Monitoring your home while you are away does not have to involve a costly surveillance system. You can get the same level of security using something you may already have in your home. In fact, you can use your laptop computer's camera to monitor your living space.
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Things you need
- Laptop computer
- Surveillance software
Install surveillance software on your laptop. Products such as "EvoCam," "TinCam," "Yawcam," "webcam Monitor" and "EyeSpyFX" all offer similar features. Determine if the software is compatible with your PC or Mac. Many programs are available for download over the Internet, and most local computer stores will carry a selection of "off-the-shelf" surveillance software. Every product includes an installation wizard that will walk you through the steps of setting up the surveillance software on your computer.
Connect a webcam to your laptop, if your system does not already have a built-in camera. Any webcam with a USB interface can easily be installed on a laptop. After connecting the device, an installation window should pop up automatically, walking you through the process.
Configure your detection radius. Depending on your software, this may be the next step in the set-up process. A window will open, displaying a sample of what the camera sees. A box indicating the detection radius can be altered in size and placed where you would like it to be within the camera frame. Any movement within this detection radius will trigger the monitoring process and activate your webcam.
Adjust the monitoring parameters to your preference. Options will usually include image quality, whether you want still pictures or video and where the output files should be stored, which can all be defined on the set-up screen. If you are monitoring a high-activity area, you will want to select an option for timed monitoring at specified intervals, sometimes called "After Every," which allows you to choose the interval at which still photos will be taken. If you select full video, choose the frame rate based on the image quality you desire.
Enter your e-mail address when prompted by the set-up wizard. Whenever recording is activated, you will receive an e-mail alert. In some applications, you may also be able to enter a "From" address for your e-mail. You can put any valid e-mail in this field
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