IFTTT, motion alerts, Gotya

Use any WiFi Security Camera as IFTTT Trigger with Gmail Channel

IFTTT (IF This Then That) is a freemium service that enables you to connect your smart home/IoT (Internet of Things) devices including WiFi security cameras to a world of Web apps such as The Weather Channel, Instagram, Twitter, Gmail, and Dropbox, to name but 5 of the 128 available “Channels”.  In addition to Web apps Channels there are also native Android and iOS Channels such as notifications and location, as well as email, SMS, and phone call channels. When something happens on a (Trigger) Channel, IFTTT enables something else to happen on another (Action) Channel.

Any IP/WiFi camera that has motion detection and email alerts can work with IFTTT as a Trigger using the Gmail Channel. For example this recipe uses Dropcam motion alerts to turn on a WeMo Light Switch.

Gotya can also turn on your Wemo Light Switch just like Dropcam does. All you need to do is i) replace noreply@dropcam.com with gotya.alerts@mobiapplines.com in the Gmail from address field as shown below and ii) make sure the Gmail address that you enter into the Gmail Channel  is the same as your Gotya Alert email address (in the Gotya app, go to Camera->Settings or Remote Controller->Select Camera->Operation).

IFTTT, trigger, wemo

As a second example of using Gotya to trigger an IFTTT channel, when Gotya detects motion it can send you an SMS alert using this recipe (you’ll need to modify it to specify your own mobile phone# and Gmail address). As with the first example, make sure the Gmail address that you enter into the Gmail Channel  is the same as your Gotya Alert email address (in the Gotya app, go to Camera->Settings or Remote Controller->Select Camera->Operation).

The  SMS alerts include the URL with the picture stored on the Gotya Cloud. For security reasons you’ll need to login to the Gotya Cloud Service each time.

motion detection sms alert, IFTTT

Gotya motion detection SMS alert with link to picture in Gotya cloud

 

There is currently only one WiFi home security camera (actually an iOS app) called Manything, that has it’s own “proper” / native IFTTT channel, enabling it to be connected to all of the 128 Channels and can be used both as a Trigger and an Action in a Recipe (and not just as a Trigger via the Gmail Channel as this article has focused on). Expect this list to grow dramatically as IFTTT has recently raised a $30M Series B Round and is going to make their Channel Platform available to a lot more developers.

SmartThings has done an unofficial integration with Dropcam and SmartThings has their own IFTTT channel, so there’s potentially other stuff that you can do with the combination of Dropcam, SmartThings, and IFTTT, but that’s perhaps a topic for another blog post. A quick search of “SmartThings Dropcam” on IFTTT Browse Recipes returned zero results.

Let us know if you have created or use any IFTTT recipes for your IP/WiFi security camera in the Comments!

android, multitasking, nexus 7

Get immediate sound alerts when motion is detected on Android even when running in the background

Android is known for being the most open of all the mobile O/S, which means that developers have access to some APIs that can do more and/or have fewer restrictions than the corresponding API on other platforms.

An example of this is background processing. In a multi-tasking environment, the user has multiple apps open and is switching back and forth between them, a very common scenario with modern smartphones.  Only one app can be in the foreground at any given time, with all the other open apps  in the background. The Featured Image shows four open apps on my Nexus 7 – Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and Gotya.

When Gotya for Android is running in the background, it can still listen continuously for (and process) events from the Gotya Cloud Service (GCS). For the Gotya user, this means that with the Gotya Remote Control running in the background, audio alerts are immediately played on the device just like they are when it’s running in the foreground. This is of great benefit because Gotya is “always-on”, listening for motion alerts and then proactively sounding them as soon as they are received. This saves the user from having to bring the Remote Controller to the foreground to check on any alerts that might have been triggered while Gotya was in the background (which is the case with Windows Phone).

Background processing on Android means the user can “set it and forget it” – open the Gotya Remote Control, then go about their daily business using the apps on their device as they normally do, with Gotya always listening for alerts from GCS. If something moves, you’ll hear the audio alert immediately and then you can bring the Remote Controller to the foreground to see pictures of what’s happening. With Windows Phone, you would still see all the picture alerts when you bring Gotya back to the foreground – nothing is missed – but you wouldn’t hear the audio alert instantly like you do with Android.  Of course, if the Gotya Remote Control is running in the foreground on both Android and Windows Phone, then you’ll immediately hear and see pictures of the motion alerts.

lumia 900 windows phone

7 Things You Can Do With Your Old Smartphone

Consumers have several options for what to do with their old phone when they upgrade to a new one,  something that is happening more often than ever with programs like T-Mobile JUMP!  that encourages customers to upgrade their smartphone as often as every six months with a credit for up to half of the old phone’s original cost.  The other big mobile operators in the U.S. have similar programs having followed T-Mobile’s lead.

  1. Sell it to an end user consumer on EbaySwappa, or other used phone websites/marketplaces. If your phone is still in good condition,  fully functional with a clean ESN and ready for activation you can get a decent price. For a Nokia Lumia 900, if your phone meets all their selling criteria, the avg selling price on Swappa for June is listed at $55. If your phone is damaged or broken, you can try and salvage something by selling it on the Swappa Boneyard.
  2. Sell it to a used phone dealer/business. Trade it in at a mobile operator store or operator website  for a promotion card good for buying more stuff from the operator,  or get a credit to your mobile phone bill. Or sell it to Gazelle. You’re going to get a lot less money this way. See the screenshots below.
  3. Pass it on to a (junior) family member
  4. Destroy  it with a hammer or back over it with a car (or whatever your preferred demolition method) so that it’s unusable/won’t power on, and then take it to an electronics recycler. It’s better to destroy it before recycling to ensure that your personal data on the device won’t fall into the wrong hands.
  5. Throw it in the trash. But that wouldn’t be very environmentally friendly now would it.
  6. Put it in a drawer and forget about it.
  7. Extend its useful life with a utility/tools type app, such as a security camera, music player, or a flashlight.

With options 1-2 there is the risk of not properly wiping your phone (specifically, doing a factory reset which you would think would be enough but isn’t – on Android devices, you also need to turn on encryption) and thus leaving your data (pictures, emails, text messages, address book, and so on) vulnerable to hacking.  With option 2. there is also the question of how much money you’ll get. In the case of the Lumia 900 according to the AT&T Device Trade-In Appraisal tool, the absolute most it’s worth in good/normal use condition is $10 in the form of store or website credit. At Verizon, their maximum price is $11.

used smartphone, lumia 900

Used Lumia 900 maximum price AT&T will pay

At Gazelle, it’s worth $0 with a cracked screen (as shown in the featured image at the top of this blog post). On the plus side, they do provide a link to recycling resources.

Lumia, Windows Phone, motion detection camera

Lumia 900 w/cracked screen worth nothing to Gazelle

 

If you’re not comfortable with the data vulnerability issue or can’t get the price you want via 1. or 2. and don’t have a suitable family member to give your old phone to, option 7. is not a bad one. Certainly better than 4., 5., or  6., one would think.  Especially if it’s got a cracked screen, a not uncommon ailment of used phones.

See the cracked-screen Lumia 900 reborn as a Gotya security camera! Even though the screen is cracked, it functions perfectly well as a motion detection camera.

motion detection camera, lumia 900, windows phone

Lumia 900 w/cracked screen gets new lease on life as a motion detection camera

If you’ve recently upgraded your phone, let us know in the comments what you’ve done or plan to do with your old one.

Get Your Own Barking Watchdog While You’re Away On Vacation

Summer vacation season is in full swing and lots of people will be away from their homes at their favorite vacation spots. Here in the U.S. this 4th of July weekend, the AAA estimates more than 41 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more.

People away from their homes on vacation can get peace of mind by using a home monitoring/surveillance system app on the smartphones and tablets they have with them  to see what’s happening at their homes, get photo or video records of movement, and get alerts when motion is detected so they can respond accordingly.

Gotya is a low-cost way to monitor your house or apartment while you’re away enjoying your vacation and to automatically take pictures of moving objects. Set up Gotya cameras at the points of entry or approach to your home – pathways, doorways, gates, and windows  – and if anything moves in those areas,  Gotya will automatically take pictures and send you email, picture, and sound alerts so you always know what’s going on.

You can set your Gotya camera to play an alert sound as a warning to trespassers or potential  intruders that they’re being watched. Crank up the volume on your device to full blast or even hook it up to external speakers to blast the Gotya warning sound whenever they move to make them think twice! This is the next best thing to having a barking watchdog dog at your place while you’re away!

motion detection camera

Turn on alert sound to warn potential intruders

 

In addition to the Gotya alert sound, you can also fire the camera’s flash as a visual warning to potential intruders. When something moves, Gotya fires the camera’s flash, blasts the alert sound,  takes a picture, and sends you an alert. With Gotya taking multiple pictures per second, the intruder will see a series of flashes and hear a repeating alarm sound.  With today’s bright LED and super bright Xenon flash on devices like the Nokia Lumia, it’s sure to catch the interloper’s eye, make them nervous, and think seriously about leaving, fast.  It’s like having a Cujo-like dog with flashing eyes watching your home while you’re away!

motion detection camera

Turn on Flash to fire as a warning when motion is detected

 

motion detection camera

Lumia 822 Gotya camera watching front pathway with Flash set to on

 

motion detection camera

This is what it looks like to somebody moving in front of the camera

 

Let us know in the comments how you’re using Gotya to watch your home while you’re away on vacation. Have a good one!

Featured image courtesy of http://blog.ricardoarturocabral.com/

No WiFi? No problem! Detect motion and capture pictures anyway!

Video surveillance cameras from DropcamHomeMonitor, and others don’t work without a WiFi connection. This is because these devices have no ability to store media (video or pictures) locally to the device.

This means that if a bad guy intruder unplugs or smashes your WiFi router, or if your WiFi connection drops for any other reason (power outage, network outage, WiFi router failure), and you’re using either of those two apps above, then your video camera will no longer be able to record, and anything that happens after that is “off the record”.

Gotya, on the other hand, works without WiFi in three different ways:

1) When you set Gotya camera to save images to local. No network connection of any kind is required to detect motion, automatically take pictures, and save them locally to the device (pictures are saved to the Gotya album on Android, Saved Pictures album on Windows Phone,  and Gallery on Symbian).

motion detector, motion detection camera app

Gotya for Android – camera settings

Note: You can also set Android to auto-backup your pictures to Google+,  and Windows Phone and Symbian  to OneDrive. So even if you’re saving Gotya pictures locally, you can take advantage of these cloud services to have an automatic backup of all your Gotya pictures. This of course requires a network connection.

2) If the smartphone or tablet you’re using as the Gotya camera has a SIM card with cellular data service, then it will revert to cellular data (2G/3G/4G) if the WiFi connection drops.

3) If the smartphone or tablet you’re using as the Gotya camera has no SIM card or cellular data service and is WiFi only and you’ve got the camera set to save images to the Gotya Cloud, when the WiFi connection drops, Gotya automatically switches to saves pictures locally to the device ,and then as soon as the WiFi connection is restored, automatically uploads those pictures to the Gotya Cloud. The sequence of three pictures below illustrates this scenario. Note the network connection status in the lower right hand corner of the screen. The red dot at top center of the screen indicates motion detection is active.

motion detector, motion detection camera, motion detection app

WiFi connected, pictures auto-uploaded to Gotya Cloud (normal operation).

 

motion detection camera, motion detector, motion detection app

WiFi connection drops, Gotya automatically switches to save pictures locally.

motion detection app, motion detector, motion detection camera

WiFi connection restored, Gotya now automatically uploads pictures that were saved locally, to the Gotya cloud

 

So whether you have no network connection, a slow network connection, or a high-speed WiFi connection, Gotya works in all of those scenarios. Try it for yourself.

High fps motion detection and picture capture with Nexus 7

In the first post about how to capture high frame rate / high # pictures per second with Gotya, we used a 20 month old Lumia 820 that captured 8 fps and said that we’d update this post series with a Nexus 7 (2013) to show how Moore’s Law – that is, the continuous improvement in price/performance of computers including tablets and smartphones over time – both in terms of hardware like CPU and GPU and software such as O/S – means that Gotya will also continuously improve it’s maximum fps picture capture as new, more powerful devices come out.

Now that Gotya for Android is out, we’d like to share the update on how the Nexus 7 (2013) performed. This is now an 11 month old device (started shipping July 2013) and it’s successor, the Nexus 8, is already expected to be announced at Google I/O on June 25th and will be another big step in performance , less than a year since the previous generation device started shipping. So the pace of performance improvements is only increasing.

The Nexus 7 (2013) captured 10 fps in our like-for-like test in terms of camera calibration and settings, at the same location and action sequence (somebody walking at normal pace). In fact this time the active window was slightly larger (which decreases the fps) and there are six times more pixels to scan and analyze in order to perform the motion detection  (1920 x 1200 = 2.3M on the Nexus 7  vs  800 x 480 = 384K on the Lumia 820). Even still, we observed a 25% fps performance increase over the 8 fps captured by the Lumia 820 Windows Phone.

 

motion detection camera, Android security camera app

Nexus 7 Gotya motion detection camera calibration from Nexus S remote controller

 

Here’s the GIF of the 40 frames captured in 4 seconds

Gotya motion detection app for Android, Android security camera app

10 fps captured by Nexus 7 (2013)

And here’s the first and last frames of the GIF with the timestamps in the top left showing the 4 second duration.

android security app, nexus 7 motion detection camera

Frame 1 captured by Gotya on Nexus 7

 

 

android security camera app, nexus 7 motion detection camera app

Frame 40 captured by Gotya on Nexus 7

 

It’s important to highlight that these are real-world settings designed to capture pictures of a person walking at normal speed in a specific area (active window) – the path leading up to the entrance.

Gotya’s ability to capture high fps means that the details of an incident will be captured and you won’t miss a thing even when using devices 1 year old and more, making Gotya a perfect use for that old Android, Windows Phone, or Symbian device sitting around in your drawer. It also means that you don’t need a video surveillance app to capture high fps. Video apps capture 30 fps and we’ve just shown that Gotya on a one year old device captures 10 fps which is quite respectable given Gotya’s dramatically lower price and bandwidth requirementsas compared to video surveillance apps.

How does Gotya do this? With high performance native code and clever optimizations where the platform would otherwise slow down picture capture. No cross-platform IDEs or SDKS here.

We’ll provide an update with a 2014 device, maybe even the Nexus 8 or a newer spec Windows Phone 8.1 (or both),  and see how many fps Gotya captures with that new high performance device. We wouldn’t be surprised to see it real close to 15 fps.

Download Gotya Security Camera for Android now and see for yourself.

 

high frame rate, motion detection

High Frame Rate (fps) Motion Detection and Picture Capture

While video surveillance/security/monitoring apps capture video at 30 frames per second (fps), Gotya photo surveillance can capture up to 15 fps when set to high-speed motion detection. This means that you will not miss anything and be able to capture a detailed record of a motion triggered event, while realizing the benefits of photo survellance namely low upstream bandwidth usage, ability to operate on slower speed mobile data networks (2.5/3G) or slower WiFi, if high-speed WiFi is not available or is too costly, and capturing only the frames that contain motion.

And as mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) track Moore’s Law and continuously get faster CPUs, more RAM, and faster network chips,  Gotya leverages that into ever faster picture capture frame rates – 15 fps may not be the maximum.

To illustrate Gotya in high-speed (high frame rate / fps)  motion detection mode, we used a Nokia Lumia 820 Windows Phone 8 which is a 1 year and 8 months old device (began shipping in September 2012). This device has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 CPU (Dual-core 1.5 GHz ) and 1024 MB RAM. One of Gotya’s core benefits is enabling consumers to use their old smartphones and tablets as motion detection cameras.  A 20-month old device is representative of a real world use case, where smartphones are typically updated after 18-24 months (and often times even  faster with upgrade programs like T-Mobile JUMP).

To set Gotya for high-speed motion detection, go into Camera->Advanced Settings and set Object motion all the way to fast (20) as shown below.

motion detection speed

Object motion set to 20 (fast)

Then aim and calibrate the Gotya motion detection camera as usual – the setup for this example is shown below. The important thing to note about calibration and how it affects motion detection / frame capture speed is that the smaller the active window, the faster the motion detection gets. In this example, we’ve set the active window to about 80% of the camera viewfinder to cover the path to detect anyone walking on it and to ignore motion outside of the active window. If the active window was say 50%, motion detection speed would increase proportionally.

motion detection camera calibration

Active windows size (orange frame) ~ 80% of viewfinder

The GIF  below shows 32 frames captured in 4 seconds by Gotya with the above settings.  Included below the GIF are the first and last picture in the sequence from the Gotya Web Gallery, with timestamp in the top left corner. The first timestamp is 11:16:38 and the last timestamp is 11:16:42 = total of 4 seconds.

This means Gotya running in fast motion detection mode on a 20-month old device captured 8 frames/second.

motion detection app, fps, photo surveillance app

32 frames captured in 4 seconds on an 20-month old smartphone (Lumia 820)

 

motion detection app

Frame 1 of 32

motion detection camera app

Frame 32 of 32

 

In a future post when Gotya for Android is released (in the coming weeks), we’ll compare the frame rate capture of the 18-month old Lumia 820 to a Google-Asus Nexus 7 (2013) Android tablet which is 10 months old as of the date of this post, and has a quad-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU and 2GB RAM. After that we’ll benchmark a  a current device that started shipping in 2014. This will illustrate the effect of Moore’s law on Gotya’s maximum frame rate capture and we expect to be approaching or exceeding 15 fps as claimed at the top of this post.

(Featured Image courtesy of www.empirecinemas.co.uk )