Using Video Chat as a Home Security Camera


A big concern for any home owner is what goes on in your own home when you are not around.  

Whether you are concerned you will be broken into or if you have a dog and want to keep an eye on them, there are a number of options available for you. The main option is an indoor security camera system which monitors the house while you are not in. However these systems can be rather expensive and take a lot of setting up. Well we have a simple solution which you can set up yourself… hold a video chat over Skype!

It is a simple solution and is easy to set up and doesn’t need any extra equipment. The basic idea is to video call yourself from home! It is free and you should have all the relevant devices you need. Here is a step by step guide on setting up your DIY home security camera:


1) Set up a new Skype account

Get onto Skype and set yourself up with a new account specifically for the house camera. You will also need to set up a separate e-mail to do this.


2) Alter your default laptop settings

Your computer will want to go to sleep after a while so you need to change the settings to ensure this doesn’t happen. Head to the Control Panel or System Preferences and in the System or Energy Saver area, change the computer sleep function to never.  
3) Log into your Home Skype Account

You then need to log into the home Skype account, you will need to remember to do this every morning. Now, when you get to work you will need to call your home Skype account so unless your dog has keyboard skills, you will need to set it to accept your call. Go to the calls section in Tools>Options and select “Answer incoming calls automatically” and “Start my video automatically when I am in a call”. These changes mean that as soon as you call your home account, it will automatically answer and start a video call with you.
4) Call your account when you get to work

When you get to work, add your new account into your contacts list and then make a call via a mobile video chat to your home account.
5) Start spying!

Once it has accepted the call, start spying!  


This is the basic set up requirements but here are some other tips for you when you are looking set this up. Make sure your laptop is plugged in; you don’t want it to run out of power at a key moment. Think about where you want your laptop to be positioned. Do you want it to look at the door to try and catch intruders, in the bedroom where your valuables are or in the living room where you are likely to catch the dog making a mess?  

Finally, to be extra sneaky, why not use a separate webcam to record what goes on? This way you can flatten the screen over, without making it go to sleep, and point the camera where you want it to. This way the whole screen won’t be on view and you can hide the camera easier.

Home security is a serious concern for homeowners but security systems can be expensive, here we have a simple easy to set up and cheap version which everyone can use.


Image Credit: dgbury