On our recent IoT Podcast, we took a question that Rob left on our IoT Voicemail Hotline. HomeKit is the primary system Rob uses in his smart home although he does have some Nest cameras. And he has a grandfathered Nest subscription that supports continuous recording. However, those videos aren’t encrypted and he’s concerned about law enforcement gaining access to his recordings. Rob is wondering if there are any HomeKit Secure Video (HSV) options for recording and saving encrypted footage continuously.
The short answer is no as Apple limits HomeKit Secure Video recording to events only. I think that’s a little silly considering HSV requires an Apple iCloud plan to store webcam footage. Due to my family’s photo and document storage requirements, for example, we have a shared 2 TB iCloud plan. That’s plenty for continuous HSV recording. But, Apple is… Apple. And it imposes the event recording only restriction on all HSV cameras.
However, Rob said he’s not averse to using microSD cards and/or a local video server as a solution. That’s good because while this technically wouldn’t deliver continuous HSV recording, it would effectively accomplish the same objective. Locally stored videos don’t get passed to the cloud, so the encryption requirement is less important.
I’d suggest Rob start or continue to use HomeKit Secure Video cameras in specific places where he wants event recording and notifications. And those can be supplemented with any connected camera that offers either mircoSD support or works with the RSTP, short for the Real Time Streaming Protocol.
One of those actually does support HSV: Encrypted event footage is saved to iCloud but a microSD card can save continuous recordings. It’s the Aqara Camera Hub GH2 Pro and costs $69.99 on Amazon. Up to 512 GB of local storage is supported. Wyze makes lower-priced non-HomeKit options with local recording support, such as versions 1 and 2 of the Wyze Cam. The Wyze Cam Pan v2 adds remote camera movement options and costs $39.98. Other options are out there too; just make sure the camera has a microSD card slot.
For a more expensive option that can save much more video footage, cameras with RSTP support can beam their footage to a local server. Yes, there’s more time, effort, and money involved but the advantage is that you can expand the storage capability of a server.
Some folks rely on the $379 Ubiquiti Dream Machine Pro, for example, which is basically an enterprise-grade networking appliance. It has 3.5-inch hard drive bays that you can load up with terabytes of local storage for video recording. But again, you’ll need to look for cameras with that all-important RSTP support. If you’d rather set up your own RSTP server for storage, there are various commercial and open source software titles that work on various platforms. Using any computer from a Raspberry Pi to either a Linux or Windows PC, you can run your own video recording server with RSTP.
To hear Rob’s question in full, as well as our discussion on the topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: