SET IT UP
First, get an app that can tap into the video recording capabilities of your smartphone. For iOS devices (the Android version is still in beta), we like the Manything app. This little app allows you to remotely control the camera of your smartphone via their website as long as the app is running and your smartphone is connected to a network.
You have options to start/stop video recording, change to stills mode, mute audio and switch between front or rear camera; all from a private log-in area on the site. Set the motion sensitivity levels and detection zones on the app, and it will automatically send you alerts when your smartphone’s camera detects any movement in its field of view.
Otherwise, just set the app and use it to turn on the camera in video mode to get a real-time visual feed of what’s going on. You’ll probably want to find a way to also run a cable to the nearest workstation so it doesn’t run out of juice.
Presence (Free, iOS and Android)
Just like Manything, Presence allows you to turn your smartphone or tablet into a security camera and motion detector using the camera. You can also sign in from another mobile device or the web to remotely monitor an area, but Presence adds the option of allowing multiple users to connect to a single camera.
IP Webcam (Free, Android only)
An Android-only option, IP Webcam lets you view your camera from a web browser or via VLC, one of the most commonly used video players across platforms. What’s interesting is that IP Webcam supports direct streaming over WiFi without the need for Internet access, and there’s the option for two-way audio via the tinyCam Monitor function.
Alfred (Free, Android only for now; iOS version still in development)
Alfred bills itself as being 'easy to use' and 'always ready', allowing you to get your video within 1-3 seconds even if you’re using a mobile connection. It supports multiple viewers and multiple webcams, and even adjusts the quality of your video feed to match your network speed for clearer images and lag-free streaming.