How to Set Up Your Own Remote Home Monitoring System
By Patrick Miller
PCWorldOct 25, 2011 6:33 pm PDT
Ever wish you could use your tech to keep an eye on your home while you’re gone? Well, you can–and you don’t need an expensive, dedicated setup.
All you need is a webcam. In this how-to package, we’ll show you how to use your everyday tech to set up a motion-detecting camera in your house, so you can keep an eye out for intruders, mischievous pets, or even roommates with a weakness for the contents of your snack drawer.
First, we’ll use Yawcam software to employ any standard PC webcam (USB or built-in) as a surveillance camera for free, so you can keep an eye on your home desk for yourself. If you have a laptop, all-in-one desktop PC, or a monitor with a built-in webcam, you won’t need to spend any money on this project at all. Plus, considering that 720p webcams cost as little as $30 these days, this is undoubtedly the cheapest option.
Next, we’ll bolster the coverage of your surveillance setup by adding whatever spare iOS or Android gadgets you have handy–old phones, iPod Touches, anything with a camera–to the mix. For this option, we’ll show you how to use a few handy apps that let you turn your mobile work gear into extra pairs of eyes for cheap (and possibly free).
Finally, we’ll show you how to install and configure a wireless network webcam and add that to your list of camera feeds. This is the most expensive option of the bunch, but with features such as low-light vision in the mix, it may well be worth it for you.
Each of these how-tos will also include explanations for setting up motion-detection and email monitoring (when available), so your cameras can keep you in the loop no matter where you are. Just click on the articles listed on the right-hand side of the page to get started!