Sentry AI Smart Alerts for BlueIris Review Rating
Ease of use - 85%
Performance - 80%
Price - 75%
BlueIris is an extremely popular piece of camera recording software allowing you to turn a Windows PC into powerful NVR that offer vastly superior features to most affordable network video recorders.
I recently replaced my Ezviz NVR with a self-built system based on the Ryzen AMD Ryzen 3 2200G, it is not the most powerful system but I am able to run three cameras from it with direct recording.
With BlueIris set up, there is an AI human detection feature call Sentry AI which can be enabled per camera withing the settings.
In the UK, BlueIris costs £70.67 if there are no coupon codes applied. If you buy the annual plan of Sentry which includes a full licence of Blue Iris v.5 and support for AI human detection for 10 cameras, you will be charged $89.99 which is roughly £70, so cheaper than the BlueIris licence itself.
Sentry is a subscription service, so the following years will cost you $49.99 which is just under £40
You need to enable Sentry as a trial before you purchase it, I made the mistake of not doing this. This is because you need the sentry ID information listed in BlueIris for when you buy the software. If you don’t fill out this info you can contact Sentry CS but they are very slow to respond.
Sentry AI Portal
The Sentry AI Portal feels half done and is not great. I would assume you never need to log in again once you have it set up, so this is not too much of an issue for me.
When looking at the reports, it provides a historical number of alerts but the selection below-showing human/pet/vehicle information never loads properly.
Under the settings menu, you can enable disable various features, but it doesn’t actually let you disable human detection per camera, nor is there any option to remove cameras. So it lists 6 cameras for me, even though I only have three running.
I have been very impressed with the performance, however, like most AI applications it is not 100% perfect, so you need to have realistic expectations. I have an email sent with an image of any human detection so I can easily review notifications each day.
It seems to struggle the most with my 5MP colour night vision Annke camera during the night time there have been a few cases where it has missed a person and several other false positives. The above picture showing it highlighting a red bin, I suspect the shadows from surrounding trees confused it a little.
On my H.View 5MP camera I had fewer issues, and with this facing more towards the street, Sentry would pick up humans from a surprising distance. With BlueIris highlighting motion with blue rectangles, Sentry then highlights humans with red.
It looks like Sentry plans to roll out facial detection, you can enable it in the dashboard, but the tab on the main left menu indicates it is coming soon. There are also options for pet and car detection.
At the time of purchase, Sentry was a no brainer for me, I paid the same for the service and BlueIris as I would have for just BlueIris.
I have found the accuracy to be excellent, it is not 100% perfect but and the seems to vary per camera. In particular, nighttime human detection on my 5MP Annke colour night vision camera is a little hit and miss sometimes. On the flip side, I have been impressed with how good the human detection is sometimes. When reviewing my notifications, it has picked up people down the street rather than just in my garden.
Overall, it reduces the number of notifications I have to look at making it vastly easier for me to identify if and when someone enters my property. With a £40 renewal fee, I think this is well worth keeping and buying in the first place.
On a negative side, it is worth noting that this is the only system BlueIris allow you to implement easily, so if you do want AI person detection you are forced into a subscription-based service. While I have not used it myself, both ZoneMinder and zmMagik for local post-processing enabling person detection are completely free to use, though zmMagik requires a GPU for best performance.