Back in 2013, I showed how to build an Internet-centric, mobile-enabled video surveillance system using HD video transmitted over in-wall power lines. The system was based on Logitech’s Alert product line. Sadly, Logitech killed that product line a few years ago, leaving owners struggling to maintain their systems.
Logitech provided me with six cameras. I hired an electrician to do the install. After about two years, one camera died. A year later, a second camera died. By that time, the product was no longer supported, so replacement cameras were hard to come by. Even so, four of the original cameras I installed still work to this day.
Sort of. When OS X 10.12 Sierra came out, the Logitech Alert Command software stopped working. This is the application used to configure the cameras and keep an ongoing watch outside. The problem was limited to the Mac side. Windows users are still using Alert Commander, but since Logitech isn’t updating the software, the writing is on the wall.
Pieces of the Alert software infrastructure still work. The Alert app on my iPhone will still let me look at the feed from the cameras. There’s an Alert web page that does still respond, although it isn’t suitable for ongoing viewing because it times out after a few minutes.
When the main Alert Commander program stopped running, I took to the internet. I found users who were experiencing the same problem, but were stuck for a workable solution.
While security cameras can be relatively inexpensive, they are not easy to replace. They often require hiring an electrician to climb into the eaves of a house or office and run cables. I looked recently at the Arlo camera as an alternative, but found it wanting in a number of areas.
The ideal solution would be to keep the cameras that still run, replace the broken one, and add more of a different brand over time — and have them all manageable from one monitoring interface. Because the Alert camera system is moderately proprietary, I didn’t have much hope for finding the ideal solution.
But, as it turns out, while the Alert system is mostly proprietary, it is possible to get to the cameras themselves over a network connection. It also turns out there’s a pretty impressive piece of software, SecuritySpy, that can implement the ideal solution I described above.
I’ll talk more about using SecuritySpy with cameras other than the Logitech Alert cameras in future stories. My intent is to incorporate not only our outside feed, but feeds from cameras watching 3D printers. I also want to experiment with reusing old smartphones as cameras for watching some of my projects progress. I’ll probably use one to keep an eye on the puppy’s antics when we’re out.
For now, though, the takeaway is this: if you’ve installed Logitech Alert, and are concerned about the lifespan of your desktop software, SecuritySpy has you covered. It will also allow you to mix and match cameras as your old Alert cameras die off.
A four camera license is a little under a hundred bucks, and it goes up from there. If you want to monitor 32 cameras or more, you can.
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