Using webcams and microphones for surveillance and monitoring is not a new concept, we have looked at several solutions in the past. Grabmotion comes to mind for instance. The open source solution iSpy on the other hand takes the concept to a new level.
Here is how it works.The surveillance software can be installed on one or multiple computer systems, which can be added to groups for better controlling. It is then possible to access the captures made by the systems over a local network or the Internet. Even better, iSpy offers options to view access and control the cameras and microphones over cell phones.
The monitoring software has several requirements that need to be installed or configured before it can be used. It for instance requires that the Windows Media Video 9 VCM codec is installed on the system to record video with the application. It furthermore asks the user to run a local server on the computer to access the cameras, saved videos and audio locally. An alternative is to create a free account at the iSpy developer site which is needed to access contents over the web. There is also an intranet server version that is available commercially aiming at schools, campuses, corporations or private residences.
It is then possible to add cameras and microphones that will be used for the monitoring.
As you can see, iSpy offers a lot. It takes some time to configure the surveillance software correctly. Core features are the ability to monitor video and audio locally and remotely, the notification options, automatic sound and movement detection and the ability to use cell phones to access the controls and recorded video / audio.
ISpy offers a lot for a free software. Users who want to test the surveillance and monitoring software can download it from the project homepage over at Developer In A Box. The software requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0, and will run on 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
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