WIRELESS FUNCTIONALITY

Until a few years ago, all cameratraps were stand-alone devices; storing all the recordings on a memory card. Nowadays we see more and more forms of wireless connectivity. Here we explain which wireless functionalities are currently available and how they are distinguished from one another. In fact, there are 4 types of cameratraps:

 

Cameratraps without Wireless functionality
These are the traditional cameratraps that function completely autonomously, in which the recordings are stored on a memory card. With this type of cameratrap you always have to physically visit the camera and extract the recordings from the memory card. These cameras do not have any wireless functionality.

 

Cameratraps with Bluetooth functionality
Wildlife cameras with Bluetooth functionality allow the owner to connect to the camera at a short distance (up to about 20-25 meters in an open line of sight), to extract the captured images or adjust settings. This works via an app that needs to be installed on a phone or tablet (suitable for IOS and Android). For this it is therefore necessary that you have a smartphone or tablet with bluetooth functionality. In most cases, the images downloaded to the app are a reduced version of the original. The original file is always saved locally on the memory card. The moment you start downloading the images, the connection will switch to a 'wifi hotspot' that will be launched by the cameratrap itself. This is why this type of cameratrap is often referred to as "Bluetooth / WiFi functionality". It is, however, important to realise that this does not mean that you can also use this type of cameratrap to make a connection between your cameratrap and your own WiFi network at home. This requires a different type of cameratrap, which will be discussed below. Cameratraps with Bluetooth functionality are particularly interesting when you place the camera at a location that is difficult to reach (such as the top of a tree near a bird's nest, high up in the gutter, or deep in the dense bushes), or that you want to disturb the area as little as possible (such as the nest of a meadow bird or the den of a beaver). This Bluetooth functionality is also nice for when you place a cameratrap in your own garden, so you can view the recordings while sitting on the couch as long as you are within a specified range. Some models, such as the Browning Defender cameras, also offer the possibility to live stream the view of the camera when the connection is established. This can be fun for when you place the cameratrap in your garden; when you see something appear in front of the camera, you can watch it right away. Cameratraps with Bluetooth functionality:

 

Cameratraps with WiFi functionality
Cameratraps with WiFi functionality are cameras that are able to connect to an existing WiFi network of your own internet provider. There are currently very few cameras that offer this functionality. In general, cameras with this type of WiFi functionality also feature the Bluetooth function, as discussed earlier. With the WiFi functionality it is possible to download the images - from anywhere in the world (as long as there is an internet connection) - to a special app on your phone or tablet, without the need for a SIM card - and therefore extra costs. To do this, it is required that you place the cameratrap within the range of an accessible WiFi network (e.g. your garden or holiday home). An additional advantage of the WiFi functionality is that when your cameratrap gets stolen, you can still have access to all the images, since they have already been automatically forwarded to the app on your phone or tablet. Cameratraps with WiFi functionality:

 

Cameratraps with SIM card functionality
Cameratraps that can be equipped with a SIM card, whether or not already integrated in the camera by the manufacturer, make it possible for images to be send directly to an e-mail address or cloud server. You will be notified immediately when your cameratrap triggered a response. This SIM card functionality allows you to receive images at an unlimited distance and is not limited to locations with an existing WiFi network. It only requires a coverage of the mobile network of the SIM card provider that you are using. In contrast to cameratraps with a Bluetooth or WiFi functionality, there are always additional costs associated with the use of these type of cameratraps. In this respect, it does not make much difference which provider you choose and whether you want to use the camera in the Netherlands or elsewhere in the EU. The costs between the providers are almost the same and due to the net neutrality the costs are the same throughout the EU. In terms of costs, it mainly depends on whether you use a subscription, bundles of benefits, or whether you just pay the consumption directly from the prepaid credit. In any case, sending 1 photo (usually as a reduced version of the original) costs about 1 cent. However, if you choose to send photos in larger resolution or even in actual format, or if you choose to send videos (if possible), the data consumption - hence the costs - is much higher. This is best illustrated with an example from the provider KPN. The prepaid tariffs of KPN can be found here. At the time of writing, the standard rate for data is 15 cents per MB. Forwarding 1 photo is about 50 KB, which means you can send about 20 photos for that 15 cents and the rate per forwarded photo is just under 1 cents. However, if you send a photo in real size, this can quickly result in a file of 3-5 MB. This means that each forwarded photo will cost about 45-75 cents. If you send a video of 10 MB, this will cost € 1.50. In that case it is not appealing to use the standard prepaid credit, but would it be much wiser to use monthly package or subscription. For example, KPN currently has a monthly package of 200 MB for € 6,-. So the rate per MB is 3 cents, and for sending 1x 10 MB movie you pay 30 cents. With such a package, you can send 20x 10 MB videos per month. If that is not enough, you can take a monthly package of 1 GB for € 10,-. In that case, the rate per MB is about 1 cent, so forwarding 1x 10 MB video will only cost 10 cents. You can then send about 100 films per month. If this is still not enough, then it becomes more interesting to take out a Sim Only subscription and compare the different providers.

Cameratraps with a SIM card are often used to monitor wildlife traps, which can reduce the timespan that animals spend in a cage and only alert the entire capture team when the desired species is caught. This functionality also works well for monitoring remote locations or to minimize disturbance (e.g. a bird's nest). In addition, such cameratraps are an excellent alternative to 'traditional' security cameras, since they are waterproof and do not require a power or network connection. As a result, they are highly mobile and can efficiently secure remote areas or objects, and you will always receive the evidence on your phone, tablet or computer within 10-15 seconds after making a recording. Even if the cameratrap is stolen or destroyed, it is often the case that the images have already been sent to the owner, so he or she can take action!

Most cameratraps with a SIM card functionality come standard without a SIM card. This is because most cameras can be equipped with a SIM card of your choice, so you as a customer are free to do so. However, every cameratrap must be installed to work with the concerning SIM card. That is why we offer you the possibility to choose to add a prepaid SIM card of KPN to your order. We will then configurate your cameratrap with this SIM card and can already insert the email addresses on which you want to receive the images and/or videos. By doing this, you can use your cameratrap as soon as you receive it and you don't have to trouble yourself with the settings! Setting up the camera itself is quite precise and not always easy, so we recommend that you check this option if you are going to order a cameratrap featuring a SIM card functionality. When placing your order, you can indicate in the comments to which email address(es) the images should be sent. We will make sure this information is already entered in the cameratrap before sending it to you. Of course, you can easily adjust these details yourself later on at any time. Should it be the case that you have purchased this type of cameratrap elsewhere, but you do not get it to work. We provide the service to install it for you on a "no cure, no pay" basis. If we manage to get the cameratrap properly installed, then you pay € 50,-, including the return of the cameratrap to your address. If we fail, you pay nothing and we will return the cameratrap to you. If you want to use this service, make sure you send us a request first via e-mail to info@wildlifemonitoringsolutions.nl. Cameratraps with SIM card functionality: