Best App to Setup a Home Surveillance System Using Your Smartphone
If you own a spare Android smartphone, you can use it as a security camera for monitoring your home or office. While there are several IP camera apps available in the play store, each of them had their flaws. We screened a bunch of them and found the best app to convert your android as a security camera.
For the uninitiated, this type of security camera is called IP Camera (Internet Protocol Camera) in industry terms as they use the internet or computer network to transmit digital format videos, unlike the old CCTV cameras (Closed Circuit Television Cameras) which had their own network and analog videos.
Converting Your Android as a Security Camera
A cursory search on Play Store will reveal hundreds of apps. The main problem with most of these apps is the setup process which requires a good hand with IP cams. After trying out several of these apps, we recommend Perch.
1) It’s the easiest app to setup and handle.
2) It uses only your smartphone and PC, no need for other proprietary hardware.
3) It is fast, videos stream in real time and Internet of Things(IoT) ready.
4) It has Motion Detection feature with instant notification.
5) And, it is FREE!
Note: Perch is compatible only with Android 4.0 and above.
Consider the cases when a security camera will be useful to you – If you live in a suspicious neighbourhood, and you are worried about theft. Or you need to look after your baby from a different room. Or you simply want to keep an eye on what’s happening in your home while you are out. For all these cases, you can setup a home surveillance camera without digging a hole in your pocket. But first, make sure to secure your Android phone so the video stream remains private to you only.
Related: Keep your Gmail account secure
How to use Perch?
First, install the app on your spare phone.
Now, set up your account and adjust the camera where you want to monitor. You can also send the link to other devices like your PC for connecting multiple cameras.
To watch the real-time feed, use your PC or your primary smartphone.
With PC, log-in to the website with your username and password. Here you can also setup your system’s webcam for surveillance, which you can access through your smartphone.
You can also set-up motion detection using the website. Once you define the motion tracking zone as I did in below images, you will get instant e-mail and phone notifications for any movement within the zone. You can also mirror Android notifications in Chrome if you happen to work all day on Chrome and attend phones only sometimes.
The only downside I felt, was the compatibility issue, Perch only supports devices with Android 4.0 and above. If you want a workable option, try IP webcam. It supports android 2.3 and above. IP webcam is a little bit tough to play with. But once the set-up is done, it is as easy as Perch.