Presence – A Pretty Neat Smartphone App for Travelers, But …

Some apps are great for travelers so when I discovered Presence, I just had to try it out. It is a free app for all Apple mobile devices (iPhone/iPad/iPod) that creates a remote camera with many potential uses. It requires two Apple products, one to act as the remote monitor and the other to be the receiver. Ah, finally a reason to dust off my old original iPhone and see if this app works as it says. Or so I thought.

The home camera works as a remote wireless monitor, making it ideal to use for home security or just checking in with the family. After initial setup, simply plug in the device, turn it on, and get the monitor positioned. The other iOS device, used for travel, can access the older one any time. An alternative – most likely only for local travel – might be to leave an iPad for home security while traveling around only with the iPhone. Their website offers a 2-minute video to help with setup. I would recommend watching this first because it is important to set up the remote device before using the app on anything else.

I wanted to try it out, setting up my older phone as a monitor for the front door of my house but the app would not download into my old phone. The website product page suggests that all you need is any old iOS device but they fail to mention anywhere that the older device must support iOS 5.0 or higher. This eliminates iPhone 1,2,&3, iPod Touch 2G & 3G, and the original iPad, killing the idea to use my old phone as a remote camera. However, I set up my iPad just to try it out and sure enough, it worked perfectly.

When away from home, just click on the Presence app and you can monitor your house or business all day long from any other mobile iDevice. It’s that easy. Well, there is one more requirement: The remote device must have Wi-Fi access but that is not a problem for most people today.

There are many ways to use this app. The remote can be used for home security, nanny cam, keeping an eye on children that are home, watching your pets moving about, or just family conversation instead of using Skype or Facetime. Another possibility is to leave the remote camera at your worksite for monitoring. The app even sends you a short video to your traveling end when motion is detected. This is a great, free way to provide some home or office security regardless of the reason you are away from home.

The lack of support for pre-3GS phones is a dealbreaker for me but if you have qualifying products around the house that are not being used, this app may work well for you. There are currently no Android or Windows versions, but the parent company, PeoplePower, told me they are coming. No dates yet.

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