Can I use a Webcam-style WIFI Camera (like Foscam, Dropcam, Linksys, or Belkin) with one of your DVRs?

WIFI Cameras that resemble webcams like Dropcam, Nest, Ring, Arlo, Linksys, or Belkin can work well for keeping in touch with children and other family uses but lack the encoding language that allows them to communicate with an NVR.

Unfortunately, these brands often confuse people by using unclear language. For example, Dropcam has an online SAAS called Dropcam DVR that stores your video online for a monthly fee. Obviously, this isn't actually a DVR and has some major flaws. Although the camera might be 1080P, if your internet upload speed is not fast enough, it will not be able to record in anything but extremely low quality and it can only record one or two cameras at a time. Foscam has a similar problem in that it has quite a few issues regarding the ability to record these devices 24/7.

If these cameras work for your needs, we encourage you to purchase them because they are very cost-effective, but if you are looking for professional surveillance solutions, these types of cameras won't suit your needs.

In order for a camera to communicate with a DVR, it needs to use either ONVIF or PSIA encoding. ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) and PSIA (Physical Security Interoperability Alliance) encoding are free-to-use, open standards that any manufacturer can use to connect their products to DVRs. Even manufacturers, like Geovision, who have their own encoding language also have ONVIF and PSIA as a backup.

Most of these webcam-style WIFI "IP camera systems" won't work with any DVRs that we know of, because they have refused to use either of the open standards. See IPVM's analysis of the Foscam brand as an example.

Many of these cameras suffer from issues like a maximum resolution of VGA or a high theoretical max resolution that reduces based upon your internet speed, only having a single proprietary protocol, not supporting H.264 video encoding (H.264 is the type of video file a digital video recorder records in) or requiring a computer or a monthly subscription to a SAAS service or uninterrupted internet to record the video. They aren't very useful for surveillance.

Even PC-based recording, which used to be a viable option for video surveillance, doesn't work well in the real world. Most of the reason why PC-based recording has gone out of fashion can be attributed to one thing--Microsoft Update's mandatory computer restarts.

For more info on why recording a surveillance camera on a computer is a lot more complicated and cumbersome, see this knowledge base article on why PC based DVRs don't work as well as you think it will.

All of our NVRs are ONVIF and PSIA compatible and work with Honeywell, Panasonic, Dynacolor, Sony, Samsung, Pelco, Bosch, Axis, HikVision, Arecont Vision, and many more cameras.