize the installation of its connected surveillance cameras?

Do not confuse the definition of the camera, which will influence the sharpness and quality of the videos, and the focal length, which affects the viewing angle. Thus, the shorter the focal length, the greater the viewing angle you will have, but the shorter viewing distance. This is ideal for sweeping a large room or a garden.

A camera with a long focal length offers a smaller field of view, but a much greater viewing distance. Ideal for monitoring a hallway or a restricted area such as the one surrounding a safe or the drawer that contains your watches and jewellery. Be careful, it is not possible to have a 360 degree viewing angle unless you opt for a mechanized camera.

Where to position the connected surveillance camera?

Avoid placing a camera at an angle, it will be difficult to get a truly global view of a large room. This includes a perfect visualization of its various entry points. It is better to aim for a section of wall for example with a central positioning for a complete sweep.

With a small room, positioning on an angle is less of a problem. Do not hesitate to test the result before proceeding to the hard installation of the camera.

How high to place a connected surveillance camera?

To optimize the viewing angle, a camera should be at least two meters high, three being even better. At this height, a thug will have to take a chair or use an object if he wants to put it out of the circuit. This will give the camera time to notify you of the intrusion and capture beautiful images.

What angle of inclination for his surveillance camera?

For a global view, to monitor a garden or a large room, an inclination of 30° is recommended. If your objective is more the identification of possible intruders, then a tilt of 15° will be more effective.

The choice of a suitable focal length is therefore essential, without forgetting that the quality of the video sensor must be taken into account. Remember to avoid glare effects due to the sun by preferably aiming for the lower part of the horizon line.

How to avoid blind spots?

A good security camera can offer a field of view of 120° and sometimes more. However, in any case, what is outside this beam is not monitored. Two solutions are available to you.

  • Invest in multiple cameras to fill all possible blind spots.
  • Invest in a rotating camera with a motion sensor. The product will be able to follow an intruder, but only if it has the good idea to pass in front of its objective.

Before any physical installation, you should not hesitate to do some positioning tests, the camera in one hand and the smartphone in the other to view the result live.

How to hide a security camera?

A clearly visible camera can have a deterrent effect or simply inform villains that you have invested in a surveillance system and therefore signal an interesting target in their eyes.

Hiding, camouflaging your security cameras can therefore bring real added value to your security system.

You can simply place it discreetly, between two books in a bookcase, hide it in a decoration or a stuffed animal for example. Outdoors, positioning it under a loved one will make it less visible or you can even camouflage it in a climbing ivy or even in a garden decoration.

While camouflaging the camera is one thing, don’t overlook the wiring in the case of a wired camera. Try to hide them under a carpet, behind a tape of the same color as the wall, because nothing is easier than tearing or cutting a clearly visible cable.

How to properly configure your connected surveillance camera?

Once your camera is installed, take the time to set it up properly. Thus, some models propose to create surveillance zones, to differentiate between humans and animals. Do not hesitate to test the sensitivity of motion detectors in order to refine it as best as possible, especially if you have animals. This will save you a lot of irrelevant notifications. Do the same with suspicious noise detection if your camera offers it.

The storage of photos and videos is an important point. The majority of manufacturers offer a paid cloud storage service where each incident detected by the camera will generate a recording accessible wherever you are in the world. If you do not want to invest in this service, then you will need to store your videos locally on a memory card integrated into the camera. The images will be accessible via your application, but if the camera is disabled or stolen you will no longer have access to the images. Hence the interest of the cloud… However, some products allow you to use a NAS for storage or to link the camera to a service like Dropox.

How to protect yourself from the weaknesses of connected surveillance cameras?

The two main weak points of connected surveillance cameras are the power supply and the network connection. Indeed, burglars are perfectly aware of technological progress and may seek to cut off the power supply or jam the Wi-Fi network before their act.

Try to camouflage the electrical wiring as well as possible. If your camera is powered by USB, why not pair it with a backup battery, which is itself powered by a power outlet? Thus, in the event of a power cut, your camera will remain functional. Another solution: have an inverter nearby. If you opt for cameras with battery, the problem will be above all to always have enough energy before a trip. In the case of outdoor cameras, Arlo and Rings, for example, offer solar panels to ensure their operation.

With regard to the Wi-Fi network, a power outage will cut off access to the wireless network and the internet. Installing an inverter or a backup battery behind your Wi-Fi box will ensure network communication. You can also consider connecting your camera connected to Ethernet if burglars jam your Wi-Fi network.

Which camera to choose?

Then you can move on to choosing your cameras. Be sure to check out our guides to the best cameras:

In addition, to improve the efficiency of your connected surveillance camera system, do not hesitate to pair them with connected locks or doorbells, or even with door and window opening sensors.

  • The best connected locks.
  • The best smart doorbells.

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