photo surveillance, security cam, home monitoring, windows phone

Monitoring Package Deliveries to your Doorstep & Reduce Theft

A classic use case for video or photo surveillance at home is to monitor all those deliveries to your front door from FedEx, UPS, USPS etc. With Internet e-commerce flying high led by Amazon,  package deliveries have skyrocketed over the last few years.

You can use Gotya to get notified immediately when your online purchases are delivered. A major benefit is that you (or someone you trust) can immediately retrieve the package from your doorstep before it can be stolen by a thief.

Here are a couple of delivery sequences captured by Gotya. The Gotya Cloud Service can notify the user via email, audio, and picture alert as soon as the package is delivered, and stores the picture in the Gotya cloud with date and time stamp.

photo surveillance, security cam, home monitoring, windows phone

Pic #1 of 4 of FedEx Delivery Captured by Gotya

surveillance camera, security camera, motion detection, windows phone

Pic #2 of 4 of FedEx Delivery Captured by Gotya

motion detection, surveillance cam, windows phone, home monitoring

Pic #3 of 4 of FedEx Delivery Captured by Gotya

motion detection, surveillance camera

Pic #4 of 4 of FedEx Delivery Captured by Gotya

motion detection, surveillance cam

Package Delivery 1 of 3 Captured by Gotya


Package Delivery #2 2 of 3

Package Delivery 2 of 3 Captured by Gotya

Package Delivery, Motion Detection, Surveillance Camera, Windows Phone

Package Delivery 3 of 3 Captured by Gotya


As a parting thought, sometimes delivery personnel don’t treat your packages very nicely. So in addition to informing you of when a package has been delivered, surveillance can also show you how it was delivered. So if you receive damaged or non-functional goods, you’ll have the evidence to support your case for a replacement.

When a delivery man throws your hard drive like a bowling ball



GIF Series – DishTV Installer

GIF Series - DishTV Installer

It’s fun to make Gotya “movies” using pictures captured by Gotya and making an animated GIF out of them using tools like

These pics were taken by Gotya that was set up for ad hoc / temporary surveillance to monitor the installation of satellite TV over the course of about two hours and then taken down,  as explained in this blog post.

Because these pictures are all taken automatically based on motion detection, the effects can be funny and/or unique versus pictures taken manually by a human being.

Try it out for yourself. We’d love to see your own Gotya movies!


WTC - no video surveillance

WTC Video Surveillance Fail

On March 16th, a teenager managed to make it to the top of 1 WTC undetected. This is a classic example of video surveillance without monitoring = useless.

There were three enabling factors at play:

1) No video surveillance cameras inside the building

2) Sleeping security guard

3) Nobody monitoring the  perimeter video surveillance camera that had no automatic motion detection and alerts

While 1) and 2) are pretty obvious and easily fixed, it’s 3) that should be of concern to anyone using un-monitored video surveillance – video footage that goes directly into storage only to be retrieved after something happens, not when it happens. Even if somebody was monitoring the camera, they would have to have their eyes glued continuously to the monitor, otherwise looking away for even several seconds could cause an important event (like somebody breaking into the WTC property through a hole in the fence)  to be missed.

Any proactive surveillance system (video or photo) needs to have motion detection and alerts as part of it’s core feature set.  This way, when the teen was entering the WTC site through the hole in the fence, the perimeter surveillance camera would have sent an alert (along with the video footage) immediately to the security guard. The alert could have even woken him up.

dog under video surveillance

Surveillance Use Case Series: Home Alone Rule Breaking Dog

This is a great use case for surveillance in general: does your dog obey the rules you set (like staying off the bed) when you’re not at home? Can you trust your dog? Do you need to implement stronger preventative measures to ensure compliance when you leave your house? You can’t depend on your cat to enforce the rules as you’ll see…

Gotya would alert you the moment your dog hopped up on the bed and send you the picture evidence, using one of your old smartphones as the motion detecting surveillance camera instead of an expensive video camera.

See the home alone rule breaking dog in action!

motion detection

How To Capture High Resolution Images

You can set Gotya to capture two types of images: Standard Quality and High Quality. Standard Quality is VGA (640×480) and supports both local and Gotya cloud storage. High Quality is the maximum pixels supported by the device used as the Gotya camera and supports local storage only. In this example, I’ve used a Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8,  which has an 8MP camera, so pictures captured by Gotya in High Quality mode are 8MP.

High Quality vs Motion Detection Speed Trade-Off

High Quality image capture requires much higher processing (CPU, memory, storage) resources. In order to ensure as consistently  high performance motion detection and picture capture as possible, Gotya stores High quality images locally to the device only. For the vast majority of use cases, VGA picture quality is sufficient to clearly identify moving objects. However for those cases where high-resolution pictures are required (for example, capturing small moving objects that are relatively far away from the Gotya camera), Gotya supports this requirement via High quality image mode.

Setting Picture Quality

In Camera->Advanced Settings you can set Image quality = Standard or High. If you select High, Save location will be automatically set to Local.

high resolution image

Camera->Settings->Advanced settings

If you subsequently want to store pictures to the Gotya cloud by setting Save location = Gotya, Image quality will be automatically set to Standard.

Standard quality image, motion detection

Image quality is auto-set to Standard when Cloud storage is selected

Standard Quality Image Setting

Image quality auto-set to Standard in cloud storage mode

Using OneDrive to Auto-Upload High Quality Images to the Cloud

OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) users can set their Windows Phone to automatically upload Gotya high-quality pictures to the OneDrive cloud by going into Settings->System->Backup->Photos.  Every High quality picture captured by Gotya will be auto-uploaded to the Saved Pictures album on OneDrive.

OneDrive, Windows Phone, SkyDrive

Set Windows Phone to auto-save pictures to OneDrive

Comparison of Standard Quality Sequence to High Quality Sequence

Sequence #1 shows motion detection and pictures of a bouncing ball captured in Standard quality / save to Gotya cloud mode. You can see that six VGA (640×480 or about 300K pixels) pictures are captured in about a three-second interval.

VGA, standard resolution, motion detection

Standard quality (VGA 640×480 px) 1 of 6

motion detection

Standard Quality 2 of 6

motion detection

Standard Quality 3 of 6

motion detection

Standard quality 4 of 6

motion detection

Standard quality 5 of 6

motion detection

Standard quality 6 of 6

Sequence #2 shows motion detection and pictures of the same bouncing ball captured in high quality / save to local mode. Three high quality (8MP)  pictures are captured in the same interval. Even with multi-threading (one process for motion detection and picture capture, another process for saving the images), there is a reduced # of pictures per time interval. If cloud storage was enabled, you could expect only one picture to be captured in this interval.

motion detection

High resolution 1 of 3 (3264 x 2448 pixels)

motion detection

High resolution 2 of 3

motion detection, high resolution picture

High Resolution 3 of 3

The Bottom Line

Unless you have a specific need for high-resolution pictures where maximum motion detection speed (# of pictures/second) is  less of a priority than picture resolution, we recommend using Standard quality picture setting. Standard quality picture setting provides sufficient detail for most use cases and also supports Gotya cloud storage and alerts. However, for those use cases where resolution is the most important consideration, Gotya supports high-resolution pictures with optional auto-save of pictures to OneDrive cloud.  Note that alerts are not supported in high-resolution mode, so you will have to manually check your OneDrive Saved Pictures album to see if any motion has been detected and pictures captured by Gotya.


Check out this awesome picture of a soaring bird captured by a Lumia 925 Windows Phone in High Quality picture mode.

high resolution picture, motion detection, bird, photo surveillance

High Flying Bird

Smartphones as Surveillance Cameras

The main selling point of Gotya is that it is an app and cloud service that turns your smartphone into a security or surveillance camera.

Recently a friend suggested that the Gotya app needs a product line expansion in the form of a compact, low cost camera with night vision. E.g. $29

This could expand the addressable market to include those users with only one smartphone to use as a remote controller for the “Gotya Cam”.

The Gotya mission remains simple: security and surveillance for the masses via smartphone cameras.

-Bring Your Own Surveillance

Posted from WordPress for Windows Phone