As a service, BlackVue Over the Cloud is free and included with your Cloud Compatible BlackVue dash cam such as the BlackVue DR650S-2CH. It does require a data connection in the form of a WiFi network your camera can connect to. If you park in an area within range of your home WiFi or somewhere with open WiFi access you might be able to take advantage of BlackVue Over the Cloud. The ideal way to set up the cloud feature involves leaving a dedicated hotspot in the vehicle for the camera to connect to, these are available from any cell carrier and involves paying for a monthly data plan. If you have an old smartphone capable of tethering or hotspot features, it may be compatible with your dash cam. The BlackVue Dash Cam does not have a SIM card slot so an external WiFi device is required.
Once your camera is paired with a WiFi internet source, here's what's included with your free BlackVue Cloud account:
1. Live View/2-Way Voice Communication
With the free BlackVue Cloud account you can access live view through your iOS/Android app as well as the desktop cloud viewer. This lets you see exactly what your camera is seeing through internet streaming and will involve a fair bit of data consumption (around 50MB/minute). Live view also lets you see the location and speed of the vehicle and offers 2-way communication where you can speak into the mic of your phone which will be relayed to the speaker on the camera.
The free account offers 10 minutes of live view per day, once this is used up you can pay for additional minutes of live view. As an example $0.99 (USD) buys an additional 120 minutes of live view (on top of the free 10 minutes per day). The paid minutes of recording do not expire and are valid until they are used up.
2. One Camera Registration Slot
The free BlackVue Cloud account lets you register one camera onto your account. For the vast majority of users this is sufficient as most users only have one camera but if you are managing a fleet or have a number of cameras you may want to purchase more slots to monitor multiple cameras at a time. A one-time payment of $9.99 (USD) offers 3 cameras total on the account (1 free + 2 paid slots). The payment is linked to the specific cloud account so if the account is deleted, you will lose those slots.
While you can create different accounts for different cameras, the Cloud app/viewer can only let you access one camera at a time. This means that you will only get notifications for the account that your phone or desktop is logged into. Those that need more slots for fleet/business management should contact BlackVue directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Push Notifications
With the BlackVue Cloud app on your iOS or Android device, you can receive push notifications from your camera. These might include something along the lines of "An impact is detected in parking mode" which will let you know to check a certain video through the cloud app or to go check on your vehicle if it's close by. You can also get notifications for other things such as a vehicle overspeed warning where if the vehicle goes above a certain speed the cloud account holder can get a notification. This is useful for fleet managers or parents who want to monitor the speed of the vehicle driven by someone else.
Note that your camera needs to have a power supply while your car is turned off to get notifications in parking mode. This could be something along the lines of a hardwire kit or battery pack. Also ensure that your internet source is powered and has a solid data connection, if the hotspot runs out of power you will not be able to get notifications. In our experience, the push notifications don't use very much data at all and if this is the only feature you are looking for, the monthly cellular expense should be quite low.
4. Video Backup and Remote Playback
Through the BlackVue cloud app you can move video files from your dash cam's memory card to a dedicated BlackVue cloud server without taking your memory card out. This does not allow backing up to your personal cloud server such as a Dropbox account. The free Cloud storage provided lets you backup up to 5GB of videos which should be more than enough for most users.
If you would rather download a video directly to your phone's storage you can do that as well through BlackVue Over the Cloud. This will load a file from your dash cam's memory card directly to your phone through the Cloud. This will consume data from your WiFi hotspot and is limited to 100 downloads per month. Business Cloud accounts will offer additional cloud storage space and downloads per month.
What you can't do with BlackVue Over the Cloud
- Automatic Cloud Dump of all videos: You can't backup all videos recorded over a day to the Cloud or to your own personal server wirelessly. The video file sizes are between 6-8GB per hour and the data/bandwidth required to do this wirelessly every day just isn't feasible. If you would like to backup ALL of your dash cam's footage, we would recommend rotating through different Micro SD cards and copying the files to a hard drive/server manually.
- Automatic Backup of Videos: BlackVue Cloud will not automatically backup videos to your cloud account. If it catches a hit and run, you will be alerted of it but you will need to go into your app and download that particular file. Generally speaking, there will be false events in parking mode such as when a bus or truck drives by and triggers the G-sensor or when you close your door/trunk in parking mode. If every one of these videos were to be backed up automatically, a lot of data/bandwidth will be used.
- Use Dash Cam as a WiFi Router/Hotspot: As mentioned earlier, the dash cam does not have a SIM card slot in it nor does it have a cellular antenna. You cannot connect your tablet to the camera and get internet through the camera's WiFi signal. If you have a dedicated hotspot in your vehicle you can use that for your tablets but the camera itself cannot act as an access point.