Thursday, May 6, 2010

Everywhere Cam

There are currently instances of everywhere video. Video shots from security cameras around Times Square during the most recent terrorist attack, police cars videoing chase and arrest scenes, schools using web cams to find missing laptops. But the next step toward everywhere video is smart phones and 4G networks. The most recent example is the HTC EVO 4G phone from Sprint and the prototype iPhone that was shown by These devices have cameras on both sides of the phone to allow for personal video conferencing. Personal video conferencing has a long history in telecom and has not really been a popular application. But that does not mean that putting cameras in different places will not change the way our lives are viewed or exhibited.

A couple of examples come to mind:

Live Streaming Video:

The Flip camera is a popular device that is offered by Cisco and it is popular for its ease of use and good picture quality. It allows a person to basically point and click a video and just plug it in the PC to upload. Every 3G and 4G phone with video capability can be a Flip camera that shows live video. People that are not able to attend a live event like a kid’s baseball game can watch it on the computer or TV and can make comments back to the video camera holder or other people watching the event.

The Life Cam:

A camera wired to a battery pack can be strapped to someone’s head or put on a hat or helmet so that another people can observe what the camera wearer is seeing. The observers may also be able provide comments to the camera wearer about their behavior. This could apply to someone under house arrest, and the behavior of a famous NFL quarterback comes to mind. The intrusion into someone’s life by installing this on them with directions being given using a microphone would be a strong punishment and a possible deterrent to poor behavior. Of course this can be used in a positive way if someone wants to draw attention to themselves.

The Worker Cam:

Currently businesses can track employees using the location of their cell phones but they could also take videos or pictures using a smart phone camera. Having a camera on both sides of the phone can give a 360 degree video of what an employee is doing. Of course this will not work at all times as the phone can be in the employee’s pocket, but the employer can call the employee so they take the phone out of their pocket.

Emergency Cam:

Remote cameras can be quickly installed or deployed to record events, like people following or stalking other people in cars, in law enforcement stake out areas where movement of people needs to be monitored, and there is limited man power or it is too dangerous to maintain a position where the camera is located.

Implications of the Everywhere Cam

As the number of people with phone video cameras increases: more of people’s life will be on display especially famous people, more memory will be needed to store videos on devices and in the cloud, greater network capacity and backhaul will be needed to stream video, data pricing plans will need to be more flexible to account for video usage, and our expectation of privacy will become challenged and may have to change.

The camera phone created a change where at any time a picture could be taken. Pictures are worth a thousand words. A video phone allows a person to take a video or in some cases be watched at any time. Videos are recordings of people’s actions. People are determined by their actions. With video phones and 4G remote cams there will be more judgments of people’s actions.

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