I haven’t put anything here for ages, but this time I believe I’ve found something that makes it worth the time to write these few lines.

I played a few with motion detection as a student, but then I skipped it for years as I was living in an apartment where it makes few sense. I now moved to a house and have 2 things I want to achieve: keeping my house secured (as much as reasonably possible) and check that my young daughter doesn’t get cold while crawling out of her duvet.

I started with motion: great open-source tool, but it lacks the very basic user-friendliness I look for (pure code-based configuration), and I could never make it happen to get a smooth video out of it.

I then had a look at zoneminder: I was quite happy with it but I couldn’t get the camera detection to work and it’s really CPU intensive (still there may be some optimization I missed – I don’t want to blame anyone here). I really like the iOS app and the timeline, but it wasn’t enough for me.

So I kept looking for an alternative. One of m colleagues is using Xeoma for quite long and he seemed happy with it, but it’s not open-source so I never wanted to have a look at it. But today google pointed me at this site ranking Xeoma on the top-3 alongside with Motion and ZoneMinder, so I finally decided to take a look at it.

I was first suspicious looking at their licensing model (the first thing I looked at): they have a free version and a demo version… The free version is limited to 4 cameras (and I have 5, damn…), and the demo version resets all your settings every 4 hours.

I won’t talk much about the config system as they talk a lot about that on their web-page (it made me first think of the SQL server maintenance plan designer with the little boxes you move around…), but rather a general feeling with some examples that sticked to my mind (pros and cons mixed).

The setup is ugly: I’m a convinced Debian user for ages so having to untar a file to get “xeoma.app” made me feel like being 15 years back in time…

The camera setup script woks like a charm. It took 3 minutes and found my cameras… plus my Catalyst…

The iOS app is just a live player, but at the end I’ll probably never will have to update any setting from my phone.

They have quite a few funny modules including car-plate and face recognition.

Having 5 1080p (escam brick qd900) cameras running on my server eats up just over half a core (HT) of a Xeon@2.27Ghz. It’s not a recent CPU so I’m OK with leaving a complete core for motion detection.

So long story short: I really tried to find out a nice home surveillance soft for quite long and I think I’ll quit looking for now and stick to Xeoma (if only they could polish their GUI and get a few more features in their mobile app it would really be a huge soft!)