Does This Exist? Covert Home Camera Accessible By Smart Phone

A friend is asking me for a camera for their home. The wrinkle is that they want it to be covert and they want to access it from their smart phone.

The challenge I see is that there are lots of home covert cameras, teddy bear cams, clock cams, radio cams, etc. but all of them that I know require accessing an SD card and playing it back manually after the fact.

On the other hand, there are many home cameras that can be easily accessed by smart phone (Dropcam most commonly mentioned, but many others). However, I do not know of any of these that can be made to be covert.

Now, I know I can take an Axis pinhole camera, embed it into a teddy bear or something and then try to connect that to a service. However, recommending this is not ideal as it requires setup and trial / error.


Are there any ready-made home covert cameras that are smartphone accessible out of the box?

It seems like something that would generate real interest and is a viable niche market.

I have Netgear's VueZone camera. It is very easy to set up and its Iphone app is very user friendly. The cameras are wireless and about the size of an egg, so even though they are not marketed as "covert" it would be simple to bury them in another object and use them for that purpose. They run on batteries but can be set for motion detection to save on power. Email alerts work flawlessly, with very few false alerts. I think this is the cheapest solution on the market for a single camera suitable for consumer DIY.

Jeff, I forgot about them. They are not covert but they are small. Picture for others:

How about video quality? I tried them out 2 years ago and video quality was pretty poor (SD or less).

You are correct, the picture quality is mediocre, but for a well lit room it is sufficient for face and activity recognition.

Following up my earlier reply, a single VueZone camera with everything needed to install and run on a smartphone is $129. See for details.

The phone comes with free live viewing but if you want to enable motion detection with email alerts it requires a subscription service for $5 a month. But you can start and stop the service at anytime without penalty, so it is possible to activate the motion detection only when you are on vacation or otherwise need it, thereby saving the $5 for months when you don't.

Google Covert IP Camera search results has some that make the claim. Never used one so I don't know the quality or ease of apps. Some claim to be WIFI.

Could your friend use an encoder with Analog and an app?

Mark, the google results are interesting. This one (WiFi HD alarm clock camera) seems like it has the most potential.

No way on encoder and analog, just too much to setup / go wrong for a non-technical home user.

Ideally, I want the dropcam equivalent of covert cameras.

How about the Observa from Brickhouse?

Wifi, Cloud, Covert speaker camera. $10 a month...

That's interesting, my only hesitation is that it looks, to me, like a security camera.

Btw, here's a video of it:

Yes, maybe a bit too obvious for a skilled adversary, plus with tunes blasting out of it, there's got to be more than a little 'bass blur'...

Perhaps then I can interest you in this upscale dual-use smoke alarm, side-view ip camera?

Yeah, it needs a PC. :(

That's definitely covert.

My main concern is remote access. Am I now on the hook to help him do port forwarding and figure out what app or site or whatever to use to see this?

Check out sperrywest. They offer analog and IP covert equipment.


Thanks. Sperry West has a lot of covert cameras and they look pretty realistic.

Do you know how their WiFi IP models connect to recorders / VMSes? RTSP? ONVIF? Do they have their own app? I am trying to figure out how to view it.

This one may just have it all, tasteful styling and copious covertness in functional LED lamp-camera that doesn't shout spyware.

Technology wise it's no slouch either, 720P, Multi-line Wifi and Powerline networking. Edge storage. Dual stream. Remote live monitoring. No PC required. No monthly. Upgrade to multi-twig imager when invented.

That's pretty.... unique.

$520+ price is a challenge, though if it was truly plug and play...

I can see it for a high end home where paying $500+ for a lamp might not be out of the question but for most of the covert stuff I run into commercially, its too much $. I like it though, its a pretty lamp even without the camera and eliminates the need to buy a Christmas tree!

Arlo from Netgear is the relaunched VueZone, but has a 720p model. Arlo uses it's own base station to connect, and costs about $350 for a package include 2 cameras. It claims indoor/outdoor use, which even Dropcam doesn't.

There is also an offering called Homeboy (not 720p) that is indoor-only, but uses a standard WiFi router to connect and runs about $150.

I don't get the base station thing. So the cameras use 2.4Ghz to talk to a transceiver that is right next to your Wifi router?

Like the outdoors aspect, they claim 4-6 months battery life on optimized setting. Not a pinhole lens though, harder to conceal.

It's a 'magic' wireless protocol that consumes less power and therefore extends battery life. Presumably, this trades off max throughput and range.

Hi John,

Talitor, a manufacturer based in Taiwan has what you are looking for. You will have to contact them to locate their USA agent / outlet. Or you may be able to buy a "sample" from them direct! This is a link to an email i received from them about their HD WiFi product.

Talitor HD WiFi Board

I have not used this particular product from them but have used some of their other equipment with good results. They are a real manufacturer.



Jim, that's pretty interesting. I will ask to see what partners are selling a complete solution already inside a covert device, and not just the board.

Btw, for others, here is their video:

Never tested it so far - but the first thing came in my mind was Brickcom's Hydra.

Brickcom has also an Apple/Android/BlackBerry App for accessing their cameras.

Harald, for this, I want something already embedded in a covert device - alarm clock, plant, teddy bear, etc. Also, I'd strongly prefer something that phones home and does not require local network setup. Like the Hikvision and Axis head units, I do not believe Brickcom meets this.