Smart Home

5 Ways to Set Up Remote Video Surveillance At Home

Christian Cawley 11-03-2016

What’s happening in your house right now? Perhaps the cat is climbing your curtains, or your young son is playing catch in a room full of ornaments. There might even be an open window, inviting intruders.


If you’re home, you can sort all of these things out. But if you’re out of the house, you wouldn’t usually be aware of them, and therefore be unable to deal with the various dangers and incidents that are likely to occur.

To find out what is happening, you’ll need to set up a remote video surveillance system, and some means of viewing what is happening. There’s a good chance that you have an Internet connected smartphone, so that’s the viewing arranged. But what solutions can you use to setup video surveillance in your home, and once you’ve done this, what should you be looking at?

1. Pair Your Webcam with Your Phone

Perhaps the easiest option is to use one or more webcams connected to your PC. SKJM’s iCam is probably the best product out there at the moment, which facilitates the easy connectivity between a desktop computer (Windows or Mac camera servers can be downloaded from the iCam website) and an Android or iPhone/iPad mobile device.

While the desktop app is free, the mobile clients will set you back $5, but once setup, you’ll be able to observe what is taking place on your webcam on your smart device.

Several other tools are also available for creating a remote video surveillance system with your PC webcam Use Your Webcam For Home Surveillance With These Tools Having your own home surveillance system can be a powerful deterrent to would-be intruders, snooping roommates, or frustrating co-workers. Here are 6 great options for webcam-based surveillance products you can use today! Read More .


2. Use an Old Smartphone

If relying on your PC’s webcam is impractical (perhaps the USB cable isn’t long enough to position the camera as you prefer), why not use one or more old smartphones?


These days, pretty much every electronic device comes with a camera, and by taking advantage of the camera on your old smartphone you can keep an eye on your property from afar. Whether your drawer hides an iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or even an old Windows Mobile device, you should be able to find a suitable app to stream what the camera captures, and watch it remotely.

Our guide to building a security camera network out of old smartphones How to Build a Security Camera Network Out Of Old Smartphones There's no better use of old smartphones than by building your own DIY network security camera system -- we show you everything you need to know! Read More explains this in more detail.


3. Split Personality Action Cam

If you like to record footage of yourself skiing, skateboarding or some other exciting outdoor pursuit, and prefer to fund that sort of pastime rather than in securing your home — but reckon the latter is probably a really good idea — then perhaps consider the FLIR FX.

FLIR FX Indoor Wi-Fi Wireless 1080P HD Video Monitoring Security Camera FLIR FX Indoor Wi-Fi Wireless 1080P HD Video Monitoring Security Camera Buy Now On Amazon $300.00

Unbelievably, this is a streaming security camera that actually doubles as an action cam! With up to 160 degrees of capture and 1080p recording, the camera can also display things you don’t see with the naked eye, such as temperature and humidity.

Compatible with FLIR Systems cases, you can view the streamed footage using the iPhone and Android apps.


4. The Dedicated Solution: Off the Shelf Security Cam Streaming

If you’re happy to spend money, rather than a security cam that doubles as an Action Cam, you might opt instead for a dedicated, off-the-shelf streaming security camera.

Unlike the other solutions suggested here, this isn’t a cheap option, but the results can be described as being more professional. You get devoted hardware, configured specifically for the capture of images in your home and their instantaneous streaming online via a server provided by the manufacturer. Your action camera, Raspberry Pi, webcam, and old smartphones can stay where they are, or be adapted for use with other projects.

Funlux KS-S88UA-W-2TB 8 1MP 720P HD Wireless IP Network Security Cameras Bundle with Accessories (9 Items) Funlux KS-S88UA-W-2TB 8 1MP 720P HD Wireless IP Network Security Cameras Bundle with Accessories (9 Items) Buy Now On Amazon

Buying a streaming security camera is a good option, but if you go down this path, make sure you keep the system secure, otherwise you might find the footage being streamed online without your knowledge Are Your Home Security Cams Being Streamed Online Without Your Knowledge? Read More .


5. Raspberry Pi Security Cam

If using iCam with your PC, or setting up a smartphone security camera network wasn’t DIY enough for you, we suggest you take a look at the Raspberry Pi, which can be configured to run as a security camera system using either a USB webcam or the dedicated Pi Cam 5 Things You Can Do with the Raspberry Pi Camera Module One of the first expansions you should buy for the Raspberry Pi is the camera module. With a dedicated connector, the camera can be used for a variety of tasks. Let's take a look. Read More (an infrared version is also available).


The benefit of this solution is that you can combine the low cost with easy positioning (see below) as the devices, once installed in a camera-friendly case, are light and compact. Additionally, if you plan to setup a device outside, you can use a battery pack 3 Raspberry Pi Battery Packs for Portable Projects A Raspberry Pi battery can make a regular Pi into a portable computer. You'll need one of these battery solutions to get started. Read More . Our previous guide to the development of a Raspberry Pi motion capture device Build a Motion Capture Security System Using a Raspberry Pi Of the many projects that you can build with the Raspberry Pi, one of the most interesting and permanently useful is the motion capture security system. Read More should be a good starting point.

Positioning Your Surveillance Camera

Getting the positioning of your camera right can make all the difference. We already know that properties have weak spots, but if you’re streaming images across the web and haven’t secured your cameras or the footage, there is a chance that videos and time-lapse stills can be intercepted and viewed by criminals and other undesirables.

As such, take steps to not only secure the stream, but also to position cameras in such a way that naked bodies, opportunities for intrusion and other vital information are not shared. Our guide to positioning domestic surveillance cameras 5 Dangers to Consider When Pointing Your Home Security Cameras It is important to carefully consider where you position your cameras, and what parts of your home you point them at. Keeping things secure is important, but so is maintaining your privacy. Read More should help here.

Just as important, however, is deciding what you’re going to record and stream. If you have a small child, for instance, you might wish to make sure their cot is covered, for those nights when you suspect your babysitter might be distracted by a guest.

Similarly, an external camera capturing all visitors to your home might be useful, as will any devices covering interior and exterior points of entry. But if you just want to watch your fish, it’s probably best to just stick a waterproof camera in your aquarium.

Do you use a home security camera with streaming capability? Perhaps you built your own? Share you story and your thoughts in the comments.

Image Credit: Security camera by beeboys via Shutterstock

Related topics: Home Security, Surveillance, Webcam.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Anonymous
    August 29, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Aren't IP cameras standard nowadays? Building a network enabled security setup isn't really my forte, and I'd prefer to put my money in IP cameras instead. Your post, however, might spark the DIY spirit in someone. A wonderful write-up!

  2. Anonymous
    May 4, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    How can I add our product?

  3. Cho
    March 15, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    IP Cams are the preferred solution.
    Numerous vendors.
    We use Foscam cameras and IP Cam Viewer app for a cheap solution.
    Also have some Trendnet and Sony cameras.