Security cameras – Fun with Fido

Fido

Fun and practical use for security cameras

Time to lighten up. We need to step back and have a little fun with the security cameras and tech in our lives.

Based on personal experience, here’s a tip for a fun and creative use of video surveillance technology.

Security cameras, use ‘em if you have ‘em

You can do this with any security camera. The brand doesn’t matter, the technology doesn’t matter. The features, mostly, don’t matter.

Whether it’s the latest basic Wyze camera, the affordable motorized pan & tilt Eufy Apple HomeKit camera, a DIY Raspberry Pi setup, or a fancy commercial model that costs over a thousand dollars.

Look inward, but minimize reflections (😄)

Instead of using an IP security camera for only keeping tabs on your property, bring the camera inside.

Using a camera in your home, even in public areas, can sometimes be controversial. Privacy issues, fear of technology, and lack of transparency create a unnecessary stress and conflict.

So don’t hide it, keep it in clear sight. Don’t use it for controversial purposes like a baby monitor. You don’t want to be the next one in the news about hackers tormenting your child remotely.

Fido training

My favorite use is to help train a new puppy. One common challenge with a new canine friend is dealing with separation anxiety.

That cute furry thing is so dependent upon it’s new parents that the simple act of leaving the home, or even the room, can create anxiety and bad behavior.

Fixing this takes practice, patience, and now a little tech help.

I’m not an official dog wrangler, so please consult experts as needed. This is just a little bit of insight into what I’ve done. As they say, YMMV.

We practice leaving the house and returning to have our little boy get comfortable with our absence.

The idea is to leave for short periods of time, even a few minutes, and return before separation anxiety kicks in.

This positive cycle of leaving, returning, and praise creates a positive feedback loop to help our four-legged friend adjust.

The key is understanding how long to stay away to maximize the training but minimize negative and anxious reaction to being left alone.

A security camera, positioned to give a clear picture of our pet, is ideal. I can leave the house, and monitor his actions from afar. If I see him getting agitated, I can return before it escalates into undesirable behavior.

The tech details

You’ll want to use a Wi-Fi connected camera. A battery powered camera gives you maximum freedom of where to place it.

But I prefer a powered camera because it can provide a continuous live view and not just short clips or thumbnails.

It is not too hard to find a nearby power plug and since the camera is going to be in full view, the power cable doesn’t have to be hidden.

If aesthetics are a consideration, just setup the camera only when you plan to leave the house and remove it when you return.

If you don’t have any existing cameras, you’ll want a cloud-connected camera you don’t have to worry about video storage and special changes to your network for remote access from outside your home.

It sounds like a TV commercial, but cloud-connected cameras “just work”. Full installation takes less than 15 minutes so you’ll be up and running fast.

Apple HomeKit provides additional privacy and security, but any cloud-connected camera is good enough.

With apologies in advance to IT and security professionals, the pragmatic bottom line is that if a hacker does manage to crack your password and access your camera, they’ll simply be viewing live video of your cute pet.

Just take a moment to insure the camera is aimed properly and shows what you want to see, but nothing more.

Robert

Automation technologist and problem solver

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