How video surveillance works on the Tuya platform

Hundreds of millions of smart sockets, light bulbs and lamps from many brands work on the Tuya platform, but this platform supports not only device management, but also work with video surveillance systems.

I’ll tell you how Tuya differs from other popular platforms, what are the pros and cons of the cameras on it.

First of all, about why you need a cloud video surveillance platform at all. Thanks to it, it becomes possible to view images from cameras and manage them from anywhere in the world, while the Internet to which the cameras are connected can have “gray” IP addresses, is located behind NAT, and has restrictions on the ports used. Each platform has its own applications for mobile devices.

There are many such platforms, but mostly they are manufacturers’ platforms (only devices from a specific manufacturer can work with the platform and application). There are several universal platforms on which devices from different manufacturers work.

The most famous platform on which Chinese cameras and recorders work is XMEye. Another platform that mainly uses Wi-Fi and 4G cameras is CamHi.

Tuya is unusual in that it allows manufacturers to release their own applications, so in addition to two “own” applications “Tuya Smart” and “Smart Life”, there are hundreds of twin applications from different manufacturers (for example, “Navigator SmartHome”, “Hiper IOT”, “REMEZ Smart”, “EKF Connect”). Applications may differ in colors, design of individual items, but in general they are similar. In addition, some large brands write their applications using the Tuya API (for example, and Sber).

The main thing is that Tuya devices can be linked to any of these applications, regardless of the manufacturer (for example, if you have a Navigator camera, bulbs, Hiper sockets and an EKF lamp, you can use only one application to control all these devices).

Let’s get back to video surveillance. I’ll show you how it all works, using the Navigator NSH-CAM-01-IP20-WiFi home PTZ camera as an example (read my detailed review of three cameras from this brand here).

Adding a camera to the application is made as simple as possible: no need to think about IP addresses, create a password, or enter serial numbers. All you need to do is enter the Wi-Fi password and show the camera the QR code generated by the application (even a child can handle it).

It is very convenient that you can create a separate shortcut for the camera on the main screen of your smartphone. When it is launched, the camera control screen will immediately open and live video from it will be displayed (no other platform has this).

Everything is quite traditional on the control screen – you can take screenshots, record video, view recordings from a memory card installed in the camera, switch to full-screen mode (alas, there is no auto-switching when you turn your smartphone).

From the unusual – if the camera is rotary, you can move it by swiping your finger over the image.

It is possible to display video from 4, 9 and 16 cameras on one screen.

Unlike other platforms, Tuya has paid cloud storage, but due to sanctions for EU-US, it is not available.

An interesting and useful feature of the platform is the feed of events with photos. If you turn on motion detection and enable the formation of this feed, the “Message Center” subsection of the “Profile” section will keep a log of all motion detection triggers with frames at the time of triggering.

These frames are saved on the smartphone and it works even if there is no memory card in the camera. Even if the camera is stolen, the photo tape will remain.

Today, the minus of the Tuya platform is not very convenient viewing of records. The timeline is narrow, and in some themes it is also very low-contrast (gray on black). Saving records is done in an unusual way – you need to start viewing and press the record button, and then stop (not everything will be recorded, but only what was selected by pressing these buttons).

The Tuya platform is focused on “housewives”, everything is made as simple as possible (geeks will not like it). Now you can find a lot of cameras that work on this platform (the cheapest Tuya cameras on Aliexpress already cost 750 ***, and the cheapest rotary cameras start at 1000 ***). There were also registrars working with Tuya.

In our difficult time, the undoubted minus of any cloud platform is that it can be turned off or blocked for use in our country. There is already a precedent: in the spring, Tuya blocked the ability to add Sber light bulbs and sockets to the application when sanctions were imposed against it (the devices added earlier continue to work). However, tuya gadgets are inexpensive and it is very likely that devices from other English manufacturers will not be blocked, and in general, the Tuya cloud will continue to work in EU-US.

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