DVTel Mobile App Examined

By Ethan Ace, Published Oct 20, 2011, 08:00pm EDT

DVTel's mobile app provides a number of important features that we rarely, if ever see in surveillance applications. While literally hundreds of mobile apps are available for various surveillance platforms, most offer the same few features, often limited to viewing a handful of cameras and often live video only. In this update, we examine DVTel's simply-named Mobile App, and its capabilities which may be of special interest to mobile guard forces.

Panic Button/Google Maps Integration

The most interesting feature of the DVTel mobile app, which we have not seen in other products, is the addition of a panic button in the mobile app, and integration to Google Maps for positioning. Guards or other staff may push this button to send a duress signal. The mobile app uses the mobile device's built-in GPS to send coordinates. These coordinates are then displayed in a Google Map on an operator's workstation in the security office. The main operator may then use cameras local to the guard (displayed on the same map view) to view the scene and respond appropriately. This location integration may also be used for real-time tracking of staff positions.

Instant Replay/Record Features

The mobile app's instant replay and remote record features stand out. These functions are both acheived via buttons overlayed on each camera in the user interface. If a guard sees activity which should be recorded, he or she can press the manual record button to begin recording. Likewise, if the guard notices suspicious activity and needs to review actions it, the instant replay button provides quick access to archived video leading up to it. A number of apps offer access to archived video, but these two features may simplify these common tasks. While some surveillance mobile applications support search functionality, this is the simplest way we have seen to quickly review the immediate past.

Overview

The Mobile App is licensed for connecting to DVTel Latitude servers. Connections are facilitated via DVTel's transcoder service, which is used to manage stream sizes for various mobile users, not just mobile app users. The transcoder service is also capable of multiple configurations, so users with different bandwidth needs - 3G versus wi-fi, for example - may receive different stream sizes.

The mobile app is licensed by concurrent connections, with an MSRP of $300 per connection required. Any number of user accounts may access the mobile app, but if only ten licenses are purchased, only ten users at a time may be connected, for example.

Whether the transcoder requires a separate server depends on how many streams are being requested and what bitrates these streams are using. Because this can vary greatly based on number of users, stream types required, concurrent connections, and more, it is difficult to guess without knowing individual customer requirements.

A video overview of the DVTel mobile app is embedded below. The interesting portion on instant replay and panic button starts at 2:40:

Like most surveillance manufacturer's mobile applications, the app only supports DVTel's only VMS. While we see it as an interesting advantage for DVTel, it is not something one can easily utilize unless they are currently a DVTel user or are actively searching for a new VMS platform.

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