Home Video Surveillance System Utilizing Webcams
Ugolog is a free and commercial online service that turns any webcam installed in your home into a basic home video surveillance system.
Home video surveillance systems can cost thousands of Dollars. A cheaper but still valid alternative is to utilize equipment that is already available in the household. One of the possibilities includes webcams that can be used as video surveillance systems. This requires the right software or service, and that you keep the webcam running all the time when you are not at home.
Ugolog is one of these services that can turn a webcam into a basic home video surveillance system. Any webcam based surveillance system has limitations, as it usually means that the coverage is restricted to a single area of the house unless multiple webcams are placed in key areas of the houseÂ or apartment.
It is also necessary to make sure the stream is well protected so that no unauthorized third parties can access it on the Internet.
One of the major advantages of Ugolog besides offering a free version is that it requires no software installation. The full service is started and controlled on a web interface.
The limitations of the free service are a maximum utilization of one webcams, 50 Megabytes of online storage and 14 days worth of history. This may be sufficient for running a demo of the service, but not for day to day operations considering the low storage quota.
The two commercial plans improve cameras to 2 and 10, online storage to 1 Gigabyte and 5 Gigabyte, and the history to 2 months worth of footage.
Everything is controlled on the web interface of the service which is only available to registered users. Users can access previous recordings, watch a full day in fast access mode or record videos or snapshots. The main advantage of Ugolog is that it is operating system and web browser independent and that its only requirement is a webcam that is connected to a computer system.
Since the service is web-based, you can load it from any location with Internet access to check what is going on at your home.
Grabmotion is a similar software that can be used to monitor a room.
If you want a basic home surveillance system that does not cost a fortune to install and maintain, then Ugolog may be a viable option. The free version is limited in regards to storage and history, and it is the paid plans of the service that are better suited when it comes to home surveillance.
There are quite a few open source solutions to this.
The best and easiest by far I have found is motion:
It’s Linux only and CLI only, but very resource efficient and works with almost all cameras and there are a few web interface alternatives out there.
Then there is Zoneminder:
A much better inteface but doesn’t work so nice with as many different camera as easily.
And finally, there is Home Camera, a great free service with paid for additional options:
I wrote a little about it al myself here : http://www.prupert.co.uk/2009/03/18/motion-1-zoneminder-0/
Plus a handy script to turn off and on motion via your bluetooth connection on your phone ;)
Webcam XP is best.
To make a proper home video surveillance system I would advice to check the field of view of a camera using calculators like http://www.jvsg.com/online/
Also it make sense to check required storage space. Video archive of just one camera at 10 frames per second can easily overcome 40 GByte per day in case of constant recording.
Another one to check out is http://www.camcloud.com – they have a similar feature set, and a nice service.