How To Video
Simple remote video surveillanceSharon Vaknin shows you a quick and dirty way to set up remote video surveillance, using your smartphone or tablet to keep an eye on things while you're away.
Whenever you are away from home on vacation or traveling for work, you might be a little worried or at least curious about what's going on while you're away or maybe you wanna keep an eye on your office area or even monitor your child while you're in another room. All of these problems can be solved with a little video surveillance. Companies will charge you hundreds if not thousands of dollars to set this up but if you are looking for a quick and dirty solution, I've got you covered. I'm Sharon Vaknin for CNET with the guide to turning any webcam, into a video surveillance camera that you can monitor with your tablet or a smartphone. To show you how all of these works, I'm going to use my laptop to monitor my desk area because I'm pretty sure someone has been swiping gun off my desk when I'm not around. To get started, you need to install a piece of software on any computer you wanna use as a camera and an app on your tablet or smartphone. Head to your computer and download iCam Source. It's free and you can grab it from skjm.com. Once it's installed, start the program and select your webcam from the drop down list next to video source. Now before you hit start, create a log in user name and password. Use one that you'll remember but make sure it's secure enough so that no one especially friends and family can crack it. When you are done, click start. You'll likely be prompted to let iCam through your firewall. Click allow access to continue. Now, repeat this installation for every webcam you wanna use for surveillance. If you wanna add additional cameras or wanna use something a little more discreet than a computer, consider purchasing IP cameras. They're stand-along cameras that can connect to your network and stream the surveillance. Set-up instructions for using one with iCam are available on the website but for my purpose using my work computer's webcam is good enough. Now. grab your phone or tablet and install the iCam app on your device. That's how I monitor my computer's webcam. There are apps available for Android and iPhone so just search for iCam in your app store. When you launch that app for the first time, it will ask you if you wanna receive push notifications. That's up to you but I'm enabling it so when iCam detects motion, I'll get a push notification almost immediately. Now, enter your log in, hit done and you can start monitoring right away. All right. Now that it's all set-up, let's put it to work. I'm gonna put my laptop back at my desk and see what happens while I'm away. Maybe I'll finally identify the perk who owes me a pack or two or gum. All right, with iCam running at my desk and the app on my iPad, I'll wait to see if it detects any motion. All right. I got an alert so I'll open up the app and there she is. Looks like Corrine and I will be having a little discussion later today. Now a couple of things. For this whole set-up to work, the computers you'll be using for surveillance need to stay on and connected to the internet and since the stills iCam records when it detects motion are kept on the computer that sees them, you will be able to access those images while you are away. To get around these, consider putting the iCam source motion events folder in your Drop Box so you can access them anywhere. If you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter and subscribe to my Facebook page for more tips like this. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin.