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Now You, Too, Can Deploy a Portable Video Security Station

The shocking events of Sept. 11, 2001, will always haunt us, but they're also helping the video security business big-time right now.

As one might imagine, George Orwell's Big Brother is now well ensconced--make that accepted--in our daily lives, let's face it. Before 9/11, people were much more apt to get riled up and file protests about the obvious loss of freedom the tight new world of security now represents. Now people just shrug and sigh, because they are powerless to fight this.

In our cities, we've got videocams watching our every move in airports, retail stores, banks, post offices, and at every gas station, convenience store and ATM. We're seeing a major increase in video and snapshots of drivers through intersections in an effort to catch and ticket red-light and speed violators. Police now roam their beats with always-on videocams attached to their car dashboards or motorcycles.

In the UK, you cannot walk in Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, the Tower Bridge or anywhere near a government property without being viewed by somebody in a video control booth. Cameras are everywhere in London and other English cities. In fact, it's a safe bet that the Brits have deployed more security cameras per capita than any other country.

More people are buying their own videocams for personal reconnaissance purposes. Prices on IP systems are coming down as volume and competition increases. The upswing in the number of home IT networks--and corresponding storage capacity bought--has made owning such a system generally more affordable.

IPcams have their own IP addresses and built-in Web servers that enable them to connect directly to the user's network, yet can be remotely accessed from any standard Internet browser.

In any case, we recently came across a list of suggested uses for a home IP video security system, should any of our readers need specific reasons for investing in one. The suggester is a Cerritos, Calif.-based company called Plustek, which makes scanners, book readers, a small-business appliance server, and security systems. Yes, of course they have an agenda. Plustek makes inexpensive Webcams that go for under $150. We can't imagine what their agenda is, however.

For your general home-security information, here is that list:

1. Nanny-cam your home: Your child's safety is No. 1 (if it isn't, it had better be). How better to stay connected than with an IP cam keeping watch on the little guys and gals 24/7 in real time? You can watch from the office--or from wherever your laptop is located--whenever you want.

2. Keep an eye on entrances and exits at work and in the home: Never feel nervous about a late-night knock on the door again.

3. Not only watch, but listen to conversations: No matter where an IP cam is set up, people can be held accountable for their actions and their words.

4. Easily broadcast activities in real time via the Internet: Know exactly when and where people in your home and/or office are at all times by watching it wherever you are from any computer with the Internet. Watch as it happens or keep it recorded to play back later. Sounds like Tivo for the home.

5. Watch up to four live feeds at once: For those who really like watching screens at all times, day and night.

Didn't realize you could carry around a video control station on your laptop? Welcome to the post-9/11 world, brother.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...