A technology group based in Pune has developed a remote moitoring camera that functions with a normal GPRS-enabled mobile phone. Called MultiEyeVision Observer, the instrument is a preconfigured and preloaded mobile phone, and is available in several models of established brands.
The software enabled Observer has been developed for remote monitoring and remote observation. The Observer is a pre-configured mobile phone, which in addition to functioning as a normal mobile phone, can also be used at any time as a remote observation camera. High quality image stream captured by the Observer is viewable in real-time from anywhere over the internet. The Observer is available in certain standard Nokia and Sony Ericsson phone models.
The developers, MultiEyeVision, say the device is easy-to-use, inexpensive and a hassle-free monitoring solution to consumers as well as businesses.
"This is a product for people who wish to be in two places at once. Placing the Observer allows you to observe and monitor a remote place without being there physically," says Milind Pandit of MultiEyeVision, "Not only does the Observer enhance security, but it also saves time and costs associated with travel between places."
The mobile uses its inbuilt camera to capture images, and its inbuilt data connection to transmit the images continuously for secure viewing from anywhere over the internet. It does not need to be connected to a power supply as it can work on its inbuilt battery. Viewing the image stream is possible with any internet-connected device such as a computer or even another mobile phone.
The Observer application is started on the phone by pressing a button. The device is then placed so that its camera faces the area to be monitored. It starts taking high resolution pictures of the area using its in-built camera, and uses its inbuilt GPRS connection to make these pictures available over the internet. The device uses its inbuilt battery to continue the monitoring for several hours, when not connected to a power supply. Users can view photos by logging in to the company's secure web-portal on the internet with a username and password.
The Observer's settings are controlled remotely over the internet, including capture frequency, picture resolution, capture timings, etc. Once started, the monitoring can continue for over two days or 500 photos, without the monitoring software having to be restarted. The application runs for about 48 to 72 hours after which it needs to be restarted. On battery, it runs for 4-8 hours depending on the model. These arise from the limitations of mobile phone memories, their battery talk times and limitations of GPRS connections.
There are four standard modes for the application, targeted for common applications and intended to optimise usage of the GPRS and server space / bandwidth. The 'On-Demand' mode rapidly sends 3 pictures per minute (20 sec frequency) whenever the viewer logs on to the portal for viewing. The 'Album' mode captures high resolution pictures every 2 minutes while the 'Vacation' mode captures one every 30 minutes. The 'Normal' mode captures pictures every 5 minutes. The user can change the mode or create custom settings on the portal.
The company says it will store images on its secure portal for users to view at their convenience by logging in at any time. Users can also have the images emailed to them at specific times. Selective images can be published for access-controlled viewing by others.
Because of the limitations of GPRS speed, it is presently not possible to send video (which requires higher transfer speeds). GPRS connections typically support a picture rate of around 4 high-quality pictures per minute. However, the Observer can capture and transmit image streams upto a rate of 3 images per minute, which is adequate for most applications.
The obvious advantages of the Observer over other solutions are that users do not need cabling, broadband connection or a computer and is therefore very easy to operate. Another advantage is the mobility - it can be moved and placed anywhere at any time. The best aspect about the Observer is that it doubles up as a phone, which means users can call the location that they are observing.
The Observer can be placed at home to monitor the house or children or view the elderly or sick whenever the user is away. The developers say the Observer also allows children abroad to "see" their parents in India whenever they feel like. There are many business applications too - the Observer can be placed in an office, or workshop to monitor the place while the owner is not in. Other potential applications include monitoring of warehouses, outdoor locations, construction sites, franchises / dealer networks, hospitals and recovery rooms, restaurants and shops.
The developers recommend installing the software on the Nokia 6300, the Nokia 3500 Classic and Sony Ericsson w810i phones. The others on which the software is likely to work are Nokia S40 (3rd edition) and Nokia S60 phones and some Motorola, Sony Ericsson phones that are JAVA 2.0, MIDP 2.0, CLDC 1.1 compliant. It will soon be compatible with various other models soon. However, a GSM SIM card should be GPRS enabled for web access.
MultiEyeVision is offering its software in a trial version, called 'Observer Lite', which does not have all the features and capabilities of the standard Observer. However, the trial version will allow users to capture and transmit images of a fixed resolution at a fixed capture frequency, for a few hours. The image stream can be viewed over the internet in real time. The trial version can be upgraded to a full-feature version on users mobile. The trial version is avilable at http://portal.multieyevision.com/register.php