It’s hard to imagine a world before mobile technology. Families and businesses depend on the mobile phone for communication. Those in transmit especially lean on the smartphone for news, information, status updates and more. And the tablet has evolved mobile immersion to a completely new level.
Simply put, mobile is everywhere today because it delivers a tremendous amount of productivity and convenience.
Mobile penetration into security and surveillance is no different. Video surveillance on mobile phones is attractive to anyone who monitors physical property, simply for convenience and productivity. Consumers with homes and/or vacation properties, adults with children and elderly parents, business owners, construction and property managers, public safety officials and security managers at schools, public utilities, manufacturing centers and corporate campuses are just a few who use mobile surveillance today.
The next challenge is choosing the right mobile option to view existing IP cameras, DVR or NVR, or choosing the right NVR or DVR that properly supports this mobility. There are a number of points to consider that will help customers properly evaluate mobile options for their existing equipment, as well as the appropriate DVR/NVR for their existing phones—and make decisions that best match their specific needs:
The first step is to fully evaluate your fixed security system. Does your DVR, NVR and/or IP camera provider clearly define which mobile device models and versions they support? And do they support more than one version? For example, there are four iPhone models in wide use today iPhone 3, 3S, 4 and 4S. Android versions in wide use include 1.6, 2.0 and 2.1 and plenty of other versions have since followed.
There is no reason to integrate a mobile surveillance application if your fixed components cannot support your choice of device. Therefore it’s critical to ask your manufacturers if they can integrate with a mobile surveillance solution on your device, whether it’s an iPhone or iPad, Android, Android tablet, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or plain Java phone. Several manufacturers may try to fool the customers by just saying “mobile-enabled” without giving the details. Be careful not to fall into this trap. Mobile device evolution will not cease, so it’s helpful to work with equipment vendors, service providers and operating resources with long-term commitment strategies. Computer browser support from manufacturers is one example. Most currently support at best Windows Internet Explorer by loading of ActiveX or Java applets, while completely ignoring MAC users that tend to use Safari. And more Windows/PC users continue to migrate to browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla.
Ask about the future, today
Ask your equipment suppliers about their future support plans for mobile operating systems as we inevitably migrate to iOS5 and future Android platforms. As with browser support, many vendors may feel comfortable locking into a single mobile operating system—or worse yet, only support specific versions from that operating system.
Beware of the traps set by security camera and DVR/NVR manufacturers. There is little way out once you are stuck other than to tear down and start over: Caveat emptor.
A quick learning curve and ability to use without hindrance is paramount for any consumer-oriented product. The greater the challenge, the more difficult it is to freely engage with—and benefit from—a technology that should supply an immediate and recognizable result.
Ease of use in mobile surveillance starts with an application that crosses multiple platforms and devices. A simple Web interface will not get the job done today. Custom mobile applications are far more efficient and easy to use.
One example is how quickly the user can recall their cameras. A retail business owner receiving a call that his store alarms have been triggered will need to easily access his cameras with a few simple steps. The last thing he needs to worry about is complicated typing on a small device while in panic mode.