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!

windows phone store, app of the day, gotya

How to get your app featured on Windows Phone Store

In the last two and a half weeks (since July 9th), Gotya has been featured on Windows Phone Store seven times in forty-five countries, including today in the U.S. as the Featured App Of The Day. In addition to the App of the Day promo slot (for as the name implies, one app), there are also the  App Icons (three apps) and the Spotlight (eight apps) promo slots.

See this Windows Phone Developer Blog post including a video from Inside Windows Phone, to see what criteria Windows Phone Store merchandising team uses to choose which apps to feature on the Windows Phone Store. In other words, “what is a quality app” ?

We’re thrilled that the Windows Phone Store merchandising team has deemed Gotya to be a high quality app, and just as thrilled that with nearly 200 reviews globally averaging 4.5/5 stars, our users feel the same way.

What Price Surveillance?

Disclaimer: This post isn’t about government surveillance and all that entails. It’s about private/personal/consumer surveillance products and services.

Consumers have never had more choice when it comes to home monitoring and surveillance solutions. For years there have been the usual alarm companies with 24/7 monitoring with video cameras and motion detectors. Companies like ADT and Bay Alarm. These require professional installation, proprietary hardware, up front hardware costs, and long-term (typicaly 3 year) monthly service/monitoring contracts. We’re talking hundreds of dollars up front and $30-$40/month for three years commitment. And of course these are fixed (stationary/non-mobile) solutions that monitor a pre-determined fixed location (your hoouse).

Next we had the advent of smartphone-based monitoring solutions so that consumers could break free from the alarm panel and monitor cameras at their house or property and get alerts via a smartphone app like ADT Pulse or AT&T Digital Life. But still, these are costly (while being feature rich) solutions and have long-term contracts attached.

Now we’re seeing “Over the Top” (OTT) video surveillance, motion detection, carbon monoxide, and temperature sensing solutions like Dropcam and Canary. These are self-monitoring solutions and 100% smartphone based. No alarm panels to deal with. However, they are still expensive (Dropcam starts at $149, Foscam at $79, HomeMonitor at $179) requiring dedicated cameras, and are fixed solutions. What do I mean by fixed? I mean they’re stationary and are difficult or cumbersome to move to another location and are not at all suited for “ad hoc” or temporary surveillance use cases where you might want to watch a particular location for just an hour or two, pick up, and move on. They also require WiFi, and don’t work over mobile data networks like 3G/4G so for remote locations with no broadband connectivity, won’t work at all.

Now, having said all of that, these are great solutions for a particular range of use cases and budgets. Some have have 720p video, night vision, wide angle lens, digital zoom, 2-way audio, so they do pack some pretty cool features.

So the price points have come down and the flexibility/autonomy of the consumer to set up and monitor their own independent surveillance system has increased massively. That’s all good.

But there’s still something that until recently has been missing. There are millions of smartphone cameras out there that now have high quality cameras on them and operating systems and hardware sophisticated enough to run high-performance motion detection apps. And the best part is, they’re always with their owner. This has opened up a new opportunity that we like to call “casual surveillance”.

Casual surveillance is surveillance that isn’t necessarily mission-critical, but rather is a super low cost way to leverage hardware (smartphones) that you already have to deliver a motion detection and photo surveillance solution for both fixed or on-the-go mobile locations. A great example is if you’re visiting a shared workspace and have to leave your backpack in a place that could put it at risk of theft. Using a self-made “stand” out of a coffee cup or making a hidden camera inside a small cardboard box (like a cellphone box or tissue box) , you can monitor that backpack for a short period of time, then take it down when you leave. All motion (including the smartphone itself being used as the motion detection camera) is immediately detected, pictures captured, in some cases auto-uploaded to the cloud, and the user alerted immediately so that they can stop the theft or at least, capture pictures of the thief.

There are several motion detection camera apps out there now that are filling out the spectrum of surveillance solutions for consumers at the low (casual) end of the price/feature spectrum. Go and check them out at your app store of choice. You’d be surprised at what you can do with your smartphone these days, whether it’s the one you use on a daily basis, or an old one that’s sitting in a drawer somewhere. And this type of casual surveillance solution costs next to nothing compared with the previously mentioned solutions.

Happy surveying.

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