WORRIED about invaders while you’re watching the World Cup? Set up your own CCTV network, which you can watch from the pub. Here are some of the easiest systems.
D- Link Wireless Camera £100
Wireless cameras are easy to install. Connect the camera to your computer, then insert the CD and follow the steps. Make a note of your camera’s IP (Internet protocol address). Now you’re free to place that camera anywhere within range of your wifi – focus it on that mousetrap you’ve set round the back of the fridge. You can view the pictures from any device with a web access. Type the IP address into your browser, and you can check on the trap’s progress whether you’re at your work PC or on your iPhone on the train.
Network Video Recorder £450
Who put those fingerprints on your window? If you don’t want to trawl through loads of eventless footage, invest in an NVR which only captures the action. You can schedule it to start at certain times. Or, use the motion detection mode, which switches the camera on when movement triggers its sensors. It will even email or text you when it’s detected something. You can record up to two months’ worth of footage. Unlike the wireless camera, this system works independently of your PC, so even if it’s off or stolen you can view footage.
If you’re visiting Wimbledon and want to avoid schlepping through an entire maze of courts before finding your favourite match is packed out, IBM’s SEER application might be useful. It lets you view all the CCTV cameras inside the vast grounds of the All England Club on your phone. So you can sit in the bar, watch your phone and time your exit for when the taxi queue has died down. It works on iPhone and Android handsets and is so new we haven’t tested it yet, so don’t blame us if it’s a disaster.
If you want to use your camera footage as forensic evidence, you’ll need high quality pictures to secure a conviction. But good quality cameras cost a lot of money. Y-Cam was launched to address this problem, and to make installation easy. For £100 you can get functions like nightvision, motion detection, on-camera recording and email alerts. Y-Cam’s founder invented the product after his alarm went off while he was away, but he found he could do nothing about it. He knows your pain, so Y-Cam’s cameras are cheap but easy to use and with friendly support.
Jabbakam £5 per month
If you’re into social networking, you can join a network of video camera users. Jabbakam aims to be the Facebook of the surveillance camera set. You can swap camera access with your closest friends and neighbours and watch out for each other. You could start your own neighbourhood watch scheme, so you can keep an eye out on next door’s house and her at number 24. With a Y-Cam (see above) you get free initial access to the Jabbakam network, which is a sort of social network for internet video camera users. Works with most leading cameras, but check the website.
With a whole bank of CCTVs at home you’re more likely to capture hilarious footage for You’ve Been Framed and TV shows that pay £250 for clippings. Quorum Touch is a touchscreen CCTV system that easily manages your growing empire of cameras. Control, record and play back footage from up to 16 camera installations from your desk. Touch an icon for operations such as pan, tilt and zoom. Supports up to 4, 8 or 16 CCTV cameras from the top 20 CCTV manufacturers, and creates every video format a TV producer might demand (H.264, MPEG4, MxPEG and Motion JPEG video formats).
Mirasys £65 per camera (licence)
Mirasys Spotter allows you to watch your house being ransacked by burglars on your
iPad or iPhone. It’s easy to use and almost as if you’re there – without the danger of being stabbed or charged with violating the burglar’s human rights. You can even capture them – on film. The courts can watch your real-time and recorded video, before letting the burglars go. The Spotter also enables the easy sharing of images via email which means users can quickly find, extract and send out their CCTV stills. Connect to the network through wireless hotspots or 3G mobile networks.
If there’s a burglar outside, and the police are too busy, a Logitech camera can be set up in 15 minutes. Then you can phone the police and offer them a free remote viewing on their PCs over the Internet. HomePlug uses your home’s existing electrical wiring as a network, so you don’t need any wires and you don’t suffer from wifi blackspots. It encrypts your video too, so it’s secure. Unlike your house. Once it’s installed, you can watch live video or review recorded video. There’s an indoor video security master system and an Outdoor version, which is more rugged.