My Mom asked for a CCTV at their place. There were disputes were a CCTV would have been beneficial to quickly sort out the issue.
I initially setup the “easy” kind of CCTV. An IoT WiFi-based camera, but it turned out not to be reliable. It saves its data on a MicroSD, and it easily burn out after a couple of months, wireless connection gets disconnected intermittently, and the camera itself is unpredictable and hangs from time to time.
I switched to PoE-based solution which is far better that what I initially installed.
Network Video Recorder
With PoE Camera, it does not have it’s own storage. The data has to be stored somewhere, which is the NVR (Network Video Recorder)
I have an existing server for Crystaldrin Network which serves various purposes including a NAS (Network Attached Storage). I was looking for something I could virtualize and use the same storage already available.
I explored a couple of software solutions and I decided on Synology’s Surveillance Station. The good things is, it’s Linux-based, and there’s a community that allows it to run in a virtualized environment: https://xpenology.com/forum/
I chose to emulate DVA3119 since I had a unused Nvidia GTX 1060 3gb lying around which would allow me to use deep learning features such as facial recognition and object detection.
The GPU gets successfully detected by the virtual machine after booting it up.
This is where things got exciting for me. I think the usefulness of a CCTV comes with the ease on how easy it is to find what you’re looking for.
Surveillance Station’s interface itself is very intuitive. It also have a mobile app so it can be accessed remotely.
What’s more is they added features that can detect objects (e.g. plate number, people, vehicles). With this info, you can filter by time and date and/or people and/or plate numbers.
To make it more enterprise-y, it has to be somehow resilient to power interruption. Since the camera are powered over ethernet, I only have to have a backup power for the PoE switch.
I used SNADI 1kw with a 12V 100Ah LifePO4 battery. Based on my computation, it should run around 6 hours without power from Meralco.
This was a fun project. I get a lot of satisfaction finding uses for old hardware. This project is definitely one of those.