Today there is a huge range of wireless home surveillance systems available designed for both professional installation and also for those who prefer a DIY solution and they do not have to cost you an arm and a leg. Nevertheless, you may prefer to opt for the truly simple solution if your surveillance needs are minimal and that essentially means a web cam hooked up to a PC to provide 24 hour surveillance within your home.
The heart of any surveillance system is of course the systems ‘eye’ or camera and a good quality surveillance camera is going to cost you a reasonable amount of money. There are of course cheaper, lower quality cameras available which may well do the job, but these tend to be bulky and to die on you just when you need them most. One solution therefore is to substitute a web cam for the traditional security camera.
At first this might not sound like a great solution but web cams do have a number of advantages.
- Many modern web cams are in fact very high quality cameras but, because they are small and are not generally used in a ‘security’ role, most people would not suspect that your web cam is in fact doubling up as a security camera.
- Most web cams are also reasonably inexpensive and you can get a good quality and reliable web cam for under $50.
- Although it may surprise you, many web cams produce very high quality images which are better than those produced by a lot of professional surveillance cameras.
To use your web cam in this role you simply set it up to cover the area you wish to protect and attach it to your computer. You will then need to install one of the many surveillance software packages on your computer and you will be able to not only monitor the camera on your own computer, but indeed to monitor it from any computer and even from your cell phone.
If you are trying to monitor just a single area in your home then this may be a reasonable solution. However, don’t forget that you may have to leave your computer running 24 hours a day for the system to work effectively and, depending on your computer, it may eat into your computer’s resources to the detriment of other work you wish to do on your machine.
This is certainly one solution but, quite honestly, with the cost of dedicated systems these days it’s probably not really a terribly good solution.