The iPhone 7 has hit the market, and many are expected to buy it, even if their current smartphone still work perfectly fine. You may think that's absurd, but enthusiasts would disagree. However, that doesn’t mean your old smartphone should be ignored.
There are ways to repurpose your old smartphones. For example, you can turn them into security cameras with the help of apps like ManyThing and Presence. Both require you to install their app to the spare smartphone. Once installed, you can use your old smartphone as a security camera for monitoring. I've tried both, and they’re great. However, I stopped using them when I got a camera that can pan and tilt… because you know, smartphones can't. But a new device from Presence aims to change all that.
Pan-And-Tilt Smartphone Is Now Possible
Presence 360 is a robotic smartphone stand that can pan and tilt. It comes with a built-in USB port where you can plug your smartphone's charging cable to power it. That is also how it connects with your phone.
Presence 360 compliments the Presence app, which supports the pan and tilt feature. You can manually adjust the view of your “camera” while watching a live feed or you can set up vantage points, which your smartphone will cycle through at different intervals. You can set vantage points by pointing the camera at places you want to monitor. For example, the front door, a window, and your liquor cabinet. Next, simply save each as a vantage point. You can even customize how long your camera will monitor each point before cycling through to the next. You can save up to 3 vantage points for each repurposed smartphone.
The device is currently funding through IndieGoGo. It is expected to hit the market in December, but you can now pre-order Presence 360 (comes in Snow Flake White and Charcoal Gray) starting at $99. After the campaign, it is expected to retail for $139.99.
Enhancing Security with the Presence App
While Presence 360 is a great idea, the real rockstar is the Presence app. It turns your spare smartphone into a security camera by providing the ability to stream live video. If your smartphone has a flashlight, it can even provide makeshift night vision.
Aside from that, Presence gives your old phone the ability to detect motion. If motion is detected, it instantly sends you push alerts. It also records a video of the event to the cloud. All users are given 50MB of cloud storage for free. If you need more, you can upgrade your cloud storage to 50GB by subscribing to Presence Pro (for iOS only). Aside from giving you more cloud space, Pro adds several more features.
Motion Event Clips
Frequency of Event Clip Recordings
Customizable Email and Mobile Alerts
Yes; Limited customization
Yes; All features customizable
Continuous Video Streaming
Yes; 30 mins. max
Yes; 12 hours max
Pro is free from contracts, so you can subscribe and unsubscribe anytime. It comes in 3 flavors - weekly ($1.99), monthly ($4.99), and annually ($49.99).
Another thing that makes Presence awesome is the custom rule feature inspired by IFTTT's rule recipes. Presence allows you to create rules that trigger actions based on several factors, like your location, the time, etc. Here are some ideas you can use:
"If my 'Presence camera' is unplugged, then notify me by email or notify me on my phone." - detects when your camera is unplugged.
"If I leave the geofenced area, set Presence to Away mode. If I enter the geofenced area, set Presence to Home mode." - automatic arm/disarm.
"If my 'Presence camera' detects motion, then make my 'Other Presence camera' switch on the flashlight." - potentially scare away intruders.
"If my 'Presence camera' does not detect motion for 30 minutes and the time is between 2:30 PM and 3:30 PM weekdays, then notify me on my phone and notify me by email."- get notified if your kids don't arrive home on time.
Expanding Your Home’s Security
Aside from the app and the upcoming Presence 360, Presence also offers other products for security and automation. Their security products include entry sensors, motion sensors, and touch sensors. They also have humidity sensors and water sensors. You can purchase them from their online store and use them without a monthly fee. For automation, they offer smart plugs and thermostats, which are also available from their store.
If you plan to invest in their security and automation products, you can choose from the 3 security packs they offer.
- Presence Security Entry Pack ($199.95)
- Presence Security Pack ($299.95)
- Presence Security Premium ($499.95).
A Quick Summary
Presence started out as an app that turns your spare smartphones into security cameras that can stream live video and detect motion. It offers a unique way to repurpose spare smartphones for free. With the addition of several other products and the possibility of Presence 360, it seems like they are trying hard to takeover your home’s security. The idea is good, but the price isn't. For $139, you can buy a real pan-and-tilt camera, which is far better than a repurposed smartphone.
If you're interested in Presence Pro 360, you can check out their IndieGoGo campaign for perks and updates.