|How to link several webcams to a website?|
I'd like to give site visitors the choice of viewing several webcams
| 10:39 pm on Aug 29, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I've been making a few more websites and trying braver things. A lady who runs a daycare from home would like to have a website where parents can go to view live webcams in her home (to satisfy their need to know what their children are up to).
There would probably be 4 or 5 cameras. I thought webcams would be a good idea. How difficult would it be set it up like this? On her end, she would need to link all those webcams to her computer. On my end, I'd need to set up a website to tap into all those webcams.
Any thoughts on this?
| 10:48 pm on Aug 29, 2006 (gmt 0)|
The first thought that occurs to me is not technical, but practical.
I may sound paranoid, but any other parent could capture the stream and do as they wished with it, and I wouldn't be entirely thrilled at this thought. Probably, it would be fine, but it would require the permission of each parent, and for practical purposes if even one said no it would be a non-runner.
I would be extremely cautious in being involved in putting any images of children on the web, however noble the intent and whether or not they are in a password protected area.
| 12:22 am on Aug 30, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I hadn't thought of that... you're right though. I also wouldn't want to be partly responsible should things go wrong with who gets to watch the children. It's possible the lady with the daycare didn't take this into account either.
That aside, how difficult is it to install a single webcam feeding into a website? I've got a webcam on my computer which I use only on MSN. If I wanted to feed this live into my website (either continuously or only when I switch it on), what's involved with that? There would be no confidentiality considerations in this case, since it would be just for me, on my own website.
I think I'll pass on the daycare website though, or at least the webcam part of it.
| 10:57 am on Aug 30, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Simply make the webcam access area password-protected for registered users. You should charge for this service anyway.
I'm not sure about the webcasting, but I do a lot of remote wireless cam stuff with RC helicopters. :-) Look up the SecurityMan Air Watch, it's wireless, cheap (1-cam units $30 - $50 eBay, retail $99,) supports color and sound and the receiver has an auto-cycling function that swaps between up to 4 channels. The output is standard RCA jack video and audio output. For power you just need 800 mah/9 volt adapters for the cams and the receiver (comes with them.) I use two tiny 800 mah lipos in series for my helicams. :-D
With one of those in hand, all you'd have to figure out is a) do you have video input? If not, you need a card that will cost you $50-$200 to accept video in, and b) software to digitize and webcast the video from a computer. You can probably use any webcam software for this purpose, but you'd better have a hosting service that won't break the bank - live video feeds take up a lot of bandwidth.
Hunt around for articles on webcasting.
The other alternative is to look around for teen/children activity sites. One example I have seen is a roller skating rink that webcasts during open hours. Parents can log in and see if their kids are still at the rink.
You should have no legal problems if it's openly advertised and in the agreement when the parents open an account with a daycare facitity, and better yet if the service is passowrd-protected. In fact, most parents will appreciate it.
| 4:00 am on Aug 31, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Yes, it sounded like a good idea. It's too bad there is the potential for abuse. Maybe I shouldn't rule it out for the daycare place. I'll explain both sides or possibilities to her. It's encouraging to know it's working for the roller rink.
I'm still interested in setting up a webcam for myself to broadcast on my site (just one cam). Thanks for the tips!