Security camera software can be though of as the glue that binds together digital video cameras and Personal Computers (PCs) or Macintosh Computers (Macs) as well as Digital Video Recorder (DVR) units for standalone systems. It’s also the heart of remote DVR monitoring applications (Apps) that allows your smartphone to access your video security system. In essence, it provides the programming that allows you to control the camera, monitor the camera, record the digital video files, and maintain and control the DVR.
There are many types of security camera software. Perhaps the simplest to use is a typical web browser such as Internet Explorer, Firefox Mozilla, Google Chrome and others. For digital video security cameras and DVRs that are IP (Internet Protocol) ready, a web browser may be all that is needed to control, monitor, and record digital video security images. However, these cameras may also be networked and use a Network Video Recorder or NVR. If that’s the case, then the software used for the NVR must be considered also.
Although it may be difficult to describe what security camera software is we can easily describe what it isn’t. Security Camera Software is not firmware. Firmware is basically the drivers and internal commands that a device needs to communicate with processors and other devices. Firmware is device and manufacturer specific and is usually only updated on a seldom basis.
Security camera software is not Operating System (OS) software. Operating systems like Windows, Linux, Mac, and others provide the basis for central communication between devices, processors, and users. OS software is what makes a computer system work. Normally, DVRs and NVRs have OS software like Linux and WIndows 7.
So where does that leave us with security camera software? As stated earlier it could be considered as a web browser, but typically security camera software is specific programming that is designed to operate a digital video security system. We can list the types of security camera software based on how they are designed to work. Security camera software can be:
- -Designed to provide the control, monitoring and recording of security cameras and DVRs;
- -Designed to allow PCs and Macs to provide the control, monitoring, and recording of security cameras when used in conjunction with a security video PCI card;
- -Designed to provide the control, monitoring and recording of security cameras and DVRs that may be networked using the Internet (IP ready);
- -As mentioned earlier, designed as Apps for Smartphones to allow them to monitor and control IP ready cameras; and
- -Designed to integrate a variety of digital video capture devices such as webcams, netcams (or IP ready cams), computer PCI capture cards and computers to create a digital video security system.
The first type on our list is software that is normally provided when you purchase a standalone digital video security system with a DVR. The manufacturer of the DVR or the Cameras (or both) may provide the software that is normally installed on the DVR unit. This software is used to control camera functions such as Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) functions and timers that turn the cameras on and off.
The second type of security camera software on our list works with computers that use a PCI card. There are some digital video security systems that are specifically designed to work with your computer. For example Geovision brand PCI DVR cards provide inputs for multiple security cameras that connect to your computer. This system uses your computer’s hard drive as the DVR. The software that accompanies this card that allows the computer to control the cameras and store the digital video files is a type of security camera software.
Our third type applies specifically to IP ready digital video cameras, DVRs and servers, and systems. The software is normally produced by the manufacturer of the security system and is designed to allow a computer to control, monitor, and record security video using the network. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it may be something as simple as a web browser, but it can also be a proprietary program produced by the security equipment manufacturer that is used to coordinate the video security system’s functions. These may also be in the form of browser plug-ins such as ActiveX subroutines that must be installed in the browser before it is used with the system.
The fourth type of security camera software is Smartphone Apps which we have already described.
The fifth and final type of security camera software allows you to use a variety of video capture devices (such as webcams or capture cards) in conjunction with your computer to create your own digital video system. While this does not create the ideal video security system, it does save money by allowing you to use equipment you have already purchased to create a digital video system.
IP Security Camera Software
There are lots of ways to network a digital video security and surveillance camera system. Thanks to the digital age and the advancements of computer and Internet technology the Internet can be used as a medium for networking, allowing the user to have global access. This is just one of the functions of Internet Protocol or IP security camera software.
IP security camera software may come with a variety of different functions. For example its primary purpose may be just to make the camera IP ready so that it can transmit its video images over the Internet to the user. These cameras are often called IP ready security cameras and it allows the user to place a camera just about anywhere there is access to broadband Internet. The camera then transmits its videos over the Internet to a personal computer that has the IP security camera software installed.
This software contains the programming needed to communicate with the IP digital camera. It normally runs as an active x function on Windows’ Internet Explorer and other browsers so the user can monitor his/her camera simply by using a compatible browser. If the camera is a Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ camera, the IP security camera software may even provide the necessary programming so that the user can operate the controls to the PTZ via the Browser.
Another type of IP security camera software uses the Internet as the vehicle for networking among IP cameras. In other words, instead of the camera using RG-59 coaxial cable or other wiring to send its video images to the Digital Video Recorder or DVR, the camera simply plugs into a broadband Internet connection and once connected, uses the Internet to send its video image data to the NVR.
The NVR acts pretty much like a typical DVR however it is made for networking cameras and storing their video images via the Internet. Some NVRs require that a certain type or brand of camera be used and some NVRs also restrict the use of the NVR and IP cameras to one physical location. The NVR coordinates the IP system, including the cameras, file storage, and playback.
So why use IP cameras and IP security camera software? In this age of global communication, many workers perform a great deal of traveling. Using and IP camera with IP security camera software, it’s possible to monitor your IP cameras in Maine while you are in Hawaii. You can also often gain access to the cameras using smartphones and a special type of IP security camera software designed specifically for smartphones called an “application” or just simply put, “an app.”
Another example for using IP camera systems is that you may have cameras located in totally different geographical areas. However, you may want to record these cameras from a totally different location (a home office for example). Perhaps you own 2 or 3 convenient stores in your area and want to be able to monitor them from your home office. You simply connect the IP camera to the Internet, set up your NVR, and you can monitor all three locations at once from a totally different location than any of your cameras (home office for example).
These are just some of the ways that an IP camera system can be used. If you prefer to take advantage of professional full time monitoring of your cameras IP camera software can also make it possible for the monitoring company to see each of your cameras.
Usually, IP security camera software is provided by the camera manufacturer or the NVR manufacturer so you seldom ever need to purchase the software separately. Security Camera King has another type of IP security camera software called a Mobile Video Server and in comes in 4, 8, and 16 channel capability.
This software allows the user to embed a live stream of one or more cameras on a web page. This means that any Web browser that can play streaming video will be able to view the cameras. Of course smartphones, PDA’s, and the like will be able to view them too.