The video monitor in your pocket


Reality Mobile LCC CEO Dave Rensin calls his Herndon, Va., consulting team 'professional bull---- detectors.' The company helps agencies assess mobile and wireless networking projects and evaluate requests for proposals to determine which can effectively meet their missions.

But Reality Mobile also maintains a software development shop. In the late 1990s, Rensin created Scout, which became a de-facto middleware standard for allowing handheld devices to access network applications and data. Today, Reality Mobile offers RealityView, a cool new program that turns a smart phone into a video surveillance device.

At GCN's offices, Rensin explained that in today's homeland security environment, on-site surveillance is important but limited by the technology in place. WiFi networks can be expensive when deployed over large areas. And mobile devices that might be used on the street are conspicuous. 'Wouldn't it be better for an undercover officer to be using a cell phone and pretending to talk to his girlfriend?' Rensin said.

So he pulled out a Treo 650 running the RealityView software and started switching among live video feeds from IP-based cameras around the world. It was nighttime in Japan, for instance, but Rensin was able to control a camera there and point it at a lighted street. 'They hate it when I do this,' he said.

The whole thing was running over a commercial cellular network. It wasn't 30 frames per second, but it was clear from the feed that a fast rate wasn't needed. Imagine someone in a network operations center monitoring video in real-time. If he sees someone suspicious in a crowd, he can notify security on the ground and point them to the same feed he's looking at so they can better identify the suspect.

Rensin said RealityView can incorporate security features such as encryption and authentication'despite the size of the client device. A BlackBerry version is in the works.

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