Go shopping for anything related to remote work or working from home, whether it's as simple as a keyboard or mouse, and you're sure to find a lot of items are back-ordered or out of stock altogether. If you need a webcam but can't find one, consider picking up a $20 Wyze Cam and converting it into a webcam.
If the Wyze Cam sells out, you can also convert the $30 Wyze Cam Pan.
The company released a special firmware built specifically for those who need a webcam but can't find one in stock. You'll need a few things to load the firmware and connect the camera to your computer.
Here's what you'll need:
Depending on which camera you buy, you're looking at under $50 total for a webcam, that you can turn back into a security camera when you have a proper webcam.
The webcam firmware will work with Wyze Cam V2 and the Wyze Cam Pan. It will not work with the original Wyze Cam. If you own a Wyze Cam already and don't know which version it is, look on the bottom and it should say something along the lines of Wyze Cam or Wyze Cam V2. Another way to determine which model you own is if your camera's settings have motion tagging, it's V2.
Wyze has published instructions for installing the webcam firmware on your camera, along with some caveats. The process seems straightforward. You'll need to download and then transfer the firmware file to the microSD card, power up the camera while holding in a button, and wait for the firmware to be installed.
Once the installation is complete, use the USB-A to USB-A cable to connect it to your computer, which should then recognize it as a regular webcam for use in video conferencing and calling apps like Zoom.
You can find all the instructions as well as any caveats on this Wyze support page.
After all of this madness is over, or you find a true webcam and no longer need to use the Wyze Cam, you can flash the camera back to its original state by following the steps outlined here.
There are a lot of companies doing really cool things for customers, and Wyze clearly is one of them. It didn't have to dedicate resources for users to turn an always-on and connected security camera into a simple webcam, but it did, and it's sure to help people out.