Regardless of the place you reside in, break-ins and thefts are the common talks of the town. You or someone in your family might have become a victim of it at one point or the other.
That's why it becomes highly crucial to strengthen the security of your homes and offices. While installing CCTVs may be the first thought when you want to upgrade the security system, they have a major flaw. Everyone can notice them, and the tiny light on them proves that they are recording everything. You might have stories where the thieves disabled the CCTV camera while executing their plan.
So, what are the other options you have with you? Using one of the tools available in the market, you can convert your webcam into a functional security camera. People will hardly notice that a web camera has its eyes on them, and using your webcam as a security camera will cost you much less than installing CCTVs. Curious to know how to make this happen? Keep scrolling below.
What is a webcam? 📷
For the uninitiated, a webcam is an in-built camera on your laptop or the desktop located on the screen at the top. It is primarily used as a communication tool for capturing your videos while attending the virtual meetings on Zoom or Meet. If your machine does not have an in-built camera, you can purchase an external webcam which will also serve the same purpose.
Pros and Cons of using a webcam as a security camera
Using a webcam as a security camera has its share of advantages and drawbacks. Let's at a look at the benefits. You can set up the security measure by spending less than a fraction of the money you would have on installing CCTV cameras. Although, we all have some open-source tools as well. Secondly, performing the complete procedure is a breeze and does need any expertise. All you need is a PC/laptop, software, and, of course, the webcam.
Amidst the set of pros, you will also come across several cons. The video footage captured by the webcam may be more blurry than the video captured by CCTV cameras. However, it highly depends on the quality of your web camera. Since the webcam does not have a night vision feature, the webcam will no longer function as a security camera after it gets dark.
Steps to turn a webcam into a security camera
All it takes is a few steps to convert the webcam into a security camera.
- Firstly, you need to place the PC/laptop with the webcam ( or the external webcam) in front of the place that it has to surveil. In case you have an external webcam, connect it to your PC via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or USB cable.
- Download and install the webcam to the security camera tool, whichever you find handy. There are several options available, and we will discuss them later.
- Configure the software, and connect your webcam to it. You can also assign a name to it for easy recognition purposes.
- Now, ensure that the webcam is working as intended. You can adjust the viewing angle until you are satisfied.
There you go! Your webcam is more than ready to perform its duty as a security camera. As inferred, the webcam to security camera conversion tool is the keystone of the process. They also offer additional features, enabling you to customize your DIY security camera. Wondering which webcam software will be the best choice? Keep reading to find out.
Programmed in Java, Yawcam is a free webcam to motion-sensitive security camera conversion software. Offering ease of use owing to a simplified interface, it houses all the advanced features you would expect for surveillance, making it the best choice if you own a Windows laptop.
You can employ Youcam to shoot time-lapses, view video footage over the internet and upload the images onto the FTP server as you wish. It also has an in-built web server that lets you access your webcam remotely. It also supports encryption which can help prevent unauthorized access to the stored video footage. Contrary to any other naive software, Yawcam does a commendable job and detects the motion, thus eliminating the chances of triggering false alarms. Moreover, it detects the motion it notifies you about it via email.
Yawcam has multi-language support, but sadly, it does not offer cloud storage support to store the files. Other features offered are text and image overlays, an online time scheduler, and the time-lapse shooting capability. Since Yawcam is a service, it will work in the background even after closing it.
iSpy Connect (Agent DVR)
Agent DVR is an open-source security camera software compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, and ARM. What distinguishes Agent DVR from other alternatives is that it doesn’t require port forwarding to function. That eliminates the need to set up the router or bear the network security breach during remote access. You can easily access the captured video footage from your desktops and tablets.
The perks of opting for Agent DVR as your security camera recording tool are as follows:
- It is compatible with several devices, including IP cameras, ONVIF devices, local USB cameras, and audio devices. Moreover, there is no limit to the number of devices you can add at a time.
- The software can record in MP4, VP8/9, GPU, and even the RAW file format to minimize the CPU usage when needed.
- It is stocked with several motion detectors that track objects, tripwires and recognize objects. Moreover, its integrated AI capabilities help minimize false alerts.
- Agent DVR supports Home Assistant, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, DeepStack AI, and License Plate Recognition via PlateRecognizer.com. Besides, you can use your API to integrate with IoT platforms.
Camlytics is sophisticated software that can transform any web camera into a smart analytics tool. It intelligently clubs the video monitoring, audience intelligence, and space analytics solutions into one to deliver real-time statistics such as the number of people and vehicles, occupied locations, queue lengths, heatmaps, and much more. Check out the video below.
The high points of the Camlytics tool are as follows:
- It does not have any special hardware requirements to operate. All you need to do is connect a video capturing device, an IP camera, webcam, or an NVR.
- To maintain data privacy and have a reduced impact on bandwidth, Camlytics analyses the video on the premises. That means the captured video footage will not be accessible on cloud storage.
- You can employ Camlytics to count people and vehicles in several locations and even monitor the space occupancy in real-time to make people comply with the Covid-19 regulations.
- You can store all the counting data from various locations on the Camlytics Cloud and create reports and customized charts based on this data.
- Camlytics can integrate with any tool and adjusts to your business needs by leveraging customization tools like API and webhooks.
Camlytics cloud costs USD 9 per month, billed annually for a single camera stream.
ContaCam is a video surveillance and webcam tool compatible with Windows PC. It is lightweight and does not consume any unnecessary resources. ContaCam is user-friendly and the same time, versatile enough to satisfy all your privacy-related demands. Since it is not bloatware, you can also use it on machines having outdated configurations.
ContaCam boasts of the following features:
- ContaCam is compatible with Windows PC running on Windows 7/8/8.1/10/11
- It supports the following languages: English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
- The CCTV camera is equipped with a motion detection feature.
- The motion detection is represented as thumbnails within the web browser,
- You can configure the software to send emails with the video attachments whenever it detects movement.
- Configure the software to send a daily video summary on emails.
- Also possible to recognize the number plates, thanks to the number plate recognition feature
- ContaCam can employ the DeepQuest AI or the DeepStack to recognize people.
- Since ContaCam is a video service, it keeps running in the background without needing you to log in.
Contaware is a Donationware, so you need to donate USD 10 for every installation.
Ivideon is cloud-based video surveillance and analytics tool that can convert your webcam into a security camera to fulfill your business and home requirements. You can use it to keep an eye on your baby’s activities even when away at work or use its facial recognition feature to analyze the video recordings for work-related purposes.
What distinguishes Ivideon from other software security-based features that ensure your video footage remains private at all costs. Other notable features of Ivedion are as follows:
- You can access Ivideon software remotely and tweak its settings using an app.
- It employs the Transport Level Security protocol to ensure the privacy and security of video files sent over the internet.
- Ivedion works even in low network areas and delivers commendable results, even on 3G networks.
- The software monitors the objects, movements, and sounds and smartly sends out notifications if the camera goes off.
- Ivideon has an intuitive and user-friendly interface and is equipped with a fast player.
Ivideon offers a large collection of hardware and software with a warranty extending up to three years.
Another software worth mentioning is SecuritySpy, a multi-camera to CCTV software compatible with Mac. Being a Network Video Recording software, SecuritySpy can be useful for setting up a full-fledged video surveillance solution that is highly scalable. It is suitable for CCTV cameras put in homes and offices, and you can also set up a large-scale professional system containing several cameras.
The easy-to-use tool employs the industry-standard ONVIF protocol, making it possible to integrate an IP camera following any compliance. SecuritySpy supports flexible recording that delivers premium-quality continuous as well as motion-triggered recording. You can also set up the software to send emails, notifications and even trigger alarms when motion is detected.
SecuritySpy also offers a remote monitoring capability that enables you remotely access the security camera recording. Powered by AI, its smart motion detection tool employs deep neural networks to examine the video footage and begin recording and sending out notifications if it captures something suspicious. Thus, SecuritySpy delivers accurate results by minimizing false alarm triggers.
SecuritySpy is compatible with Mac and uses the hardware-accelerated video processing, multi-threading, and other features to deliver outstanding results.
NetCam Studio is a video recording software that leverages cutting-edge technology to make setting up security easy for the users. Based on an advanced video buffering technology, NetCam uses the recording sync features to automate the video recording on NetCam.
Offering an easy-to-use interface, NetCam Studio can be the best choice for fulfilling the security needs of homes, offices, shops, and even outer premises. Want to go on a trip and have to leave your sensitive documents unprotected? Employ NetCam to set up home surveillance to avoid theft of the belongings.
The unique features of NetCam Studio are as follows:
- You can access the camera recordings remotely by connecting the camera to the internet. Moreover, you will also receive emails and notifications when NetCam captures unusual activities.
- NetCam can handle many video cameras, and you can connect up to 64 cameras simultaneously. However, it can depend on the processing power of the hardware.
- You can also create your own rules that can set off one of the other actions. Moreover, you can also use the in-built scheduler to create timeframes.
- Thanks to HTML5 and JSON file standards, NetCam can be configured as per your needs.
You can use NetCam Studio for free for up to two video sources. The premium plans start from USD 49.
CameraFTP is a leading platform offering sophisticated cloud surveillance and recording solutions to fulfill different needs. Camera FTP offers Virtual Security System (VSS) software employing which you can convert your Windows PC/Laptop into a powerful CCTV / DVR security system.
The software captures and displays the live footage on the monitor and saves it in the cloud. You are free to view the recording remotely at any time. Other features are as follows:
- Using Virtual Security System (VSS), you can set up and view the recordings of 25 CCTV cameras on the screen.
- You can save the recording footage on the local disk and even save it on the CameraFTP cloud storage.
- VSS supports local and remote playback at any time and any place.
- The tool supports several video resolutions and frame rates. You can choose a plan that fulfills your needs and budget.
- VSS is compatible with webcams, IP cameras/DVRs, and more.
- VSS runs as a service in the background and automatically starts after a reboot.
- Its locking feature prevents other users from modifying the camera settings and disabling the software.
Virtual Security System (VSS) pricing plans start from USD 2.95 per month.
Looking at the constant increase in the number of thefts, robberies, and break-ins, it becomes essential to implement techniques that can ensure the safety of your family and belongings. Sadly, not everyone can afford a CCTV installation, owing to its high cost. However, you can use one of the above tools to transform your webcam into a security camera. This way, you can ensure the security of your family and assets at a much low cost.
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