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Webcam or Construction Camera — What’s the Difference?

Video surveillance on the jobsite is important to reduce risk, ensure policy and safety compliance, increase security and boost worker productivity. But benefits aside, which technology should you choose — a webcam or an IP-enabled construction camera? Both capture live images and video footage and transmit them to your computer for easy viewing.

However there are some key differences, and if you’re selecting a camera solution for your jobsite, you should familiarize yourself with the associated features and use case scenarios.

First a couple definitions: A webcam is a hardware camera and input device that connects to a computer and the Internet. An IP construction camera lets you view live video over the internet from anywhere in the world — PC, tablet, or smartphone — as long as you have internet access.

TrueLook construction cameras are IP-enabled, and we argue that IP cameras offer significant advantages that traditional webcams cannot. Here are 7 important advantages of IP cameras:

  1. Easier to set up and operate: Webcams require a computer (or other machine), turned on, dedicated to running the camera. IP construction cameras are standalone — they just need power, either electric or solar. This provides greater flexibility in terms of where cameras can be placed, and potential energy savings, as well.
  2. More diverse: Webcams do one thing: capture live images or video. IP cameras can do this and much more; they may time-lapse, record security video, or offer any number of interactive features. This provides construction firms more options —  they can use time-lapse video as an eye-catching feature in marketing promotions or on their websites or presentations to project stakeholders. And they can use security recordings as documentation for regulatory or legal purposes.
  3. Scalable: IP cameras should be considered for large installation sites —  especially if the cameras will be spread out over a wide area, or if wireless cameras will be used. They’re ideal for multi-user scenarios, because unlimited users can view the camera’s footage in real time from a browser — a critical capability if project stakeholders are dispersed geographically. Webcam footage, on the other hand, is usually only accessible by one viewer at a time, making collaboration slow and difficult.
  4. Future-proof: Updates to software on IP cameras can be made remotely over the internet, making them future-proof. Firms can take advantage of new capabilities, software fixes and compatibility features as soon as the technology is available.
  5. Better image quality: IP cameras are almost always higher resolution than webcams. While high-end webcams may be 1080p (about 2 megapixels), IP cameras can surpass 20 megapixels.
  6. Easier analysis of footage: What happens if a security breach happens after hours on the jobsite? An IP system is always on and not dependent on any computer system. They can even be set up to flag events based on specific events, such as motion detection. Some IP construction systems even feature real-time alerting, to keep you aware of any suspicious or criminal activity — even after hours.
  7. Less long-term hassle: Webcams are generally consumer-grade tech; not especially rugged and with a limited life. They are especially ill-suited for outdoor use. IP cameras excel as long-term solutions. They are built to last, can be outfitted to survive extreme weather, and don’t depend on computers and all the troubleshooting that comes with them. IP cameras are designed to be left in place for years at a time without issue.

Interested in learning more about IP-enabled construction cameras? Check out our live demos.