Earthcam Competitive Positioning Reviewed

By: Ethan Ace, Published on May 29, 2012

Earthcam is one of the biggest video streaming sites on the Internet, getting hundreds of thousands of visitors per month to their network of cameras. Underlying this free webcam array is a business of selling IP cameras to business. Security professionals often run into Earthcam in competing for new installs. In this note, we examine what Earthcam offers and how it stacks up against leading network camera and surveillance product offerings.

Overview

EarthCam is one of the best-known construction and tourism camera services, in operation since 1996. They maintain a high-profile web presence, due to involvement in a number of notable projects, such as Yankee Stadium and the new World Trade Center, and a number of tourist attractions, such as the Statue of Liberty and Times Square.

EarthCam offers a variety of construction cameras, ranging from VGA to megapixel and panoramic. These cameras are divided into two groups:

  • HD project documentation: Cameras in this category generally have higher resolutions and lower framerates, and are used to create time-lapse project videos, not for live look-in. Framerates for this application are generally one frame every 15 minutes. The most interesting models in this series are the MegapixelCam Advanced ($4,495), a 16MP fixed camera, and the MegapixelCam Robotic ($13,495), an 8MP PTZ model which automatically stitches together a 288MP panoramic image.
  • Real-time project management: This category's cameras, the ConstructionCam Series, are intended to be used by management staff to check conditions on-site. As such, they allow up to 30FPS streaming, in VGA through 1080p resolutions. The ConstructionCam series ranges in prices from $2,245 for the VGA ConstructionCam Lite to $6,295 for the 1080p ConstructionCam HD.

Many of these models are dated, compared to current IP camera models, using MJPEG or MPEG-4 encoding only. For time lapse images, this is less of an issue, as images are only storage once per fifteen minutes. This could be an issue for remote live viewing, however, as H.264 would put less strain on low-bandwidth internet connections.

EarthCam Control Center

EarthCam's cameras are managed by their Control Center software. This software is specifically tailored to the construction industry, with some novel functionality most VMS platforms do not have. 

  • Time lapse archive management: Time-lapse movies may be automatically generated from archived video and viewed at any time. 
  • Image comparison: This feature allows current images of a section of the site to be overlaid on top of archived video, showing progress on that section. For example, managers may use this feature to check the progress of excavation or bridge footings from one week to the next.
  • Project notes: Archived video may be flagged an exported with accompanying notes, so this data may be entered into project records in progress meetings.
  • Dashboards: Weather, power, wireless signal, and other data may all be viewed on a dashboard, so management staff may get a snapshot of system status on one screen. The weather dashboard also includes forecasts, historical information, and radar, so weather's impact on the project may be recorded, and on-site staff notified of oncoming inclement conditions.

This image shows the main interface of EarthCam Control Center:

Services

EarthCam offers design and installation services for all their products, along with solar power and wireless connectivity systems. They also offer web development services, to assist users in making their cameras available on the public internet, and project archiving services, creating and editing time-lapse videos from one or multiple cameras, at the end of projects. These services are all offered as negotiable additions to the EarthCam sale.

Recommendations

Construction managers may find EarthCam's vertical optimized features attractive. Specifically, automatic time lapse generation and the ability to easily document video and weather data as part of the project record are likely the most useful features not found in standard VMS platforms. Further, EarthCam's web development and production services help to provide a one-stop, prepackaged offering, for those who do not have these capabilities in-house, or do not want to shop them out piecemeal. Finally, EarthCam's strong web presence means they can reach out to many end users without having the need of a resales channel.

For those who simply want a camera, to overview a construction site in real time, standard IP cameras are likely a simpler and less expensive option. Using standard IP cameras also provides users with far more choice in cameras to accomodate changing site conditions. Many manufacturers provide instructions for embedding their cameras' images directly on web pages, not a difficult process for those with basic HTML experience.

Comments : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Phone Camera Calculator Released on Mar 10, 2020
IPVM has released the first-ever Phone Calculator, video surveillance design software that you can use on your phone, without installing an...
Video Surveillance 101 Course - Last Chance on Feb 20, 2020
This is the last chance to join IPVM's first Video Surveillance 101 course, designed to help those new to the industry to quickly understand the...
Last Chance - Camera Course Winter 2020 on Jan 30, 2020
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training exists...
2020 Camera Book Released on Jan 10, 2020
This is the best, most comprehensive security camera training in the world, based on our unprecedented testing. Now, all IPVM PRO Members can get...
2020 IP Networking Book Released on Jan 06, 2020
The new IP Networking Book 2020 is a 280 page in-depth guide that teaches you how IT and telecom technologies impact modern security systems,...
IP Camera Browser Support: Who's Broken / Who Works on Dec 10, 2019
For many years, IP cameras depended on ActiveX control, whose security flaws have been known for more than a decade. The good news is that this is...
Getting Started With Your IPVM Membership on Dec 02, 2019
Here's how to get started and get the most out of your IPVM membership. Books for Members All members can download the 3 member-only books below...
Camera Calculator V3.1 Release Improves User Experience on Oct 17, 2019
IPVM has released a new version of our Camera Calculator, V3.1, with significant user experience improvements, a new development plan, and an...
IPVM Camera Calculator User Manual / Guide on Oct 16, 2019
Learn how to use the IPVM Camera Calculator (updated for Version 3.1). The guide below includes instructions, images, gifs, and videos...
Verkada Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on May 02, 2019
Verkada is arguably the most ambitious video surveillance startup in many years. The company is developing their own cameras, their own VMS, their...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Proxy Presents Mobile Credentials For BLE Devices and Access on May 29, 2020
Proxy presented Mobile Credentials For BLE Devices and Access at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. Inside this report: A 30-minute video...
ISC West 2020 Moves To The Basement on May 29, 2020
The twice cancelled/postponed show will now not only be held in a different month (October) but on a different floor, moving down to the...
Integrators Avoiding Coronavirus Air Travel on May 29, 2020
IPVM asked integrators if air travel is part of their 2020 plans to see how significantly Coronavirus will impact future...
Viakoo Presents Cyber Hygiene for Cameras on May 28, 2020
Viakoo presented its 'Cyber Hygiene' and 'Service Assurance' products at the April 2020 IPVM New Products show. Inside this report: A...
Seek Scan Thermal Temperature Screening System ReTested on May 28, 2020
Now that IPVM has tested Dahua, Hikvision, and Sunell, we are returning to Seek, the first blackbody system we tested and retested it with our...
Directory of 110 "Fever" Camera Suppliers on May 28, 2020
This directory provides a list of "Fever" scanning thermal camera providers to help you see and research what options are available. There are...
Fever Cameras Are Medical Devices, Per The FDA, Dahua, Feevr, Hikvision, InVid Contrary Claims Are False on May 28, 2020
Fever cameras are medical devices, despite what euphemisms various sellers use. The US FDA clearly categorizes them as medical devices and...
Wyze Raises $10 Million And Seeks Services Expansion on May 27, 2020
Wyze has raised $10 million, the company's first disclosed raise since the $20 million announced at the beginning of 2019. Inside this note,...
"Fever Camera" Show June 2020 Next Tuesday on May 27, 2020
IPVM is excited for the world's first "Fever Camera" show, to be held next Tuesday June 2nd and Wednesday the 3rd from 11am to 3pm EDT, giving you...
Startup Videoloft Presents Cloud Storage on May 27, 2020
Videoloft presented offsite cloud storage at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from Videoloft including IPVM...