Read Part 1 and Part 2

In previous articles, I discussed my recent experiences with having someone attempt to set my house on fire, as well as some simple fire prevention and preparedness things you can do around your home to help ensure you don’t find yourself in the same precarious position I was in a few weeks ago.  In this installment in the series, I’m going to focus specifically on one addition I’ve made to the security suite I maintain around my home: the NEST outdoor security camera.

I first had the NEST recommended to me by another writer on SOFREP a few months ago when I brought up concerns I’ve had about some of my window and door alarms being tripped.  I recognized it as a valuable asset at the time, but was dissuaded by the price point; at around $170 at most retailers, buying such a camera just to see if my alarms were on the fritz felt unnecessary.  Hindsight, of course, is 20/20, so the first things I purchased after the fire were the NEST camera and a few large fire extinguishers.

Despite living the vast majority of my life on the internet, I’m nowhere near as tech savvy as many of my counterparts here on SOFREP.  My younger brother, who is a professional video game player out in sunny California, is usually my go-to-guy when it comes to tech questions I’m too embarrassed to ask publicly and can’t answer via Google – so I approached setting up the NEST camera with my phone in hand, ready to start texting him about whatever elementary school-level step managed to befuddle me… but to my surprise, the camera was up and running in just minutes, and without having to send even a single text.

The NEST outdoor camera only requires a NEST account, a power outlet, and WI-FI in order to function, and it really is as simple as it sounds (I’m as surprised as you are).  You simply plug it into a power outlet, create an account using either the website or the free smart phone application, type in your WI-FI password and there you have it… you can now watch a live stream of a whopping 130-degree view of wherever you stuck your camera, night or day.

The camera’s night vision is fantastic, providing clear imaging of my entire front yard even during even the darkest of nights, and it offers a number of settings on when you’d like it to notify you of movement or people in its field of view.  That’s right, the camera will actually recognize a person, rather than my scruffy junk yard cat, and send a notification directly to my phone and e-mail when they enter my yard.  You can set it to ignore certain portions of its field of view, say, the sidewalk where people may pass by regularly, but for my purposes, I’ve left it as is.  If you find yourself in my yard for innocent reasons, I probably don’t want you there anyway (except you, beloved UPS man… please bring me my Prime Day bounty!)

Installation required just two screws that hold the magnetic mounting surface in place, plugging the thing in, and slapping it on the magnets.  I then pulled up a live feed from the camera on my iPhone and used that to adjust its angle for optimal results.  In Georgia, having lock boxes over outdoor outlets is required by law, but I added a small padlock to the outlet cover to prevent tampering.  Will this actually prevent a Bond villain from pulling the plug?  Of course not, but the outlet is squarely within the camera’s scope and uploads automatically to the cloud, so if someone ever does so, I’ll get a great shot of them in the process.  And, thanks to the notifications the camera provides, I’ll be notified as soon as they come into view.