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Nest Cam

Nest first came onto the market with their smart thermostats which allowed you to control your central heating remotely. They have subsequently branched out into the world of CCTV. So what’s wrong with the Nest CCTV system?

The first issue is that old chestnut - ultra wide angle lens cameras. People initially think wide angle is great because it covers a large area but the trouble is the pixels spread apart rapidly as you you move away from the camera meaning subjects appear as small blobs and no detail is captured. At HD 1080P you can record up to around 8m in width and identify someone. That means a 130º camera only has an effective range of around 2 meters.

Nest use electronic zoom but that just makes the image more grainy, it doesn’t increase detail capture in the same way optical zoom does. To their credit Nest try to get round this by having a larger image sensor than the camera is capable of recording and using this extra size in the very early stages of the electronic zoom process. It’s a bit complicated and as soon as you have multiple targets (thieves rarely work alone) the system won’t know who to try and zoom in to but ultimately it isn’t going to get anywhere near required distances for most outdoor applications.

Cost. A Nest camera is likely to set you back around £300 but that’s just the start. You then need to pay a monthly subscription to store and retrieve footage which works out at a staggering £600 per year on a 4 camera system. Prices correct at time of writing. The cameras themselves are quite fragile and easily removed or damaged by criminals.

WiFi based systems like Nest can seem attractive but they rely on all the elements working correctly. Any issues with the network, internet, WiFi signal and so on means no CCTV. By their own admission Nest acknowledge problems can occur.  “Video streaming and Nest Aware may be subject to interruption or failure for reasons beyond Nest's control, including intermittent Wi-Fi or service provider outages. Nest Cam and Nest Aware do not provide third-party monitored emergency notification or response”. Simply cutting the phone line would render the Nest system useless.

By the time Nest cameras have been wired for power you might as well just hard wire a camera to your DVR and do the job properly.

The audio monitoring feature on Nest cameras may contravene UK data protection laws and also the new GPDR rules which carry potentially huge fines. The Information Commissioner’s Office states that Surveillance systems should not normally be used to record conversations between members of the public as this is highly intrusive and unlikely to be justified. GDPR regulations are similarly worded.

If you just want to see if someone is at the door or keep an eye on you pet whilst at work then Nest might be a solution, all be it a potentially expensive one but as serious CCTV which will provide solid evidence we aren’t convinced.

Feel free to give us a call or email to discuss your particular needs. Our advice is free and we can email over a suggestion for best equipment and camera locations.