Y-cam Home Monitoring – Review

Jake Basford

Monitoring security systems have been used over the years in everything from science fiction to reality TV to highlight the human need to feel safe in one’s home, but the actual application of technology in this area is only just jumping from commercial to domestic use allowing the high-definition quality we expect from cameras and viewing apparatus to be applied to home security systems. Enter Y-cam – a simple, yet effective, home monitoring system that only requires access to the internet and power.

Because we are a superficial lot, let’s handle the appearances first. Y-cam is a small camera that looks relatively non-descript, and the indoor version looks just like a big webcam (which it is). The pictures and video the Y-cam records have an unfortunate bubble issue, but all things considered that is relatively low on the food chain as the sheer quality of image provided is amazing (if likely to cause embarrassment should the footage be leaked as while some cameras had ten pounds, this one adds ten stone) and reactive to a specially selected area chosen during set up.

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Y-cam, you see, works with HomeMonitor™ – this is a cloud-based service that allows the recording, storage, editing and archive of all footage recorded through the Y-cam. Users login through the website and can set up the cameras relatively simply (same level of intelligence required to install a new printer – can be fiddly but shouldn’t pose major issues), and then you can setup a special area where if any movement is triggered then the camera automatically switches on and records, thereby saving power and space. This can also be set up through certain times and days, so if you work regular hours (9-5 Monday to Friday for example) then you can programme it to be triggered by any movement during those hours. All of this can be controlled through an app that is downloadable through your relative app store (none for Windows users though – sorry but try a phone with a better market penetration).

Here’s where I found my sticking point. The reason that this was of interest to me personally is because I, like so many other young professionals living in a large city, live in a shared house with people I only met the day I moved in. I do not know the people who my letting agent deems appropriate to move in before they do so and the closest thing I get to a vetting process is when they come for a visit and I make sure they aren’t homophobic (usually by having the soundtrack to Priscilla Queen of the Desert playing loudly). Security, therefore, is an issue, and after having things stolen from my cupboards and bedroom (sugar for a coffee is one thing but when someone is waiting for you to go to the loo so they can nick tobacco there is a line that has been crossed) I thought I would check out the situation. Back to the Y-cam – this is all relevant because if you are going to be using a home monitoring system that protects a certain room or area, exactly what the indoor Y-cam is designed for, then you need to be able to switch the camera on and off very quickly when you leave said room or area. The response time of the app, where it confusedly says that it cannot connect despite having full access to the internet, and its reliability to function in any sort of regularity (sometimes to switch it on it will do so immediately – other times you could be trying for half an hour, after several reboots of your phone) is abhorrent. It is in this respect that the Y-cam manages to fail epically.

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If you work regular hours and plan your schedule in advance then this is the perfect home monitoring system for you, and allows full protection of your house and belongings. There is a slight issue with who controls the footage due to it being held on someone else’s server, but the truth is that if WikiLeaks, celebrity photo hacks, and the Draft Communications Data Bill (Snoopers Charter) have shown anything that no matter what you do with your internet data it is going to be in someone else’s hands and the police, government and hackers will go to any length to get to it just because it exists – might as well stop fretting about it. If, however, you work changing shifts or from home then the Y-cam may not be the best option for a private space, but there is always something you can do with a home monitoring camera and there are plenty of people who have made lots of money by selling their footage off.

You can purchase the Y-cam from its online shop now, with prices starting from £129.99

About Jake Basford

Essex-boy living in Cardiff, Jake is a writer, PR/Media officer, and Social Media consultant. Obsessed with video games, American culture and Buffy. Can usually be found at his laptop working.