Video surveillance apps like Dropcam are great. They have awesome features (720p HD video, live streaming, night vision, 2-way audio, digital zoom, wide angle lens, motion and sound-triggered alerts). And kudos to Dropcam for having such an awesome feature set and enabling folks to set up their own home video surveillance/monitoring system that they can control from their smartphone, bypassing the big incumbent security companies with their $50 for 36-month (that’s $1,800) monitoring contracts and $99-$300 for installation charges.
However, even though Dropcam eliminates those expensive “professional” installation charges and monitoring contracts from companies like ADT Pulse, those awesome video surveillance features listed in the opening paragraph above come at a correspondingly awesome (translation: high) price.
Total cost of ownership (TCO) to the consumer for an independent (aka Over-The-Top) smartphone based photo or video surveillance app and cloud service can be broken out into three main categories:
2) Cloud Service for monitoring, alerts, and picture storage or video recording
3) Upstream Internet connection
In the case of Dropcam video surveillance, continuous (up)streaming of video is required for motion detection (which is done in the Dropcam cloud) and video recording. So if you want any record or evidence (i.e. recording) of what happened, you’ll need to sign up for the Dropcam Cloud Recording (CVR) service. You can get motion alerts and view live video without the service, but to save any video footage you’ll need the CVR service.
The Infographic below compares these three cost categories and feature sets for a photo surveillance app (Gotya) and a video surveillance app (Dropcam). If you can afford the camera and monthly service fees and have access to affordable high-speed Internet, it’s clear that video surveillance offers a richer feature set than photo surveillance.
However, if you’re on a tight budget, don’t have high-speed WiFi at home (or it’s very expensive) or only have 3G Internet access, and are looking for a way to build your own low-cost security/surveillance system, you might want to take a look at Gotya.
(Note: Internet access charges are based on $110/month for a 50Mbps/down and 5Mbps/up Internet connection in Sao Paulo).
Check out the Infographic below for a comparison of the costs and features of photo (Gotya) vs video (Dropcam) surveillance apps.