Take the Axis 2100 Network Camera from Axis Communications. Its built-in Linux-based server chip needs only power and an Internet connection to deliver continuously updated images. The camera works best with an Ethernet network and a broadband connection.
Not much larger than a paperback book, it takes about five minutes to set up and configure. After downloading a tiny program to assign an IP address, you can set every other parameter in the camera via its built-in Web interface. To make changes, just enter the camera's address, and log into the device itself. Then there's no need to have a computer at the camera's location.
The Web interface lets you set up the camera to capture images hosted on built-in Web pages (just enter the camera's IP address to view) or send the images off-site (via e-mail or FTP to the Web server of your choosing). You can configure the camera's software to take pictures continuously or when the unit detects movement via an added motion detector.
With the camera set to upload 13KB medium-quality, 640 by 480 pixel images to a Web server, my tests showed about one to two frames per second on a broadband connection.
In the PC World conference room, the dullest meeting became fascinating viewed through the hidden camera's eye, even without sound. Pair the Axis 2100 with a speakerphone for an inexpensive videoconferencing system.
Axis 2100 Network Camera
Supplier: Axis Communications
Phone: (02) 9967 5700