IoT: Three types of Things

Could IoT things be classified according to their instruction source rather than their function?

Local Thing – instructions derived on board
Global Thing – instruction derived from a global source
Swarm Thing – instructions gained from other things in the swarm

Things can be combinations of the above and/or switch according to context.

Viewer for AXIS Camera Companion – Grid View and Guard Tour feature

In the lead iOS app “Viewer for AXIS Camera Companion” one of the lesser known but very useful features is Guard Tour.

Guard Tour displays each camera in the “site” for a five seconds then flicks on to the next camera.
When using Guard Tour we recommend that you leave your iPad on never sleep (auto lock) mode.

Once in never sleep mode then place the app into Guard Tour you can use the iPad as a simple display for shop monitoring. (Note: When the iPad is in never sleep mode it uses a lot of batteries so its best if you leave it plugged into a mains supply)

Should you want to project to a big screen then Apple TV is a great way of doing that. (We wrote about how to set up an EyeSpyFX app to work with Apple TV projection here)

To get to the Guard Tour feature first go to Grid View then hit the Guard Tour button.

Guard Tour displays each camera in the "SITE" for 5 seconds

Guard Tour displays each camera in the “SITE” for 5 seconds

The Guard Tour option in “Viewer for AXIS Camera Companion” is a basic Guard Tour feature. It is not adjustable, it is fixed to display cameras at 5 second intervals. If you require more advanced Guard Tour options for setting up a Public View Monitor then the app “PVM for AXIS” is a great choice.

Horizontal Timelines versus Vertical Timelines

In most Security Cam applications the timeline feature is horizontal with older events to the left and more recent to the right. This suits PC based applications.

a horizontal timeline

a horizontal timeline

In the mobile world timelines are vertical, think of Facebook and Twitter. New events are at the top older events are toward the bottom.
As the demand for mobile access to security cam systems increases we predict that the orientation of timelines will do a 90 degree flip and go vertical.
In our latest app “Timeline” we feature a vertical timeline. Timeline is the world’s first mobileVMS. No server or PC is required; everything runs on the mobile. Because there is no server or PC there was never any reason to build a traditional horizontal timeline, so we went vertical. Come and see this innovative app at IFSEC stand B110. We have a live demo running throughout the show.

timeline screenshot

timeline screenshot

Press release: IFSEC: EyeSpyFX: Stand B110

Enterprise strength Mobile Apps for Security Camera Systems
EyeSpyFX will be exhibiting many of our lead titles such as:

EyeSpyFX App icons

EyeSpyFX App icons

We will be profiling advanced App features such as ACAP Injection, In App Notifications for Motion Detection events and our Timelapse ACAP.

Timeline – changing the idea of a VMS
We will also be showcasing our latest software innovation at IFSEC14. “Timeline” is an Alpha Prototype Mobile app that enables users to view live and recorded video and reporting details from the A1001 Access Control Device. The app maximises the potential of Edge technology.

timeline icon

timeline icon

Cameras and doors are discovered by the app and appropriate User Interfaces are presented to suit the capabilities of each device. By recognising the capabilities of each device and utilising edge storage the app removes the need for a centralised server and VMS.

In a general sense a VMS architecture resembles an “axle and spokes” where the VMS is the axle and the cameras and peripheral devices are the spokes. To a certain extent the VMS sets up the ‘centre’ as the place where all computing takes place and casts the cameras as relatively dumb entities. This may have been so in the past but in many cases now the cameras at the edge have a great deal of computing power built in. Far from being ‘dumb’ many Network Cameras now have onboard the computing power of a small laptop computer of ten years ago. It is entirely feasible to set up a compelling security camera system where there is no centralised VMS.
The components of the Timeline Edge based solution are:
• EyeSpyFX Timeline app
• AXIS ACAP capable cameras
• A1001 Access Control
• A NAS box or other Edge storage
• A VPN software located on the router
• Router and Switch

Timeline follows a new emerging architectural model in line with the development of the Internet of Things where computing functions are placed at the Edge; like NEST. This new model of distributed computing is much more scalable than the axle and spoke method typical of a VMS. If the power is all centralised then adding more cameras requires ever more computing resource to be built. Eventually this will grow huge, fall over, overheat or run out of power. If however, computing resource is distributed to each camera around the edge then in theory an endless amount of cameras can be added to a system that is not burdened by a “centre”.

Timeline is ideal for a small factory or shop where two doors are controlled and up to ten cameras are present. There is no need for a NVR or Server, everything is managed from the Mobile App.

timeline screenshot

timeline screenshot

Viewer for AXIS Cams – update: v3.6.0

An update for our leading App Viewer for AXIS Cams went live on the App Store on Saturday 8th June.

The new version features App Injection for AXIS Video Motion Detection ACAP. AXIS VMD can be installed on AXIS Cameras that support ACAP. VMD makes it possible to detect motion and automatically make a recording. The mobile app injects VMD into the camera in a seamless way saving time-consuming installation via the web and installing Active X on Internet Explorer. The motion detection area can be set up on the app by positioning a polygon over the area where movement is to be detected.

app injection store

App injection store on Viewer for AXIS Cams mobile app

The app also features Timelapse ACAP also set up via App Injection.

Edge storage is also available as an in app purchase. Edge storage can take the form of an SD card mounted in the camera or a NAS box or a USB memory stick mounted on the router.

Set up for VMD via Viewer for AXIS Cams mobile app

Set up for VMD via Viewer for AXIS Cams mobile app

These new features make Viewer for AXIS Cams is the most sophisticated app for AXIS cams available on the market today.

Security Camera Systems Remote Access for Mobile; Port Forwarding or set up a VPN?

Security Camera Systems used to comprise of a Security Guard Viewing Station, a server and the cameras. It was all within the corporate LAN. Then came Mobile apps. When the mobile device is within the LAN access to the Security Camera System is simple. The difficulty arises when the user picks up the device and roams outside the LAN then the app cannot connect anymore and the user is left wondering why.

Open a Port
The reason the App won’t work when it is moved outside the area of the LAN is because remote access is not set up on the Security Camera System. To enable remote access the System Manager must set up port forwarding ( to an externally addressable IP address. The external IP address port details can be saved in the Mobile App. This is fine and works very well up to a certain limit. If you need to open multiple ports to access more than one camera or more than one server system then opening ports seems more and more burdensome.

Try a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) ( extends a private network across the internet. It allows a computer to send and receive data across the internet as if it was connected directly to the private network and it benefits from the functionality, security and management features of the private network. A VPN is created by establishing a virtual point-to-point connection through the use of various virtual tunnelling protocols or traffic encryption.
A VPN set up with four Cameras using Router based VPN software

From a user perspective, accessing the data on a VPN is exactly the same as if they were connected directly to the private network. VPNs allow employees to connected securely to the companies intranet from outside of the office in order to access data.

Security advantages of a VPN
Public WiFi offers no encryption security to its users and your signals are broadcast for anyone tech savvy to eavesdrop. If you are connected to a public network via a VPN then all of the data that was once easy to intercept is now encrypted and no one else can see it. Much like a firewall protects the data on your computer, a VPN protects your data when you are online.

Speed of performance maybe slower. A VPN encrypts all data that is transferred through it. Encryption is a processor task. The speed of the transfer may be affected if the processor in the VPN device is slow.

VPN and AXIS Camera Companion and a VPN on a NAS box
We decided to try out the VPN software on a NAS box device with a view to using it with AXIS Camera Companion and corresponding Mobile App. Read the full PDF here [FREE]

Make Time-lapse movies using an AXIS Camera and an iPhone App

We are pleased to launch our Time- Lapse AXIS Camera application.

Use case: You have an AXIS Camera and would like to use it to make Time-lapse movies.


We made a feature on our iOS app “Viewer for AXIS Cams” to make Time- lapse movies. This feature uses a process called App Injection to load an AXIS Camera application (ACAP) onto an AXIS Cam. Once the Time-lapse ACAP is loaded you can start making time-lapse movies using “Viewer for AXIS Cams”.

A choice of two in app purchases are available: Two cam licence @ $2.99 and Unlimited Cams licence@ $49.99

The status of the icon (a film clapperboard) changes colour according to the status availability of the Time-Lapse App.

A White icon will appear if the option to buy the ACAP is available. (i.e. if we have detected that the camera we are connecting to is capable of supporting ACAP). Red will appear if the time-lapse ACAP app has been purchased and successfully installed but is not currently running. A Green Icon will appear if the time-lapse icon is currently running

The time-lapse interval is adjustable: the range goes: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 35 mins, 1 hr, 24 hr.

Time-Lapse works with all AXIS models that can support AXIS Camera Application Platform  (AXIS maintain a list of ACAP capable cams:

This Time lapse app is envisaged as a tool for making a summary of the day or week. Time-lapse  summaries can certainly be useful but also on occasion can be very beautiful….it all depends on the camera view.

The finished time-lapse videos are saved into the camera roll of your iOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPOD). Once you have them saved there you can share them via Dropbox.

As the images are uploaded from the camera they are stored in the cloud. Each time-lapse account stores 370 images. Once the 370th image is saved the first is deleted…and so it scrolls on. When a user requests a Time-lapse video from the app the images are sent to the iPhone and compiled by the app as a movie. The user then has the movie for that moment saved on their phone.

Apple TV and Security Cam Apps

We have been doing some investigations regarding Apple TV and our Security Cam Apps. This is what we found.

Project any EyeSpyFX Security Cam app onto a TV to allow large screen viewing.

40’ TV
Apple TV box             €100
iOS device (we tried iPad, iPod and iPhone)
EyeSpyFX Security Cam App, for example Viewer for AXIS Camera Companion.

Apple TV
Apple TV is a black box that allows you to project any (relatively new) Apple device to a TV. It is designed so you can project movies from your computer or iPod to your TV. This function uses an Apple projection system called AIRPLAY. It also has a range of built in content features like Netflix and YouTube and Vimeo. Apple TV costs about €100.

Apple TV control slots

Apple TV control slots

Attaching Apple TV to the 40’ TV was easy: We simply plugged it in using a HDMI cable. The HDMI cable was not provided with the Apple TV unit (which is a bit mean of Apple we thought as the device is near useless without a HDMI cable).

When you plug the Apple TV into your TV you enter the details of your WIFI network password to connect the Apple TV to your network. You enter the password using a screen based keyboard which you control using the remote control from the Apple TV. We did this here in the EyeSpyFX office and it worked fine, but we have lots of wifi devices in the office and our wifi is a bit overloaded so we opted to plug the Apple TV into our Network using a standard Ethernet cable.

Mirror the App
Next take your iOS device and on iOS 7 swipe up from the bottom of the screen to make the control panel appear. Select Apple TV and switch on Mirroring.

Setting up Apple TV Mirroring

Setting up Apple TV Mirroring

Now open an EyeSpyFX app. Apple TV will work with all EyeSpyFX apps. The app will be mirrored on the TV. The best performance is when you turn the device into landscape mode as per in this snap, showing “Grid View” in “Viewer for AXIS Camera Companion”. Projecting an app onto a TV is useful for basic viewing of security cameras on TV’s. Its a great way to monitor your business premises from home.

EyeSpyFX Security Cam App, mirrored onto TV screen using Apple TV

EyeSpyFX Security Cam App, mirrored onto TV screen using Apple TV

Optimised Projection with “PVM for AXIS”
To create optimised projection to a TV for example to use as a “Public View Monitor” we have created a special app called PVM for AXIS. This app is designed to work with Stand Alone IP Cameras (Viewer for AXIS Cams) or Cameras in an AXIS Camera Companion Site. The app is specifically designed to project to TV screens. Apple TV makes this app even easier to use. The app has special projection features like Guard Tour enabling automatic scrolling from one cam to another. The app maximizes use of the available TV screen size (rather than simply mirroring the App).

PVM for AXIS iOS app gives optimised Public View Monitor Performance

PVM for AXIS iOS app gives optimised Public View Monitor Performance

PVM for AXIS iOS app give many optimised Public View Monitor features including 4x4 and timed Guard Tour options

PVM for AXIS iOS app give many optimised Public View Monitor features including 4×4 and timed Guard Tour options


Gesture control for Camera Companion

In the latest of “Viewer for AXIS Camera Companion” features gesture based control. You can move from cam to cam by swiping up and down on the image. In the recordings area you can control the timeline by swiping left and right. We are gradually moving toward an idea where we can move through time and space (represented by cameras) in a fluid way with less and less UI getting in the way.

Liquid UI: Gesture Control of cameras and timeline

Liquid UI: Gesture Control of cameras and timeline