Life Skills, Nymea, Technology, Tutorial, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Touch

Connecting Nymea to Zone Minder for a Quick Video Surveillance System

Lately, I have been quickly progressing on my journey to try to use nymea in my home and other places.

You can read about how I set up Nymea on an ubuntu USB drive with persistency here if you want to do it too.

Shortly after setting it up and getting it working with a few standard IoT devices, I started thinking about video and security systems.

For me, I would not be comfortable having a video camera system permanently accessible via the internet for the obvious reasons. So, I’d want something mainly on my local area network.

The main purposes of this video camera system for me would be:

a) to video and record events at my house or business and save them to a hard drive that only I have access to and
b) be able to view parts of my house / business real-time for convenience (ie. who is at the front door, what’s going on in the warehouse, etc)

A long time ago I had a good experience with a very nice open source system called zone minder. At that time with a crappy computer and a few junky webcams, I was able to make a low-cost video system for my retail business. Just recently, I got it set up again on an ubuntu USB drive so that I can start testing again and to see if it could somehow fit with Nymea. You can read about all of that here if you’re interested.

Amazingly, thanks to a few key features on Nymea, I was able to get Zone Minder and it’s camera output showing up inside my Nymea app with very little effort at all. To be clear, this is not a direct API connection to Zone Minder although that is possible apparently. This is more of a ‘web app’ functionality, but if your goal is to be able to monitor video cameras as a one-stop shop in Nymea, this does the trick quite well!

Here’s how I did it.

  1. Set up Nymea (see link above)
  2. Set up Zone Minder and a couple of test cameras (see link above)
  3. Set up a ‘web view’ feature in the Nymea Dashboard. This was accomplished by following this forum blog. However, a few extra details are needed as follows:
  • Configure main view
  • Check the ‘dashboard’ feature
  • Hit ‘Done’ button at bottom
  • Now at bottom of main Nymea screen you should see the dashboard icon and word ‘Dashboard’. Hit that
  • Add item
  • Select ‘Web View”
  • Enter your Zone Minder URL / IP address which should be something like with your IP inserted where the 123’s are
  • Select ‘interactive’ button so that you are able to touch / click the Zone minder menus, etc
  • Optional: Select 1 Column and 2 Rows (I liked this better, but you don’t have to)

That’s it! You should now see your Zone Minder dashboard, and you can just select ‘montage’ from the hamburger menu and you should now see your cameras streaming.

At some point, I would like to see a more direct feature where the direct outputs are able to be viewed in Nymea rather than the web-app view to get (maybe). This is basically saving the time of moving back and forth between your device’s browser and Nymea to monitor it. Definitely it feels intuitive and useful for me.

Even bigger picture idea I had was this: “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could go to ‘configure things’ in Nymea and Nymea was able to ‘discover’ a Zone minder server on the local area network and configure itself to be able to do the above for you?

Hope this helps and as always a big thanks to the teams involved in both Nymea and Zone Minder.

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