After a successful and satisfying conclusion to a ‘Smart 2nd Home’ implementation in a small coastal town on the west coast of France, we were flattered to receive a referral, from a friend of the owner.
The Smart Home business involves some highly technical solutions, and as such, it’s of crucial importance to possess expert understanding of equipment, their specifications, capabilities and performance characteristics.
But this is not enough to guarantee success at the end of the project. ACC HAUS, there exists an overriding golden rule:
REMEMBER that an end solution can NEVER be considered fit for purpose, no matter how brilliant it is…..if it is not ‘compatible’ with the personality of the buyer!
And so we embarked on this project, with our golden rule very much front of mind! Not exactly your typical Smart Home job – this was a customer that had a specific & somewhat prickly area of interest and needed our help. Hedgehogs.
The customer had already tried one of those wildlife cameras you see on nature programs. They are quite clever little devices, with motion sensing, night vision and being battery operated, you can stick them pretty much anywhere. Technically the solution was good on paper, but it failed our ‘golden rule test’, and so did not fit the brief.
The customer it transpired, was after a more ‘interactive’ experience – so rather than having to set a camera trap in the evening and then spend the next morning (when she’s got other things to do), fiddling around with memory sticks, and then having to sift through grainy and partially obscured ‘hog-shots’ that contain glimpses of the odd snout and prickly bottom. Yes, our client wanted to assume the role of ‘wildlife camerawoman’, live, in the evening, and all from the comfort of her bed too!
From our enjoyable solution interview, we constructed the brief for what became known internally as ‘Project Hog-watch’
Hog-watch: the brief
This customer required a solution that would…..
- Allow a non-technical person to view and record and share nightly Hedgehog antics
- Remotely move / zoom the camera with phone / tablet – again, easily
- Camera must possess excellent night vision characteristics
- Have a high level optical zoom
- Come with a small, easy to use DVR, which must not be noisy
- The DVR must connect to bedroom TV via HDMI, but simultaneously controllable with tablet / phone
- Must be of good quality, be robust, all weather, and affordable.
- Finally, all of this must be simple enough for a completely not technical person to operate!
And our recommended solution was…..
1 X MILESIGHT MS-C5361-EPB (5MP 12X PTZ MINI BULLET POE)
The C5361-EPB is a quality item, and it really fits the brief perfectly. The images the device produces are pin sharp HD, it has an 360 degree rotation, 75 degree tilt, a 12 x optical zoom and possesses excellent night vision ability (0.002Lux). I admit the first time I saw the images this camera recorded in full zoom, I experienced a ‘mouth open’ moment. Truly jaw dropping.
(above) the C5361-EPB zoomed in….
(Above) …and zoomed out. The position of the zoomed in bird feeders is circled in red
You can program in multiple positional / zoom pre-sets too – so pre-set 1: zoom in on the water bowl. Pre-set 2 zoom out by the log store. The pre-set feature is perfect for quickly getting good shots of the right areas at the right zoom, useful when your subject is fast moving and little on the shy side. Without pre-sets, on manual operation by the time you have fiddled with the camera positioning / zoom your subject might just have scuttled off someplace.
Milesight made this camera easy to mount and install, with a ‘junction box’ which is mounted first (without camera attached) so once that is done, the camera can easily be dropped into place. A single PoE cable is all that is required to connect the camera to Milesight DVR which supplies the required 20W max of PoE power (with IR on).
(Above: The junction box is fitted to the wall, then the camera to the junction box)
1 X MILESIGHT MS-N1009-UPT/1TB (9 CHANNEL 4K MINI NVR – 4 POE – 1TB HDD)
The MS-N1009-UPT/1TB again perfectly met the brief in being impressively small at just (115mm (w) by 115mm (D) by 180mm(H) ) and quiet. The customer only had to connect the PoE from the camera, HDMI to her bedroom TV and then a network cable from her home router. After we followed a very straight forward setup routine, she was all set. It was certainly a smart move to go for a camera / DVR solution from the same vendor as this eliminated the possibilities of compatibility / performance issues. The system worked like a charm from the minute it was switched on.
(above: demonstrating how the owner can control the solution with a touchscreen tablet, and then see the results on a far more impressive HD display)
The unit can supply a max of 40W of PoE power, so enough for another MS-C5361-EPB if needed. In total the DVR has 4 interfaces for direct connection and can record from 9 channels at 5MP simultaneously. Additional power can always be injected if needed.
Going the ‘whole hog’ for this customer was not just about finding the best technology, but the best technology, that was right for her
(above: the author of this blog, with MILESIGHT MS-C5361-EPB behind; keeping a close eye on him!)
On completion of the job, it gives me much satisfaction to occasionally receive images and videos from my most definitely non-technically minded customer & wildlife enthusiast!