Can webcams be used as surveillance cameras?

It is possible to use one or more webcams as part of a security system. It’s a bit unusual, but it’s certainly possible. The best use is probably for residential rather than commercial purposes. Businesses will have different requirements than a home owner, but in this article we’ll explore both possibilities.

Can webcams keep a home secure?

Using a webcam configured to monitor one or more rooms in a house is a viable project. There are webcam monitoring apps designed specifically for this purpose. Some applications can run on Windows, Mac OS or Linux and only require a little CPU resources to run well.

Many homeowners are hesitant because of the cost of an IP surveillance camera system. However, if they’re already a bit “tech-savvy” and perhaps have several old PCs, one of them will be a perfect computer for running a security camera application. Most security camera apps don’t need a fast PC or lots of RAM to work well, and they’re also compatible with webcams.

Is two-way audio possible?

Since webcams are not often used for security, they generally do not have two-way audio. This system, more common with IP security cameras, allows the person controlling the camera to speak to the person through a microphone and broadcast through speakers on or near the camera .

It’s up to you to decide whether or not this concerns you. Some homeowners like the idea of ​​warning the person who trespassed on their property that authorities are on their way to their location. This may encourage them to leave early, leaving more valuables behind.

However, it is possible to install a two-way audio system separately to work with a webcam security device.

Can webcams be used in a commercial setting?

For small businesses that have only one office and a few employees, or to cover limited areas like entrances or outdoor garages, it is possible.

A webcam could potentially offer higher resolution and a clearer image compared to an IP camera or smartphone . Capturing still images of intruders could also prove more useful to law enforcement.

One potential downside is that few webcams come with a night vision option. They therefore cannot see in the dark and need the coverage area to be illuminated 24/7 to obtain a useful image.

What type of webcam is needed?

A webcam requires a good frame rate, for example, 30 fps and preferably higher, to capture fairly good quality videos. The risk, unlike webcam footage capturing a home office from a desktop PC and webcam, is that people enter the frame too quickly relative to the frame rate.

Videos are a series of frames executed in sequence to appear as a moving image. When the frame rate per second is too slow, people entering and exiting the frame may become blurry. At this point, for surveillance, the image is useless.

This is why a higher frame rate, such as 60 frames per second, is preferable, as well as a resolution of 1080p or higher. This way, people and objects, such as vehicles, can be well captured.

Although it is a bit unusual to install webcams for surveillance, they give good results with proper equipment and stick to a limited scope. However, for larger commercial uses, other solutions are likely to offer more options.

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