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 rather apps 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.