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App Profile: Power People’s Presence Aims to Recycle Old Mobile Apple Products into Home Security Hardware

Welcome to Mozy’s App Profile, where we introduce some of the new programs seeking the way we live and work. This week, a Presence breathes new life into old Apple products.

Presence AppThe public’s decade-plus enrapture with Apple products has left millions of old iPods, iPhones, and even iPads sequestered to dusty drawers and closets everywhere. Yes, these products–in their heyday–were expensive and awesome, but now that they’ve been supplanted by a new generation of the product, they’re more or less useless. Instead of letting them collect dust, or worse, giving them away to someone who would actually use it, Presence by People Power, has an alternative suggestion: turn it into a remote, home security camera.

Turning a seemingly defunct mobile Apple product into a security system might appear to be an odd hack, but Presence’s inspiration actually exposes the commonplace, expensive hurdles involved in securing our homes.

“My mom’s house was burglarized twice last year. The thieves took her jewelry, laptop, and some cash, but even worse, they took away her belief that she was safe in her own home,” said Gene Wang, CEO of Power People. “After the second break-in, I helped my mom buy a security system, which cost us about $1,800 upfront, plus $48 per month.”The installation wasn’t just expensive, it was time consuming. “I watched as the installer took 1.5 days getting the system working and thought: There must be a better, cheaper, simpler way to make people feel safe in their homes.”

With Presence, Wang believes he can offer people an inexpensive (free, in fact) alternative to a usually expensive problem. Unlike most home security systems, Presence can be “installed” with a free download via the iPhone app store.

Some of the key features of Presence includes:
- A camera with two-way audio and video
- Motion detection with notifications
- Seamless dispatching of video clips to your personal email
- Security and privacy controls
- A variety of “if-then” rules
- Home and away mode
- Front or back camera remote control
- Multiple cameras per account
- How-to videos as well as online help

And while the competition is deep, Presence has one substantial advantage: it’s free. On the big brand end, companies like AT&T and Comcast have entered the home security market with Digital Life and Xfinity Home, respectively. But unlike Presence, the services are not free (i.e. setup charges and monthly fees), and involve heavy installation. Wang also mentioned startups like SmartThings and LogMeIn, as well as other small companies like Nest and Dropcam–however, again, their services are not free.

In regards to what to classify Presence as, Wang prefers to call it a “platform”–not an app. The CEO created a developer portal to the site, which offers the platform’s API so that developers can add their own hardware and software creations.

“By making Presence a ‘platform’ instead of just an app, we’re going to do far more to bring the ‘Internet of Everything’ to everyone.”

To download the free Presence platform application, visit the iTunes Store.

 

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