First Look: Using The iPhone For Video Surveillance

Case and point: Yoics, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based company founded by a group of industry R&D veterans, has put together one of the easiest IP surveillance solutions that requires nothing more than a PC, a web cam and an iPhone to get up and running. The upshot is yet another way to imagine the iPhone as a platform for solutions, apart from its position as a standout consumer device.

Using Yoics' technology, one needs only to download Yoics' software client to a PC, install a web cam if one isn't already installed, and integrate the camera with the software client to get started. After clicking on the web cam, a a user can remotely take out an iPhone, log in to the streaming video feed via the Safari web browser, and see the real-time, live-motion feed over the Internet.

What makes this unique is that the number of live video applications that work with the iPhone is a small one; in fact, no additional software even needs to be downloaded to the iPhone itself for the IP cam to get up and running. Yoics itself explains its raison d'etre: "Yoics exists because networking is too hard." Among the company's executives are Ryo Koyama, its CEO, and Mike Johnson, its executive vice president and CTO, both of whom started Yoics after their previous company, iReady, was acquired by GPU company Nvidia.

There are, of course, some drawbacks to the IP surveillance solution Yoics has put forth. For starters, it only supports one camera per installation. And while it can take archives of still images, it doesn't archive streaming video. The platform now is Windows-based, but company developers say they're working on supporting additional operating systems. Then again, the software that enables all of this is a free download.

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Sure, this may be a configuration that appeals more to people who want to watch their pets at home during the workday than for business owners who have a real security need. But Yoics' IP surveillance solution for the iPhone does work, and it shows significant potential for higher-end deployments in the future.