Cabin Security System

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Jan 22, 2012

A PRO member recently asked for recommendations to secure a cabin in a remote location, with no power or internet connectivity. We posed the question on LinkedIn, discussing a number of options. In this update, we'll look at these options, the pros and cons of each, and our ultimate recommendation.

The Question

The full text of the user's question:

"I have a property in the mountains that keeps getting broken into. We have no electricity at the cabin so I need some sort of solar powered, motion activated security camera system that can send me very clear photos of people breaking in so that I can easily identify them. And, if at all possible, have those photos sent to me in real time via a cellular connection (we do have that there), to my computer, phone, iPad or whatever, so that I can react in real time and send the Sheriff to act before the thieves get away."

The Challenges

There are a number of challenges here:

  • No power: The lack of electricity at the site means that whichever solution is chosen, it must be powered via batteries or solar. Completely battery-powered systems are few, and solar may have its own issues at the site, due to forest coverage. A solar array capable of powering multiple cameras would also likely be very large, which may present issues in locating it.
  • Limited connectivity: With no internet access at the site, images transmitted for remote viewing will need to be small, suitable for transmission over cellular networks.
  • Location: With the cabin being remotely located in the mountains, false alarms are a key concern. A single false alarm could take take a substantial amount of time to investigate. 

Possible Options

A few options were suggested for this application:

  • VideoIQ: VideoIQ's analytic capabilities would likely do well in this area, and provide more configurable detection rules with adjustable sensitivity. However, since the area is remote, with no power, light levels will be low, nearly guaranteeing that additional IR illumination will be required. The combination of a camera or cameras, IR illuminators, and an external cellular router will also require a substantial amount of power, requiring a large solar power system. All these things add up to a much more expensive system than other options. 
  • Eye Trax: Another possible solution presented was Eye Trax, a system consisting of a VGA camera with IR illuminators, combined with a passive infrared detector with 75' range. The Eye Trax camera transmits still images via GSM cellular connection, upon motion detection, or on a schedule. The Eye Trax camera may be solar powered (or 110V) with battery backup. The main drawback of this option is that each camera requires a separate cell account, and a separate solar panel for each, unless the user chooses to install a larger solar power system to power multiple 110VAC cameras.
  • Videofied: Finally, Videofied's wireless video security system, which consists of fully wireless, battery-powered MotionViewers and GSM-connected panel, is an option. Upon activation, the Motionviewer, a PIR detector with camera, captures a short video clip, which is transmitted via a GSM cellular connection. Users may see our test of Videofied for more information. The main disadvantage to Videofied is video quality. The MotionViewer is equipped with a 320x240 monochrome camera. Compared to resolutions up to 1080p with VideoIQ, and VGA with the Eye Trax system, this is very low.

Our Recommendation

Our final recommendation to the user was Videofied. Here's why:

  • Single Cellular Account: Unlike the Eye Trax system, Videofied is able to transmit video clips from multiple cameras via a single cellular connection, which lowers recurring cost.
  • Flexibility: Videofied is a fully-featured intrusion detection system, with options aside from MotionViewers, such as door contacts and smoke detectors. Videofied door contacts also accept input from external dry contacts, so sensors such as flood detectors may be connected. Since the location is remote and unoccupied most of the time, these other detectors may be more desirable than other options, which provide video only.
  • Autonomy: Since the Videofied system, including the panel, as well as detectors, is completely battery-powered, no solar options need to be considered. This lowers initial install cost, and the cost of batteries over the system's life is unlikely to add up to the cost of solar systems to run other options.

Users should be aware of Videofied's limitations, however, which may be critical to some applications. 320x240 monochrome video is low-resolution by today's standards, and will not provide identification-quality video at long ranges. If "chokepoints" can be covered, this may not be an issue, but if not, more cameras will be required than with other options. If live look-in is a required feature for the user, Videofied will not be a fit. The MotionViewers' cameras are only activated upon motion, so viewing of live video is not possible.

A Videofied control panel has an MRSP of about $700 USD. An outdoor MotionViewer has an MSRP of about $600, with an indoor MotionViewer costing about $400. Typically, Videofied products are purchased as a solution from an alarm / security provider and are not DIY.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Access Control Job Walk Guide on May 22, 2019
Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask. By inviting...
Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
LifeSafety Power NetLink Vulnerabilities And Problematic Response on May 20, 2019
'Power supplies' are not devices that many think about when considering vulnerabilities but as more and more devices go 'online', the risks for...
Facial Recognition Systems Fail Simple Liveness Detection Test on May 17, 2019
Facial recognition is being widely promoted as a solution to physical access control but we were able to simply spoof 3 systems because they had no...
Maglock Selection Guide on May 16, 2019
One of the most misunderstood yet valuable pieces of electrified hardware is the maglock. Few locks are stronger, but myths and confusion surround...
Panasonic 32MP Multi Imager Camera Tested (WV-X8570N) on May 16, 2019
Panasonic has released their first multi imager models including the 32MP (4x4K) WV-X8570N, claiming "Extreme image quality for evidence capturing...
Access Control Request to Exit (RTE) Tutorial on May 13, 2019
For access controlled doors, especially those with maglocks, 'Request to Exit', or 'RTE' devices are required to override electrified locks to...
Hikvision DeepinView Camera Analytics Tested on May 08, 2019
Hikvision is expanding its 'deep learning' offerings with a new camera series called 'DeepinView' claiming false alarm reduction and improved...
Dahua ePoE Long Distance UTP / Coax Tested on May 03, 2019
Dahua's Enhanced PoE (ePoE) line is claiming extended video and power transmission over 600m without repeaters, with devices interchangeable via...
Verkada Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on May 02, 2019
Verkada is arguably the most ambitious video surveillance startup in many years. The company is developing their own cameras, their own VMS, their...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Access Control Job Walk Guide on May 22, 2019
Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask. By inviting...
ASCMA / Monitronics Declares Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on May 22, 2019
Monitronics is entering into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company, also called Ascent Capital Group Inc., aka ASCMA, aka Brinks Home Security,...
US Considers Sanctions Against Hikvision and Dahua on May 22, 2019
The US government is considering blacklisting "up to 5" PRC surveillance firms, including Hikvision and Dahua, Bloomberg reported, with human...
Dahua USA Celebrates 5 Years of Errors on May 21, 2019
Dahua USA is, in their own words, 'celebrating' 5 years in North America or as trade magazine SSN declared: Dahua Technology finds success in...
Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
Covert Facial Recognition Using Axis and Amazon By NYTimes on May 20, 2019
What if you took a 33MP Axis camera covering one of the busiest parks in the US and ran Amazon Facial Recognition against it? That is what the...
Amazon Ring Public Subsidy Program Aims To Dominate Residential Security on May 20, 2019
Amazon dominates market after market. Quitely, but increasingly, they are doing so in residential security, through a combination of significant...
LifeSafety Power NetLink Vulnerabilities And Problematic Response on May 20, 2019
'Power supplies' are not devices that many think about when considering vulnerabilities but as more and more devices go 'online', the risks for...
Facial Recognition Systems Fail Simple Liveness Detection Test on May 17, 2019
Facial recognition is being widely promoted as a solution to physical access control but we were able to simply spoof 3 systems because they had no...
Inside Look Into Scam Market Research on May 17, 2019
Scam market research has exploded over the last few years becoming the most commonly cited 'statistics' for most industries, despite there clearly...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact