Fact: security is a major concern in the tech world. However, it’s not relegated to the DDoS attacks, hacked IoT devices, and bank accounts. There’s also home surveillance. Loads of companies provide surveillance systems for a price. However, it’s pretty simple to cobble together a do it yourself (DIY) surveillance set up.
Yet if there are commercial solutions available, why opt for the DIY route? Primarily, there’s the cost effectiveness but the added benefit of more control. While cameras may be plentiful and easy to source, the central hub is the security camera software. Seeking security camera software for your DIY surveillance system? Check out the six best choices…
ZoneMinder is an awesome option for a do-it-yourself surveillance system. Its vast feature set shapes ZoneMinder as the perfect solution for household security and home use, as well as commercial security. Free and open source, APIs make integration quite feasible. Vast camera compatibility with both IP-enabled and analog camera support (what is an IP cam?). Android and iOS apps let you to monitor your cameras from anywhere.
There are loads of configuration options. ZoneMinder supports both live video and image stills. There’s event notification from email and SMS. Additionally, ZoneMinder offers user access levels, a nice touch. It’s pretty flexible with options to zoom, tilt, and pan cameras.
Linux users benefit from installers for Ubnuntu, Debian, Gentoo (itself a DIY Linux distro), RedHat, and source. Plus, you can deploy ZoneMinder on everything from a server set up to a modest Raspberry Pi.
Xeoma brands itself as “childishly easy” video surveillance. Fittingly, this DIY surveillance camera software was inspired by children’s toys. Essentially, it’s like Lego, but for system functionality. This security camera software is feature rich. It’s compatible with everything from analog cameras to webcams and Wi-Fi CCTV cameras. Amazingly, Xeoma can connect with up to 2,000 cameras from a single computer. That should be plenty for the average home user.
Neat features include screen captures from all monitors at once, remote access, and motion detection. Remote viewing is available via mobile devices with access to archives, cameras, and settings. Xeoma is really customizable with options for different storage settings, delayed recordings, and even algorithms to avoid false positives. This latter feature could be great for users with pets or small children. Since everything is mobile-centric, there are SMS alerts are available, alongside email updates.
For Linux, Xeoma offers several 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. While it’s available for purchase, Xeoma does offer a free edition with a few limitations (8 cameras, 3 modules per chain). Overall, Xeoma is a simple but comprehensive option for home surveillance.
You can probably guess from the name, but Motion monitors, well, motion. This free program detects if a major part of a picture from a video signal has changed. Written in C, Motion was created specifically for Linux distros with the video4linux interface. Since it’s built for Linux, Motion is a command line-centric tool.
Benefits of Motion include a lightweight footprint, and range of outputs. Motion can export both video and image files. Additionally, there’s a GitHub which promises sustainability. Motion might not be quite as beefy as other choices, but it’s free. That Motion saves video when movement is detected is a neat distinguishing feature, yet it also brags time lapse settings too. Ultimately, Motion’s low system resource consumption is a major selling point.
Bluecherry is a cross-platform video surveillance client. There’s a bootable ISO, but you can also install Bluecherry via apt-get on Ubuntu and Debian. Currently, 2,800 IP cameras are supported. There’s both web playback and live viewing. Unfortunately, Bluecherry lacks a mobile app for Android and iOS.
While Bluecherry is free and cross-platform, it does offer licenses for purchase. Because Bluecherry is powerful, easy to install, and compatible on several platforms, it’s a great option for both business and residential use.
If you’re seeking a really cheap video surveillance set up, consider Ivideon (which we looked at previously). The system requirements are among the lightest for any DIY DVR: you can easily run Ivideon with an Atom-powered PC, 1 GB RAM, and just 500 MB. However, it’s recommended that you have at least 11 GB for video footage per day. Installation is pretty simple. Either download and run the script, or install via command line.
Like many other video surveillance systems, Ivideon includes a mobile app. You have a range of plans to pick from, including the basic (but feature-heavy) Online plan for $0. Although Ivideon states that it officially supports Ubuntu Desktop 12.04 LTS, it’s compatible on other distros as well.
Looking for a free video surveillance system that’s compatible with almost any camera and Linux? Check out Kerberos.io. In addition to installers for Linux (x86 and 64-bit), Kerberos provides Windows and OS X downloads as well. If you’re seeking an IoT set up, Kerberos is your best bet.
Not only is it free, but Kerberos.io can be deployed in multiple environments. There’s Raspberry Pi and Docker support among others. Notably, Kerberos has a clean, decluttered interface. Because it’s gratis, cross-platform, and simple to set up in just a few minutes, Kerberos.io is a best bet for both Linux and non-Linux users alike.
Although these are the best options with native Linux installers, other options are available for a Linux-based DIY surveillance system. For instance, there’s the route of using Windows software on something like the emulation tool Wine or in a virtual Windows machine on VirtualBox.
And remember, while you may be watching others, they may also be watching you. Check out How to Detect Hidden Surveillance Cameras at Home With Your Phone for more on this topic.