A webcam is a video camera which is designed to record or stream to a computer or computer network. They are primarily used in videotelephony, livestreaming and social media, and security. Webcams can be built-in computer hardware or peripheral devices, and are commonly connected to a device using USB or wireless protocols.
Webcams have been used on the Internet as early as 1993, and the first widespread commercial one became available in 1994. Early webcam usage on the Internet was primarily limited to stationary shots streamed to web sites. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, instant messaging clients added support for webcams, increasing their popularity in video conferencing. Computer manufacturers also started integrating webcams into laptop hardware. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shortage of webcams due to the increased number of people working from home.