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Roaming surveillance

Sep 22, 20042 mins
AT&TCellular NetworksNetwork Security

* Remote security apps emerge for mobile nets

Last week, AT&T Wireless said that Perseus Wireless, a company that develops mobile video applications for the closed-circuit security industry, is now offering surveillance services over the carrier’s high-speed mobile network. Security agents can reportedly monitor full-motion video from security cameras on their mobile phones, giving them a “virtual security control room.”

You might recall that AT&T Wireless recently announced 220K- to 320K-bit/sec mobile services, burstable to 384K bit/sec, in several cities. The services are based on 3G Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS) technology.

The services from Perseus Wireless target industrial, institutional and commercial customers, who use special mobile camera phones and a wireless video server to extend existing security systems into the wireless environment for remote monitoring.

Viewing MPEG-4-compressed video over the UMTS network reportedly gives them more flexibility to view real-time, full-motion video at any time from anywhere. The security solution is available through authorized Perseus Wireless security dealers and is carried over AT&T Wireless’ UMTS network, which is now available in Dallas, Detroit, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

In addition to the cellular connectivity the Perseus phones also support Wi-Fi (802.11 wireless LAN) and Ethernet connections. 

I feel compelled to throw in a caveat, as I usually do when it comes to any mobile and wireless development. This time: Do we necessarily want security guards to be remote, mobile and multitasking? Isn’t the point of security guards, often, to have the reassurance of someone on-site and paying attention? If a crime is in progress and the protector is across town and doesn’t notice for a while, is this desirable?

It all depends on the situation and the goals at hand, of course. Remote surveillance applications of networking technology are already in swing for home and residential use, when you might want to check a nanny-cam, for example, or, in the case of Cisco prez and CEO John Chambers’ demo at NetWorld+Interop last spring, when you want to reassure yourself that the dog hasn’t gotten loose and destroyed your living room.