Mobile on the Fly

What are your choices for viewing video via mobile devices?

Camera presentation and access is pertinent. For example, users with several IP cameras or DVRs can’t be bothered logging into different URLs. A smarter design employs a simple dashboard-style interface with thumbnails for each camera irrespective of make and model. This neatly presents each view on a single window, offering the user a variety of angles from which to consider an appropriate response. The question of whether to download with a free app or purchase one for a price is perhaps the most prominent activity shaping how people approach mobile surveillance today. The thrill of the chase for a useful free app quickly runs out of steam upon realization that the app is not comprehensive or certified for professional use whatsoever.

One concern is protection: Who is able to easily access your system and monitor your data? Free apps are light on protection, making it simple for hackers to break into your streams. Remember that the mobile application is one aspect of your security system; how effective is having a security system if there is a hole in the mobile element?

A comprehensive return-on-investment analysis will quickly validate how much money will you save in terms of time spent physically responding to alarms—including travel time, gasoline expenses and alarm verification fees. Another point to consider is money saved at the business itself, from theft reduction to better staff productivity.

ROI also applies to management efficiency, albeit indirectly. How do you manage the devices that have access to your security systems? This is one of the most important questions for the CIO and security managers.

Unlike fixed computers, mobile phones can easily get lost or stolen. Keeping track of your devices is of the utmost concern as managers need to be able to instantly deny access to any lost or stolen device. An employee that loses a device with direct connection to a DVR or IP camera requires a username and password change to all connected IP cameras and DVRs.


Performance issues to deal with

The degree of quality to which the app performs in challenging bandwidth environments will provide a clear differentiator from one app to another. For example, the ability of the app to compensate for a spotty cellular signal cannot be ignored.

Users watching cameras on the move will need a reliable feed. A security manager watching his business from a crowded airport or train station is sharing bandwidth amongst a sea of other mobile consumers. It’s important for the security manager to receive meaningful, easy-to-decipher images to make intelligent response decisions in urgent situations. Similarly, multiple users working to access the same cameras are sharing the same bandwidth. This is typical in a police department or commercial building where several managers and/or officers are trying to view thesame camera during an incident. The bandwidth will clog if each device accesses the same DVR or IP camera at the same time.

Server-managed solutions like MobileCamViewer ensure only a single feed is obtained from the DVR, NVR or IP camera and sent to the data center. It is then broadcast to other devices that share the same bandwidth, eliminating the issue of multiple devices clogging the system.

There are other factors to consider, such as security in video transmission from the DVR or NVR. HTTPs encryption may not matter if you are viewing your vacation home or a pet, but becomes important if you are in public safety, law enforcement and commercial security situations.

DVR, NVR and IP camera manufacturers can help by offering high-quality mobile applications to their customers. This will only help to maintain and enhance those brands in the long term.



Sri Palasamudram is the chief executive officer of mobiDEOS, based in Milpitas, Calif.