ISpy and Raspberry PI: Installing the open source Agent DVR

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Tired of having a lot of low cost surveillance cameras, everyone with its app and everyone requiring a fee for cloud storage? With iSpy and Raspberry PI you can get your self hosted and open source DVR compatible with hundreds of IP cameras

In this tutorial, I’m going o show you how to install the Agent DVR of iSpy on a Raspberry PI computer board.

What is iSpy and Agent DVR

iSpy is an open source video surveillance application, widely spread around the world. It’s compatible with a lot of consumer webcams and IP cameras. The list of compatible cameras can be found with the following link: https://www.ispyconnect.com/cameras. Please remember that their software is free only for personal, local use.

Agent DVR is a standalone replacement for iSpy that runs as a service, uses less CPU and features a web user interface that is accessible from a web browser. Moreover, differently from iSpy the Agent DVR can be installed on a Linux server, thus being a must to be tested in low cost computers like our Raspberry PI.

Agent DVR offers a lot of features. Besides supporting a long list of cameras, it offers motion detection (with intelligent face detection), alerts generations, customizing actions on alerts, and so on.

Finally, you can also set the iSpy Agent DVR running in kiosk mode with a touchscreen display by referring to my Raspberry PI Kiosk: creating a touchscreen, informative stand.

What We Need

As usual, I suggest adding from now to your favourite e-commerce shopping cart all needed hardware, so that at the end you will be able to evaluate overall costs and decide if continue with the project or remove them from the shopping cart. So, hardware will be only:

Check hardware prices with the following links:

Amazon raspberry pi boards box
Amazon Raspberry PI 3 Model A+ box
amazon ip camera box
Amazon Micro SD box
Amazon Raspberry PI Power Supply box

Step-by-Step Procedure

Prepare Operating System

Start installing the Raspberry PI OS. You can use Raspberry PI OS Lite (for a fast, headless OS) or Raspberry PI OS Desktop (with a complete desktop environment). In case you are choosing the kiosk mode, you will need the OS Desktop.

Make sure your OS is up to date. From the terminal, please issue the following command:

sudo apt update -y && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install the Agent DVR

Installing the iSpy Agent DVR is really simple. Everything is done with the following command:

bash <(curl -s "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ispysoftware/agent-install-scripts/main/install.sh")

It will require a few minutes, as it will have a lot of packages to install. Quite to the end, it will require a final installation confirmation:

Install AgentDVR as system service (y/n)?

Please answer “y”, and finally you will get:

Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/multi-user.target.wants/AgentDVR.service → /etc/systemd/system/AgentDVR.service.
started service
go to http://localhost:8090 to configure

Now you are ready to complete the installation from a browser. With a remote computer (for RPI OS Lite) you will need to use the RPI IP address as URL, followed by “8090” port. As mine RPI has IP 192.168.1.177, I will access it with the URL http://192.168.1.177:8090, so getting the following page:

raspberry pi iSpy first access select language

Select your language and click “OK”. A warning will appear as your browser may require permissions to access the camera:

raspberry pi iSpy first access permission warning

Click OK. The next screen will show you the links to get video guides for setting up your iSpy.

raspberry pi iSpy first access available guides

Press OK. Finally, you will reach the iSpy home:

raspberry pi iSpy first access home

Now, let’s look at some configurations.

Setup iSpy Agent DVR Access Password

Click the “Server Menu” icon on top-left side of the page:

RAspberry PI iSpy DVR Agent protect access 01

Scroll down the popup window to select “Configuration” -> “Settings”:

RAspberry PI iSpy DVR Agent protect access 02

In the next window, please select the dropdown menu with “General” label to switch to Local Server:

RAspberry PI iSpy DVR Agent protect access 03

Here you will be able to enter your username and password to access the iSpy Agent DVR:

RAspberry PI iSpy DVR Agent protect access 04

Once set, scroll down to confirm with the “Ok” button.

Reloading the page will now result in the browser asking for access credentials:

RAspberry PI iSpy DVR Agent protect access 05

Add Your Fist Camera

Now we are ready to add our cameras. For this example, I will use my IeGeek IG62.

From the Server menu, this time please select “New Device” within the Devices list:

raspberry pi ispy new camera 01

In the next window, you can choose the default Grid Slot by clicking on it:

raspberry pi ispy new camera 02

Please select the “IP Camera Wizard” button:

raspberry pi ispy new camera 03

Then you can add a few more settings, then press “Ok”:

raspberry pi ispy new camera 04

We reach now the camera settings:

raspberry pi ispy new camera 05

The “Make” area requires identifying the camera vendor and model. After starting to type the first digits of your vendor or model, the form will propose a list. As this list is limited, I suggest starting to type directly your camera model or the full string composed as “vendor: model”. For example, mine IeGeek IG62 will match the string “Iegeek: ig62”:

raspberry pi ispy new camera 06

Username and password depend on the cameras. Usually, these are not the same that you use to enter the camera app, even if they can be set from their apps. Sometimes, when the username change option is missing this may be a default value that can be found with a little research on forums. For example, my IeGeek IG62 camera has “admin” as user and you can change the password from its CamHi app.

Once set, please click the “next” button.

The following window will ask for the URL in order to connect your camera. With my IeGeek camera, it has been really simple because it has been enough adding the http protocol with my camera IP address. Please note that you will need to assign a static IP address to your camera in order to avoid IP changes on router reboot, even if the modern routers are enough smart to reassign the same IP to the same device on reboot.

raspberry pi ispy new camera 07

Please click the Next button. The iSpy Agent DVR will start a scan to discover what services are available for your camera and will propose all the available to you:

raspberry pi ispy new camera 08

The Onvif (Open Network Video Interface Forum) should be the most complete, where available, but you can choose your favourite connection type by clicking the “Use” button at the right of your option.

Finally, the full options will be available to you for more customization. In the meanwhile, your video will probably start running in the background.

raspberry pi ispy new camera 09

You can go on with customization or just click the “Ok” button at the bottom of this page. You can change settings at every moment with a right-click from the mouse on the camera and then selecting “Edit”.

Follow up

From here you will be able to add customizations to your Agent DVR installation. A possible need maybe adding external storage to save the recordings. Raspberry PI OS Lite doesn’t mount external USB drives automatically by default. You can mount automatically external storage devices by referring my Automount USB storage with Raspberry PI OS Lite: fstab and autofs.

Also, you can go on with more customization options by using the official AgentDVR User Manual.

What’s Next

If you want to discover many other projects for your Raspberry PI, you can take a look at peppe8o Raspberry PI tutorials.

Enjoy!

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