Most people don’t necessarily feel the need to install video surveillance equipment in their homes. For one thing, many of us just aren’t that worried about a home invasion robbery, especially if we live in relatively safe areas. And for another thing, the cost is fairly prohibitive. You don’t want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars setting up a surveillance system in your home if you don’t expect it to capture any relevant footage. But what if it were much less expensive to monitor your home in your absence? What if you could have your eye in the sky (or more likely on a table, desk, or counter surface) for significantly less? And what if you could set up this system in your home or business and get updates from anywhere on your iPhone? For lovers of all things Apple and Mac, the solution is out there, and it comes in the form of the iWatchU app.
Programming started as an online application that utilized webcams and motion detector technology to capture footage on command. Rather than taking hours and hours of footage like a regular surveillance system (leaving you to comb through stored data and delete it frequently), this one only activates when motion is sensed, at which point it begins to capture video footage or still frames (depending on your preferences). Of course, the beauty of adding a mobile app to this setup is that you can not only get alerts when motion has been detected by your webcam, but you can also access streaming footage to see if there is a real threat and you need to send the police to your house.
This is how the application works: you begin by connecting as many cameras as you want to your home (or office, if you run your own business) Mac computer via USB or Firewire interface. The computer then uses the ambient light sensor in concert with a sensitive motion detection engine to determine when movement occurs. The app then begins immediately recording images from your cameras and sends a notification to your iDevice of choice (iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch) that there has been a disturbance. All you have to do is stream the video live to your phone (although you’re limited to only three cameras here) to see if it’s time to raise the alarm or terminate the recording because a fly is loose in your house and wreaking havoc with your motion detectors.
You can also check logs later on to see activity. And thanks to numerous preferences you can opt to compress the video files so that they don’t take up tons of space on your computer. The long and short of it is that this app is not only cool to have (and free, to boot) but it also offers you peace of mind and instant reaction times when someone is in your home. Of course, you can’t underestimate the power of a good deadbolt from http://www.locksmith.net/ or a Vivint alarm system with smartphone remote control options to help keep intruders out of your home. But when you can add surveillance to your home security system for free, why wouldn’t you?
Thanks to Evan Fischer for this guest post. He is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.