Questions and Answers From the Product Manager's POV

An interview with Gary Perlin

Recently introduced, the InPro camera from Speco Technologies has a way of catching end users’ attention. Why? Well, the camera is able to inspect the router and connect to the Internet within 30 seconds of being connected to the network. We wanted to know more, so we sat down with Gary Perlin, vice president of video products at Speco, to get the full insight.

Q. Speco Technologies has recently introduced a self-networking camera. How does it work, and can it automatically configure to a router?

A. Speco Technologies’ InPro Series cameras are the most user-friendly network cameras on the market. They have both analog and network outputs to simplify the installer’s job. By plugging the InPro camera into the network, it automatically inspects the router and connects to the Internet within 30 seconds. Notice that we said inspects, not configures.

The InPro camera will find its way through even the most secure routers without changing their configuration, which could affect other equipment on the network. Because the networking process is so automated, the installer can mount, aim, focus, adjust and place these cameras onto the Internet without a computer. That is one of the reasons behind the analog output. The InPro camera can be installed and set up like an analog camera using a standard test monitor and then plugged into the network as a final installation procedure. Nothing else needs to be done to get the InPro onto the network.

Each camera comes with an identification card, a 12-volt DC 1.5-amp power supply, a CD-ROM containing SpecoView software and an instruction manual, a printed copy of the instruction manual and a 10-inch Ethernet cable.

The identification card contains the particular camera’s nine-digit ID number and a changeable password. This information is needed to initially locate or connect to the camera. After the initial connection, this information can be remembered by your computer. After the camera is mounted and powered up, it is time to network— plug the camera into the nearest router, switch or available network outlet, and you are finished.

Now, it’s time to view your InPro camera over the network or Internet. Install the free SpecoView software onto a PC. It is a small program that will install in seconds. Once launched, you will see a GUI with room for camera pictures—up to 16—and a column to list the cameras that you wish to view.

If you are on a LAN and your computer is connected to the same network as the InPro cameras, then the camera ID numbers will automatically appear. Simply drag and drop the ID number onto the GUI screen, and then you will be prompted for the password. Your camera will immediately appear. You can name the camera and set your computer to memorize the password at that time.

If you are on the Internet, after launching SpecoView, you will perform a one-time entry of the camera’s ID number and password to find it from anywhere in the world.

Q. Presumably, the end user can connect a camera from anywhere by using a camera ID number and password. What other features make this product an exclusive purchase?

A. The user will have the ability to view a camera from a thumb drive. First, save the SpecoView software from the original CD onto a thumb drive. Once the software is loaded onto the drive, you can view the camera from any networked computer that has active USB ports. Just take the USB thumb drive and plug it into the PC, clicking on the icon that says SpecoView. When the program opens, click on the desired camera and you are viewing your cameras live or recording onto the thumb drive. When the drive is removed, you have left no remnants of your software behind.

InPro also includes other high-end features, such as the ability to record onto your PC either manually or through motion detection, the ability to send e-mails when motion is detected and throttling to control bandwidth usage.

Q. In terms of small-business use, what types of cameras are available? Is the InPro also available for residential use?

A. These cameras are great for small to mid-sized businesses, from one to 30 cameras, and for residential applications where higher speed Internet access is available. They are available as weatherproof, IR LED bullet cameras with varifocal lenses; indoor IR LED dome cameras with varifocal lenses; outdoor tamperproof, weatherproof IR LED dome cameras with varifocal lenses and traditional box cameras.

Q. Installation is always a concern. How easy is it to network the camera after installation?

A. Each InPro camera has an analog and a network output. Installation can be completed as an analog camera using the same analog test monitor. Simply install the camera and plug it into a local network. The camera does not have to address the router, firewall or forward ports to the router. The installer does not need to have experience with networking to get the camera to work. InPro is Speco Technologies’ shortened name for Intelligent Protocol. As mentioned previously, when the camera is accessed through SpecoView, it automatically detects itself.

Q. Tell us about the research and development that led to this technology.

A. Speco Technologies has been selling DVRs for about eight years and network cameras for the last three. We knew that trying to install and network these products took a lot of time and technical expertise. Fitting this equipment into a network infrastructure could be a nightmare for the installer who would need access to the customer’s router and IP information.

Often, the installer would find himself on the phone with the router’s and ISP’s tech support department for hours trying to get the answers to simple questions. Speco recognized these issues as being detrimental to the installation of IP products and wanted to do something about it to make everyone into an instant networking expert. The InPro product line is the result of a oneyear effort to understand the challenges faced by our installers and the common-sense ways to automatically navigate around them.

Q. How will Speco Technologies get the word out about how easy it is to install the InPro IP camera?

A. Anyone can go to Speco Technologies’ Web site and click on the STTV-Educational Video button at the top of the home page. You will be brought to a Web page where you can see an InPro instructional video about how to install the cameras. Speco’s salespeople are giving InPro camera demonstrations and sponsoring contests at distributors all over the country. They are even timing how long it takes to set-up the InPro camera.

This article originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Security Today.

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