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6 Features Your Nanny Cam Needs to Be Effective

February 16, 2018

Feeling anxious about leaving your kids or older parents with nannies or caregivers you barely know?

I went through that a year ago when I when I was searching through all sorts of online directories and reading page after page reviews helping a friend find a good babysitter in the area. Trusting a stranger with the protection of your loved ones is incredibly difficult, even when you're going through the most reputable businesses.


When it comes to letting strangers into my home, I abide by the adage: "Trust, but verify." We can't be staying at home all day helicoptering over our nannies.

Why should we? It's 2018, we've got smartphones and 4G data. The sky's the limit.

Sure, you could phone home to check in and see how the kids are doing...

...but you could make your life so much easier by setting up a nanny cam.

What is a Wireless Nanny Cam and How Does it Work?

No, it's not just about keeping tabs on your nanny.

It transmits a signal to a viewing or recording device, letting you walk to anywhere your home, be it the kitchen, laundry room, basement, or wherever while still keep track of what is going on in other parts of the house.

Your privacy is essentialA good security system won't invade your privacy at all; if anything, it helps you keep your personal information secure.  Nanny cams only activate when you leave the house for this very reason, and you are sole person who has the ability to view your footage.

We've sifted through dozens of products and spoken to several of our customers to come up with the top 6 categories you ought to be take note of when you're looking for the best nanny cam.

wifi nanny cam

Going WiFi

Using a wireless internet connection takes your video camera to a new level. WiFi signals can be transmitted to your computer or smartphone. Just like your smartphone, they can even be transmitted directly to the cloud for off-site recording and archiving.

The Router

You're going to need a wireless router. In the event yours lacks WiFi, you can get one from your service provider or as an after-market purchase. Some higher-end video cameras come with a router that will replace your non-WiFi unit. 

Once your surveillance camera is broadcasting to your router, you have several options on where to send the signal.

Again, you can send it directly to a wireless-enabled PC, you can send the signal to the cloud—which is a great way to store recorded data—or if you want access to a live feed 24/7, you may prefer to send the signal to your smartphone.

View and Communicate

WiFi cameras also give you the opportunity to view the image on your smart phone. As long as your phone can get a signal, you'll be able to access your security cam and see what's going on as if you're there in your house. 

That's just the tip of the iceberg.

Many video cameras are just one small feature of a 
whole smart security system that you can have right at your fingertips. If you're interested in securing your property and protecting your loved ones, consider adding door sensors, motion detectors, remote control door locks, lighting, and thermostats.

Whatever your needs, we can find the right security solution for you.

Why are wireless cameras useful?

For starters, they’re easier to install than wired cameras which draw power from the electrical wiring in your walls.

Unless you’re an electrician, you’re going to need the help of a professional. In contrast, you can set up and install most simple wireless cameras in just a few minutes with the help of an expert.

Due to wireless security cameras' simplicity and portability, they are ideal for entry-level security systems. If you're on a tight budget or move frequently, wireless cameras won't strain your finances or your back.

What are the weaknesses of wireless video cameras?

Wireless cameras need to have internet access so that they can record footage and send it to the cloud or a local storage device. If a burglar or natural disaster disables your router, your wireless security camera can’t do anything

A completely wireless camera needs batteries to power it. If your camera is in a high-traffic area, it’ll drain its batteries quicker and you’ll have to replace them more frequently.

Wireless cameras need to be near a router, wireless repeater, or main hub. If there are no walls between the camera and the Wi-Fi emitting device, the camera can be up to 500 feet away.

In houses, the presence of walls can limit the range significantly down to around 150 feet or less.

These numbers will depend on your home’s building materials, other wireless devices in the area (and your internet bandwidth), and any walls or objects obstructing the Wi-Fi signal.

Drywall and glass probably won’t get in the way, but hard, impenetrable surfaces like brick and concrete will.

The more objects between camera and receiver, the more difficult it will be for them to send and receive signals from each other.

Want to try building your own security system? Try out our free tool and we'll get back to you with a quote via email.

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Instant Video Stream Access

Just about everyone we spoke to said what mattered to them most was not the camera's hardware.

It's the software that will make or break the camera.

You've got to be able to view the live camera feed in a matter of seconds. You want to be sure that you can access the camera from your phone or tablet as long as you have access to WiFi or cellular service.

total connect 2.0 app

Without this feature, you are simply recording what is going on and can only view events that took place after they happen. For most parents, that's just not going to cut it.

Further Reading: Top 5 Total Connect 2.0 App Features

Discretion 

Some parents might like to have their cameras hidden from their caregivers. Which is understandable, because it can make for an uncomfortable situation.

Personally, I like to be upfront with my caregivers about my security system, but the parents we spoke with often say they prefer to find out early on if the person they hired is not a right fit.

Fortunately, there are many ways to do this without shoving a fish-eye lens into a teddy bear.

Those methods tend to create more problems than they solve. A toy can fall over or just about anything can block the vision of a camera the size of a quarter.

Make sure your camera feed cannot be disrupted and you've put your camera in a place where it won't be noticed easily.

Crystal-Clear Imaging

When you are watching video from your nanny cam, you want the picture to come in clearly at all times.

kids playing(Source: Omnivision)

Cheaper cameras are prone to pixelation or graininess, especially in low-light conditions. IR night vision is almost a mandatory feature on any security camera for that reason. If a problem arises, you want to capture every detail of what is happening.

Check to see if the camera has a wide horizontal viewing angle.  This will mean that you can see more of the room in which you have the camera placed.

Check the resolution of the video, research the image sensor, and search for sample footage on YouTube so that you know what to expect. 

Two-Way Audio

Being able to see what's going on is important, but also need to be able to tell if the baby is crying or sleeping or if there is commotion outside of the camera range. If you can’t see anything, at least you can hear it.

Also, many cameras come with two-way audio, so you have the option to talk to someone through the camera. For some people, this is a convenient way to help your caregiver tend to your loved ones without relying on a video call.

Just check to see if it's mandatory in your state to notify the sitter or nanny if you are recording - both audio and video.

Motion-Activated

If you're storing your video files on an SD card or hard drive, you want to make sure you're only recording footage when you need to be.

A motion-detection feature means that the camera will only start capturing video when it detects movement. For example, if someone enters the room, if a child wakes up from a nap, or if someone walks by the camera.

children coming home

This doesn't just minimize battery and storage usage; it's also convenient because it means you spend less time scrolling through the entire video.

Some cameras can send you notifications to your email and smartphone app whenever the motion detector is triggered, allowing you to jump into the live feed immediately.

Further Reading: How Total Connect 2.0 Can Protect Your Home and Simplify Your Life

Full Smart Home Integration

Why trap your camera in its standalone app when you can put it into the same system with your other cameras, lights, electronic lock, thermostat, and other appliances?

The whole house, powered by a single app. That's how a smart home should be.

total connect 2.0 app iphone disarmed

Hooking it up to your locks is especially relevant for caregivers, as you can enable or disable their access to your home with one button, and also be notified via text when they arrive.

By linking your cameras to your home alarm system, you can put your nanny cam in "stay mode" and provide professional protection while inside the house.

With an all-in-one smart home security system, you can have the best of both worlds: professionals monitoring your alarm system while also being able to manage the system yourself from anywhere in the world via the app.

We want you to find a security system can save you time, money, and make your home more comfortable. If you're having trouble making up your mind, come chat with one of our security experts about what solutions you're considering.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Home Security and learn:

  • Top 5 misconceptions about home security
  • How to assess vulnerabilities in your home
  • Why home security is about more than preventing burglaries
  • Cutting-edge security equipment: how home security has changed
  • Monitored vs. Self-Monitored Systems
  • Local vs. National Security Companies

... and more!

Download Ultimate Security Guide
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