Sunday, July 31, 2011

Free Home Security

If you have a computer with a webcam, you can create your own free or virtually free home video monitoring service.  There's peace of mind in being able to check on your home while you're away.  Here three different ways of keeping a eye on your home using nothing more than your desktop computer or laptop.

Use Skype: Get a second Skype account. (You have a Skype account already, don't you?) Install that second account on your other PC and set Skype to answer automatically with video when you call. Add that new account as a friend, and point the laptop or webcam in the direction you want to monitor. Just Skype your PC and you'll be able to see what's going on in your house.  If you have a smartphone that also does Skype video, you can monitor things from wherever you are.  Lifehacker has an article about how you can set up a comparable system using Google+

You can set up a similar home monitoring system using Google+'s Hangouts. As with Skype, set up a second Google or Gmail account.

Try out Cammster, which takes home video monitoring to the next level by recording and alerting you when your PC's camera detects motion. Unlike the Skype method, you don't ever need to call in: You can elect to receive an email (free) or a text message (fee based) when the camera detects motion. What's especially good about Cammster is that it doesn't need any software; it works right through your web browser.

iCam, a $4.99 app, offers a iPhone and iPad home monitoring service that's free once you've purchased the inexpensive app. iCam works over wifi and cellular connections and is both motion-activated (it will send you a photo and message if it detects motion) and on demand, so you can call in and see what's going on. iCam can also send push notifications when it detects motion.

Now there can eyes on your house from wherever in the world you are.

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