Feb 4 2013

Automatically arm/disarm motion/sound detection on the Foscams

I mentioned recently that I installed some new wireless cameras to “see” future water leaks earlier, especially when I’m away from home.

Those cameras offer actually quite a nice set of additional features. Two of them being: motion and sound detection. You can setup the cameras to automatically send emails (with camera snapshots attached) whenever the cameras “hear” or “see” something. That’s great, because then they can act like a security system as well.

Only problem is that you need to remember to turn on motion/sound detection when you leave the house and also remember to turn it off when you return to the house. Ok, so make it a habit to change the setup of the cameras upon departure/arrival. Here’s the next problem: it takes too long. If you logon to each individual camera and change the alarm settings, it takes entering username/password and several clicks to arm/disarm. Way too much work:


I looked at several Android Apps (tinyCam Monitor among them), but they also don’t seem to make “arm/disarm cameras” a single-click option.

I ended up reverse-engineering the Foscam camera protocol and created two simple scripts, which would automatically arm/disarm the cameras. Part 1 was done.

Next I needed a solution that would execute those scripts automatically. For that I installed the (excellent) AutomateIt app on my Samsung Galaxy SIII. AutomateIt allows you to have your device automatically execute certain actions when a specific event is detected. Most often this is used to lower the volume when earplugs are connected, switch off the ringer during the night, etc.

However it also has a “proximity” event. This event is fired when you get close to a location or leave an area. I defined my home as the proximity location, created one action that is executed when I leave my home and another one that is executed when I get close to my home:



Now all I have to remember is to bring my mobile phone whenever I leave the house. And that’s something my 45+ y/o brain can handle.

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