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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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/

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.

 

symbian

Why 186M Symbian smartphones make perfect low cost photo surveillance cameras

One of the main reasons we developed Gotya was to enable people all around the world, even where Internet access is expensive and/or slow,  to use their old unused smartphones as low-cost and low-bandwidth security/surveillance cameras.

In a region such as North America with high disposable income and affordable and ubiquitous high-speed Internet access, video surveillance apps with their expensive video cameras and constant high bandwidth upstream usage (typically on a user’s home WiFi) are popular because people can afford it there. This is not necessarily the case in emerging markets such as BRIIC (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China) and it’s for those markets that Gotya was designed for. These markets were always strong Symbian markets, until Symbian was “Osborned” (had it’s end of life announced in advance)  in February 2011, when Nokia announced their intention to switch to Windows Phone. Nokia shipped the last Symbian device (the 808 Purview)  in mid-2012.

When we started developing Gotya in early 2013, we knew there were “lots” of Symbian devices that could be used as Gotya cameras – both still in active use and “retired” (no longer used).  Let’s take a look at exactly how many “lots” is.

First of all, Gotya runs on Symbian touch devices – S60 5.0 (aka S50 5th Edition) and Symbian^3 to be precise. The first of these devices was the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic device released in Q4 2008.

So if we take a look at Symbian shipments from 2009-2012 (starting with the first full quarter when Symbian touch devices were available and ending when Symbian device shipments were trending toward zero (2M in Q412, down from 18M in Q411 and 31M in Q410), according to Canalys Symbian device shipments are as follows:

2009 – 81M

2010 – 112M

2011 – 80M

2012 – 23M

By Q412, Nokia Lumia Windows Phone sales had surpassed Symbian (4M vs 2M) and Symbian sales were effectively trending toward zero / rounding error. (In Q113, Symbian sales fell to 0.5M).

We also know from Canalys that in 2009, 27% of Symbian sales were touch. Assuming that in 2010 that had increased to 60%,  by 2011 80% and by 2012 100%, this means that the total number of Symbian touch devices sold by Nokia between 2009 and 2012 is 22M + 67M + 64M +23M = 186 million Symbian touch devices.

Even the oldest of the Symbian touch devices (the 5-year old 5800) has a 3MP camera that can capture 1 VGA picture per second, perfectly useful as a motion detection and photo surveillance camera. The best selling Symbian^3 device, the N8 released in Q410 (over 3 years old now), has an 8MP camera and much faster processor than the 5800 and can capture 2-3 VGA pictures per second.

If  you’re one of those 186M Symbian touch device owners  and you’ve got your device sitting in a drawer gathering dust, Gotya is a great way to extend the useful life of those devices by turning them into low cost photo surveillance, motion detection, and security cameras. You can download Gotya and Gotya Cloud for Symbian touch devices from the Nokia Store. Gotya cameras running on Symbian touch devices can be remote controlled from the Web and from the Gotya for Windows Phone app.

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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 GIFMaker.me

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!

 

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

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Standard Quality 3 of 6

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Standard quality 4 of 6

motion detection

Standard quality 5 of 6

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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.

Update:

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