Friday, March 27, 2015

Simple Security - Using an External Webcam to Record Property Tampering

Installing complex camera security systems can be costly, time consuming and complicated.  In some situations a system of this magnitude is the only way to go while in others a simpler implementation can work.  When working with a smaller, more controlled area or if budgeting plays a part in the decision, a simpler solution may be using an external webcam or IP camera.

An external webcam or IP camera can be a helpful security solution in many situations like:
  • Recording someone tampering with you or your neighbor's property
  • Recording vehicle tampering
  • Recording access to property without permission
  • Recording people entering and leaving a business location
  • The safety of people on a property and more

External webcams and IP cameras are great solutions in small situations because they are compact and can be set up and remain in almost any location.  USB based webcams must be connected to a computer or laptop and are powered by the USB cable.  IP based cameras connect to a network using a wired connection or the wireless network.  These are powered via PoE if the location supports it, or using a direct power cable.  The connection types are important to keep in mind when selecting a type of camera so the appropriate setup materials are available.  

Cameras can be placed in window frames facing the area to record, in the corner of a room, or any other location where the likelihood of them being disturbed is minimal.  If the desired recording location is small, a single webcam might be enough.  For larger areas use multiple webcams whose recordings can be integrated into a single dashboard.  Once webcams are connected download software like Xeoma's free Webcam Surveillance Software which can be configured to meet any needs.  Some of the many options available are:
  • When to record including only if motion is detected
  • How long to record
  • What areas to record
  • Where to store recordings
  • Notifications via email and or text when new recordings are taken
  • Automatic uploading of recordings using FTP or to web servers
  • Playback options and more
This is not an exhaustive list of features but includes features available using the free version of the software.  More advanced features are available with a paid subscription.  The image below is an example of some of the options available including how to create workflows to automate actions provided by Xeoma's free software.

External webcams and IP cameras are a simple and affordable security solution when needing to record things happening when you are not around or in small areas.  They are smaller than using a built-in webcam on a laptop and can be set up and remain in place more easily.  Recordings can easily be burned onto cd's or flash drives or uploaded to websites and other FTP sites as evidence.  Free software provides configurable options to automate actions, record based on motion detection, and much more.  When set up correctly, this is a viable solution to deal when a complex security installation is not necessary or desired.

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