If you have a couple of iOS devices lying around in our house unused, why not transform one of them into a surveillance camera? Of course, if you have the latest iPhone or iPad, it will be a pity to leave it there to stream all day long, but the situation changes when we’re talking about that iPhone 3GS or iPad 2 you’re planning to sell or just to recycle. Manything will transform your iOS device (iPod, iPhone, iPad) into a surveillance camera just through the help of an application.
I don’t see too many people converting their iPads into a cloud-connected security cameras, but, then again, there might be folks that are really worried about their security and will find this method quite appropriate. It makes more sense to use your iPod touch (4th generation), if you have one, than to use a more than capable smartphone or a tablet. The camera quality might not be that good, though.
Know what’s happening at home with the Manything app
We know that the home security market is probably saturated by so many solutions out there. One of our favorites is the Dropcam HD, but you can even use the SkyCAM gadget to harness the power of Skype, for example. But with a clever name, Manything thinks it has some advantages over competitors. Here they are:
- The video streaming is transmitted from your iOS device to Manything’s servers first, acting as a DVR for those moments when you are not looking and not checking the feed. This allows you to log in from anywhere and see who’s at your front door.
- Manything has a fine detection of sound and motion and it then gathers this data and displays it on a graph. There you can see the peaks of noise and movement activity, displayed in different colors on a timeline. You can then easily zoom in.
The app will rely mainly on your in-house Wi-Fi connection, and if that fails, it will automatically switch to your cellular data and if the network signal will be weak, then, as a last resort, Manything will change to still image mode. Do make sure your cellular data plan fits with the new purpose your iPhone or iPad will have, as you definitely don’t want to end paying hundreds of dollars on a hefty bill.
At the moment, you can use the Manything service in the UK and Germany, but it will soon make its way to the U.S. (Update: The service is available worldwide now). The iOS application itself is free, but you do have to pay if you want more than 1GB of online storage (amounts to four hours of video). The monthly pricing for the plans are as follows:
- 1 GB of storage (4 hours of vide0) – free
- 3 GB of storage (12 hours of video) – €2.95
- 10GB of storage (2 days of video) – €7.95
- 50GB of storage (a week’s of video) – $14.95
Update: Manything informs that they are providing unlimited storage for users during the beta period.
Manything is a laudable concept, but it comes with a few drawbacks – it means that you basically “leave behind” an expensive enough gadget and let’s not forget that your device has a battery and if it’s an old one, your battery isn’t going to resist for too many hours. Also, you still need to camouflage your device, because it is pretty easy to steal it and disable its security system. And lastly, only 3.5 free hours of storage is just way too little to get a feeling of the service.
With all its ups and downs, Manything remains a security service that is meant to be used occasionally and only if you can say goodbye to your beloved shiny Apple toy.