Home: Security
Distributed Security Cam Monitoring Service   (+15, -4)  [vote for, against]
Casual employees watch cheap webcams on demand.

Now, I admit this idea cribs freely from other postings, like the ChaperoneCam.

This could be implemented either as a free and open P2P model (virtual Neighbourhood Watch) or as a paid and monitored service.

At the client end, user-installed webcams run on a standards-based, open-source software platform. The cam and software can be installed on any hardware by the user, and connected to any available internet connection. The user pays a subscription fee and/or time based charges for only when the system is active.

The software monitors the cam for changes in the bitmap (ie movement). This exists - a friend had it working to record only the changes in the scene outside his workplace. User configurable settings control sensitivity, hot/dead zones etc.

When the threshold conditions are met (ie significant movement in a hot zone) the cam feed "goes live". The client software sends the feed either to a centralised security monitoring service, or a P2P like distribution service like BitTorrent. It also begins recording - either locally, or over the net connection.

People seeking a casual source of income sign on as security monitors. They can watch feeds as either a picture-in-picture on their cable TV, or a pop-up window on their PC.

When they are using their PCs, or watching TV, the system logs them as available for employment. They can be paid a small amount for the time the window is active, with performance bonuses for such things as phoning in a crime in progress.

Feedback could be as simple as pressing a button on the remote or keyboard, which brings the feed to the attention of a professional security employee back at base, or to the subscriber/user via their mobile phone.

The subscriber and the monitor would be anonymized from each other, to prevent monitors using the cam to case your house for a burglary.

To prevent people leaving their PC/ TV on and walking away, getting paid for nothing, a webcam could confirm that they are actually present and paying attention. This could be handled locally in software, so that only a "present" or "not present" signal needs to be sent back to the system. When "not present", the feed would be passed on to the next available monitor.

An alternative model might see people offered free net access in return for monitoring cam feeds in a pop-over window.
-- BunsenHoneydew, Mar 28 2005

Neighbor Monitoring Neighbor_20(in_20ad...ntral)_20Monitoring
[theircompetitor, Mar 29 2005]

Baked! http://www.heraldsu...rf7k6-1226547882692
Well what do you know... [BunsenHoneydew, Jan 05 2013]

You could have the software randomly insert "tests" to make sure the viewer is paying attention. A little box could pop up in the video feed---say, a cartoon of a guy holding a sign. Written on the sign is an instruction: "This is a test. Please file report ID#123456."

The sign is only visible for fifteen seconds. If the viewer misses it, he or she loses points in an EBay-style rating system. It's just like how they use fake guns and bombs to make sure airport scanners are paying attention.
-- bm-gub, Mar 28 2005

Very good, I'm impressed.
-- zeno, Mar 29 2005

I'd be worried about who actually did the viewing. They would probably all need security background checks, and inspectors might need to be sure that they were not saving images of the homeowners, strangers, or exhibitionists.
-- ye_river_xiv, Jun 19 2006

you could do what they do at airports and randomly have a prerecorded break in feed. if the user is there and paying attantion they get a small payment. if not they get some of the money they earned removed.
-- RichardT, Jan 02 2010

This might actually work very well. I would use the suggestions above, and add the feature of distributing the same feed over a number of monitors in order to automatically filter out false negatives and false positives, the same way distributed SPAM filters work (I.e., if 8 people out of 10 flag something as a potential threat, it probably is. If the same people keep getting outvoted by the crowd, their credibility score/pay decreases).
-- cowtamer, Jan 03 2010

random, halfbakery