Dropcam launches iPhone app for video surveillance

Wireless camera maker Dropcam has launched a new iPhone application that makes it easier than ever to view your home surveillance cameras while on the go.

Dropcam’s $199 cameras allow users to stream surveillance video online without a computer, making it easily accessible via web browser. The addition of the free iPhone app gives users mobile access to their Dropcams as well. The app currently only supports live viewing, but the company says that a future update will enable playback by DVR. Customers can pay $8.95 a month for 7-day cloud DVR storage, or $24.95 a month for 30-day storage.

Users without a Dropcam can also view several publicly available cameras via the iPhone app. There are only three public cameras up currently — featuring a view from the Empire State Building in New York, Interstate 5 in Del Mar, Calif., and Dropcam’s offices in SF –  but they offer a decent mix of static and fast-moving video to show off the company’s technology.

According to the company, the app offers better quality than the iPhone’s native streaming technology with sub-second latency. Dropcam competes with Avaak’s Vue and Logitech’s Wilife. It doesn’t have a battery power option like the Vue, but the Dropcam makes up for that by boasting longer live viewing and recording times. It also doesn’t require a PC, unlike the Wilife.

Dropcam also tells us that it is working on integrating its software into Panasonic cameras, which is its first step towards becoming a platform available for all security cameras. It’s aiming to replace outdated systems like with its online Flash video player and iPhone app. Having been subjected to several sub-par network camera interfaces in my time, I can attest that a modern platform like Dropcam’s could be useful to many other camera manufacturers as well.

The San Francisco-based company has received funding from Mitch Kapor, David Cowan, and Aydin Senkut.

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