We first reported on free software to turn your phone into a remote camera back in 2004 (yes that long, and it was called Mobcam for Symbian). Well time may fly, but that doesn’t mean good ideas disappear. Now there’s a new and much more sophisticated version of the idea out, and it’s great. Camio is a free service which lets you convert any old smartphone (or even a computer webcam) into a motion sensitive security camera.
The remote access app is available for both iOS and Android, and once installed you get to monitor your chosen camera device from your computer or another device like a tablet or phone from anywhere in the world. The beauty of the whole system is the fact that you control it from a web based dashboard, which means it’s super easy to configure things the way you want.
We tested it out using a standard Logitech PC webcam and it worked flawlessly straight off. You log into the website dashboard after setting up an account, select ‘Share Selected Device’ to add the camera, choose any desired hot zones for motion capture and that’s it. A five minute set up.
Once you’ve got the camera working, it will sit there and monitor the view for any activity and record video immediately it detects any. Just like a real security camera. The big bonus is this one is free for a single camera. Of course you need to keep you computer on if you use a webcam, but you can do the same thing with an old phone and just keep that plugged in and awake and get the same level of monitoring.
You get to view the footage either as archived clips on the website – they store unlimited clips for up to 30 days for free – or live on a phone or tablet computer via the free app you can download. Very slick indeed. All the footage is stored with full 128 bit encryption, and as added icing on the cake you can do two-way audio chats with the camera and your viewing device, which is brilliant for long distance communication on the go.
We also really like the fact that the video review part of the online dashboard is so simple to use. You can select clips based on time, or mark them manually as important, and you can also share or download clips for permanent offline storage as needed. The whole thing is really well thought out. And in case you’re wondering how they’re going to make money, they offer an updated plan which costs $9 per extra camera you add to your system.
All in all this is a great new addition to the whole camera monitoring market. Nice.