Monday, June 10, 2013

That difficult 2nd surveillance camera

At the end of May I bought a D-Link DCS-930/L WiFi home surveillance camera from Amazon (the actual provider was Eagle Shopper EU). With some difficulty I was able to install it (as described here) and access a view of home via my smartphone from anywhere with a net connection.

Emboldened by this I bought a second one a week ago, again from Amazon. In my fast, click-happy way, I failed to notice that the vendor had changed - it was now ShopCuscus. In fact when I opened the box a rather curious UK plug tumbled out, much less neat than the integrated plug of my first device.

Again I ran through the installation process: it all worked until the final stage, where I had to associate the camera with my existing D-Link account in the cloud (this is how you control the connection to the camera). The ShopCuscus Wizard refused to recognise my account.

After much messing around and attempts to re-install, I called D-link tech support. The guy suggested that the problem was the new supplier - perhaps it was an imported camera with a different spec? He suggested I wrap the camera up and send it back. I was unimpressed.

In the end I set up a second D-Link account with my backup email address and downloaded the (cheap) paid-for D-link Android app to conveniently access it. The free app is configured to access my original camera. It seems a lot of messing around to check that the cat hasn't died on us when we're on holiday!

The moral of this tale is two fold:

1. Always check that you buy stuff from one vendor, as system integration with multiple vendors is a nightmare.

2. The D-Link hardware is good, but the quality of the re-sellers' software is too brittle and unsophisticated. I think most of us believe we could program a module to link up correctly with a pre-existing D-link account - how hard can it be?