How to set up a video camera in a office?
August 16, 2018 4:20 PM   Subscribe

I need a video camera to view an front office down the hall. I have a computer at my desk [and a smart phone]. What would be cheapest and easiest way to do this? The front office is unmonitored and there is a bell that rings when they come in but I still have to get up to go see if it is really a visitor or if it is just another worker coming in and out. Thanks for any suggestions.
posted by just asking to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe a cheap IP webcam that you connect to your network and open a browser window to monitor? Those are probably $25 by now.
posted by a halcyon day at 4:31 PM on August 16, 2018

And IP webcams come in WiFi flavor as well.
posted by humboldt32 at 4:35 PM on August 16, 2018

What about a Ring or other brand of video doorbell?
posted by Autumnheart at 4:42 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

the Wyze cameras are $20, or add $10 if you want pan and tilt functionality. It will (it says) alert you via its app on your phone when it detects activity, or you can live stream it. The Wyze ones aren't the best out there (I believe the Wirecutter recently reviewed a bunch) but they are typically the cheapest, and the video quality on them will be good enough for this purpose.
posted by mrg at 5:09 PM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

If it has audio capabilty, be aware of what your local laws allow. In some states, any audio capability if you're not in the room is illegal (if it's turned on).
posted by Candleman at 5:20 PM on August 16, 2018

If you have a spare old/ancient laptop you can bung Linux on it and install "motion". Disable the file saving and enable the web server to stream video. (This also works with a Raspberry Pi (or similar SBC) if you have any old spare webcam. (I have a Sony PS2 camera hooked up to the Raspberry Pi I use for Pi-hole.)
posted by krisjohn at 8:03 PM on August 16, 2018

I have these Zmodo wireless cameras for keeping an eye on my dog while I'm not home. You can watch live at any time via the app on your phone or a webpage on your computer. The app alerts you when there's movement and saves a few seconds of footage at the time of movement (it saves for 12 hours without signing up for cloud storage). It does stream sound, and there's a talk feature so if you really wanted to you could either freak out your coworkers or tell visitors to hold on you'll be right there via the phone app. It's a wide angle lens so we've never had to worry about pan/tilt/zoom - you can see the whole room without a problem.
posted by misskaz at 7:00 AM on August 17, 2018

Yep, a cheap Wyze (version 2) camera and their phone app.

It may bond to one phone, I'm not sure, so be careful when you set it up.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:37 AM on August 17, 2018

I recently solved this problem at work - went low tech and used a $7 1'x5' mirror off Craigslist.
posted by porpoise at 3:16 PM on August 17, 2018

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