Leaving the house can be a scary moment at any time, causing you to constantly worry about your possessions, family pets and maybe even the home electronics around the house.
There’s a number of ways you can check up on this, either by using home automation to check on the status of your electronics, or by using a camera like the BT Smart Home Cam 100 to check up on your house from anywhere in the world, well depending on whether or not you have a smartphone, tablet or laptop with either a WiFi connection, or some other type of connectivity.
To do this all the user has to do is access the BT home portal, or through the free iOS or Android application, all of which works without the need of any unnecessary cables. In fact the only one you need is the power cable.
Once everything is packaging free simply plug the power cable into the back of the camera, pop the plug into the nearest available socket and the flick the switch on the back of the camera to setup.
The all the user needs to do is grab their Android or iOS device and download the BT Home App, once that was done all we had to do was connect to the camera’s wireless connection, load up the app and follow the on-screen instructions, which include connecting it to your own wireless internet connection.
It’s all pretty darn easy, well aside from one instant problem. It seems that the camera can only be set up via an iOS or Android device, and not via a computer, which may be a problem for those people who only want to use the camera via their computer.
Well that’s what we presume anyway, as the instruction manual did not show any details for a PC set-up.
Straight after we finished setting up the camera it was ready to begin shooting, accessible via the web portal, or applications, we could view a live feed of what was in front of the camera by simply logging in.The live stream is offered up with a massive 93 degree field of vision, meaning that the live streamed video manages to capture more or less the whole area that is in front of it, and at night the camera will even turn on a night vision mode that will allow the user to still monitor their house even at the darkest of times.
From this view the user can control a number of functions for the camera itself, simply tap a button and you can quickly take a snapshot of the current view and save it to your device, or tap the one next to it and you can begin to record the live stream.
Once saved the image or video can be downloaded to a PC or even shared between your family and friends. And it doesn’t even have to be a saved file, as users can even invite their friends and family to view the live stream from anywhere in the world, allowing you to invite a housekeeper, without having to get them to actually be in the house.
And there’s one more feature that will mean you won’t even need to watch the stream constantly to monitor you house.
This can be do by setting up a trigger monitor within the app, that will trigger the camera to take a few snapshots and record a section of video when it detects sound or motion, at which point it will send that capturing content to BTs cloud and then send an email to the registered user with a link to that uploaded content.
The problem with this is that it doesn’t come free and to access the feature the user will need to subscribe to BTs premium service, which will allow them to store an unlimited amount of events on their service, however not for an unlimited amount of time, as videos will be deleted from the service after 30 days, before which time the user will have to download the content and store it elsewhere.
Thankfully BT do have a 7 day free trial for the service, so you can at least try it out before you sign up to anything.
Overall the BT Smart Home Cam 100 is a pretty decent camera, featuring a great wide angle lens that offers up both HD and SD quality, and even a night vision mode that means the Smart Home Cam can be used in almost any situation, and still offer up the amount of security that is needed within the home, at any time of the day.
The best thing about the Smart Home Cam is it’s monitoring mode, no one really wants to sit around watching a live feed in order to secure their home, so this allows them to sit back and take part in other activities, whilst safe in the knowledge that something will be looking after their possessions.
The main problem however is that this monitoring mode comes at a cost, requiring the user to subscribe to a service from BT. We would have preferred it if this service was free, even if it came at the cost of linking it to a third-party service that the user might already be subscribing to, like Dropbox or Google Drive.
That said, we would recommend this camera if you are looking for an automated and easy to set up home monitoring system, but if the subscription fee is something that scares you off, then look elsewhere.
Disclosure: BT sent us the BT Smart Home Cam 100 for the purposes of this review.