Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I love technology!!!!

I have had security cameras in the house for a few years now. The camera idea started with a pet sitter and spread from there. I first started with just monitoring via a web browser. I quickly moved to security camera software with motion based recording. I used software from Xmedia Studios for about 1 1/2 years until it became buggy.

I updated my cameras to night vision cameras as well as pan and tilt cameras (I can remotely move the camera around for a different view). The cameras came with decent software. The software was very heavy on CPU utilization which required me to run it on a dedicated computer.  The motion based recording didn't work correctly so they simply recorded 24 hours a day. The files were broken up into 15 minute chunks. I had no way of remotely monitoring the cameras unless I had a broadband connection and ran Windows. I had to remote desktop to the computer running the software and then view the software. The refresh rate was slow....but it worked.

Yesterday I was hopping around the Internet when I came upon software from Blue Iris. They offered a 15 day trial of the software. I downloaded it this morning and installed the software on the dedicated computer. Setting it up was easy (mostly because I have dealt with camera software a lot in the past). I then dove in to the features. Not only does the software have motion based recording (that works!), it also has a built in web-server, text messaging capability, email capability and more. The web-server peaked my interest. I tried to connect from my Macbook. The interface worked great. I then tried the ultimate test....my phone.

My jaw dropped. The web-server has built in detection for mobile devices! The web page loaded up fast and I had live (well 1 second delay!) STREAMING of my cameras to my phone. I could stream all four at once or one by one. The quality of the video is just like I was viewing it from my laptop.

I played around with the software all morning. The software stated it is supported by Windows Server 2003. Now for the deal breaker....will it run on my Windows Home Server? After a few minutes of resetting up the options....it opened perfectly. No issues. Sold! I then set up remote storage to instantly save photos on a remote server. This way if the server is stolen/burned up I still have images.

I happily paid the very fair licensing fee and was sent a code to unlock the software. Now Kelli and I can easily keep an eye on our house while we are away. We can be in the middle of a Casino, driving down the coast or simply across town and feel at ease that all is well at home. Since I can run it on Windows Home Server this means there is one less computer that will be running while we are away.

The next task for me is to see how to easily integrate the home alarm system into the Windows Home Server as well. I would like to remotely arm/disarm, have motion detection, fire detection and intrusion detection.

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