We were given the opportunity to review an updated product for the BlackBerry: Total Control. It’s a video surveillance software program you can run without a third party server. There are no monthly fees or annual suscriptions to pay to use, and allows you to view and control live video stream.
First I’m going you to give you a short description of Intelligent Designs Group, LLC. They are a group of software developers and integrators within various industries who have collaborated together for the main purpose of bringing intuitive software with the focus on the mobile client market. They develop their own software clients, handle direct integration projects, develop OEM software, etc.
For this particular app, the price is a one-time fee of $59.99 for a single camera version. There are also multicam versions available, the up to four version is $79.99, and the up to eight webcam version is $89.99, the up to sixteen webcam is $99.99, the thirty two webcam is $119.99, and the sixty four web cam is $149.99.
The features included are:
Download was pretty quick and easy. I evaluated this software on a Curve 8330, OS 4.5. There is a free trial available, so it’s a good way to get an idea of how to use it and if it’s going to be a useful app for you. I can see this being of value to the small business owner and to the family or single person who would like to monitor their home and prized possessions.
Once downloaded, a little white square with cam is the icon and reads democam. Clicking on it, the app reads Total Control Software Suite MultiCam Edition and the green words of LIMITED DEMO VERSION run across the cam which sits in front of a white background. It also has the web address of www.totalcontrolapp.com at the bottom. Clicking the trackball, it brings up a bottom bar with zoom in and out, play, stop, left, right, up, down, home, screen, save, and end. The screen option actually splits the screen so you can view two cameras.
Clicking on the Option button brings up the options of: Start; Select camera; Next Camera; Previous Camera; Auto Switch; Camera Shot; Icons; Set Up; System Settings; About; and Close. In About it tells me how many days I have left, how many number of cams I can see which are two, the version 1.15 and information on the developer. System Settings allows me to choose my connection. By default I have Direct, but the user may change the settings to BES or WIFI. You can also set the Autoswitch delay in seconds. In Set Up, you are able to name your camera, the make and the models will populate for you to choose from. You choose the Mode and if you’d like, the resolution as well. It allows you to also put in Login Info if necessary. In Icons, you may choose Small or Large. In Camera Shot you may choose Save A Shot or Load the last Shot. The other options are pretty much self explanitory.
I think it goes without saying that the software is more for cams that you add to your pc, and for web cams that are integrated into laptops it requires the downloading and installing of a program known as WebCamXP. This will actually work with most cams that are not mentioned, but will not guarantee working with an integrated webcam. For this reason it is best for a security/surveillance option. To find the WebCamXP program you need to Google it and install it to your own computer, not the BlackBerry.
For the sake of the evaluation, I chose to use the test cams for the app. Set up is very easy. You can can input all the information as to the address of the camera, any details, and the phone will find the camera or let you know if it cannot find it. The app supports JPG and MJPG formats, MJPG being the preferred method for the video streaming. Using a trackball does allow you better viewing capability. With this software you are able to keep your ip address hidden, and the worry of someone accessing your video information is alleviated by the fact there is no third party server. You can switch back and forth between cameras which I did. I found this to be really neat as the camer refreshes every so many seconds.
For rating this product, it’s fairly easy to use and I had no problems setting the cameras up. For that I rated it a 4.75 out of five stars. For usefulness, this is a great asset to someone who would like to keep an careful watch over thier home, children, pets, etc, and to the small business owner watching over the business in the evening or during the day as well. For that I give it a 5/5 stars. For the price, it’s a great price when you keep in mind there are no monthly or annual charges for the program. Just a one time download and it’s yours to keep. So the cost would be worth it to the individual or business owner who would like the convenience of knowing they have that piece of mind mobile. Customer service is prompt in support and resolving any issues, which leaves me feeling assured and much more confident in using the product. So in rating this product, I wasn’t evaluating it in general, but more against the description and what consumers might benefit from it, the consumers who would know the value and I really do recommend this software for surveillance purposes.
Pros: It works with several different web cams, and it can switch back and forth easily. I had no problem in setting up the cameras. It refreshes nicely and gives you the ability to take snapshots if you need them. One time fee makes it very attractive as well. I love security and surveillance software, especially today where it’s a good idea to be safe, and not have to use hindsight to say, “I really should have used that when….” The app can be purchased for one camera, up to four, or up to thirty-two cameras if you have that many.
Cons: It only has two cams at one time on the demo. It’s not supportive of the integrated webcam. The demo version has bright neon green LIMITED DEMO VERSION across the screen.
If you are interested, by all means try the surveillance software, you’ll be impressed to say the least. I really like it for keeping a vigil over your home or business. And customer service is more than happy to assist and guide you through any issues and technical difficulties you might encounter. Don’t just take control, take Total Control.
Compatible with OS: 4.1 and up, and the other version supports 4.3 and up.
Personally, I have never used surveillance software before. If anyone else has, we would like to know what your experience with it is, if you find it useful, and how it has helped or hindered you. If you’re considering it, we’d like to know what is your reason, so that others may benefit from another viewpoint. We’re really interested in your comments and views, please share!