Webcam Surveillance Systems
February 3rd, 2021
If you have made the decision to set up home surveillance in inside and out, you then need to decide how you will view and save the images. If you use a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system, with cameras connected to a central monitor, you can manage your recording, if you want that feature, by attaching a recording device to that end of the device chain.
On the other hand, if you are Internet-savvy, you may wish to take the virtual solution and set up a webcam surveillance system. There are distinct advantages to this solution, such as superior remote control and simplified automation, and software tools are easier and less costly to upgrade as time goes by.
With intelligent webcam software, there are differing features but all the basic operations are the same. These programs monitor your home or office in 24 hours a day, capturing motion events using simple webcams. The software saves the images as video clips to a local drive, with or without audio, in a range of compressed formats.
The more advanced software packages can trigger various alerts and events. At set intervals or on your request, the applications can upload video files to a specified server, attach them to an e-mail or make a phone call. With camera image broadcasting capability, most of these programs can publish your webcam feed, sometimes to the software company's own embedded web servers.
Mode and method comparisons:
Several of the programs can run in stealth mode, respond to scheduled commands or, on appropriately configured PCs, run as an NT service. emote viewing tools in some of the higher-end applications allow you to connect via phone modem or Internet (TCP/IP) for real-time video and audio streaming.
Before you can select your software you need to decide which of the surveillance features you need. Recording, motion monitoring, remote video surveillance and webcam broadcasting are all available in several high-end packages, but may not all be needed in your plan. Other software has other combination's of these features.
Some webcam software actually captures only still images at certain intervals, not video. Other applications give you true video clips, normally topping out at 640x480 size, and some allow you to enable audio capture in various ways with video or without, streamed or snapshot (5-10 second) size.
If event logging is important to you, you will find a range of capabilities for this feature. Most surveillance software starts logging after motion is detected, and may fail either to log or capture the triggering event itself. Other software has great flexibility in this area.
Algorithms and options:
Advanced motion detection algorithms let you set sensitivity, recording duration and various other options. The vast majority of software applications will let you view real-time, streamed video (with or without audio) from your webcam from wherever you are, over a phone line or Internet connection. The sophisticated applications even let you save the streamed video into the local hard drive at the installed location.
Also, if your software package has the capability, you can broadcast images from your camera to a specified URL. Furthermore, broadcasting and real-time monitoring can be performed simultaneously.
Another common feature is the auto-start option, where your surveillance system will automatically begin recording, monitoring, listening and/or broadcasting. Most of the programs can be scheduled to run at a pre-determined time for a specified period.
Last but not least, webcam security software developers go to a great deal of effort to make their applications extremely easy to use, as well as stable and (hopefully) crash-resistant.
The best combination of features for your situation will drive you to a decision among webcam security applications. A good balance for many SMBs would be one of the more advanced applications with a simple yet comprehensive user interface that satisfies all your video surveillance needs.