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Smart Home security shines brightly with the Wi-Fi Maximus Camera Floodlight

By December 19, 2018August 21st, 2019No Comments

 So here I am, sitting in the office just about to publish an article about my experience with the Maximus Camera Floodlight over the past several months. I’d written at length about the benefits of smart surveillance cameras and this particular smart outdoor lighting device. It’s a week before Christmas and packages have been coming and going, so I have plenty of footage to show various delivery drivers show up to drop packages, triggering the cameras and walk away. A perfect benign snapshot of home surveillance in action, I was content showing these uneventful clips of the cameras doing their job.
To my utter shock and disbelief (the irony is certainly not lost on me) I get an alert from the Kuna app Maximus’ smart floodlight uses that there is a person detected on my property, and the notification preview shows a sketchy character on a bike approaching my door. “That’s odd”, I thought and clicked into the app to see what was going on, and watched the horror unfold. The video clip showed this porch pirate roll right up to my doorstep, scoop up a couple packages delivered not two hours before and roll away, all in front of my very eyes. I quickly switched to the live view to see if I could yell at the thief, perhaps getting him to drop my goods or just curse him and his scumbag ways. Alas, he was already gone.

I immediately called the police dispatch and gave an extremely detailed description of the crook, which allowed them to relay to the officers in the field to patrol the neighboring area. My packages nor the thief have been found yet, but the utility of building a Smart Home and connected surveillance solutions have given me greater awareness and the ability to take action far better than without these devices. This is home automation at work, and at the blow to my Christmas gifts a real-life example of what a smart camera can do for home security.

Connected Security with a Smart Floodlight

 The smart floodlight from Maximus utilizes a motion sensor to activate both LED floodlights and 1080p video recording with audio.
Now before even getting into the specs of the smart floodlight, I’ve been using another Maximus model, the Maximus Smart Security Light day-in, day-out now for eight months and it’s one of my best purchases, which I find extremely helpful for utility and security. Suffice it to say, I’m very familiar with the platform which operates on the Kuna app, and you can read the full overview of my experience with that connected security device here.
With Maximus’ smart floodlight, the major benefit over any device not connected to the network is the use of the 1080p HD camera with a 155° FOV to monitor who is coming and going. This camera, paired with smart motion detection for 270° has an adjustable range up to 70ft, along with the two-way audio capability. The microphone can capture audio from video clips caused by motion triggers, or used to speak with visitors. Where this comes in handy is capturing the full picture for whatever is happening on your property, regardless of where you are in relation to your home.
This media is collected from the device and transferred to the app via a 128-bit AES encryption and bank-level SSL encryption for extra security in the digital sense, while the device operates on dual-frequency Wi-Fi (both 2.4GHz & 5GHz) bands.
When it comes to security deterrents, the Smart Floodlight has a few up its sleeve as well to keep intruders from taking advantage of a home. It’s one thing to be able to capture footage with an outdoor Wi-Fi camera like a surveillance system, but it’s another to have active measures to help actually prevent any malicious behavior.
Being a smart floodlight, by design, the primary function is to act as a source of motion-activated illumination. Maximus does this via dual 2400 lumen LED light panels, which pump out 5,000K daylight white light, with adjustable brightness. One of the intuitive elements of the smart floodlight hardware is the multi-directional movement of the LED panels. These can be moved independently of one another, with 40° of motion up and down, left or right.
Having a motion-activated security light is a pretty standard home security precaution, but this particular Wi-Fi security light has the added deterrent of a 100db siren that can be triggered remotely to scare off any would-be burglars and users can reach 911 operators from within the app while viewing security footage. Since the unit is outdoors in all the elements the camera, microphone, unit housing and speaker are all weatherproof for sustained life in the worst normal weather conditions.
Of course it wouldn’t be a home automation device in today’s market if it didn’t also come with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, which gives users the option to turn on or off the light and adjust brightness settings via voice command as well. Add this to the list of the coolest things you can do with your Amazon Echo or Google Home!

What Smart Outdoor Security Lighting Can Do

 Beyond my personal real-life example of smart security in action, the profound benefits of connected surveillance technology come in several forms: lower cost for home surveillance once limited to the wealthy, instant knowledge about the home status from any location with visual confirmation and the ability to check on non-critical activities such as package delivery (Check out our rundown of what smart home security is and why it matters here).
While most home automation security elements like smart doorbells or standalone cameras have video capabilities that are extremely helpful, they cannot function in a dual-purpose setting like the smart outdoor security light can. With Wi-Fi outdoor security lighting, both control over the lighting element and video is combined into a package that automates two processes, for truly “smart” integration.
Smart outdoor lighting is the first line of defense when it comes to home security, and the more aggressively the home is protected before a threat even reaches the front door the more likely it can be dispatched with proactively.
Police reports and home alarms are reactive measures for home security, smart surveillance cameras are a leap into better protection and the Wi-Fi Maximus Camera Floodlight is a look into the future of connected control.

How to Install a Smart Flood Light

 The Maximus Camera Floodlight is a simple installation of only two wires and a screw for support, delivering real plug-and-play Smart Home security.
The beauty of this device is that it installs without the need to run any separate wiring for the camera, so for those replacing a traditional light with a Wi-Fi floodlight it is a simple plug-and-play process.
  • Step 1: Turn off power to the area where the security light will be placed at the circuit breaker
  • Step 2: Remove the existing light (if there is one)
  • Step 3: Connect the base plate for the floodlight to the home surface and thread the wiring through the opening
  • Step 4: Connect the white wire from the floodlight to the white wire from the power source, and the black wire from the floodlight to the black wire from the power source (if your previous light used a ground wire,  you don’t need that for this device)
  • Step 5: Secure the security unit onto the base
  • Step 6: Download the Kuna app, pair, and adjust the lights or motion sensor as desired
For those installing a new lighting fixture, there will be extra steps to connect the wires on the light unit to the main grid of the house. Otherwise, it is a relatively quick and easy way to add smart security and lighting that can function without much human control.

Smart Floodlight Security in the Field

Smart floodlight control of the Maximus Camera Floodlight can be modified to account for range, time of day, and LED brightness to customize home security for the user's needs.
Without a doubt I initially thought simply having a floodlight that activates with motion, turning on at dusk and off at dawn (or any other specific time frame desired) would be pretty helpful around the house. In fact, one of the major reasons I bought the Maximus Smart Security Light was to have automatic porch lighting when it was dark out, even if I couldn’t make it home to turn the light on myself.
However adding instant mobile push notifications with animated video clips of specifically what or who set off the motion detection trigger is incredible. I chose a spot on the front of my home to set up the floodlight that would have a good vantage point of the driveway, and compliment my porch light field of view.
After the quick plug-and-play setup, it was time to start playing with the settings to fine tune my new sentry standing guard over the front access to my home.

Detection Range

 The specs note a 70ft range for motion detection, but once I installed the unit at my preferred location and did my initial test I was troubled to see closer to a 22-28ft range. I thought this was strange and spent some time walking around the coverage area trying to trip the sensor security light or camera.
After about 15 minutes of testing, the sensor and surveillance camera and seemed to “warm up” and began triggering mobile notifications as well as setting off the floodlight from motion well out beyond my property, into the street from passing cars.
What started as an initial cold start was brief, as the system quickly warmed up beyond expectations. Even down to 18% motion sensitivity my Maximus smart floodlight was triggered by cars driving in the street out at 40ft from the device. After some time, the unit seemed to find its balance and settled at a reasonable sensitivity so I was capturing activity only out to the distance that I wanted.
This range is fantastic, and the time it takes to tinker with the settings is nothing compared to the level of comfort I have knowing nothing will slip by my security camera undetected. When setting up the floodlight I noticed a sticker on the motion sensor that notes the maximum range of 70ft is best achieved when the sensor is level with the ground, and even a 5° angle downwards can impact the range by up to 15 feet.
While I didn’t have the runway available to test the full range of the device, I can safely say that in practical application the camera provided the coverage as promised. Additionally, the mobile notifications for movement seemed to come quite quickly after the actual event occurred, so it was virtually real-time (perhaps a few seconds behind the activity).

Video Quality

For most smart doorbell cameras or interior home surveillance systems, 720p is going to be sufficient to capture footage with enough detail to be useful since the distance of the subject is relatively close. However, with greater distance like that of outdoor smart surveillance systems, 1080p is a far better choice for resolution and I’m glad to see Maximus went with this approach.
With the placement I chose, the Maximus Camera Floodlight found itself in a corner of the roof fascia just above the garage, at the top of my driveway. From here, the Wi-Fi camera could capture detailed activity of people walking along the sidewalk and cars driving by quite clearly. I could not discern license plates out on the street, but once vehicles pull into the driveway I certainly could.
I was impressed with the clarity of the footage and responsiveness to changing light conditions since the angle of my house and nearby trees casts a shadow over a good portion of the driveway during the day along with the floodlight.
Nighttime video quality was also good, and while the camera can pick up some detail in the darkness, the motion-activated light helps to pick up any details that might be lost. The only detail lost with floodlight illumination is license plate legibility, due to the high reflection

Smart Motion Sensor Recording

 With both Maximus connected surveillance cameras, users can tap into the live view video feed, which I tend to do from time to time to see if a package is still where it should be or just check in. Video footage is also cached locally so when motion is detected, the recording starts ten seconds before the car or person enters the detectable range.

 For me, where this became a practical application was when the floodlight would detect someone walking up the driveway and begin recording, sending me a notification. However because the recording actually started before the person entered the range I set for motion detection, I could see what car they drove up in, from what direction and had a full view of the event.

Eyes and Ears for Security

 Another area this particular Wi-Fi outdoor light excels is the ability to capture an audio track for the video, which can give helpful information about potential threats. The audio capability on the Maximus Camera Floodlight seems to be upgraded from that on the Wi-Fi security light, as both the speaker and microphone produced noticeably richer and clearer notes.
Within the Kuna app there are pre-recorded sounds which can be selected to automatically play upon motion detection or manually triggered through the live-view, with anything from a barking dog to the more subtle seasonal greetings.
The alarm is substantial at 100dB, and if it is triggered it would definitely make someone reconsider nefarious behavior. While this isn’t nearly as loud as one of the in-home systems from ADT that make it unbearable to be remotely close when it goes off, the ability to trigger either an alarm or use your own voice to scare off someone creeping around is a big benefit.

Security Lighting

 Both the brightness and the direction of the lighting modules can be adjusted to the preference of the user, which I found quite helpful. The LED lights produce 2400 lumens, which is great for illuminating any space in the dark but might be a bit intrusive in a bedroom window if there is an area that gets regular activity from non-intruders after dark.
With the brightness within my control, I could slide down the intensity if I was moving around the front yard to not disturb people in the adjacent room, and then bring it back up when I was done for the night to maintain the security effectivenessThere is also a quick option to turn off or on the light from the app regardless of motion detection settings, which is a nice bit of flexibility.
When the lights were illuminated, the panel LED design behind a frosted covering emitted an even light pattern that was bright, without dark spots or varying light patterns.

Upgrading Your Home Security with AI

 Kuna AI is the Maximus Camera Floodlight's upgraded functionality, which allows for human and vehicle identification, as well as specific zones for triggering recordings based on the object.
With a keen eye to the future of smart home security, the Kuna app is designed with some very interesting features that utilize artificial intelligence to help increase the effectiveness of threat detection with the connected devices.
I took this service for a test drive and found it quite interesting in practice. The idea behind Kuna AI is what they call “smart detection” to tell the object is a person or car that is being seen as well as how many are present. This is all based on a neural network that is designed to get smarter over time and continually update actions by learning what is important motion and what is not.
One of the areas I put the AI into play was with the “Areas of Interest” for both people and vehicles. Basically, when the AI is activated users can choose specific areas of detection for vehicles, and others for people. This is helpful, because it allows users to customize the security beyond just any random motion so alerts are less likely to be false positives or non-critical.
Since I live on a street near a high school, kids are constantly walking past my house on the sidewalk that crosses my driveway. I don’t care to receive alerts about humans moving along this path, however if a vehicle pulls into this zone it is unnatural, so I do want to receive updates about this.
In the Kuna AI settings, I simply clicked on the sections of the grid that I wanted to be designated as “hot zones” for human activity and then did the same for vehicle activity. Sure enough, after launching the settings my floodlight told me which detections were people and which were cars, as well as giving the level of confidence that came with each notification.
Smart floodlights don't get much smarter than the Kuna AI; the brains behind the app are designed learn over time what objects are important and which ones are not, through areas of interest the user sets.
Suffice it to say I was impressed with the technology, but the future developments for the AI go far beyond what is available today in any Wi-Fi security camera available to the public.
Down the road, the Kuna AI software will have facial recognition technology, with the ability to discern between delivery drivers and potential burglars based on their actions, appearance, and behavior. While in theory this sounds great, I’m very curious to see where this technology can take us and how refined the learning can become. Establishing future intent based off current body language and AI, in general, is an interesting topic for discussion, and while I am certainly curious about the applications I don’t want to wake up in a Minority Report situation with systems “predicting” my actions. I think we’re plenty far away from that type of future though, I hope.
In order for the Maximus smart floodlight or outdoor security light to utilize the AI or long-term video storage, a paid subscription to one of their security tiers is required. The month-by-month options are nice for those who would rather take the service for a test drive to see it in action before committing, however the annual billing saves cost over a year of monthly payments.
The different packages are:

Essential Security

  • $59.88 billed annually ($7.49 billed monthly)
  • One camera
  • Unlimited downloads
  • Seven-day look back
  • Theft protection
  • Kuna AI
  • 5% off future purchases
  • Two-year warranty

Peace of Mind

  • $119.88 billed annually ($14.99 billed monthly)
  • Up to four cameras
  • Unlimited downloads
  • 14-day look back
  • Theft protection
  • Kuna AI
  • 10% off future purchases
  • Two-year warranty

Absolute Control

  • $239.88 billed annually ($29.99 billed monthly)
  • Up to eight cameras
  • Unlimited downloads
  • 30-day look back
  • Theft protection
  • Kuna AI
  • 15% off future purchases
  • Two-year  warranty
Fortunately, the smart floodlight (or any Maximus connected security device) can be operated without a membership and several devices can be linked in the app, as the video clips will only be stored for two hours before being erased without membership. This can be unfortunate if users cannot reach their phone to check the nature of the recording before it is erased, however I did use the free tier for many months without issue. The reality is that most of us check our phones numerous times every hour anyway, so this isn’t a real problem as far as I see it.

The Next Frontier of Home Automation Security

 Future smart surveillance and smart outdoor lighting tech is here today, with the AI-powered Maximus Camera Floodlight delivering complete control and awareness no matter where homeowners are.
Without a doubt, there is massive potential for every vertical of the Smart Home market to develop incredible technology and progress far beyond what we can currently comprehend. Just a few years ago the idea of monitoring home security itself from a smartphone app would be unfathomable, yet here we are.
With the rapidly evolving connected device ecosystem, the smart outdoor lighting and surveillance space has been booming and providing real utility to users looking for smart security. The Maximus Camera Floodlight provides not only the top-notch security and control that is demanded of today’s best home automation devices but has developed a platform that can grow with the evolution of the Smart Home for years into the future, whatever that may bring.

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Note, all prices and products are accurate at the time of article publication, although some may have changed or are no longer available.

Author Gregory Rice

Greg is a collector of hobbies, steeped in a love for the outdoors. Drop him in the woods and he's more at home backpacking, hunting, fishing, camping, and drinking out of streams than he is behind a desk pounding away at a keyboard. He's an avid homebrewing enthusiast and a craft beer fanatic. He enjoys testing out the latest drone tech and is a firm believer in the power of IoT and home automation tech to bring us into a more productive future (or give way to Skynet, time will tell).

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