WORKING parents will soon be worry-free of their households while they’re away and busy in the office. Thanks to Mobile Eye, ensuring a house’s security is just a video call away.

As one of the newest products of the 3G batch or third-generation devices, Smart Communications’ (Smart) Mobile Eye empowers its users to survey and secure their homes and offices, even while they are away. Like other 3G devices such as laptops and cellular phones, the Mobile Eye makes use of its perks by making supervising possible by a video call.

The Mobile Eye works by allowing the user to view the gadget’s vicinity by simply video-calling it from a 3G-enabled cellular phone with a Smart Buddy SIM card, and keying in a personal identification number (PIN). The device, which houses a built-in microphone and speaker for two-way communication, not only allows users to see and be seen but also enables them to hear and be heard by the person in front of the Mobile Eye. Similar devices are already being used in other countries patronizing 3G technology such as Hong Kong.

According to Electronics and Communications Engineering professor Emmanuel Guevarra of the Faculty of Engineering, the Mobile Eye functions like a camera phone, without the components of a typical cellular phone.

“Instead of using a phone to make a video call, the Mobile Eye uses a camera and a transceiver without the phone features,” he said.

But like ordinary camera phones, the Mobile Eye can also record videos that can be stored in a memory card. It may be used to monitor homes, schools, business establishments, offices, even vehicles where there is a strong 3G signal. As long as there is a strong 3G signal, both in the cellular phone and the Mobile Eye, the user may initiate a video call. Minute details are no problems as this device also allows users to zoom the camera in and out and to pan it left, right, up, and down. The device enables one user, an administrator, to control the number of people who may access it. The administrator can set a list which can allow a maximum of 19 people to access it without a PIN. The administrator can also record videos and change the PIN.

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Guevarra says that the Mobile Eye also provides an alternative to the webcam, which requires a computer and the Internet in transmitting videos.

“The Mobile Eye removes the hassle of using a computer and the Internet to facilitate video communication,” he said.

Eye problems

But because the Mobile Eye’s a video resolution is lower than that of ordinary cameras in broadband connection, details captured by it are difficult to distinguish.

“The poor video quality is the result of the reduction of large high-quality data in order to accommodate instant data transfer,” Guevarra said.

Another problem of the device is the limited availability of areas with a 3G signal. “Because it depends on 3G technology to function, it will not work in areas that do not receive a 3G signal,” he said.

Guevarra added that another problem due to the expensive equipment used in 3G devices, the Mobile Eye is not budget-friendly.

“Quick glimpses from the device would be the most economical way to use it right now, but the prices would probably go down once 3G becomes mainstream,” he said.

Despite its drawbacks, the Mobile Eye still provides a viable wireless alternative to the normal means of video transmission. Although available exclusively to Smart subscribers, Guevarra says that once the Mobile Eye gains popularity, other networks are bound to have access to it, making it available to more people.

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