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racketboy
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Multi-Room Camera System with Mobile App for Public

by racketboy Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:02 am

So I have a work-related question, I was hoping I could get some input on...

I work for a non-profit arts education organization that, among other things, has dance studio. We have a lot of classes for kids and in our new building, we will have a larger space with more waiting areas for parents. We often have windows in our studios so parents can peek in on their kids. On some of the studios, we also have camera hooked up to a TV where parents can watch.

For our new space, we are thinking about having cameras that are connected to a phone app where parents can check on the room's camera for their kids.

First of all, is anyone aware of an existing solution for this? I'm not even sure what to search for online that isn't just like security systems, etc.
One that has limited access for public/parents and then admin access for staff.

Second, there are security/privacy concerns. We don't want creeps watching stuff remotely, etc. So I'm not sure how to make this easy for parents while keeping the proper precautions.

Any thoughts?
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samsonlonghair
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Re: Multi-Room Camera System with Mobile App for Public

by samsonlonghair Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:56 pm

Circa 2007~ish I used to work as a security camera installer. I would wire up the cameras and connect them to a dedicated digital video recorder. Then I would connect the DVR to the local area network with a CAT5e cable. Then I would tell the DVR to send the signal out over the internet. Then I would have to setup port forwarding in the router. Sometimes this necessitated a call to the Internet service provider or even an upgrade to a higher-tier service. Then I would use a service like no-ip to allow the customer to “dial” into a virtual domain to connect to the security camera feed. When the customer connected from his/her computer’s web browser he/she would have to log in with a user name & password.

I was building these setups before the smartphone revolution. The same basic concepts should still apply today. If I was doing it today, I would use an iOS app to view the video stream. I can’t say which one off the top of my head. I would just look for an app that’s confirmed to work with my customer’s DVR.

Hope that helps. Feel free to ask me any questions. :D
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racketboy
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Re: Multi-Room Camera System with Mobile App for Public

by racketboy Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:54 pm

That does help a bit. Thank you! I’m hoping we can find a solution that isn’t too technically complicated so its relatively easy to maintain. Are there any keywords that might help me search for potential software solutions? Words that might not bring up a lot of solutions that woulnd’t help in this case?
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samsonlonghair
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Re: Multi-Room Camera System with Mobile App for Public

by samsonlonghair Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:48 pm

I would start with a phrase like “sixteen channel DVR CCTV” or “eight channel DVR CCTV”. In security camera jargon, that means a DVR that can simultaneously record eight or sixteen cameras. CCTV is kind of an antiquated term for security cameras. Technically, any video that’s transmitted over cable internally could be called a “closed circuit television” but no one really uses that terminology in the age of digital video. Somehow this old jargon still sticks in the security camera industry.

Find a good stand-alone DVR. Avoid PC-based solutions because stand-alone DVRs are more reliable as a single function appliance. Check the spec sheet for the DVR before you purchase. I would check the spec sheet for a phrase like “app enabled” or “online stream” or “web server”.
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Re: Multi-Room Camera System with Mobile App for Public

by Jagosaurus Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:48 pm

I currently design security, surveillance, & door access control systems (in addition to other technology areas). I have done this same type setup many times for schools and day cares. You need to ensure the system can handle multiple admin logins with differing privileges per. Then, that you can also customize each admin, such as:

Johnny's mom can see cameras 1 & 4 (his room & cafeteria)
Jill's mom can see cameras 3 & 4 (her room & cafeteria)
Neither parent can view recording, only live footage
Manager can view all cams, all recordings, & live feed

Also, research NVR versus DVR in today's landscape. DVRs will use coax cabling and BNC connectors for analog cams, versus Cat 5e/6 on NVRs for IP cams. They make small plug and play all-in one NVRs with built in POE switching.

Here is a kit. You'd have to call Hikvision pre-sales support to ensure it meets admin requirements above. This varies by NVR line up, even within the same manufacturer. I've done this before successfully with Hikvision.

You can use this calculator to determine HDD size based on # cams, MP resolution, FPS, and desired days of archived footage. Pretty cool free tool!

Keep in mind, most solutions will be plug and play for remote access. At times, port forwarding or NATing on firewall may be required.

You'll need some nice ISP upload speeds for multiple folks remotely viewing HD cams. The more folks you have viewing internally, you'll be hitting you LAN hard.

Hope that helps Nick. 8)
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Re: Multi-Room Camera System with Mobile App for Public

by Anapan Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:20 am

I thought this was spam so I didn't click it.
I did a bit of research on an affordable and easy-to-setup system that uses wifi, or ethernet with the option for POE on my parent's property.
I settled on Veskys cameras from Gearbest.com (free shipping, without too much wait-time). The setup only took a basic knowledge of networking, and after following a guide on Youtube I had 4 cameras up and running. Each was between $30 and $50 USD (Converted from CAD just now). Two outdoor and two indoor cameras. They all work well, and the mobile app is pretty easy to use. Obviously for the price, the camera image isn't all that great - the cheapest have a kinda grainy 720p - kinda like older cellphone videos from a few years back, but the company seems to offer other better solutions now in the same price range. For my parent's purposes they are fine. They have movement detection, infrared leds/night-vision, and the indoor ones I got are able to scan automatically, or are remotely controllable through the app - I set one up outside tucked under the roof of the house and it's still running fine. They all accept Micro-SD cards to record their footage for playback later remotely if you don't want to have a computer logging the data.
I don't know the exact models off-hand, but I think these are them - I got 2 of each and they all still work 2 years later, even with the cheapest 64gb micro-SD cards that still had a brand name I could find.
https://www.gearbest.com/ip-cameras/pp_ ... id=1433363
https://www.gearbest.com/ip-cameras/pp_ ... id=1433363
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