Mobile App Usage Statistics

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Feb 15, 2012

The market for surveillance mobile applications has exploded in the last 3 years. Now, almost everyone offers one - from VMS providers to third party app developers and even to low end DVRs and home offerings.

The question then is: how many users are actually taking advantage of these capabilities? To that end, we asked the following question of respondents in our Winter 2012 survey: "What percentage of your customers use mobile applications (iPhone/Android, etc.) for monitoring their VMS?"

The Responses

The following chart shows responses:

Of 100 respondents, 46% answered that their customers are using mobile applications less than 10% of the time. Only 20% answered that they were deploying mobile apps 50% of the time or more.

Given the prevalance of smartphones today and omnipresence of surveillance mobile apps, they results show total adoption is still limited. However, as our break down in the second half of the report shows, adoption is most restricted in the larger camera count applications.

The "Wow" Factor

The most common comment from respondents deploying mobile apps less than 10% of the time was that the app is a good sales tool, high on the "wow" factor, but rarely purchased, and even more rarely used:

  • "I think they like the 'wow' factor, but do not see is as an integral part of the system function."
  • "This is a good selling point to the customer up front during the sale cycle but after the installation is complete we find that the customer really only uses this feature is to verify an after hour alarm."
  • "This is something we often demonstrate, but rarely deploy"
  • "They all ask for it, less pay for it, and a small majority of those actually end up using it."
  • "Some play around with it or try it out, to see how it works. I don't know any who seriously uses it to check the site. Windows programs are usually better for this, but this might change in the future."

This is understandable, as most apps have been basic, with the ability to view live video only. Viewing of archive and event video, alarms, and other functions have only recently been added. We expect that more advanced features will become commonplace as time goes on.

IT-related Issues

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

The second most common reason for not deploying mobile apps was issues with IT policy and coordination, or lack thereof:

  • "Issues with IT department access to network. We generally install a dedicated network for our systems."
  • "IT and Security policies. It is changing though, I have seen more request for mobile apps or mobile browsing for their security equipment."
  • "Actually, as a fair majority are corporate-owned, locally-operated stores, there are a lot more customers who would LIKE to have this feature... but aren't allowed, by corporate IT policies."

Opening ports in firewalls is always a concern of IT departments, and is often required for deployment of mobile apps. For cameras deployed on a separate network from the corporate LAN, additional complexities are presented, as the camera LAN and corporate LAN must be connected, and the corporate LAN must be opened to the internet or VPNs created for connection of remote devices. We reviewed and demonstrated these issues in our test of the iPhone and iPad for surveillance.

Convenient Access

The ability to check in on one's business while away, without having to use a PC, is one of the most desirable features of mobile surveillance apps. This was the most common reason given by those who were deploying mobile applications 50% of the time or more:

  • "They like having remote access to their cameras. Many commercial customers want to operate their business "away" from their physical location. Often, customers are interested in employee attendance and look as well as general consumer volume in their stores."
  • "Customers like to be able to check on their premises remotely by mobile phone for convenience and peace of mind."
  • "Convenience and peace of mind for customers. This is mostly on systems going into small business. Big business is slow to adopt remote viewing due to security concerns and issues with IT."
  • "Probably the most asked for ancillary service. Ease of use and peace of mind."
  • "It's the way to go. Most people are on the go and can check in on their home or buisness while waiting in line for lunch or whatever."

This ability is especially appreciated by smaller end users, where employees may have more varied duties, with no dedicated security staff. We discuss this below.

Trends by System Size

Larger camera count systems are far less likely to use mobile apps than smaller ones. The trend is pronounced. See here:

Here, frequently means integrators using mobile apps 25% of the time or greater. The trends are consistent across the board. Just as noteworthy, only a minority (21%) of smaller system integrators rarely use mobile apps while over 70% of larger system integrators rarely use them.

These two segments differ drastically with smaller system far more likely to use mobile apps than larger systems. We suspect this due to different use cases.

For facilities with higher camera counts, guard staff is often present, monitoring video from a central location. Information is normally relayed to mobile guards via radio, without the need for video. This makes mobile access to video overall less critical. However, in some cases, where guard staff is small or completely mobile, these applications can be valuable, especially if video can be triggered based on alerts, such as access, intrusion, or analytic events. Specialized features of some mobile clients, such as DVTel's geo-locating features and recently announced video capture capabilities are also targeted more at higher-end systems.

In facilities with low camera counts, staff is likely much smaller. Often, small business owners will be the only user of these systems. Providing mobile access to video is more attractive to these users, as it allows them to multitask better, making them able to check in on a facility from anywhere, instead of needing to be in front of a workstation.

2 reports cite this report:

Mobile VMS App Usage Statistics Report on Jun 01, 2016
Overall usage of mobile apps has risen significantly from our 2012 report, with the majority of heavy users falling into particular...
Video Surveillance Statistics Directory Vol 2 on Mar 18, 2012
In this report, we aggregate and present numerous statistics about how surveillance is being used in the real world. Recently, we conducted an in...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Top Ways Security Integrators Improve Their Careers on Sep 03, 2019
With DIY products expanding and the future of integration debated, how do integrators stay sharp so they are not left behind? 180+ integrators...
Security Integrators Outlook On Remaining Integrators In 2025 on Aug 22, 2019
The industry has changed substantially in the last decade, with the rise of IP cameras and the race to the bottom. Indeed, more changes may be...
Biometrics Usage Statistics 2019 on Aug 13, 2019
Biometrics are commonly used in phones, but how frequently are they used for access? 150+ integrators told us how often they use biometrics,...
US Government Ban of Dahua, Hikvision, Huawei Takes Effect Now on Aug 13, 2019
The 'prohibition on use or procurement' of Dahua, Hikvision and Huawei products and 'essential components' take effect today, August 13, 2019, one...
Proactive CCTV "Only Affordable Video Archiving Solution" Profile on Aug 12, 2019
Proactive CCTV is claiming to offer "the only affordable video archiving solution on the market", reducing the storage typically required for H.265...
Responsibility Split Selecting Locks - Statistics on Jul 22, 2019
A heated access debate surrounds who should pick and install the locks. While responsible for selecting the control systems, integrators often...
Mobile Access Usage Statistics 2019 on Jul 18, 2019
The ability to use mobile phones as access credentials is one of the biggest trends in a market that historically has been slow in adopting new...
Poor OSDP Usage Statistics 2019 on Jul 09, 2019
OSDP certainly offers advantages over decades-old Wiegand (see our OSDP Access Control Guide) but new IPVM statistics show that usage of OSDP, even...
Maglocks Usage Statistics 2019 on Jul 01, 2019
Maglocks divide access control specifiers perhaps more than any other component. Many are concerned about life safety codes, but others cite...
ADT Eliminating Acquired Brands, Unifying Under 'Commercial' Brand on Jun 14, 2019
ADT is eliminating the brands of the many integrators it has acquired over the past few years, including Red Hawk, Aronson Security Group (ASG),...

Most Recent Industry Reports

ONVIF Suspends Huawei on Sep 20, 2019
Huawei has been 'suspended', and effectively expelled, from ONVIF so long as US sanctions remain on the mega Chinese manufacturer. Inside this...
Open Access Controller Guide (Axis, HID, Isonas, Mercury) on Sep 19, 2019
In the access control market, there are many software platforms, but only a few companies that make non-proprietary door controllers. Recently,...
Axis Perimeter Defender Improves, Yet Worse Than Dahua and Wyze on Sep 19, 2019
While Axis Perimeter Defender analytics improved from our 2018 testing, the market has improved much faster, with much less expensive offerings...
Directory of 68 Video Surveillance Startups on Sep 18, 2019
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known. 2019...
Uniview Prime Series 4K Camera Tested on Sep 18, 2019
Is the new Uniview 'Prime' better than the more expensive existing Uniview 'Pro'? In August, IPVM tested Uniview 4K 'Pro' but members advocated...
US Army Base To Buy Banned Honeywell Surveillance on Sep 17, 2019
The U.S. Army's Fort Gordon, home to their Cyber Center of Excellence, has issued a solicitation to purchase Honeywell products that are US...
Vivotek "Neural Network-Powered Detection Engine" Analytics Tested on Sep 17, 2019
Vivotek has released "a neural network-powered detection engine", named Smart Motion Detection, claiming that "swaying vegetation, vehicles passing...
Schmode is Back, Aims To Turn Boulder AI Into Giant on Sep 16, 2019
One of the most influential and controversial executives in the past decade is back. Bryan Schmode ascended and drove the hypergrowth of Avigilon...
Manufacturers Unhappy With Weak ASIS GSX 2019 And 2020 Shift on Sep 16, 2019
Manufacturers were generally unhappy with ASIS GSX, both for weak 2019 booth traffic and a scheduling shift for the 2020 show, according to a new...