This is a two-part sponsored post with Nest Labs.
In the previous article, I described the circumstances around purchasing a two-pack of Nest IQ outdoor security cameras. We explored the latest smart home security systems, including Nest Secure and how its release impacts both homeowners and pros.
In this article, I detail how I installed one Nest Cam IQ in the front and one on the rear of my current home. While technically a DIY, it provides a complete how-to for the pros out there.
To learn more about my personal motivation, and the unique value of WiFi-enabled outdoor security cams, please see The First Layer of Modern Home Security section, also in the previous article.
Preparing for Installation of the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
There are four simple steps involved in connecting a Nest Cam IQ outdoor. Possibly a bit of a simplification, but these cameras are surprisingly easy to install.
From these specs, installation requires a single tool, a screwdriver (okay, in most applications we are actually using a drill-driver). Power (aka an electrical outlet) and WiFi are also required.
First Things First: Placement is Key
This can not be overstated, but like real estate, placement (i.e. location) is everything. In the context of the Nest Cam IQ outdoor, this means three things: 1) The camera needs to be located within range of the home’s WiFi signal. 2) Installed within 25 (running) feet of an electrical outlet (unless there are plans to add one) and 3) Placed in position that it can see the location to be monitored, without obstruction.
Tip: It’s a good idea to spend 10 to 15 minutes with the homeowner just on where the camera will be placed.
The camera itself is fitted with a 10-foot long USB cable. It connects to a power adapter that has a 15-foot long power cord.
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Placement Tips
Nest’s official tips for camera placement are located here. These apply to any of the company’s weatherproof outdoor security cameras, including the earlier Nest Cam outdoor as well as the newer Nest Cam IQ outdoor.
Remember, most crimes happen through the entryways of a home. So the same doors homeowners use to come into their homes are the same points of interest to criminals.
What’s Most Important?
When advising on location and vantage point, ask the homeowner, “What’s most important for you to keep an eye on?”
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- If using the camera for security monitoring, it’s a good idea to make sure it can see the points of entry into the home like doors or first-floor windows.
- Place the camera at a height where it can easily see people’s faces, even if they’re wearing a hat.
- Generally, you’ll want to install the camera 7 to 10 feet above the ground. If sun shines directly into the lens of the camera, there will be a glare that affects video quality so point the camera slightly downward.
- While Nest Cam IQ outdoor is rated for temperatures up to 113° F, direct sunlight can heat things up even more. To help keep things cool, mount the camera in a shaded spot, such as under an eave.
* Start by Analyzing the Vantage Point and WiFi Signal
Before I start, I pull out my ladder and climb it. With my cell phone in hand, I hold it roughly at the location where the camera would be installed. I snap some photos. These give me a rough idea of whether our proposed camera placement would work.
In my case, these photos told me that 1) I’ll need to trim back some nearby vegetation and 2) I’ll have to place the camera outside a nearby downspout elbow.
Tip: Noodling with your phone and employing a WiFi Analyzing app, can tell you if you have a good WiFi signal at the proposed mounting location.
You want to mount the camera at a height that gives you a great view of a person’s face. And more importantly, don’t try and hide it. In terms of home security, deterrence is always better than trying to catch someone after the fact.
* Next, Think about Power
This means electrical. In my installation, I connected to an outdoor-rated GFCI outlet, fitted with an in-use bubble cover which protects the plug.
Note: More and more, I hear that when code allows, you can alternatively drill through the exterior wall and connect the camera to an interior outlet. They say this actually provides an additional layer of security and protection from the elements.
For my installation, I hung my cameras under the cover of a flared eave (Dutch Colonial) in the front and under an eave on a rear porch in the back (yes, you can do that).
I was in luck on my house because in both locations I had an outdoor outlet easily within reach. Of course, for some installations, it may make more sense to add a waterproof GFCI outlet.
Once you think through all these things, you should review your findings with the homeowner. And once agreed upon, you can jump into the actual installation steps.
Installation of Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
* Connect the Camera to WiFi
Per the instructions, you’ll actually start this installation indoors. Download the Nest app, if you haven’t already. This is the same app you’d use for installing and managing a Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Protect or the new Nest Secure alarm system.
Note: For me, this was pretty straightforward because it was my camera. At a client’s site, this may require additional coordination and access to the homeowner’s device.
Plug in the camera, preferably near the home’s wireless access point. Open the app, click Settings and find Add Product in the menu. Click that. This will walk you through the process of pairing the camera with both the home’s WiFi and the mobile device.
Tip: I find it is easiest to just jot down the WiFi password if it is a “Secured” connection. Have it handy, you will need it in the setup process.
* Mount the Camera
I covered identifying a mounting location above. Once the camera’s location is decided, mount the camera’s mounting bracket with the provided screws. What they have designed is actually super nifty. A magnetic base that snaps to the mounting bracket. The camera then itself simply mates magnetically with a cupped recess in that magnetic base. Easy peasy! The camera easily pivots for fine-tuning in the camera’s view later.
Tip: If you are like me, and hang your camera from a horizontal surface (as opposed to a wall), you’ll likely have to perform an extra step in setup. The Nest Cam IQ is smart enough to accommodate inverting the image. In the Nest app, simply click the option to Rotate Image. And voila! The feed is now right side up.
* Mount the Camera’s Power Cord
IMO, the only slightly tricky part of the installation is managing the orientation of the camera’s USB and power cables. The camera comes pre-packaged with all the required exterior-rated screws and self-coupling cable-mounting clips. The power cord itself is low profile and rectangular like a USB cable. Meaning, it’s easy to twist the cord the wrong way while running it back to a plug. Be mindful of this throughout the process of mounting the camera’s cables.
I find it easiest to work by starting at the camera location and installing the cable as you move back to the power source. To help secure the camera as you work with the cable, install your first clip no more than 12” from the camera itself. This will keep the camera relatively still as you work. It’s also advisable to install a clip close to where the cable connects to the power adapter and also near the plug. Then as you set the cable (being mindful again of the orientation), set a clip from there forward at roughly 24” intervals.
If mounting to a masonry surface, you’ll have to mark off and install “masonry wall” anchors before filling the clips with screws (anchors are also pre-packaged with the Nest Cam IQ). You’ll need a 7/32” masonry bit and a hammer for this. That said, regardless of whether you are going into masonry, wood or another surface, it is always a good idea to pre-drill before screwing anything in.
* Mount the Power Adapter
The Nest Cam IQ outdoor contains a power adapter. Like a circular transformer, it is installed roughly at the midway point of the cable run. A mounting bracket is also provided for this. It is installed in a method similar to the one used for installing the USB clips.
To install the power adapter, insert the USB portion of the cable into the adapter and twist as pictured below.
This adapter should be set at least 18” above the ground.
Always be mindful of the camera’s view as you work. For more info on mounting the camera, see this page.
* Tidy up the Cabling & Plug in the Unit
The power cord comes with a slim velcro strap that helps manage slack cable. Use the strap to bundle the cable and preferably, tuck it away out of view. In both of my cases, I worked to conceal as much cabling as possible behind the bushes in my gardens.
Tip: More industrious types might look to encase slack cable in a Weatherproof Power Cord Connection Box.
With my backyard camera install, I had gray PVC running from below the house up to the GFCI’s location. I used 8” zip ties (rated for exterior use) to attach my power cord to that gray PVC piping. It made for a much neater installation.
I prepped the in-use bubble cover by removing a “knock-out”. I then plugged in the camera and shut the cover, sealing it securely with a zip tie.
* Finalizing the Setup in the Nest App, Plus Taking a Look at the Features
It doesn’t take much time to make final adjustments in the camera’s view using the app. But it’s good to know some of the features that are available in this camera. Identify these in your wrap-up with the homeowner. In-app features include:
Sets up the type of notifications a user will and will not receive for a given activity. This camera detects not only motion, but also sound. Using the web interface, the concept of Zones can be further established, allowing the homeowner to ignore certain areas of an image like a street or a neighbor’s yard.
Nest Aware –
Nest Aware is a cloud-based video storage system. With an Extended subscription, video is saved in the cloud for up to 30 days.1 As a homeowner, I chose 10-days of storage myself at a cost of $10/month for the first camera and $5/month for the second camera.
Talk and Listen –
Talk and Listen features are available right from the app. These allow the user to interact with someone standing, say, at a front door. The same feature could spook someone that maybe shouldn’t be, well, where they shouldn’t be.
Nest Cam IQ outdoor has a 130-degree wide-angle view, 1080p HD image quality and a 12x digital zoom and enhance feature that keeps a close eye on somewhere specific. If Nest Cam IQ sees a person, special algorithms automatically zoom in and follow the action in the app.
Smart Home Security :: Works with Nest
It’s probably a decent point to mention that Nest security products work with other smart home products like Google Home. Google Home is just one of a growing number of connected devices that Works with Nest.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about the pairing between Nest and Google Home, here’s a decent blog from Nest themselves – Google Assistant Does More with Nest.)
This inter-connectivity of devices is probably no more striking than with the smart home security niche. For example, Nest Cam IQ is designed to work seamlessly with Nest Secure – the company’s first full featured security system. To learn more about Nest Secure, please see the previous article.
The list of Works with Nest products that work to improve home security (and your installations) can be found here.
Smart Home Security :: Partnerships
A growing number of higher profile partnerships are also adding value for pros and homeowners. With a recent integration with I-View Now, all Nest cameras can now pair with most professionally monitored security systems.
Working with both Nest Secure and I-View Now, if an alert happens, the cameras pipe more detailed information to a monitoring station. This information, in turn, can be forwarded to emergency responders if necessary. The end result is better decision making for the monitoring station and fewer false alarms dispatched.
For pros, the I-View Now partnership adds new opportunities for recurring monthly revenue. With each sale and installation under the partnership, contractors receive a small cut of money regularly paid for the video monitoring service. To learn more, see this whitepaper.
Note: Where I am in Baltimore, homeowners can be fined for false alarm responses by both either police and fire stations. For more information, see this article – Nest Partners with Video Alarm Verification Service, I-View Now.
I hope in reading this, you got a sense of just how easy it is to install outdoor security cameras. They are just one of a growing suite of products available with professional pricing by way of the Nest Pro program. To learn more about the Nest Pro program, click here.
This is a sponsored post for Nest. I have been compensated by Nest. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.
1 Video streaming, video recording and mobile notifications require working internet and WiFi. Familiar face alerts not available on Nest Cams used in Illinois.