I am staying in an apartment with a guarded entrance but somehow there are still quite a lot of house break-in cases that is never solved by the police. It is suspected that this is an inside job, done by some people who stays in the apartment. Some people goes out and comes back at a fixed time and this gives the burglar a pretty good opportunity to cut off the locks and get in the house to grab whatever they want.
Sometimes when I am away for a few days, I am always worried about my apartment. Thankfully I know my neighbor and I always inform them to keep an eye on my house. However, relying on neighbor is still not good enough because they can’t be looking out all the time so I needed something better which is can immediately notify me on my cellphone when there is a motion detected. The good thing about my apartment is the design where there is only one possible way to get in which is from the main door. So all I needed is to set up a motion detector that monitors the front door. This is my current setup and it works perfectly.
To set up a home based CCTV motion detection, I will need a computer running Windows, a webcam or an IP camera, motion detection software and a World-Text Email to SMS subscription for sending SMS text alert.
I already have a Logitech webcam connected to the computer running Windows so all I need to do is find a good working webcam software and set it up with World-Text. I found a lot of shareware webcam monitoring software that are quite expensive such as webcamXP, webcam7, Webcam Monitor, Netcam Watcher Pro but very few freeware that has the ability to take an action such as send email, run a program, upload to FTP or save file when a motion is detected. After searching around, I found Yawcam (Yet Another Webcam Software).
1. Yawcam runs on Java so make sure you already have Java installed. You can go and check if you have Java installed.
2. Download and install Yawcam.
3. Run Yawcam and you should see the message “No device selected” at the Preview window. Go to Settings > Device (none) > Change to > and select your webcam that is displayed in the list.
4. Now click on the Window that is on the menubar and select Motion detection. The only thing that you will want to configure is the Actions tab. The actions tab let you decide which actions that shall be taken when a motion is detected. You can set it to:
- Save an image file (or a sequence of files) to the local computer
- Upload images to an ftp account
- Send an e-mail (with or without images attached)
- Execute a program or batch file
- Play a sound file
5. To enable Motion detection, simply click on the “enable” button for Motion at the Control panel. Alternatively, if you’re at the Motion Detection window, you can click the enable button there too.
Now your webcam connected to your computer will act as a motion detector and will perform actions (if configured) upon detecting any motion. This is however not good enough for me because I want to get instant SMS text message on my mobile phone when detected a motion. Many years ago, Malaysian mobile carriers such as Digi, Celcom and Maxis offer “free” Email To SMS gateways which can be used to forward simple text emails to a mobile phones but they’ve stopped it long ago and my guess is due to abuse.
Your country might still have this service running, just search in Google and I’m sure you can find it. The more concrete way is to just subscribe to a email to SMS gateway service as they are more reliable. I don’t want to save a few buck and ended up my house being break in to. So here’s how I set it up
1. Sign up for an account in World-Text. Make sure you enter a valid information on the application form.
2. Check your email and click on the activation link to activate your World-Text account.
3. You should receive a text message from World-Text containing 5 digit pin number. Enter the 5 digit pin in the activation link to verify your mobile number.
5. Click on “Email Gateway Configuration” link.
6. Click on “Send SMS Using A Password” link and note down the “Current Secure ID“
Note: By default a new account gets 30 free credits. Sending a text message to Malaysia cost 15 credits per SMS. You can refer to the credit pricing table to see how many credits are needed to send a text message to your country. You should buy more credits because the 30 free credits won’t be enough since you need to test send a few SMS alert to make sure that it’s working.
7. Go to Yawcam, click Window from menubar and select Motion detection.
8. Go to Actions tab and click the Settings button for Send-Email.
9. Fill up the Email settings accordingly.
To = [mobile_number]@sms.world-text.com
Replace [mobile_number] with your mobile number. You must include your country code. An example for Malaysia Maxis user is email@example.com.
From = Your full Gmail address, example firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject = Your World-Text Secure ID
It’s the same Secure ID that you noted down in step 6 above.
Attach Image = CHECK
SMTP Server = smtp.gmail.com
Port = 25
Use encryption connection. (SSL) = CHECK
Password required = CHECK
Username = Your full Gmail address, example email@example.com
Password = Your Gmail password
As for flood control, I’d advise you to activate it or else it will send out really a lot of email alerts in one shot. I personally set it to send 1 email in every 60 seconds to prevent too many SMS. An example of
10. Click OK when you’re done and click the “enable” button at Motion Detection window. Try to create some motion in-front of your webcam and check the Motion Events tab. There should be information about motion events detected by Yawcam and what actions that were taken. If you got the settings right, you should instantly receive a SMS text message on your mobile with the message you set in the email settings window.
If you receive a text message alerting you that a motion is detected, log in to your Gmail email, go to Sent Mail folder and check the email sent by Yawcam. It should have an attached image of what tripped the motion detector. If you see a burglar, CALL THE POLICE!
Extra Note: There are some mobile carriers that has antispam installed and they won’t allow the sender ID to be in text such as World-Text, SMSAlert, SMS-Bureau, and etc. It’s safer if you configure World-Text’s default sender with numeric characters. Login to your World-Text account, at the Basic Configuration, you should see a drop-down option to change the Default Sender. Select any one with numbers and you’re done.