AT&T is announcing today a new set of services that will allow the owners of small and midsized companies to monitor their employees and customers with video feeds delivered over the internet. The New York Times reports:
Under AT&T’s Remote Monitor program, a business owner could install adjustable cameras, door sensors and other gadgets at up to five different company locations across the country. Using a Java-enabled mobile device or a personal computer connected to the Internet, the owner would be able to view any of the images in real time, control room lighting and track equipment temperatures remotely.
Governments and large corporations have long used expensive monitoring systems to keep tabs on people and buildings. What the AT&T program shows is that, thanks to the rapidly falling costs of bandwidth and networked sensors, sophisticated remote monitoring – let’s call it spycasting – is being democratized. A starter spycasting kit goes for just $200, with a $10 monthly charge for the feed. “It is Big Brother,” says a restaurant owner who’s been testing the AT&T system, “but in this day and age, you need these type of tools.”