For those of us with a Mac at home, gathering dust while we work and play, turning a Mac into a security tool seems like the right thing to do.
Unfortunately, no one can agree on how to get it done. Google’s Nest division bought Dropcam, my favorite security and nanny-cam maker. Now I have fears that Dropcam will be watching me instead of watching my house, and Google will become the ultimate digital Big Brother.
So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and put to use some of those video cameras that have been gathering dust.
Enter Periscope Pro, a video surveillance app for the Mac. The app comes with plenty of features but handles multiple cameras, including the Mac’s built-in iSight camera, USB cameras, remote cameras and even IP-based cameras.
Controls let you set the sensitivity of the audio monitoring and motion detection. That means you can record photos and audio whenever someone steps within range of the camera. Everything captured gets stored on your Mac but can automatically be uploaded to Dropbox so you can view what’s going on back at home or in the office while you’re away.
The in-app preview window lets you see what the camera sees while you perform the setup. It’s set it and forget it.
Why setup a surveillance system in the first place?
Periscope Pro is a good way to monitor the office, or your home, while you’re away. It’s easy to setup a nanny-cam, a babysitter-cam, or an adult-day-care cam. And the app doesn’t care how far away you are, either, as you can monitor the Dropbox clips from anywhere there’s an internet connection.
All is good, right? Almost. Periscope Pro requires plenty of trial and error to get the motion detection and audio detection just right. I suggest starting at high (which uses too much CPU power) and slowly coming down. I’ve also had issues with sleep on one of our Macs. The screen should dim but does not. On an old family MacBook Pro it worked fine.
It’s a shame there are so few video surveillance tools for the Mac, and I applaud Google for buying Dropcam, which was my favorite (and which I won’t use again, because, well, you know– Google).