The history of public surveillance cameras in Japan is fairly short. “In 2002, Tokyo police introduced their first street surveillance camera in the Kabukicho entertainment district of Shinjuku Ward, as a deterrent against crime. Soon, cameras were installed in the Shibuya district and other urban areas upon requests from local residents.
Around that time, thefts were soaring in number, and Japan was experiencing its highest postwar crime rate.
Many people resented the fact that police could monitor their private lives. But the mood changed once the number of crimes started to drop.”
By Masataka Yamaura, The Asahi Shimbun, May 27, 2018
Do you need to keep an eye on things at your house while you are away? Do you worry if the kids have made it home from school or practice? Has your package arrived yet? Would it be helpful to check in on an elderly parent a few times a day? These are just a few reasons people give for needing to call or rush back home during the day. Adding a Wi-Fi camera to your home could be a way to relieve your worries, limit those trips, and give you an instant peek into what is going on. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when shopping for an internet-connected camera.
Recent news of exploited Wi-Fi cameras is enough to make anyone leery of adding an internet eye to their home. Therefore, security is the first thing to consider when shopping for something to boost your surveillance at home. Name-brand cameras, while they may cost a bit more, are constantly providing updates to their security software. Bad publicity means loss of sales. No-name companies, especially out of China, may not be as compelled by bad publicity to update their product. Amazon, NEST, NETGEAR, Samsung, HiKam, and RING are a few of the better-known brands that have been well reviewed.
If you do choose a lesser-known brand, always read reviews by other users and do an internet search for any warning signs. Another reason to lean towards name-brand Wi-Fi cameras is that they often come with better support. If you are having problems, if there are security updates, or if you need general assistance, it is usually easier to get help when dealing with larger companies.
Features to consider
As you research, some features to consider are storage, sound, and software. Some cameras have built-in SD cards so video can be recorded and saved locally. It allows you to view everything that happened after you return home. This could be useful for things like pet sitting or just general surveillance where you do not need a live stream. Other cameras save to a cloud server and store your video for various amounts of time. This is useful if you are away from home for longer periods of time but want to check in on things from the past week or so.
Live streaming is also a common feature. With live streaming, you view and hear what is going on in real time. Some manufacturers have mobile apps that allow you to communicate directly through the camera to someone on the other end.
Another consideration is what features the software has available. Live streaming cameras can offer notifications of movement if you prefer to only know when something changes. Some devices even have facial recognition and can inform you when specific people come to the door.
Setting it up
Once you have made your purchase, you will want to keep yourself and it secure. Never place a camera in a position where it allows the viewing of private things like bill statements or computer activity. Consider connecting it to a separate and invisible Wi-Fi network in your home so it is not visible to guests on your internet. When setting up accounts for viewing your camera’s live stream, always use strong passphrases.
By doing the research, reading the reviews, and following these simple steps, you can stay secure and also benefit from having an internet eye in your home.
Product images from their respective websites
Jared Jones lives and works in Takasaki, Gunma. He’s a church planter for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He’s been in Japan since 2009 with his family. He and his wife have five children.