There has been an explosion in the number of manufacturers and others who offer smartphone apps specifically for viewing video systems.
Because smartphones have become increasingly vital tools for business owners, remote and mobile video capabilities have become just as important for their business operations, as they have for security functions.
If you have a smartphone, congratulations. You’re now in the majority.
So says a Nielsen survey conducted in March, which found that 50.4 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers owned a smartphone.
This shouldn’t really be surprising. Case in point: “There’s an app for that” has become part of our lexicon. Mobile is more than here to stay; it’s driving a large part of our lives from the way we watch TV to the way we connect with each other to the way we do business.
To gauge the direction in which the security industry is most likely heading, one needs look no farther than QuickPlay Media’s 2012 U.S. Mobile TV and Video Survey. The company, which provides managed solutions for distributing video to IP-connected devices, polled 526 U.S.-based mobile phone subscribers between the ages of 18 and 44 about their mobile video viewing habits. The majority of respondents — 57 percent — indicated some level of interest in multi-screen viewing, such as watching video on a number of devices. Phones are the preferred means of watching mobile video for 63 percent of respondents, and tablets are the device of choice for 33 percent of respondents.
Granted, these results are completely focused on TV viewing, but the results have a lot to say about where the security industry is going. After all, trends in the consumer space have tended to shape the direction of the security industry, and mobile video should prove no exception.
For a security-specific perspective, look at SDM’s recent online poll, which asked, “How important are mobile devices, generally, to your customers’ security operations?” Of the 427 respondents, 67 percent answered “very important.”
It is natural that the majority of DVR and NVR manufacturers would supply some sort of smartphone application for accessing live and/or recorded video.
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Peace of Mind
Strip away their high-tech trappings, and the popularity of — and demand for — mobile and remote video viewing comes down to the same basic reason people have wanted security systems from the very beginning: peace of mind. The only difference today is that that peace of mind is at end users' fingertips, no matter where they may be.
The ability to check in on a home or business from a computer when you're not there goes a long way towards providing that peace of mind. The ability to do that while you’re, say, sitting on a train or standing in line at the bank makes that peace of mind much, much more solid. And that, says Keith Maley, president of Harrisburg, Pa.-based Knight Security Systems, is why there’s been an explosion in the number of manufacturers and others who offer smartphone apps specifically for viewing video systems.
"People like to look in and make sure everything’s okay, even in larger commercial applications," he says. "Mobile has really changed the position of a security system. It’s now something you can touch, something you can reach out to, wherever you’re at, as long as you have a cell phone and Internet service."