Sunday, October 26, 2014

Xeoma - yet another option for camera management at home

I've been looking for new camera software and the recent test was done with xeoma which isn't open source softwar,e but it also is not that expensive compared to many other solutions especially when you want to have your recorder something that you can easily upgrade and maybe even have it done something else as well than just surveillance monitoring. Usually though surveillance monitoring is so heavy that device that records doesn't do much more than just record.

Xeoma has webpages at where one can find all the needed information and download the software itself. Xeoma works on Windows, Linux, Max OS and even on Android. For my personal use Linux is the one that is most important, however I don't exclude windows really as it would be good for remote access possibilities. Why? Because the cameras will not be monitored by me but e.g. my parents who are quite tight to Windows world. :) The version used in this quick review was 14.7.18 64-bit for both Linux and Windows also should be noted that I used the Trial period version during this initial review.

First startup

First time I started xeoma for testing, it was very nice surprise to see that Xeoma could find local webcam and also my IP cameras (on Windows) that were on same IP subnet with the computer I started the application with. It didn't however find automatically the cameras that were on my other subnet in my local network, but that is understandable. The cameras that were found automatically were running default settings and did not have restricted access, which probably helped quite a bit. This initial device search made it very easy to check the configurations and start testing some of the features especially as for me it showed more than one camera. Here is a sample photo with some cameras showing in the xeoma monitoring screen.

I must admit that the User interface feels a bit confusing at first and there are some problems with it as well, but once you get used to it it is usable. For example I could not use "tab key" on keyboard from going from one field to another which I have used to do a lot, but that is not a blocker just a minor annoyance. Also when typing the camera settings when typing faster the info row was not updating properly. Anyway these are just something that you have to handle only when you setup the cameras. After you have setup everything and have all the recording and cameras etc. done properly there is not really anything to do anymore and then the simplicity of the UI kicks in when monitoring the cameras.

By default the cameras added to Xeoma have very simple default module chain that has the actual camera, scheduling, motion detect and previewing and archive modules enabled. This is quite nice combination for many, however for my use I removed the schedule as the first things what I did just to make the chain simpler and because I want to have cameras always on recording mode.

For my use motion detection is the main thing that I need which has been made quite easy in xeoma. Also the default chain contains automatically the motion detection as said above, so it was easy to configure from the start.

Connecting to remote Xeoma server

Also after starting up the xeoma on Linux and checking the password with following command
./ -showpassword
I started xeoma on Windows machine, entered the details of my linux machine and there it was instantly viewing of the content from my Linux machine on Windows machine, so simple! Almost love at the first sight ;) On Xeoma client application side to go through following flow "Main Menu >  Remote access > Connect to" and there entered IP address kept the port the same 8090 and added the password from the Linux command line. Of course this assumes that you dont have firewalls or have made rules for the 8090 port on the Linux machine.


So far Xeoma looks very promising, but I have to do longer term tests to find out if it suites for all of my needs or not. One thing that I noted was that the memory usage of xeoma is reasonable and it does not take too much memory by default at least in this kind of sort time testing. If this is the final solution for my environment is something that only time will tell :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Looking for video survaillance solution

I have been looking for a while for good solution for surveillance software and it has been quite hard without putting lots of money into it. First try was using the build in solutions of the cameras, i.e., FTP uploading. This was proven quite hard as it introduces a lot of points for errors. Each camera had to be controlled separately for settings from the webui pages. The most issues were caused by the old D-Link DNS-323 nas running 2x500G harddrives. The NAS was chosen over E-mail uploads as the e-mail uploads need constant network connection as well as lots of bandwidth if one extends the cameras up to 8 that is the current plan. Also because some of the cameras will watch home yards which have lots of trees and bushes that move in the wind, it makes quite a lot of traffic which is not really suitable for e-mails.

After all the problems with the solution above I started to look for NAS solutions that have surveillance features such as QNAP or Synology, the cost on those would be quite high as the hardware itself costs hundreds of € and then the license another X€. This would also mean that one would be on tight to that hardware and new requirements in the future would mean buying completely new hardware without possibility to really just do e.g. cpu or memory upgrades. Similar problem would be also with devices like dahua NVR's which have limited hw specs and in the end as the plan is to try different type of cameras buying NVR from one brand could limit the cameras that can be attached.  So the plan changed to have dedicated computer to run on these.

After the decision about dedicated computer I found out about iSpy that have been using for a while. iSpy is quite nice solution and one of the best thing is that it is free and open source (excluding some special services). After using it for couple of months it still feels that it is not the best and seems to be a bit too complex for and hard to use. After some time one of my friends pointed out xeoma which seems like an interesting option, which I will test next.

Currently I have 3 cameras in the network, Dahua IPC-HFW3200SP PoE, 2Mpix Full HD camera, Foscam FI8918W VGA WiFi camera and then one unbranded 2Mpix PoE bullet camera. More cameras will come later when I get the base of the system done and running. Only one of the cameras is currently in the final position at the moment with proper cables etc.