These days, cameras are being used more often. It seems as if everyone has a smartphone and is using it to take pictures. A selfie is immediately shared with the wide world through various social media. The car’s dashboard camera is another example of the widespread use of cameras. We also use the built-in camera of our tablet or laptop, or the USB camera on our desktop computer for video-chatting or Internet telephony.
It will probably not be on everyone’s wish list, but there are various reasons to set up one or more cameras in and around the home. Let’s take a closer look at what these types of cameras can offer.
Why would you do it?
In most cases a certain need for control is the basis for the decision to place a camera. The reasons for increased control are however more diverse than we might initially suspect. Fear for burglaries is a common trigger. Outside cameras enable you to monitor what’s going on in the immediate vicinity of the home. Sometimes cameras are also placed inside the home. The images are recorded and can be used to identify unwanted visitors later on.
Cameras inside the home often support a different need. For instance, a camera in the baby room can tell you things you should know about your toddler’s sleeping behaviour. Or alert you when caring for a parent in the early stages of dementia. An in-home camera enables you to verify that everything is going smoothly, even when you’re out shopping. Furthermore, we have all felt the desire to know who’s at the front door before we answer it. Well, the inside unit of our door communications system enables us to do just that.
In the past couple of years, we have seen a drastic decrease in the number of analogue cameras in favour of their digital counterparts. Furthermore, we need to distinguish between fixed and mobile cameras. The latter are seldom used in residential settings.
Exterior cameras need to be placed in a protective, weather-proof case. Inside the home, cameras are generally equipped with a small heating element to ensure proper functioning during colder days and nights. If the camera also needs to be able to shoot in the dark, additional lighting is available.
Switch manufacturers have a wide spectrum of cameras for in-house use in their portfolio. These are small cameras that are built into the wall, finished with the same covers as the power sockets and switches. In this way, they do not attract unwanted attention.
Today, most of the cameras in general use are IP cameras which can send the recorded footage directly to a secure location over the Internet. To prevent having to record and send everything, the cameras often have a built-in motion detector. The camera will only go into action when movement is detected.
An important element when using cameras is respect of privacy. This is a matter which cannot be taken lightly. In principle, outside cameras need to be directed towards the home or towards an area which is entirely yours. It is unacceptable to mount cameras facing the street, the garden or the home of your neighbours. The only common acceptable exception is the door’s video communications system. In that case you need to be able to see the face of the person at the door.
Of course, in-home cameras should also be placed so that they respect privacy. That includes placing an interior camera that enables watching the neighbours through a window. In addition, the principles of good manners should be honoured. When the baby grows older, you remove the camera from the room. The children also want their privacy and are entitled to have a place for their own.
These decisions can become much more difficult when dealing with elderly individuals in the early stages of dementia. In such a case, the pros and cons need to be weighed off in consultation with the treating physician, the nurse or the social caretakers. Cameras that invade the individual’s privacy should be considered only when no other reasonable option exists.