How to setup a real time home monitoring system using existing devices without additional costs

home monitoring

How to: Setup a real time home monitoring system using existing devices without additional costs.

What you need:
1) Laptop (or desktop) at home with webcam.
2) Smartphone.

Procedure:

  • Install skype on your home computer and create an account (lets say home_skype).
  • Install skype on your smartphone and create another account (lets say roaming_skype).
  • Add each other’s skype account into respective friend list.
  • In your home_skype account, goto Tools->Options->Privacy, click on “show advanced options” and set the following:
  • Set “Allow calls from” to “people in my contact list only” 
  • Set “Automatically receive video and share screens with” to “people in my contact list only”

A screenshot of the settings:

screenshotskype

Thats it. All the settings are done. You dont have to do these on your roaming_skype account.

Typical use case scenario:
Login to skype into the home laptop (home_skype account) and place the laptop in your house in such a way that it faces the entrance (or any place that you want to monitor). Login to roaming_skype account on your smartphone and make a video call to the home_skype account. Due to the above settings, the home laptop skype account will automatically accept the call and start streaming the video to your smartphone and thus you will be able to monitor your home in real time and on demand basis by making video call to the home account any number of times a day.

Alternate components/devices:
If you do not have a smartphone, you can login to the roaming_account from any laptop/desktop and make a video call to home account to monitor in real time and on demand.

Alternate use cases:
-It can be used to monitor baby or the babysitter so that working parents can work peacefully in offices instead of worrying about issues like these:
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-11-06/bangalore/28106781_1_nanny-baby-parents

Tips:
-To save power, switch off the laptop screen and set the processor to low power mode.

-Ensure that it does not go into sleep mode after sometime.

-Ensure that you have an unlimited home broadband plan because being logged into skype for long time (even if you do not make calls) consumes bandwidth.

-If your webcam does not have sufficient coverage, you can fix convex lens in front of the camera to increase its coverage upto 180 degrees. Even door viewers like these can be used:
http://www.ebay.in/itm/Door-Viewer-Peephole-for-Home-Metal-180-Degree-/261232970230?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_203&hash=item3cd2b2c9f6&_uhb=1#ht_3951wt_1139

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