nokia lumia 800, windows phone 7

In praise of older smartphones – unlike Skype, Gotya continues to support Windows Phone 7

Microsoft recently announced that Windows Phone 7 users will no longer be able to use Skype  “within the next few weeks”.  Not just discontinuing updates, bug fixes, or support, but terminating use altogether – not allowing sign-ins from Windows Phone 7 devices.

According to data from AdDuplex published on WMPoweruser, there are still 8-10 million active Windows Phone 7 users out there.

In contrast to the Skype decision, we here at Gotya are all about supporting older smartphones by enabling consumers to turn them into connected motion detection cameras for a near-free, portable DIY security and surveillance system.

Gotya supports and will continue to support Windows Phone 7. If you’re a WP7 user or  if you have upgraded to WP 8/8.1 and have your old WP7 device (like a Lumia 800, the first-ever WP7 Nokia Lumia from November, 2011)  lying around doing nothing, turn it into a near-free motion detection camera with remote snapshots and alerts with Gotya. And, you can use your current WP8/8.1 device as a remote control for your Gotya WP7 motion detection camera!

WP7 users and device owners, we got your back.

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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.

Over-thinking and over-complicating SJC perimeter security

As originally reported in this blog post, perimeter security at Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) needs some serious beefing up, and we suggested a simple solution – put in cameras with motion detection and alerting capabilities and make sure they cover all areas of potential intrusion. 

“…he picked a spot where cameras didn’t pick him up”.

“Once on the airfield, security cameras captured an image that appeared to be the boy, airport officials said, but apparently no one monitoring the closed-circuit video system saw it.” 

Hence the need for motion detection and alerting on all perimeter cameras at SJC and ensuring they cover 100% of the perimeter. And of course, if not blatantly obvious already, make sure the cameras have night-vision.

The alerts can be in the form of SMS text messages backed up by audible alerts to the companion mobile app for the cameras being used. The text message can contain a link to a short video clip or high-res snapshots of the moving object and the security personnel can then react accordingly, immediately, without having to constantly watch video monitors. Many  cameras have two-way audio capability (as well as audio-triggered alerts in addition to motion) so warnings could be immediately made (shouted or barked) to the intruder that they’re about to be apprehended.

Does it really require bringing in a national non-profit safety group to figure this out? We’re with San Jose councilman Sam Liccardo who called it a “straightforward challenge” akin to building a better mousetrap that should be no problem given the airport’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Come on SJC, get on your horse.

Gotya reviewed on WPCentral

We’re fortunate enough today to have the good folks at Windows Phone Central do a thorough hands-on review of Gotya for Windows Phone.

We’ve studied the review and appreciate the positives and the negatives as it will help us improve the Gotya app and Cloud Service.

We also really like the cool pic of the annoying leaping squirrel that was taken by Gotya running on a Lumia 520.

Thanks to George Ponder at WPCentral for the well-written review.

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

 

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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/

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.

 

Android

Gotya Security Camera now available for Android

Gotya Security Camera is now available in beta for Android 2.3 and later (up to and including KitKat 4.4) smartphones and tablets. This means if you have any older Android devices sitting around gathering dust, you can now put them back to work for you as motion detection cameras and control them with the Android device you’re using today. The app is free, ad-free, and new users get a free 60 day full-feature trial of the Gotya Cloud Service for instant alerts, camera remote control, and cloud picture backup.

The new release also packs three new features that we’ve prioritized based on user feedback:

1) Front facing camera support – you can now select either rear/main camera or front facing camera as the motion detection camera

2) Fake or black screen saver with optional lock code – use this to put the smartphone or  tablet in spycam mode – it looks like it’s either idle on the Android home screen (with the fake screen option) or completely powered off (with the black screen option) even though the Gotya motion detection camera is running,  and you can protect it with a 4-digit lock code.  Use this to deploy your Gotya cameras as spycams and automatically take pictures of anything that moves in front of the camera and get instant alerts. You can also take pictures whenever you want using the instant snapshot feature. All without anyone knowing that a motion detection camera is watching them.

3) Improved camera remote controller menu with larger icons for easier use.

You can download Gotya for Android on Google Play now.