Whether you're looking after your home and family, or wanting to catch a thief or cheating lover, it's easier than ever to set up security and monitoring gear.
Not only are surveillance products much cheaper to buy than you may have imagined, they're also much easier to use than in the past.
Gone are the days of expensive cabling around the home; most surveillance products we looked at work over your Wi-Fi network.
Finally, we look at how the latest GPS monitoring gear can help you keep a close eye on your teenagers — or track down young kids and elderly parents if they ever get lost.
Protect your home
Setting up home surveillance was once a complex task that usually involved hiring technicians and paying security companies wads of money. Today there are plenty of easy options.
The Uniden Guardian G2720 Digital Wireless Surveillance System ($549.95, from Uniden) is a complete solution for basic home monitoring.
It comes with two weatherproof cameras and a 7-inch tablet-style monitor. The cameras connect to your home network and are viewed and controlled with the portable monitor.
When you're away at a party or on holiday overseas, you can log in online or use the free iOS/Android app to watch or record the live camera feed.
The cameras have infra-red capabilities and are able to record up to 12m in total darkness. They also detect motion and can be set to record when there's movement, or on a scheduled timer.
Video is recorded to SD card and a wireless indoor camera is also available for surveillance inside the house.
D-Link offers another easy-to-use security solution with the Wireless N Day/Night Home Network Camera ($120, D-Link).
It connects to your router and footage can be viewed online or via an app for iOS and Android phones.
The camera is equipped with night vision for capturing video in the dark. An HD camera capturing 720p video and outdoor cameras are also available.
Looking for an even cheaper way to monitor your home? Put your old webcam to good use by turning it into a surveillance camera with the Splashtop CamCam app ($1.99, iOS).
Audio and video is one-way only — streamed to your device from the webcam — although it's a cheap way to keep an eye on your home or the kids while you're away.
If you have lots of video footage being captured by multiple cameras in your home, or even if you want to check out cams available for viewing by the public, tinyCam Monitor PRO ($3.99, Android) is a great way of watching and controlling multiple video feeds.
It supports video/audio feeds from hundreds of cameras from major brands and will even allow you to control the pan/tilt/zoom features on some devices.
Looking after baby
Who needs an old-fashioned baby monitor when there are new devices on the market that can turn your smartphone or tablet into a digital baby monitor?
Most work over your wireless network as well as 3G/4G, so you can hear and see your baby crying from the other side of the house or from down the street.
There's no need to carry a bulky receiver everywhere you go, just use your phone.
The unobtrusive Belkin WeMo Baby unit ($99.95, from Belkin) sits in the nursery and streams audio to your iOS device. Mum, dad and grandma — anyone who needs to listen in on the baby — can do so because the WeMo Baby works with multiple devices simultaneously.
Parents who want more monitoring options and an analysis of their baby's crying and sleeping patterns can also sign up to a special premium monitoring service for an extra $5.49 a month.