These days owning a Smart phone has become almost a must. On top of that there are those who have the urge to have the latest and greatest model. This as well as other reasons are there for quite a lot of old spare phones which are just lying at home without any use. There have been a lot of articles written about how to use these phones. Some are just silly yet useful like using it like a torch. Some are sensible like using it as a music player so that your current phone does not drain battery. Some are downright geeky like using the phone for opening a garage door. I am going to take middle ground and write about what I think is sensible use of the spare smart phone.
There are lots of security cameras out there which are wireless and connect to the home wifi network. Some give you access to it via the Internet, some give you only access to it through home network and some just record the video. These Cameras come at a cost of between 50$ to 150$. If we can make our phone a Security Camera, we can save this money.
It is becoming more and more common to take charge of security yourself in this highly insecure world we live in. It is being used as Baby monitors, it is being used for Home surveillance, it is being used to keep an eye on the maid, etc. We will install our Phone in such a position that we can use it for the above mentioned purposes. In this blog, we will be looking at how to use an Android smart phone as a Surveillance Camera.
Setting up Phone as Surveillance Camera
There are quite a lot of Apps on Google Play store for this purpose. Some are free and some are paid. Some are buggy and some are too good. One such App is Ip Webcam which I have used and it is too good. It is feature rich and does what it claims to do and the best part is that it is free. Install the App via the Play Store and it should be good to go.
- You can view the stream in VLC
- You can view the stream via Browser
- You can control phone through web browser
- You can take High Resolution Photos
- You can use the video output with Skype
While setting up the software, remember to enable Audio if you would like to hear what the camera is shooting. Since we are going to use the phone as a full on Security Cam, we have to disable it from going into sleep mode and to run the software every time the software boots. Also, set the username and password as you don’t want the whole world to see your home.
The screen will show you the URL at which you can access the video stream. The catch here is that since the ip address of your camera is a private ip address, you cannot access the video feed over the Internet. If you have a 3G or 4G connection, only then will you be able to access the video stream over the Internet. Viewing the feed over connections which are bound by Data Plans is not advisable as the feed will prove very costly for you. You can use it only in the case where it is an emergency and cost is not the factor.
Accessing Video Stream from Internet
The maximum possibility where you will employ this set up will be at home where you have WIFI Internet access. Most Home broadband routers will give a dynamic ip address and your phone should get a different ip address every time. This is not favorable to us as we want the ip address to be static so that we can make entry for it in the Router. There are 2 ways to mitigate the dynamic ip address. One is to go to the router and make a static entry for the ip address of the Phone so that every time it gets the same ip address. If your router does not have this option, go to phone network settings and manually add the ip address for the phone. Now that the ip address is static, Go to your router and go to the Application and gaming section. (I am using the example of a Linksys router for Port forwarding and all routers have similar configurations). Here click on Single port forwarding and Add whatever name you want for the phone. Set the External port as 8080, Internal port as 8080 (or whatever if you changed it). Set the ip address of the phone and enable the forwarding. Save the changes.
Go to www.whatismyip.com in your browser and this will show the public ip address of your router. Open a browser on an Internet which is not your home internet to test that your camera is accessible from the Internet or not. Enter the ip address which you learned from whatismyip.com followed by :8080. An example url would be http://184.108.40.206:8080. This will give a page having all options you can do on the phone like viewing the stream, capturing photos, etc. The only thing next you have to do is align your phone properly so that you see what you want to keep your eye on when away from home.
I hope my post has been helpful in your life but the only guide which can help you in the hereafter is the Qur’an. You can download the English translation of the Qur’an here.