Software & Hardware Reviews

Educational, Business and Entertainment Software Reviews

February 2015 . Vol. 21 No. 2

Recent Software Reviews

February 2015--Presence: A Fee Free Home Security System with Video Monitoring from People Power
January 2015--The Incredible Foldscope(TM)--an Orgami-based Optical Microscope from Prakash Lab, Stanford University
December 2014---The Best Paranormal Apps for Your Apple or Android Device
November 2014--Royalty Free Stock Photos and Images from US Government Sources
October 2014--Best Free Streaming Music/Audio/Video Apps for iPhone and Android Devices
September 2014--Some of the Latest and Greatest iPad/iPhone/Android/iPod Touch Apps
August 2014--Turn Your Apple iPod, iPad or Android Tablet into a VOI Phone using a magicJack
July 2014--FreeCAD Computer Aided Design and Find and Remove Public Information Online
June 2014--The Roku 3500R Streaming Stick

Presence App for a Fee Free Home Security System with Video Monitoring, from People Power

By Howard Berenbon

If you're in the market for a home security system with some sophisticated features like video monitoring with motion detection then you must check out the App from People Power Company called Presence (currently version 3.1). This ingenious program allows you to use your older Apple mobile devices (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) linked together as a security system with motion detection and e-mail alerts.  Of course you'll need Internet access with WiFi, but these days most people have some type of high speed access with a router to add devices to their home network. If you have high speed cable your service provider probably offers a similar security system but for a monthly fee and extra costs for more than one camera. With Presence, you can add any number of devices, though you may only need two or three for adequate monitoring. On motion detection, if enabled, Presence can send you an e-mail alert with a recording of the motion, and the detection sensitivity is adjustable. This recording can be as short as 5 seconds or as long as 1 minute, and includes audio!. The Presence App also allows you set a camera’s function by writing Rules. For example, you can select the type of notification when a motion is detected, or have a notification sent if power fails to the device.  The free version offers 50 MB of storage, but you can increase the memory size for a fee. For now, it only works on Apple devices, but I've heard they’re working on an app for the Android platform. People Power also offers some neat products in their online store which you should consider to enhance your system. One device called Galileo is a motorized iPhone stand that allows you to rotate your iPhone 360 degrees. Another neat device is a power strip that let's you turn on lights or appliances remotely. And there's a home energy monitor the allows you to manage electric use from a smartphone or tablet. For product information visit

I found Presence by accident. We were planning a trip to Walt Disney World in the beginning of the year and I decided I wanted to use some of the latest technology to enhance our security system with remote video viewing. I thought it would be fun to peek into our home while away.  Also, adding motion detection using a camera was intriguing. I thought I could set up a few PCs with cameras for the project but in my search for PC security camera software I also found Presence, and it was perfect! No extra control hardware require: just a few Apple devices, which I had. After installing the App in 3 of my devices, I had an up and running, just about free, home security system. I was very happy.

I set up my devices in the kitchen facing our front door and in our bedroom peering to our back door. Motion detection is an option you enable (or preset with Rules), and after a day of testing Presence sent a dozen notifications with attached videos accessed using my iPhone. It seemed reliable and we were good to go. Note, your devices will need to be connected to their AC adapters so you won't lose power.




While at Disney World, I was able to peer inside our home and even look outside by switching to the rear camera. An iPod Touch 4th Generation was set up at our kitchen window. During our trip, we did have a few false notifications. Not from mice in the house or robbers, thank goodness!  It falsed when our automatic lights turned on at night.

The motion sensitivity was amazing. One evening it detected the headlights from a car driving up our driveway, through our window shades.  Click to see that video. And it recorded videos when we returned.  Click for return video 1. Click for return video 2.



So, if you’re looking for a high tech security system for your home, and you happen to have some oldish Apple mobile devices you can put into service, then you can have that system fee free using the Presence App.  It’s a free download from Apple iTunes (  For more information about People Power Company and their products, visit

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