Home Monitoring/ Smart Homes the thread!!!

I've been using Blue Iris for a few years, starting with version 4 and now version 5. I've experimented with a variety of NVR options including Surveillance Station, MotionEye, ZoneMinder, etc.

Overall BI has been very solid - its interface isn't the greatest but it is better than the alternatives. The level of flexibility and configuration are great, although it would be nice not to be bound to a Windows host. Surveillance Station is good, and easy to use, but the licenses per camera were obscene when I looked at it. BI had a reasonably high cost up-front but long-term its been decent.

I have a heterogenous camera environment, which drives some of the challenges that led me to BI. I have 7 outdoor cameras (all PoE Reolink), and inside I have cheap 7 Wyze wifi cameras covering common areas or pointing out windows. The Wyze cameras I flashed to the Dafang firmware to support RTSP. These cameras aren't flawless with BI as the stream often will disconnect/reconnect for a few seconds. Not a deal breaker for me, but not ideal.

I also have BI set up with GentlePumpkin's AI detection using DeepStack and it works very well. It does rely on additional set up - I run DeepStack in a docker container and the AI app on the BlueIris host.

I went from a bare-metal machine to running BI in a Windows 10 Pro virtual machine about 18 months ago. I use Proxmox as the hypervisor but it could easily be any host (KVM, VMWare, Hyper-V, etc). My host is a Ryzen-based machine thus I can't enable Intel QuickSync for video compression, so I initially I passed through an NVidia GPU but found it really didn't make any difference. Machines are fast enough now and BI can use the substreams on cameras for motion/AI detection and the high quality stream for viewing to aid CPU usage.

My VM has the following config:
- 8 cores
- 16GB RAM
- 100GB boot drive

I did a lot of experimentation - it seems like by overprovisioning CPU and RAM, my host performed better. CPU of the CM is rarely over 50% and averages around 30%; RAM usage hovers around 40-50% with occasional peaks. If you run the DeepStack AI on the BI host it will go up slightly.

I have a USB drive and a NAS that I store the clips and images to (in case the VM is ever unavailable, I can still access those files).

I use the BI app a lot - it received an update recently but still looks like it was smacked with an ugly stick. Its usable. The BI web interface (called UI3) is decent, and I only go into the actual BI console interface to do SW updates and change any configuration. I tend to have the web interface running 24x7 on a monitor for quick reference/monitoring like a dedicated NVR.

I'm no expert, but if you do have questions please let me know. I do have BI integrated with my home automation (Home Assistant) for notifications/detection as well.

Hope this helps.

The problem is your home could become alive and try to kill you. People need to be aware of this before giving to much to technology. I once seen a house eat a kid in animated documentary called Monster House. That house came alive because of magic but technology is magic to not advance people.

Baron Of Hell wrote:

I once helped a house eat a kid in animated documentary I wrote called Monster House. That house came alive because of magic but technology is magic to not advance people.

IFTFY. You aren't fooling us.

Dramatic Marlin wrote:

I've been using Blue Iris for a few years, starting with version 4 and now version 5. I've experimented with a variety of NVR options including Surveillance Station, MotionEye, ZoneMinder, etc.

.. snip ..

Hope this helps.

Thank you mucho much a lot. I've decided to start with Synology Surveillance Station on my DS2415+ for now and see how that goes. I'm starting with 2 cameras ( ANNKE C800 ) so I don't need to buy more licenses. It's a cheaper buy-in for me right now. If I'm not happy with it or decide to go with a lot of cameras, I'll switch over to Blue Iris. The setup you described is pretty much exactly what I would be looking at doing.

A friend of mine has a 2-bay Synology and was thinking about setting up monitoring. Once I started talking to him, he really got the hair and now has Surveillance Station running with the same exact cameras I am going to get so he's kind of my testbed.

Seriously - thanks for the detailed reply. I do feel I will switch to Blue Iris some day so I will hit you up at that time with questions. You did mention you upgrade the software, so I think that means you pay the yearly fee for the software. Is that correct?

-BEP

Seriously - thanks for the detailed reply. I do feel I will switch to Blue Iris some day so I will hit you up at that time with questions. You did mention you upgrade the software, so I think that means you pay the yearly fee for the software. Is that correct?

Yes - I prefer to keep current and the price, while not ideal, isn't too bad. The software update schedule is pretty routine as well.

Good luck!

Dramatic Marlin wrote:

Yes - I prefer to keep current and the price, while not ideal, isn't too bad. The software update schedule is pretty routine as well.

The price for the yearly fee is well-worth what you're getting out of it, in my opinion. If the software had a Linux release, I think I would have used it instead of going with the Synology solution.

My friend who has the 2-bay Synology caught a neighbor kid stealing some painters poles from the side of his house on Saturday. He was still getting his setup dialed in and it already helped him out. How timely.

-BEP

I don't know when but amazon added a "customize" action to routines. This lets you type in a command that you would normally speak. I used it to get my tablet to automatically pull up a camera when motion is detected. My cameras don't support this by default but I could use my voice to pull them up. Now I can do it automatically.

Another new function that Google has added. You can now do things for time with Assistant. So I can say "Hey Google, turn on the bedroom lights for two minutes", and it will turn the light on for two minutes and then turn it off.

I’m building a new home. I don’t really want to pay a tech contractor a ton of money to make my home a smart home. Any sites or guides you guys recommend?

Balthezor wrote:

I’m building a new home. I don’t really want to pay a tech contractor a ton of money to make my home a smart home. Any sites or guides you guys recommend?

Youtube?

I guess the question is what you'd like your house to be able to do? Then you can target what you'll need system wise.

Just as a baseline, I would still make sure my whole house was wired with ethernet as backhaul. Even though most things will use wireless today, you still need the option to go wired when possible. Then your backhaul could tie into a mesh network, etc. Put ethernet drops where you might want cameras in case you want to go wired.

Decide what you want to control (primarily lighting), and make sure to use the right types of switches everywhere, and that circuits are split up how you want to control things. For instance, if you want only certain lights to come on independent from the rest, make sure to make those circuits and switches independent. I personally like Inovelli and Zooz. They're Z-Wave, then you can control them with hubs like SmartThings, Hubitat, etc.

Or you could go with something specific and add just Nest stuff, or stuff that's compatible directly with Amazon Echo (some echo devices now function as a hub and talk to Zigbee devices directly without and additional hub). I personally have a SmartThings system that gives more control than what Echo can do, while still allowing me to use Echo and Nest devices to do voice control over the top.

Then once you decide what you want to do, you'd want to decide what platform you want to use, which will drive what protocols you buy when you add switches, bulbs, automated blinds, etc.

Also need to decide how much you want to "admin" the system. It does take some understanding and work to set up automations, scenes, etc. It's not really that hard, just sometimes requires a bit of digging into understanding the logic and steps of what you want to automate.

Home Assistant has released Home Assistant Blue which is Home Assistant plug and play all in one solution. They also released a new update to the OS a few days ago.

I just got the Meross Garage Door Opener which I had backed on IndieGogo. It allows my garage door opener to be compatible with Homekit. Setup was super simple and took no time at all. It's kind of nice to almost be at the house and say "Hey Siri, Open the garage door" and it's done.

DeThroned wrote:

I just got the Meross Garage Door Opener which I had backed on IndieGogo. It allows my garage door opener to be compatible with Homekit. Setup was super simple and took no time at all. It's kind of nice to almost be at the house and say "Hey Siri, Open the garage door" and it's done.

I have avoided voice control on entry devices for the most part. I do have one lock that I can control with the Echos, but it prompts you for a PIN by voice before unlocking.

I know there is voice matching going on in these systems, but there are enough false activations that still happen for me to not be paranoid about somebody yelling "Alexa open the front door!" from my porch.

MannishBoy wrote:
DeThroned wrote:

I just got the Meross Garage Door Opener which I had backed on IndieGogo. It allows my garage door opener to be compatible with Homekit. Setup was super simple and took no time at all. It's kind of nice to almost be at the house and say "Hey Siri, Open the garage door" and it's done.

I have avoided voice control on entry devices for the most part. I do have one lock that I can control with the Echos, but it prompts you for a PIN by voice before unlocking.

I know there is voice matching going on in these systems, but there are enough false activations that still happen for me to not be paranoid about somebody yelling "Alexa open the front door!" from my porch.

I see the reason for concern. However, this does alert me on my phone every time the door is opened or closed. At least if I see the door opened and it's something I didn't do, I can check the cameras to see if it was a false activation or someone who sounds a lot like me somehow managed to open the door.

I figured this could be a good place to ask my question, rather than to start a new thread;
After a number of years of really good service, it is now time to bid farewell to my AirPort Extreme plus AirPort wifi network for my home. Now that I need to replace these all these devices, I've decided to jump onto the Mesh bandwagon.

I wanted to tap into the goodjer hive mind to see what they're recommendations were.
This one keeps appearing in a lot of top 10 lists and seems to be the most economically accesible;
TP-Link Dico mesh. Has anyone used this brand?

Hobbes2099 wrote:

I figured this could be a good place to ask my question, rather than to start a new thread;
After a number of years of really good service, it is now time to bid farewell to my AirPort Extreme plus AirPort wifi network for my home. Now that I need to replace these all these devices, I've decided to jump onto the Mesh bandwagon.

I wanted to tap into the goodjer hive mind to see what they're recommendations were.
This one keeps appearing in a lot of top 10 lists and seems to be the most economically accesible;
TP-Link Dico mesh. Has anyone used this brand?

There is a networking thread that you'll probably get better answers from.

I bought the Deco AX1800's with Wifi six in this set. I didn't expect to need three so I bought the double set from Walmart instead of the more expensive 3 piece set sold elsewhere. I can always add more if I need to. So far so good, but I've only had it set up a couple of weeks. It improved significantly over my two old routers, one of which had gotten to the point of having to be reset periodically. Those just shared SSID's to fake a mesh.

Wasn't as concerned with a three channel set either. I plan to finally pull some cable between our two floors soon. That will be my back haul.

Hobbes2099 wrote:

I figured this could be a good place to ask my question, rather than to start a new thread;
After a number of years of really good service, it is now time to bid farewell to my AirPort Extreme plus AirPort wifi network for my home. Now that I need to replace these all these devices, I've decided to jump onto the Mesh bandwagon.

I wanted to tap into the goodjer hive mind to see what they're recommendations were.
This one keeps appearing in a lot of top 10 lists and seems to be the most economically accesible;
TP-Link Dico mesh. Has anyone used this brand?

If you can hang out a little longer, WiFi 6E devices should start to ship soon. 6E will be much better, because the FCC opened up almost the entire range from 5GHz to 6GHz in a single, uninterrupted chunk. This will make an enormous difference in terms of service quality, giving you many more channels to work with.

If you can't hold off, then remember that wired backhaul is your friend. If you can hook your mesh devices up to Ethernet, then the devices don't have to waste a separate channel to haul the signals around. They can talk over Ethernet, and devote the entire usable spectrum to serving actual clients. If they're wireless only, they typically have to devote a channel to hauling bandwidth around.... your clients talk to the hub on Station B, and then it uses a different channel to talk to Station A, and then finally the traffic goes out on the Internet. The problem gets worse with longer chains, and all the frequencies used for backhaul are effectively wasted.

Wired backhaul will still be a good idea on 6E, but they'll have so much extra frequency space to work with that it won't be as critical. I think there's going to be something like 16 or 32 channels in that space, so burning a channel or two on backhaul won't be as painful.

Anyone know a simple way to track why my wifi is janky sometimes but not others?

manta173 wrote:

Anyone know a simple way to track why my wifi is janky sometimes but not others?

can you elaborate on "janky"?

Works most of the time with no issues. Unless it's my phone... Which is slow to basically nothing... But I can stream on a chromecast, roku, and fire tablet simultaneously.

About every 2-3 weeks. One or two of those devices stop working. I assume it's Comcast related as it is irregular aside from our phones. Then about every 2-3 months I have to reboot everything to get any internet.

Occam's Razor says your wifi is fine but your ISP is sh*tting the bed every now and again.

I had that situation, and it was my router. If resetting the router alone fixed your problem, look there. If you also have to reset the modem to get wifi back, it's likely the connection out.

I have the combo pack modem/router (I know it's not the best way to do things)... but I agree with Jonman... just wanted justification in my opinion I guess. I only really have Nest smoke sensors and a thermostat, but they work better than the roku and chromecast. lol

Not quite a smart home... but I was always wary because of the intermittent issues. Maybe I should head down the smart plug route if the issues are likely ISP related.

A review of a motion sensor with a light sensor and seems to work with everything and on its own.

Appreciate it. I've been thinking about getting some sensors and haven't researched anything, yet. Good timing.

-BEP