PC-Based Home Security: Do It Yourself

Security Monitor Pro

Let’s be clear right up front. If your camera comes with software that provides a solid interface and lots of recording , triggering, and management capabilities, you probably don’t need an app like Security Monitor Pro. Then again, are there cases when a 4- or 8-camera license ($169.95 and $299.95, respectively) could be a bargain. Quite possibly. Again, as with the Axis M1054, the more you need a unique feature, the more it’s worth.

Security Monitor Pro can do several things that many bundled monitoring apps may omit, including:

·         Simultaneous recording of up to 16 IP and four USB cameras. Be aware that once you start recording more than eight or nine concurrent streams, the strain on your recording system becomes formidable. Your little Celeron will cry and run home.

·         Paintbrush-drawn masking of include/exclude monitoring zones. This gives you more flexibility to accommodate odd-shaped zones and better eliminate false triggers.

·         Support of more than 1,000 different IP camera models.

·         Uploading to FTP servers.

·         Backup and restoration of camera settings.

·         Fine-tuning of stream broadcast settings for each camera. Not that this will require port forwarding and such.

·         Buffering of video to start recordings before the trigger event.

[image: SMP Actions]

Security Monitor Pro fills in several of the gaps left by cameras such as the Axis models. Now you have an easy way to do remote streaming. Moreover, with so many USB-based Web cams in use among consumers, it seems a shame not to be able to tie these into a whole-building security solution. With Security Monitor Pro, you can do that. Whichever camera type you use, Security Monitor Pro opens the camera’s native settings pages for you in a Web browser, saving the hassle of dealing with IP addresses.

This is a finely detailed, intuitively presented program with lots of satisfying twists, such as the ability to turn on an alarm that sounds continuously if network connectivity is lost. (That’s right. What happens to your regular security solution if someone cuts the broadband cable running into your building?) Security Monitor Pro’s time stamping and logging tools are excellent.

I offer this app as a highly recommended example of what to get if your current camera’s security tools are insufficient. We can argue about whether it’s overpriced or not, but in the end, all it takes is one successful break-in to make you wonder if $200 would have been cheap after all.