Watch your store from your iPhone

Retail business owners love this iPhone app.

Q-See QT426-811-5 16 Channel Kit Solution
I recently helped a retail store owner monitor his store’s video surveillance cameras remotely. He had previously installed a Q-See QT426-803-5 16 Channel H.264 DVR System with 8 weatherproof CCD cameras and remote monitoring. The system includes a 16-channel DVR (digital video recorder) and 8 cameras with infrared lighting. For less than 800 dollars, it’s a heck of a good deal.

Q-See QT426-811-5 camera on an iPhone
We assigned a username and password to each manager, so that the store owner can check the DVR’s log to see who logged on, and when. I think that up to 5 users may monitor the cameras simultaneously. The DVR’s software seems to be built upon some distro of Linux. We needed to update its software (from a thumb drive that we plugged into the DVR’s front USB port) before we were able to make it play nicely with the iPhones — a process that’s a little awkward, as the DVR lacks a keyboard, and the system doesn’t update its screen while it’s updating itself. Once again, patience is a virtue; after maybe 10 minutes it announced that the update had succeeded. (Whew!)

We initially set up remote camera viewing on the store owner’s laptop computer, as well as on his home computer. (This requires opening some ports on the workgroup’s router and forwarding those ports to the DVR’s local ip address.) Then we installed the Supercam app on his iPhone, and now he can monitor his store’s cameras from his iPhone. We set up his managers’ iPhones with the same app. The store’s ISP is Comcast cable. Note: the free Supercam app works with only one ip address; if you expect to use it on both the store’s WiFi network and AT&T’s 3G network, you’ll need to purchase (for a dollar, I think) Supercam Pro, which allows you to access the same DVR at both its public and its internal ip address. I was expecting the store’s public ip address to change, but it hasn’t, so I haven’t needed to use a service such as (yet).

Store management loves the ability to monitor from almost anywhere, at anytime. (For one thing, it lets them view the store’s interior when a burglar alarm is triggered at 3:00 o’clock in the morning.) Employees are less enthused.

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695


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