When I received the Beseye Pro Wi-Fi Monitoring Camera for review from the Singapore distributor AXTRO Sports, I thought it was just another home security camera. Well, it turns out that the experience is very different from the other standard IP cameras I have tested.
Normal IP cameras let you watch what’s happening in live view, and can record video snippets based on motion trigger. But these products are not so user friendly to review the recorded content which are listed as files and with thumbnails that look identical, differentiated only by the time stamp. My current IP camera has been running for years but I have never accessed the recorded footage because I do not know what to look for, and frankly, most of them are false triggers.
Beseye Pro makes it extremely easy and friendly to review events, scrolling through the timeline which clearly indicates when there are incidents triggered by motion. There are preview animations for each incident which is really helpful in seeing what exactly triggered. It even identifies the person (requires simple setup).
Beseye Cloud Security
Beseye is a Taiwan company founded in 2013, driven by the ideas of combining IoT, Artificial Intelligence and security-care issues into the general population’s daily lives. Beseye Pro HD camera was launched in 2015 and has won multiple awards such as the Good Design Award 2015 and the Reddot award 2015. Beseye has set up bases in Taipei, Shanghai, and New York, targeting US and North-east Asia market. In Singapore, Beseye products are distributed exclusively by AXTRO Sports.
Beseye Pro is made up of 2 parts: the magnetic base and the detachable camera with a round bottom that magnetises to the base. A mounting plate is installed on the wall or ceiling before clipping the magnetic base to the mounting plate, and finally, the camera piece.
The design is such that you can mount the base in any orientation and at any angle, then you adjust the camera’s tilt. Finally, rotate the camera module until you achieve flat level. Its rounded outlook appears friendly, like a companion rather than a surveillance tool.
The included micro USB cable is very long and the USB power adapter harnesses 2A power, so technically you can plug a power bank to power the camera.
It took me considerable effort to set up the camera. First of all, the set up process is rather unconventional, requiring the smartphone to emit strange audio tone next to the Beseye Pro camera to initialise. Beseye calls this process “Let It Bee™”. Beseye Pro only works with 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz band.
For my case, Beseye set up keeps failing. I had to keep trying a few times until it works. Even after I managed to get past the camera set up, the camera somehow fails to maintain its connection. I then restarted the process and it worked for over a week. Then I decided to move it next to the Wi-Fi router, but after I powered up the camera, it did not reconnect again to the Wi-Fi network, so I decided to delete the camera and restart the entire set up, once again facing difficulty. I guess I could attribute it to the compatibility with the Wi-Fi router, because that was the Online Support advised, although I faced no such issues with the Blink Aztech camera system which is alive and kicking all this time.
If you also encounter the same set up problems, my advise is: Do Not Give Up. Keep trying, and move the camera to another location in the house or reposition it slightly. Once you find the sweet spot, you will enjoy the fruits of labour. In theory, the process is easier than many other IP cameras, but I would wish they have an advanced set up mode for me to troubleshoot and manually fix the problem.
With the Beseye Pro camera up and running, here is what I like:
Surveillance video images are never photo quality. For Beseye, when there is good lighting, the colour details can be quite good. During evenings with artificial lighting, there are colour noises but images are contrasty enough with noise-reduction. When the camera detects extreme low light or no light, the infrared lamp will light up the scene and record in monochrome. I like that the infrared light on the Beseye Pro is not too bright which might be disturbing in the dark.
This is the view that shows me everything I need to know about what is happening over the past 24 hours as captured by Beseye Pro.
Scroll down the timeline and the app will show the clips that are motion detected. It will also indicate whether the clip detects people or objects (non-human). Each preview clip on the timeline is GIF animated so I know what kind of motion has been detected by the camera. This helps tremendously in reviewing the events.
When I select the clip to watch, the clip will be maximised and streamed to the device. Double tap the footage and it will zoom in to the area for closer scrutiny. There is a camera button to capture still images, albeit with watermark.
Downloading of footage is only available from the web browser.
Beseye Pro is probably the only consumer IP camera to have this feature. To set things up, I first store facial images of up to 4 persons. Each profile allows storing of up to 18 photos in order for the camera to increase accuracy.
The benefit of creating this profile is for the camera to identity the person at the event timeline. However, it can only identify faces if they are close enough, not from a distance. Hence, the facial recognition will work well if the camera is set up at near eye level and in close range, for instance, near the entrance. If you position the camera at the corner of the room, it could not identify the persons at the other end of the room.
This feature also works only for 12 hours before it turns off, a rather odd limitation.
Since the camera can differentiate humans from objects, I can set notifications when either or both is detected. Notification is pushed via the app to get me to review the timeline.
To improve the accuracy of human detection, Beseye has a feature to optimise the detection. Over the days, the camera will identify objects and show them on the app. The user will select the images that correctly detects as human.
If you are desk bound like me, you can login to Beseye website from the computer and access the camera and its content, or configure the camera just like the app. The UI is responsive and I do not experience issues even though I am accessing through my office network behind a firewall.
Download Videos Online
From the website, I can select the time period to download the video, maximum 10 minutes per download. One thing to note is that Beseye actually records throughout the 24-hour timeline, so it is possible can choose any time within the last 24 hours, even though there is no motion detected, to view or download the footage.
Security and Authentication
Beseye provides two-factor authentication. When you login from a new device for the first time, it will request for a one-time password which will be push-notified to the existing device as well as on the registered email. Similarly, every time I login from the website, it will prompt for another OTP.
Beseye also assures the videos stored in their servers are secure, certified by DEVCORE.
Supports Internet of Things
IoT is the buzzword of tomorrow. Beseye works with IFTTT to automate the interaction between devices.
Business Intelligence Tool
Beseye Pro offers a feature to analyse human traffic, identify their gender, age and their emotions. This feature is useful if the camera is installed in a high-traffic area. Home settings are not meaningful, and it does not detect if it was the same person. The app detected over 80 people when I tested it at home with only 4 persons. On top of that, this feature is only available for analytics of 1 hour.
I can set the timing to activate the camera, for instance, during times when the house is deserted. I do not find this feature necessary, since the timeline view is so useful for me to scan the events throughout the day. Besides, Beseye does not impose storage limitations, so I recommend to leave the camera on all the time.
The product offers regular updates to increase features. So far, it has pushed 6 updates for the past 6 months.
A few limitations I found when using the Beseye Pro:
The product only works if the Beseye cloud service is operational, unlike other IP cameras where the product stores the events locally. So if one day Beseye starts charging or closes down, the camera will not function.
Limited Storage Length
Beseye currently only stores up to 24 hours of video footage on their server. There is no other subscription options for now, hence if there are footages that you need to keep permanently, you have to download within 24 hours.
Cannot Scrub Video
While the clip is being streamed, I was not able to fast forward or rewind. The workaround is to download the video from the web browser.
Speaker and Mic
The app lets me speak over the microphone which will be broadcast on the camera speaker. Nice feature, except the speaker quality is so poor, I can hardly make sense of what it says.
Some of the features like facial recognition and business intelligence tool can work only for a limited period. Perhaps these features offer a glimpse to their solution capabilities which they are offering to the business customers.
The Beseye Pro camera provides unique features that are unlike other IP cameras in the market. Its timeline view makes it easy to browse the motion-triggered events quickly to look for interesting incidents. The ability to differentiate between human and objects improves the management of notifications. Some features work in limited capacity: the facial recognition works only for 12 hours, and the cloud only stores up to 24 hours of video.
- Convenient and secure cloud-based access to motion-detected incidents on smartphone app and on browser
- Camera differentiates between human and non-human activities
- Strong infrared light for night recording
- Visually-appealing design
- Cloud stores only past 24-hour recording
- Video download only available on web
- Unable to scrub video footage while watching
Official Product Website: https://www.beseye.com/home