iPad Use for Video Surveillance Examined

By: John Honovich, Published on Jan 27, 2010

We believe the Apple iPad will be useful for video surveillance applications. The Apple iPad (see video intro) was launched to great fanfare and then subsequently debate. While it may or may not become a mass success, we believe the device will be more useful for video surveillance than any smartphone (including the iPhone). 

For video surveillance applications, the iPad offers two significant advantages:

  • A much larger screen (more than 400% greater area) than the iPhone allows for easier monitoring and control of individual cameras. Equally importantly, the iPad will allow for usable monitoring of 4 or 9 cameras (which may be technically available in iPhone apps but much too small for most practical use).
  • Reasonable price: iPad offers unlimited 3G service (allowing for use without wifi connection) for $29.95 (in the US through AT&T). It does not require a phone plane as the iPhone does but it provides 3G service which the iPod Touch does not. Moreover, with the 3G iPads starting at $629, it's not that much more expensive than an unsubsidized iPhone.

The closest substitute to the iPad is likely to be a netbook with a 3G card (for a similar price point). The iPad will likely be easier to use, however it will also be more restrictive in functionality than a netbook (which can run IE, ActiveX controls and 'normal' Windows apps that are important for security use).

While the iPhone has definitively improved offerings and support for video surveillance mobile monitoring (see LexTech [link no longer available] and the iGuard [link no longer available] as examples), use is still fairly limited (constrained by both the price of the monitoring software and the cost of outfitting responders with iPhones).
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