Skype is great as is. It helps you to cut home phone bills, while establishing quality video communication with far away correspondents. As for every popular platform, there are tons of free and commercial applications available, enhancing the standard Skype capabilities. Review the listing of 74 freeware utilities and free services at RateItAll:
The following trick will require neither extra software, nor other online services. Just applying the embedded Skype functions unusual way, you can get the security observation camera capabilities.
You probably have webcam on your home computer, so the necessary hardware is already installed. What else you need for these arrangements?
- Computers - both with broadband - 'Home' and 'Away'.
- Skype software installed version 2.5 or later version on both computers.
- SkypeIDs - one for each computer. We recommend creating a separate ID for the security cam purposes. You will need to change the default settings, so that might be undesirable for your main account.
- Install Skype: Install Skype 2.5 or later version on the Home and Away computers. (Get the latest Skype at the website http://www.skype.com).
- Check Webcam. Ensure a webcam installed on the “home” computer correctly, and pointed at the subject/area you want to monitor.
- Enable Skype Video: On the Home computer, go to Skype > Tools > Options > Video (BETA), enable Skype Video.
- Turn On: Enable Skype Video
- Turn On: When I’m calling, and activate the “start my video automatically” function (see image)
- Enable Skype to auto-pickup Incoming Calls: On the Home computer, go to Skype > Tools > Options > Advanced > Call, and activate the "Automatically answer incoming calls" function.
- Setup Privacy: On the Home computer, go to Skype > Tools > Options > Privacy, and limit the people who can call in.
Now, you can call the Home computer from Away location through Skype. The Skype program in the Home computer will pick up the call automatically, to start the video session. Just remember that the Home computer needs to remain on, while you are not at home. And, the webcam needs to be pointed to the location that you want to monitor.
By this point you might have this in mind: You want to have the Skype security cam always on. But, you still want to be able to receive other Skype incoming calls.
No problem. You can activate multiple Skype accounts or sessions at the same time on a Windows XP machine. See the instructions here. You can set up a new Skype account dedicated to working with the security application, and you can have your personal Skype account open to other incoming calls at the same time.
Important note: please keep your Skype ids for video security/observation limited to those Skype users you know. See below on how to limit calls in.
But if you would like to make the security observation more automatic, you can find a different solution online. Using freeware Yawcam utility, you can turn the camera triggered by the motions nearby, converting webcam to motion sensing security camera. Software can be downloaded from the developers’ website: http://www.yawcam.com/
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