iSpy, last updated December 28, 2010, is an open source application which uses your webcams and microphones to detect and record movement, or sound.
iSpy provides a number of additional benefits over the two more basic free Web Cam surveillance applications described later in this review, including:
Access to captured media over the Web, and to mobile devices – as well as the local network.
iSpy can be setup to run on multiple computers simultaneously, and has full Email and SMS alerting capabilities.
While I found setting up iSpy relatively easy, it was slightly more complex than the two free applications described later. On the other hand, additional features often lead to more complexity.
As the following screen captures indicate, you’ll be presented with a smorgasbord of fine tuning choices.
As the following screen capture indicates, you can access captures over your local network (local machine), which may be all you need.
Alternatively, you have the option of setting up an account, which will allow access to captured content over the Internet.
Access and control your cameras and microphones using your mobile device (iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7)
Connect and monitor as many cameras and microphones as you like. Import and export object lists to share with colleagues.
Connect multiple computers in a group and manage over the web
Install iSpy Server and publish your webcam to other instances of iSpy, over your network and to the web
Detect, highlight, track and record movement
Record video and audio on demand (and via the web)
Detect and record sound
FTP frames from your camera to a remote server
Run any program or send an email or SMS alert when movement or sound is detected
Run any program or send an email or SMS alert when movement or sound is not detected (monitor machinery or staff activity)
Receive email movement alerts with attached frame grab images from your webcams
Periodically receive image grabs via email from your webcams
Connect to any device, even webcams attached to other computers with JPEG, MJPEG, IP Cam, webcam and AVI file support
Watch live and recorded media over the web (through this website and over your local network) and also via mobile devices
Access and control iSpy remotely
Schedule sound and video capturing to start and stop automatically
Time-lapse record from any camera
System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7. Microsoft .Net framework will be installed if required. Windows media player 9 VCM codecs – will be installed if required.
Download at: Download.com
Two additional free Web Cam surveillance solutions, previously reviewed here:
Setting up Secure Cam is a breeze since the interface is minimal. Simply launch the application, and from the main menu select your device, select the device format and then initialize the device.
You will then need to set the application options – click on the image in the Secure Cam window to bring up the options dialog box. Choose your options and you’re good to go.
I’ve tested this application extensively and overall, I’ve been very pleased with its performance.
Automatically captures images when motion is detected
Adjustable motion detection trigger level
Supports up to 99 cameras
DVR card capable
Capture Images when motion is detected, or continuous
Image sensitivity adjustment
Image Archiving (1,000s of images)
Dynamically expanding and contracting archive
Archive images from minutes, to years
Application viewer for image playback
Image playback at various speeds
Low processor and memory usage
Adjustable Jpeg Quality
Image Rotating, & Flipping
If you’re looking for a free (Open Source), Web Cam surveillance solution, Secure Cam may be just what you have been searching for. In fact, this is the application I settled on.
System requirements: Windows (all), DirectX 9 or greater, 600Mhz Pentium 3 with 128MB Memory, Web Cam or DVR PCI card
Download at: Source Forge
Rise Sun is another free web cam surveillance application I looked at that’s perhaps not quite as feature rich as Secure Cam. But, if you don’t need all of these features, (some of the bells and whistles are just that – bells and whistles), this application is a very acceptable alternative that will meet your basic surveillance needs.
(No, I don’t really have green dots on my face – this is the motion detector in action).
Installation is straightforward and the interface is simple – no esoteric manual to digest here. New users should not encounter any difficulty getting this application to perform as advertised.
Works on all webcam models available on the market.
Powerful motion detection algorithm that allows flexible adjustments to suit your needs.
Extended Period Algorithm (For Extra Precision)
Automatically take pictures, logs events or display silent warnings when motion is detected.
Silent Alarm, Alarm, Motion Logging System
Extended Threshold, Sensibility and Performance Variables
Automatic Snapshot (JPG Compression to reduce file size.
While I haven’t run this application for very long, it’s a very capable application. It does what it’s designed to do, and turns your webcam into a fully functioning motion detection video surveillance system.
System requirements: Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP, Vista, and Win 7.
Download at: Download.com
Note: If you’re a Linux user you haven’t been left out in the cold. Checkout – Motion, a software motion detector, here. Since I now run Ubuntu more than half the time, this application is on my testing to-do list.
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