DIY High-Tech Home Monitoring With a Dash of iPhone Coolness

After the cameras were all set up and viewable inside of my network, I needed to make them accessible via the Internet so I could monitor the cameras remotely with my iPhone. This was covered in the manual for the most part, but I had to Google instructions to enable port forwarding for my specific router.

Port forwarding allows you to route incoming traffic (such as when you use your iPhone to access your camera) to a specific internal (non-public) IP address. If you want your camera to have a fully resolvable hostname (i.e. yourcam.yourisp.com) instead of revealing your public IP address (which can change often depending on your ISP), then you will have to use a Dynamic DNS service such as dyndns.com.

Although the camera’s instructions covered how to enable Dynamic DNS, I didn’t want things to become too complicated initially, so I did not setup Dynamic DNS.

I set up all the camera features, including motion detection, snapshot e-mail, and camera admin password. It is extremely important that you set an admin password because you don’t want the world having access to your cameras. (Unless you’re into that kind of thing.)

On the iPhone side, I searched for and purchased an app called FOSCAM Surveillance Pro (Buy on iTunes). This app had good ratings and had the ability to directly control most of the camera’s features, such as the pan/tilt, motion sensor setup, and brightness.

Setup was extremely simple, and the app has a very polished feel to it. You can view up to six cameras at once in a mosaic window. Rotating the iPhone gives you a full-screen view of the camera feed, and touching an area of the screen will cause pan/tilt capable cameras to follow the direction you are pointing.

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