All posts by chrisryan

Security: There is an app for that

mobile security apps

If there is a smart phone in your pocket, purse or briefcase, then chances are you are also someone who has downloaded an app—or 10 or 20, or probably even more.

As mobile networks have advanced since their inception in the 1980s, so too have the capabilities of the devices we use. It’s pretty much standard practice today to have a built-in camera, GPS capability and voice activation in our smart phones. Apple, creators of the iPhone, offers more than 650,000 apps, which have been downloaded more than 30 billion times. And Android, the other leader in this field, is close behind.

In the security world, creating apps to go with the smart phones that travel with us wherever we go helps to extend the capabilities of existing security products, whether it’s a video management system or the software tied to an access control product. But the key goal in creating these apps isn’t to replicate what security professionals or even homeowners are doing on their desktops, but ratherapps should be about creating a value-added user experience.

In some instances, that may mean using these apps, developed with security in mind, for non-security purposes. A retailer, for instance, who already has security cameras in place and is able to monitor them via a smart phone app, could also use this same video for monitoring inventory as it moves in and out of the stockroom, or for evaluating staffing levels at certain times of the day. Manufacturers could use those same security-developed apps for supervising product flow in the factory, or movement of those items within the warehouse.

Of course, anytime security is involved, there is a concern about protecting the information. Fortunately, those who are developing apps for the security field are ensuring that the proper authentication processes are in place.

So where are we likely to see the app world heading in the next few years, especially when it comes to security? Consider the concept of near field communications (NFC) —a standard whereby smart phones in close proximity can carry out transactions or exchange data. Developers are also exploring the use of a single app to bring multiple, independent systems together on a single platform, such as connecting video monitoring, event management and access control. This is an example of a great value-added for the end user, which is what apps should be all about.


What non security related tasks are you performing with a security-developed app? Leave us a comment below with your examples.

Digital Video Recording: Taking it mobile

Have you ever heard of these scenarios? A building manager gets a call at home in the middle of the night because the senior VP of one of her largest tenants can’t gain access to the building for some important documents and his identity can’t be verified by onsite staff. A security director of a petrochemical company is traveling to one of his company’s more remote facilities and hisassessment of some video footage is needed while en route. A police officer is responding to a call of a traffic accident and video from the camera at the intersection nearest the scene could help him better respond to the situation. Mobile security is already here and helping people like these, and many others, perform their job more effectively and efficiently.

digital video recording taking it mobile Not only has the mobile device become a ubiquitous part of our personal lives — sharing family photos with friends, making restaurant reservations, winning that final round of trivia on game night — but it’s an increasingly critical tool in the business environment. We’re already well accustomed to having instant communication with colleagues and customers and access to the business intelligence we’d normally have only in our office.

Extending this access to video surveillance systems — as well as to physical access control and other business management functions — is a natural extension of our new, portable business environment. Having the functionality to remotely control PTZ cameras in real time or search recorded video from anywhere and not just in your organization’s command center — extends the reach of your security and minimizes time and equipment needed on site. Being able to access security data in the field or elsewhere on a mobile device can add value to your security system, by enabling other departments or business functions within an organization to have mobile access to surveillance video or other security data useful to their operations.

And as far as our building manager, security director, and police officer go, gone are the days of having to be present to verify identities, lengthy incident review processes, and inappropriate accident responses due to incomplete information. Today, the building manager is able to verify the identity of the senior VP on the lobby cameras and grant him access to the building’s elevator and to his office on the 13th floor, all from her iPhone sitting on the nightstand. The petrochemical security director is able to aid his staff in the appropriate incident response while waiting for his connecting flight to Abu Dhabi. And the police officer is able to call for additional assistance to the accident scene after seeing footage from the traffic camera, before he even arrives, that the crash was more serious than first reported.

Without a doubt, mobile applications are changing how security professionals conduct business on a daily basis. What’s in store for the future? Have an opinion; leave us a comment.

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