If you’re going to be away for the holidays, and you’d like some extra (and nicely geeky) piece of mind, check out iCam from SKJM. This combination of mobile and desktop apps lets you monitor your webcams while on the go and will even alert you if something happens.
Start with the free iCamSource desktop app for either Mac or Windows. This will recognize any cameras you have connected to your computer and let you create a username and password combination for remote access to them. You can name each camera and adjust capture quality settings, all the better to tell what you’re looking at on the other end. If you have multiple cameras on multiple computers, put a copy of iCamSource on each with the same username and password. They will all feed into the same pool.
Motion Detection lets iCamSource react to movement on any camera. When it detects something, it shoots a push notification to your mobile device. iCamSource can even take snapshots of the action and save them to a location of your choosing. Choose a Dropbox folder, and those snapshots will immediately upload to the cloud for even safer keeping. To prevent accidental triggering from pets and present a challenge to ninjas, the motion detection can be assigned to a specific area of the image.
iCamSource can be scheduled to switch push notifications and motion detection recording on or off. For example, if you work a regular Monday to Friday week, have it switch on automatically on weekdays. If you are away from your desk on Wednesdays, iCamSource can keep an eye on things while you golf in peace.
The only part of iCam with a price tag is the mobile app for both iOS and Android. At five bucks, this funds the entire ecosystem, though SKJM will happily take donations as well. The app is fairly simple, displaying up to 4 video sources at once, handling the push notifications and keeping track of any motion detection history. The frame rate of the live video feed is surprisingly good, and it pipes in audio as well, as long as you have a that set up in iCamSource.
For $5 and no recurring fee, the iCam system is a bargain. For me, it was worthwhile the first day I used it. Downsides? Scheduling is limited to recurring days of the week, but you cannot set specific days (i.e. activate on December 25). You can’t verify camera positioning and motion detection without switching on the full works. And watching the video feed(s) on your phone can eat a large amount of data. None of these are showstoppers, and you have alerts on your data usage anyway, right?
I’ve been using iCam for over a year with on Mac OS X and iPhone, and it has been solid. It even works with the new Logitech Broadcaster Wi-Fi camera for instant setup anywhere you can get a signal. Recommended. Feel free to ask any questions in comments below.
Disclaimer: None. I paid for the app like anyone else.