Make-shift home security systems are becoming more popular, not to mention more effective as the power of the Internet is increasingly realized. A new service called HomeCamera (http://www.homecamera.com/) lets you use a standard web camera and mobile phone Internet browser to monitor the home while you're away.
How does it work? Log onto the Website, register to the service (which is currently free since it's still in the beta stage), enter the name of your webcam, and create a password. Then, just log on from your phone from anywhere in the world (obviously you’ll need to be somewhere where the Web browser feature is active), and take a photo of the area being monitored; or even scan pre-recorded images and short video clips. The service has a motion detection function that can automatically snap a shot when it detects movement (I wouldn’t suggest this if you have pets!)
Instead of randomly logging in to check on things, the system can also send updates to your mobile device. Right now, the only costs incurred for HomeCamera are those associated with your specific network carrier, like Internet browsing fees.
I’m a bit skeptical of how useful a feature it is to take photos remotely. If a burglar has entered the home, the likelihood that you'll actually catch him on in a still image is slim to none: it would be easy for him to sneak away quickly such that you might catch a stray leg as he bolts out the door! However, the video clip feature is pretty neat. HomeCamera says it hopes to add a real-time live video streaming option early next year.
As for the service's “free” availability, this is only until the official launch in October. However, existing subscribers will receive one year of free service. New customers will be able to sign up to a subscription package that suits their needs.
I haven’t signed up for an account yet, but I’m tempted to try it out. I’ll be sure to report my results here if I do!