Do-it-yourself wireless security systems featuring hand-picked cameras and software enable you to place and fine-tune the devices as needed for optimum coverage and feature support. Cameras range from basic to advanced units, featuring remote aiming, picture quality adjustment and others. Software from numerous third-party vendors feature support for sending push or email alerts to your phone, uploading video to YouTube and more. As long as the camera is within range of your wireless router and the software can find it on the network, you can monitor your home from nearly anywhere in the world.
Kits versus Components
Security camera kits feature a camera along with the manufacturer's prepackaged software. If you want a quick plug-and-play solution with generic features, this might be acceptable. If the camera is tethered to the included software, that particular device's capabilities are forever tied to those features. DIY options allow you to choose a relatively inexpensive camera, or a series of cameras from different manufacturers. Hardware-agnostic software that works with any wireless camera can then be chosen for the program's specific offerings.
Wireless security cameras benefit beginner and expert DIYers equally when it comes to placement and setup. Wireless cameras at the most require connection to an AC outlet for power, with others relying on rechargeable or disposable batteries. The elimination of unsightly wires and potentially destructive and costly installation has appeal, as does the ability to cue up the device on any other supported networked device such as a laptop or iPad. If you get a strong Wi-Fi signal at your chosen installation point as verified by your smartphone or laptop, that should be a good place for your camera, too.
The software for your DIY camera project offers various options and informational support. Specialized software notifications can be set up using common email services like Yahoo and Gmail. Apps such as iCam send you push notifications linking to a series of stills taken by the camera after it detects motion. Software that enables text and push notifications sometimes needs specialized setup through your email client by adjusting the POP settings, but once this is complete you will know what the camera sees. If you want to record and save footage whether online or on the computer, programs like EyeSpyFX, Yawcam or Ugolog are up to the task. Archiving footage to cloud-based services means that even if your computer or hard drive is stolen, you can access the footage from another machine with a simple login and password.
Although cameras featuring remote tilt, zoom and panning tend to be a little more expensive, these features can be indispensable when it comes to fine-tuning the device for your specific installed location. As long as you have access to a browser, you can log in to your camera's software and make the necessary adjustments. Cameras featuring night vision allow use in low-light situations. You can tell at a glance which units allow this from the series of sensors encircling the lens. Truly advanced devices even monitor for noise and temperature variations, which can be set up to trigger text and email notifications, just as for motion detection, when teamed with the right software.
- PCWorld: Do-It-Yourself Surveillance Protects Home or Business
- CNET: DIY Home Surveillance With a Webcam
- Home Security Information: How to Install a Home Security Camera
- Lifehacker: How to Turn Your Webcam Into a Streaming, Motion-Detecting Surveillance System
- PCWorld: How to Set up a Wireless Network Webcam
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