My Video Surveillance Experience

A few years ago I took it upon myself to install and configure a video surveillance system. Not because I live in a bad neighborhood, but for a sense of security and it made for a low cost project that I could use for years to come. I started with some old computer hardware and some low cost PoE cameras from Amazon. Nothing special just and old quad-core desktop, a couple of hard drives, and a PoE switch. My goal was to have a system I could view and record anytime of the day or night from anywhere with security in mind.

I started with one of the largest open sourced surveillance systems ZoneMinder and connected the cameras to a PoE switch. I was able to achieve most of my goals with the software, but ultimately after several months of consistently tinkering with settings and crawling the net for help, I decided to search for something that was more transparent. This was when I found Xeoma. After playing with the trial version I ended up re-imaging the computer with Ubuntu Server and was easily able to get Xeoma configured to meet most of goals.

Why Xeoma?

Right away I saw better performance with Xeoma than I did with Zoneminder. The video streams were consistent (awesome frame-rate), the server was under less load, native support for all major operating systems, and the amount of bandwidth each video steam took had declined (it was WayCool to see that the bandwidth used to view correlated directly with the application size). Overall the software just worked. However, it lacked one key item, security. I had noticed that the credentials used to connect to Xeoma were in clear text! While it’s unlikely that this would have ever been an issue, it went against my morals so I contacted Xeoma. A short while later Xeoma pushed an update to use an SSL to encrypt the credentials. Problem solved, goal met!

Today I continue to use Xeoma and have recommended it to several friends. While not free, I am completely willing to pay for software that works well, especially seeing that Xeoma actively listened to their users. I believe Xeoma’s cost is fair, in that you only pay to continue receiving updates to the software (I like to think of it as supporting the dev’s that put in the time). Over time the software has continued to fulfill my desires. I have been able to configure it to send SMS videos when there are motion based alerts, integrated it to work with IFTTT so that I can change settings automatically based on my phones location, and even run other scripts based on Xeoma’s logic.

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