A Webcam is any camera that display its pictures on the Internet (World Wide Web) and this is the definition of a WEB CAM. However there are a number of ways you can set up a webcam and the two most common ways of doing this are with a USB Webcam or an IP camera.
How a USB webcam Connects to the Internet
A USB webcam is a camera that connects to a computer, usually through plugging it in to a USB port on the machine. The video is fed to the computer where a software application lets you view the pictures and also transfer them to the Internet.
The software you choose can be set to upload images on a time interval using FTP (file transfer protocol) to a website, or it can be set to provide a live feed for displaying on a remote machine or again in a website.
When FTP is used the picture on the website is a static one which is updated regularly at intervals minute by minute, hour by hour or even longer. This is very easy to set up but the image delay means they are no where near as interesting to watch as a live feed.
USB webcam software can also be used to provide a live feed directly from the computer to your website or even fed to the Camsecure streaming service to allow large numbers of visitors to your website to see the feed at the same time.
USB webcams can be the small internal type you usually see for web conferencing and personal use etc. right up to professional quality oudoor weatherproof webcams.
The downside to any USB type of webcam is the fact that you must have a PC switched on at the location of the camera to enable the images or video feed to be sent to a website.
The first webcam was up and running at Cambridge University’s Computer Science Department In 1991.
How an IP webcam Connects to the Internet
An IP camera connects directly to your network, Broadband router or Modem. This type of webcam does not need a computer to connect to the Internet as it has all the electronics needed for this built in. This makes the camera very reliable as there is no PC involved or separate operating system, just its own embedded program which is usually Linux based.
An IP webcam can connect to your router in the conventional wired way using CAT-5 cable or some models also have a wireless connection too.
IP Webcams are usually used to provide a live feed directly to a web page rather than a static upload every "X" number of minutes. This makes them far more interesting to watch.
IP Cameras can also be used for security and can be recorded using surveillance software, and be programmed to email you when movement is detected and even save static images of the alarm via FTP to a date and time stamped folder on your website.
Camsecure IP Webcams for Websites are specially designed to allow easy embedding of their live feed directly into your own website.
Because there is no requirement for a PC to enable the camera to work on the Internet, IP Webcams are more reliable and far more economical to run than USB webcams.
The first IP camera was released in 1996. It was made by AXIS who are still big in IP cameras today.