Live video monitoring systems are great — except for the fact that someone actually has to be watching for them to be of much use. Even if that doesn’t mean watching it live, that means pouring over hours of footage that likely contains a lot of the same thing: Nothing. And that’s why HighlightCam is cool. It condenses video down to just moments where there is actual activity.
It does this by watching for changes in video streams, which is to say that it looks for motion happening within the video. When it senses something, it knows to remember that portion of the video. And, if you set it up to do so, it can also send an email to you to let you know there is activity currently happening on the video stream. You can probably dream up a bunch of uses for something like this, but the obvious ones are monitoring babies from other room, watching your pets when you’re away, and yes, watching to make sure no one is breaking into your house.
This sort of technology has only existed up until now in high-end security systems for big commercial buildings, we’re told. But HighlightCam does this at a fraction of the cost. To use it, you simply have to set up a webcam and then visit the HighlightCam site. The service is entirely browser-based. And you don’t even need an account to start using it (though you will need one to access recordings later).
The Y Combinator-funded HighlighCam makes use of the freemium model. With the free version you get the core features including the ability to use any webcam and e-mail notifications. But the main limitation is that your recorded videos are only stored for 24 hours. With the premium version (which is $8.99 a month), videos are archived for 2 weeks, and you get higher resolution recordings, no ads on the site and the ability to download recorded videos.
I think we definitely need to set this up for the TechCrunch CrunchCam. Most of the time when I’m not in the office and I tune in, I just see Jason and Leena diligently typing away with absolutely no perceivable motion occuring. It’d be great to get an alert for the 15 minutes a day when there is actually something going on, like Segway jousting.