In these troubled times, reliable CCTV is more important than ever.
But for small businesses, set-up costs can definitely be a barrier, let alone if you're just trying to keep an eye on things at home.
Now D-Link has a surveillance solution that covers every angle... with just one camera.
If you've watched as many B-Grade '80s detective movies as I have, you may still be thinking surveillance cameras are big, square metal boxes connected to a stack of VHS machines in a darkened security room.
The DCS-2530L from D-Link is kind of the opposite of that.
While it must be pointed out this is not the smallest camera out there, I don't think it was designed for covert operations. Versatility is probably the key adjective here, which starts with the stand/bracket. Because the camera itself can rotate a full 360 degrees within the bracket and the stand is hinged, there are so many ways you can mount the DCS-2530L. Suspend it from the ceiling, attach it to the wall or just sit it on the counter, whatever works for you.
Of course, there is one crucial limitation; while the DCS-2530L connects wirelessly to your Wi-Fi router, it still needs a power supply. Frustratingly, the microUSB lead supplied is only 1300mm long, which means you're likely to require an extension of some kind. On the bright side, the microUSB connector is at least in a right-angle configuration, adding to the versatile nature of the bracket.
Setting up the DDCS-2530L was annoyingly complicated. I can handle complicated - what annoyed me was the initial impression that it would be easy. Using the mydlink Lite app, you just follow a step-by-step wizard to start up the camera, connect it to your Wi-Fi network and make changes to the configuration.
Right up to the point none of the "easy steps" really match up to what's actually happening with the camera, its indicator lights or your router.
In the end (and I've found this to be the best technique with many devices in the past) I resorted to pushing buttons at random until something happened. This worked well, until I unplugged the DCS-2530L to try it in another room. Then I had to start all over again and because I couldn't quite remember what I'd done, there was some swearing.
I'm over dramatising of course (slightly). In reality, what should have been a 5 minute setup probably took 8 minutes instead. Call the time cops.
The ultimate result though... totally worth it. Because what I haven't mentioned about the DCS-2530L yet is the most important feature of all; the view. Not only can you choose to record and view right up to 1080p HD, but the DCS-2530L does it in 180 degrees. That means you can watch an entire room, even a sizeable one, with a single camera. This means the DCS-2530L is a great option for lobbies and entranceways too (although only recommended for indoor use).
To bring back that word, "versatile" again, this camera also features built-in infrared LED's for clear night vision recording. You can set the camera to day or night modes, or leave it on auto (which can also be configured to a light level you prefer). The difference is black and white, literally. Daytime mode is crystal clear colour, nighttime means monochrome. Weirdly there's an audible click when the camera changes mode. Maybe that's just to let the burglars know they're being watched.
The other nice trick the DCS-2530L performs is onboard recording. There's an easily accessible microSD slot so if you're not monitoring the camera live via the app or the mydlink website, you can set it to record when it detects motion, sound or a combination of either. Or you can record constantly, overwriting old videos once the microSD card is full. Using the website, you can even set up schedule for recording (eg: only after-hours) - again, "versatile" seems to be this device's middle name.
Using the mydlink Lite app, not only can you live view and listen, you can access the time-stamped recorded footage and even record to your phone's storage if you see something good. You know, like an overweight burglar getting stuck halfway through the window. That kind of vid needs to be uploaded to social media immediately.
Even when you're not actively monitoring the DCS-2530L, you can opt to receive push notifications the moment the camera sees or hears anything.
While the setup is a bit fiddly, you'll get there in the end and discover the DCS-2530L is a highly efficient way to keep an eye on things when you can't be around... a 180 degree eye on things which means less cameras to cover the same area. With HD resolution, motion detection, night vision and audio monitoring, you're getting a lot of bells and whistles in one small package.