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!

perimeter security

Motion Detection might come to Mineta San Jose International Airport

In the wake of a teenage stowaway scaling the perimeter fence at Mineta San Jose International Airport undetected and then hiding in an airplane wheel well on a flight to Hawaii, a Bay Area congressman is calling for tougher perimeter security  include motion detection technology which would immediately alert airport security personnel  to take action.

Motion detection and alerting technology is essential to ensure that security personnel are proactively alerted when someone is moving in a secured area. This augments basic video surveillance where hours and hours of video may have been recorded that contains footage of the moving person, but without motion detection and alerting in addition to the the video recording,  is of no use if no one is monitoring the video in real time or misses the activity because of having to view multiple video monitors, lapsed attention spans, or falling asleep.

A similiar incident occured at 1 World Trade Center recently for the exact same reason – video surveillance was in place but no one was alerted to the moving person.

Protect your perimeter and get your own motion detection and alerting technology with Gotya. If something moves Gotya detects, captures pictures, and alerts you immediately.

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.

Setting up a Spycam

You can make your own hidden or camouflaged Gotya camera (aka spycam)  to capture pictures of people snooping around stuff they shouldn’t be, or to take pictures of what people are doing in a certain area, without them knowing. A classic way to do this is to use a box with a small hole cut out to enable the camera lens to see out.

If you suspect somebody is up to no good, Gotya plus your own creativity in the form of a DIY spycam enables you to satisfy your curiosity about what they’re really doing.

In the two pictures below, I’ve shown my office desk with a camouflaged Gotya camera. It’s the light blue Nokia Lumia 900 in the darker blue beer cozy on the left hand side. Somebody coming into my office would in all likelihood not give a second thought to the beer cozy with a phone in it. To them, it just looks like a spare phone stored there, especially with the other two phones stacked up in front of it.

gotya spycam

The setup – camouflaged Gotya cam in beer cozy on office desk shelf

spycam

The setup – Gotya spycam (Lumia 900) camouflaged in blue beer cozy (closer up shot)

The sequence of pictures captured by Gotya is shown below, taken when somebody who wasn’t supposed to be there comes into my office and takes my stapler! My Gotya spycam captured it all!

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Oh, and by the way – even if the culprit had taken the Lumia 900 that I was using  as my Gotya spycam,  all of the pictures are auto-saved to the Gotya cloud for evidence, so I would still know what happened.

Let us know in the comments if you have set up your own Gotya spycam.

DIY Smartphone Stands

In order to use your smartphone as a Gotya motion detection surveillance camera, you’ll need a smartphone stand to mount it in a stable and fixed position, aimed at the area that you want to monitor.

There are thee types of smartphone stands that you can choose from:

1) Commercial Smartphone Stands

The two manufacturers we use and can recommend are JOBY Griptight ($30-$35) and WOXOM SlingShot ($20). Both of these are a combination of tripod+mount (=stand) that can be detached from each other. JOBY also has the Mpod Mini which is a small integrated stand ($15). The GripTight product line has different tripod sizes and features like flexible/bendable tripod legs, magnetic tripod feet, and detachable mounts, which gives you more ways that you can set up your camera. For example, you can wrap these around poles or posts, or attach to a magnetic surface.

As noted above, the GripTight and SlingShot mounts can be detached from the tripod, so that you can use the mount with any standard camera tripod (see 2) below).

2) Smartphone mounts for standard camera tripods

If you already have a camera tripod with a standard 1/4-20 UNC screw thread, you can purchase a smartphone mount from JOBY, WOXOM, or iStabilizer. The JOBY GripTight Mount is $20.

3) Do it Yourself (DIY) stands that you can make from everyday things

There is an amazing range of ways to use everyday items to make a simple and inexpensive (free) stand for your surveillance camera. The ones we’ve seen range from a Pringles potato chip can to binder clips and paper coffee cup sleeves to Lego.

We also made a few of our own:

Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone

PVC Pipe Smartphone Stand

Nokia Lumia 900 smartphone stand

Paper towel roll (with binder clip stabilizers)

Nokia Lumia 900 smartphone stand

3-Prong to 3-Prong Electrical Adapter

Did you make your own smartphone stand? Let us know in the comments.