This is the age of home automation, and everyone wants to sell you everything from Doorbells to automated central heating.
Remember when reading this, these are my personal opinions which mainly come from 20 years of hands on personal experience I’m not asking you to agree with me in any shape or form, I'm writing this as a personal journey not as an effort to start a flame war. This is just one guys journey not a personal a affront against your beliefs. I'm open to opinion and grown up discussion, but cannot be bothered with trolls.
Also I know I can't spell and my grammar is terrible, you don't need to tell me.
I do not work for, am affliated with, or make any money from Alfred.Camera I'm a satisfied user.
For most people the first introduction into some form of home automation is the Camera either through a Doorbell or using one of the many available home surveillance systems.
Systems like Nest can start to mount up as you add new cameras to your home. Very quickly you can mount up to a £500+ bill in cameras as you see the value in adding more cameras.
As someone interested in home surveillance as we have had several break-in's in the area I'd rather not do this spending so much money. I found a way for me that works really well.
I was looking for a solution which would be cheap to Maintain, had both an Android App or a Web interface, and I could expand to watch the dog when in the home or if we are travelling, in a hotel room.
My answer to this problem was Alfred Camera
The concept is a really simple one, and relitively cheap.
The alfred.camera servers are hosted in the cloud and I create a free account linked to my Google Account.
I connect Android phones (at least 2) with the Alfred app installed on them to my Alfred account.
I can now use one of these Android phones as a camera which I can view on the 2nd phone.
I then add multiple android phones with the Alfred app to the system.
The additional phones don't need to be on the same Wifi as my home either,
Over Christmas I used this system to Install the Alfred app on my Chromebook in the hotel we were staying in, I had the Chromebook pointing at the Dogs crate in the room while we went out for lunch. I was able to see my home cameras and the doggie cam in the hotel room.
Where this becomes cheaper than some of the more commercial offerings is the ability to start using those old Android phones you may have in cupboards or draws around the house.
or online in the UK I can find today very quickly 2 examples of 2nd hand refurbished sim free phones for under £50
The Sim Free bit here is the important bit, you don't need to have the phone connected to your mobile provider, you can run this system using just your home (or hotel) wifi.
Because the phone is only acting as a webcam, you don't need a powerful phone with an amazing display, to be honest a working cracked display is fine as well.
There is the cavaet that you will need to have the phone plugged in for power all the time. The Alfred Camera app also has the functionality built in to keep the phone awake.
Once you have the phones setup the Alfred.Camera system pfovides not only video surviellence
The app can be setup to start filming either a 24/7 stream OR on motion only which is handy.
Theres an app controlled Low Light filter
Something i've found useful is the 2 way communication ability so the phone can under control of the app only listen and be used as a 2 way intercom.
Its worth noting that the App itself is AD supported, and there is a premium upgrade with additional features like HD video, Zoom, People Detection, 30 day video storage and scheduled motion detection. As well as removing the ads under the Alfred Premium bundle.
Or just remove the Ads with a single payment for Alfred Plus
I've found this helpful at home being the tech nerd I am, i have several old phones lying around and am now able to make use of them in a really handy way.
This is an old but good video for explaining how Alfred works.
What are your thoughts on this?