Live webcams are cameras that broadcast a real-time image over the internet, typically for use in videoconferencing and other applications. They can be integrated into laptops or desktop monitors, as well as standalone devices. They are characterized by their low resolution (720p or less), though 4K models are now available. Most use CMOS sensors with supporting electronics “on die”—integrated into the sensor to save space and manufacturing costs.
A good quality camera has several key components that determine its performance. For example, the lens can affect how much light it captures, and the aperture determines how well it focuses. Its frame rate is also important—the number of frames per second, or fps, that it updates the picture. Standard frame rates are 30 and 60 fps.
The live webcams that are the most popular on the internet show a variety of different locations and activities. Some are dedicated to specific animals at zoos and museums, while others are used to monitor weather or traffic conditions. One of the most popular is the free webcam that is mounted on NASA’s International Space Station, which offers unique views of Earth from above and displays the station’s current position, speed, latitude and longitude.
Businesses can also benefit from using webcams to improve their collaboration. For example, a company with a virtual showroom could benefit from having a webcam in their headquarters, which would allow customers to experience the products in a real-time setting. Another use is for schools and daycare centers to give parents a glimpse into their kids’ classrooms throughout the day. Finally, creative businesses like glass-blowing studios can showcase their work with a live cam.