If you are like me you have been highly frustrated at the native functionality of the bundled IP camera software that came with your camera, as well as the lack of availability of third party solutions. If this sounds like you than I will make your day as iSpy Connect is the most complete and functional solution I have seen to date, and it’s even free. In addition to tons of power and features, it is actually fairly easy to setup for basic use. You have to first get past much of intimidating information on their site as well as well as the ton of plug-ins and supplemental programs (not needed for most users). Once you get past that, you will see the real power of what this can do.
Setup and configuration is pretty straight forward once you download the proper version (32 or 64 bit versions). Once you launch the software you are greeted with a rather plain screen consisting of a few menu buttons on the top. Don’t be deceived by this though as the real power is underneath the hood. The first thing you want to do is add your first camera. iSpy supports just about every camera known to man and the best way I found to add a camera is by using the “IP Camera with Wizard” option. This will walk you through your first camera install along with all the basic settings to make your camera do what you want (you will still need to pre-configure your camera out of the box with user name and password). It knows enough about each camera that you can accept most of defaults as there are so many options in there that it can get confusing. The only real information you will need is the brand and model number of your camera. During the wizard setup you will also want to have an idea of things like recording schedules so you can customize it as you are setting up. Of course all the settings can be changed at a later time. Below is a basic guide one of my cameras.
Setting up your first Camera (Assumes you have tested and configured your camera out of the box and are ready to put it to use)
Once you have added the camera, you might want to do some configuring. It is also pretty straightforward however it contains a ton of options if you want to get courageous.
This is one option that is critical and takes some time to get right. The main goal here is to set the motion sensor so that it picks up movement with little to no false alarms. This is a two part setting. First is a threshold (sensitivity levels), and second is the “area” that you deem to be the trigger area. This is very challenging when dealing with outdoor cameras, or when your room has varying shadows from outside lights as the shading difference is picked up by the camera. Try and keep the camera away from the windows and be patient when setting this. I was able to finally get both indoor and outdoor cameras to work but it took many tries.
Other Configuration Settings
In short, this is by far the best piece of software for your IP cameras you will likely find. The basics are fairly easy to setup and the customizability is virtually endless. It has more than enough features for even the hardcore user and from my experience with it it is very quick and stable. After some experimenting I was able to tune the motion sensing to eliminate 99% of the false alarms which is the first time I have been successful at doing this. It also worked flawlessly with a mixture of SmartHome, D-Link, and HooToo cameras. To say that I am pleased with this would be an understatement as most of the stuff I have been stuck with in the past just did not work very well. Add to that the fact it is free and life does not get much better. I was so impressed with it that I immediately donated to the developer within the first two days. They do have some reasonably priced services such as web monitoring that are worth looking at but in either case, give it shot and I think you will find it to be very well written software that supports a tremendous amount of camera types and configurations.