In many retail stores, only a portion of the security cameras are actually functional — sometimes none of them are. The rest are dummy cameras that are just meant to look like real cameras in order to give the impression of real security. The reason is obvious: real security cameras are expensive. Security cameras in retail are a shoplifting deterrent more than anything else, so there’s no reason they all need to be real. But if you do want to turn a dummy camera into a real smart IoT security camera, YouTuber Embrace Racing has a tutorial on how to do so.
You could, of course, just purchase a real IoT (Internet of Things) security camera. But those are expensive. By following this guide, you can turn a cheap dummy camera from the dollar store into a functional device. However, this particular guide doesn’t demonstrate how to build an actual video security camera. Instead, it will show you how to build a PID (Passive InfraRed) sensor motion detector. That will connect to the internet and send you a text message whenever it detects motion.
To do that, Embrace Racing will walk you through how to take apart the dummy camera and then wire up a PID sensor module. That module will connect to a WiFi-equipped Wemos D1 Mini ESP8266 development board. Embrace Racing provides the code you’ll need to make it work. The final step is to setup accounts with IFTTT and Adafruit.io, and then to configure those for text notifications when motion is detected.