If you, like I have old unused Android phones or partially inactive smartphones (for example, with a broken screen), you can come up with useful applications for them. One of them - the use of an Android phone as an IP camera will be discussed in this article.
What should be the result: a free IP-camera for video surveillance, which can be viewed via the Internet, activated, including by movement in the frame, in one of the options - saving excerpts from the movement in the cloud storage. See also: Custom ways to use your Android phone or tablet .
What you need: An Android phone (in general, a tablet is also suitable) connected via Wi-Fi (3G or LTE may not always work), if it is supposed to be used continuously, then connect the phone to a power source, as well as one of the applications for functioning IP cameras.
The first of the free applications that can be allocated to turn the phone into a network camera for video surveillance is IP Webcam.
Among its advantages: broadcast over a local network and the Internet, a lot of understandable settings in Russian, a decent help system, a built-in motion sensor and the collection of information from sensors, password protection.
After launching the application, a menu of all its settings will open, at the very bottom of which there will be an “Run” item.
After starting, the address on the local network will be displayed on the screen below.
By entering this address in the address bar of the browser on a computer, laptop or other mobile device connected to the same Wi-Fi router, you will be taken to a page from which you can:
- View the image from the camera (select one of the items in the "view mode").
- Listen to audio from the camera (similarly, in listening mode).
- Take a photo or record video from the camera.
- Change the camera from the main to the front.
- Download video (by default they are stored on the phone itself) to a computer or other device (in the "Video Archive" section).
However, all this is only available if another device is connected to the same local network as the camera itself. In case you need access to video surveillance via the Internet, you can:
- Use the Ivideon broadcast implemented in the application itself (registration of a free account in the ivideon video surveillance service and the inclusion of the corresponding parameter in the IP Webcam parameters are required), after which it will be possible to watch on the Ivideon website or using their proprietary application, as well as receive notifications when registering movement in frame.
- By organizing a VPN connection to your local network from the Internet.
You can get an additional idea about the features and functions of the application by simply studying its settings: they are in Russian, understandable, and in some cases are provided with prompts: there are motion and sound sensors (and recording excerpts when these sensors work), options for turning off the screen and automatic launch the application, adjust the quality of the transmitted video and more.
In general, it’s an excellent application for turning an Android phone into an IP camera, in the options of which you can find everything you need, and most importantly, with built-in access to broadcast over the Internet.
You can download the IP Webcam application from the Play Store https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pas.webcam
Video Surveillance with Android in Manything
I stumbled upon the Manything application by accident, it is still in the BETA version, in English and moreover, only one camera is available for free (and paid tariffs mean access to several cameras simultaneously from Android and iOS devices). But, at the same time, the application’s functionality is excellent, and some of the available functions, in my opinion, are very useful.
After installing the Manything application and registering for free (by the way, for the first month a paid tariff is activated with the ability to work 5 cameras, and then switches to free), on the main screen of the application you will see two available items:
- Viewer - to view data from cameras, if you use the application on this device to access the image from them (a list of cameras will be displayed, for each broadcast and access to saved videos is available). Also in Viewer mode, you can change the settings of the remote camera.
- Camera - for using an Android device as a surveillance camera.
After opening the Camera item, I recommend going to the settings, where you can:
- Enable continuous or motion recording (Recording Mode)
- Enable recording photos instead of videos (Stills Mode)
- Set the sensitivity of the motion sensor (Sensitivity Threshold) and the zone of its operation (Detection Zones), if any areas should be excluded.
- Enable sending push notifications to Android and iPhone devices when a motion sensor is triggered.
- Adjust video quality and data limits when used on a mobile network.
- Set the screen to turn off and on (Screen Dimmer, by default for some reason “Bright on Movement” means to turn on the backlight when moving).
After completing the settings, simply press the red record button to turn on the camera. Done, video surveillance is turned on and works in accordance with the specified settings. In this case, the video (in full or excerpts when the sensors are triggered) are recorded in the Manything cloud, and access to it can be obtained either through the official website of manything.com, or from another device with the application installed when you open it in Viewer mode (view).
In my opinion (not to mention the possibility of using multiple cameras), saving to the cloud is the main advantage of the service: i.e. someone can’t just pick up your home-made IP camera, depriving you of the opportunity to see what happened before (you can’t delete saved fragments from the application itself either).
As mentioned, this is not the final version of the application: for example, the description states that the camera mode for Android 6 is not yet supported. In my test, I used the device with this OS specifically, as a result, saving fragments when sensors are triggered works correctly, but real-time viewing partially works (from a mobile application in Viewer mode it works, but not through a browser, and checked it in various browsers, I did not understand the reasons).
You can download Manything from the App Store (for iOS) and the Play Store for Android here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.manything.manythingviewer
Of course, these are not all applications of this kind, but from what I managed to find free and functional, with the ability to use not only on the local network - only these two applications. But, I do not exclude that I could miss one of the interesting options.