Easy Ways To Repurpose Your Old Technology Into New Home Security Devices


How To Turn Your Old Smartphone Or Webcam Into An IoT Home Security Device

With the development of the internet of things (IoT) comes the flourishing of DIY home security systems. There always seems to be a new and improved device around the corner. While the advent of this technology has made security systems and cameras cheaper and more accessible than ever, you don’t need to buy a new gadget or device to join in on the IoT home security trend. For those with some time and old technology lying around, here’s a couple ways to repurpose old technology into effective new home security devices. SEE ALSO: How To Connect Your Alarm To Your Smart Phone

1. Turn Webcams Into Security Cams

Repurposing old webcams is probably one of the best new uses for old technology. Most people have an extra attachable webcam laying around, or one on a laptop they don’t usually take out of the house.  Webcams have been repurposed into home security systems since before IoT devices even existed, so it’s easy to find a very wide array of different applications for accomplishing your intended purpose. Most of these are available for free online, and the long-time utilization of this method means that there’s a lot of different webcam software to choose from. One of the most popular of these, for those who don’t want to scour the web for the perfect software, is Yawcam, a tried and tested free alternative which features motion detection, streaming footage to a website, and the option to automatically upload snapshots. Of course, there are also newer varieties of these webcam applications, with notable features such as the ability to stream footage from your webcam to your smartphone. A couple examples of these new webcam apps, which can send alerts and live footage to your smartphone when they detect motion, are AtHome Camera and iCam.

2. Find A New Use For Old Tablets and Smartphones

There’s quite a few apps that can help you hook up your smartphone to your currently installed security system and monitor alerts or live footage, making smartphones already pretty useful for home security. For those with unused smartphones laying around, however, there’s another possibility. Instead of selling, recycling, or donating your old smartphone or iTouch, you can repurpose it into a security camera just like you would a webcam. Smartphones tend to be even more convenient for this than webcams because they’re easy to set up in any desired location, and because there’s a variety of new apps designed just for this purpose.  Some examples are Presence and Salient Eye, though there’s a long list of others.  Most of these apps include features like motion detection, alarm systems, SMS and email alerts, and the option to upload footage and snapshots. When using smartphones or tablets, however, you just have to consider that you’ll need to keep the phone plugged into an outlet in order to use it as a security camera. SEE ALSO: How Safe Are Smart Locks? Your Security Questions Answered

3. Pair Your Old Smartphone With An IoT Device

Popular new camera-based IoT home security systems, such as Dropcam, Piper, or Canary, can often cost upwards of $200. However, there’s recently been a new trend of lower cost IoT devices which connect to and work with old smartphones. Rico is one of these new systems - currently in its Kickstarter stage, Rico is a small $100 device which uses old smartphones to function as a full-featured home security system. With a smart phone attached, Rico can send video and audio footage of your home to your current phone, and can also monitor a variety of other factors, such as humidity, temperature, carbon monoxide, or smoke. These extra features make it a pretty comprehensive home security system, and the device also comes with smart sockets, to control your appliances from your phone or computer. Rico will be one of the first IoT devices to repurpose old smartphones, but similar setups are already popping up on Kickstarter. Bemo, for example, is a device which turns your old phone into a smart thermostat like Nest, though Bemo is, notably, $100 cheaper than other smart thermostat alternatives. There’s definitely going to be more and more systems emerging and seeking to incorporate your existing unused phones into smart home technology, so your old smartphone may yet find a new purpose.
Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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