Automatic Location Based Camera Control

By John Honovich, Published Apr 24, 2013, 12:00am EDT

This is a very neat idea; One that we have not seen any IP camera / VMS provider offer before.

Having a network / surveillance camera at home raises two common issues:

  • Nuisance notifications: When using alerts, getting them while home may be useless and, worse, a nuisance.
  • Privacy: Many people do not want cameras to be on when they are home. There may be no need plus they may be concerned about personal activities being recorded / shared.

Certainly, not every user has these concerns but enough do that it is a barrier. Of course, one could manually turn the camera on or off. However, even if there was some sort of switch (hardware or software), it becomes a pain to remember.

Dropcam, the upstart Silicon Valley network camera company, has released a new feature, "Location Based Camera Control" that allows automatically turning on and off camera functions simply by detecting where one's iPhone is (using the built in GPS).

What you do is define a location on your iPhone (your house, work, etc.) and, when activated, your Dropcam camera starts recording/alerting as soon as it detects that your phone has moved away from the location. Vice versa, when it detects your phone is back at the location, recording/alerting is automatically disabled.

The presumption is that one's phone is carried at all times, and if it goes away so does the person. This is a fairly safe presumption for single people but may create issues if multiple people are at home (i.e., should it really turn on / off if some people are still home).

While this feature does not solve these issues for all scenarios, it is an innovative use of emerging mobile technology that should help some customers and differentiate it against generic IP camera offerings.

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