Web cams are nowadays being very effectively used for security measures. A web camera is normally connected to a PC using a USB port. The web cam uses the PC to make video available to other viewers. Since the web cam uses normal IP based network for transmitting and distributing video, the need for cost and time consuming dedicated cable installation is eliminated.
On the down side, most web cameras have limited wide range viewing capabilities so essential for security applications. By their intended nature of application, web cameras have little more than about 45 degree of view which is not adequate to see the entire room at one glance without using a pan and tilt arrangement. Cameras designed specifically for security applications have a wider view of vision.
Web enabled Security cameras come in many forms and functionalities:
Ubiquitous web cams:
Pros: Lowest cost, wide availability
Cons: Limited angle of vision, Poor low light capability, poor camera sensor resolution, ties down a PC
Network Camera or IP Camera:
Pros: Reasonable cost, comes with a network interface or with built in Wireless (WiFi) capability, no need for a dedicated PC
Cons: More expensive solution
Web Security Camera Installation
Set up the camera and hook it up to a monitor to see the actual field of view in the place where it is going to be installed. Aim to place the camera as high as possible without requiring you to zoom in on the target. The idea is to have unhindered view for the camera. Most cameras require fairly high level of illumination to produce sufficient details without grains. You may need to set up additional lighting or need to set up infra red LED panels to focus on the target area.
Positioning of the camera is critical. If you plan to cover a wide region, you will need a pan and Tilt assembly as well. Or need to install additional cameras and camera switchers to cover the area. Outside surveillance requires dedicated camera housing and protected power supply and network cabling. You would need a minimum of water proof housing for the camera. Some manufacturers supply heated metal enclosures with glass panes for added weather protection.
If you plan on to use the motion detection software, your camera positioning is far more stringent - you need to designate a zone where little natural movement will take place. So any activity which triggers the motion detection is deliberate.
Monitoring software is needed along with web cam to make the complete video security system work. Other wise web cameras can only be directly read and controlled by the host computer and cannot be shared across a network.
The advantage with web camera is that the images can be accessed over the internet with the help of the monitoring software. The web cam has the capability to upload the images to a web server. This can happen continuously or at regular intervals. This helps to ensure that the culprit is caught on hard disk.
Web cams are deployed in small offices, shops and homes to monitor and record activities. These days many of the software that comes with the Web camera systems include motion detection capabilities built-in which can detect anything that moves within a set detection range and start recording it.
Web cam can be used even to detect motion in dimly lit areas with the night detection feature - provided they are equipped with infra red LED illumination facilities. Or add an infra red LED panel with its own power source.
Web cams provide stealth mode and super stealth mode and allow one to cloak the window out of the site away from prying eyes. Probably it can be said that web cam as security cameras supports motion detection tolerance and provides detecting capabilities without the hefty price.
IP cameras are stand alone cameras that connect to the Ethernet or wireless network. An IP camera acts like a computer on a net work. This allows the viewer to see the images from anywhere in the network or over the internet. The digital picture quality in an IP camera is much superior to analog. Recordings in an IP camera can be highly compressed for easier storage.
The advantage with IP camera is that one can monitor multiple cameras at multiple destinations from one remote location.
The common benefits of an IP camera over CCTV are discussed below:
- IP cameras help in live remote monitoring. For instance, for a company with operations geographically dispersed locations, monitoring at multiple locations becomes easy and economical with IP cameras.
- The IP camera need not necessarily be 'connected' to the PC. One can view the camera images from anywhere that has an internet connection. The PC is only to access to the internet to view all the activity live.
- Some IP cameras that have the Web cam Monitor software installed perform the alert instant function when motion is detected. Alarms are sounded, SMS is sent, and email alert is thrown when motion is detected.
- Certain type of IP cameras have additional assemblies with features like Pan, Tilt and Zoom which help to give a detailed and comprehensive view of the surroundings. This enables one to control the area being monitored without being actually present at the camera site. The motorized pan and tilt assemblies can be controlled through a remote control panel.
It is felt by many that IP camera is the future of video surveillance. Although IP camera is a bit more expensive, this system is superior in quality and flexibility when compared to other forms of security cameras.
Internet security camera
An internet security camera captures and sends live video directly over the IP network such as LAN, intranet or internet. The users can view and manage the camera using the standard web browser or video management software. This can be done at any local or remote computer on a network.
Network camera: A network camera has its own IP address. It also may have a built in web server, FTP server, alarm management programmability and much more. But there are commercial and open source software which will allow you to set up motion detection capability, image compression and a password protected web server from any IP camera or WiFi camera. The advantage of a software based solution is as always - the solution is scalable and may not be completely dependant on one brand camera.
You will find resources for the software in the directory section and we provide a detailed blow-by-blow account of a typical low cost solution of a Web enabled security camera in our Women blog section.
A network camera need not be connected to a PC and it operates independently. It can be placed wherever there is an IP network connection. This is unlike a web camera which requires connection to a PC via a USB or port and a PC to operate.
Image quality is one of the most prominent features of the internet camera. Since several lives and property are at stake in surveillance and monitoring applications, it is necessary that the quality of image be maintained very well.
Network cameras can be used to conduct remote education, trouble shooting, broadcast sights and sounds on a web site.
Images can be stored either on the hard disk of the PC or a dedicated storage server on a network.
The advantage of network security camera is that it is easy to install and the network video product is able to operate when there is a power failure.