From old mobile phone to home security guard

BiiSafeAccording to BiiSafe’s CEO, Jouni Suutarinen, the unsettled global situation and urbanisation will keep demand for security services stable.

The mountain of used electronics is growing, with consumers buying new devices at an ever-increasing pace. BiiSafe Oy has devised a way to turn old smart phones into security devices that can be used, for example, in the home, at the cottage, or in a boat.

The idea of giving new life to old mobile phones was born out of a need faced by BiiSafe’s CEO himself, Jouni Suutarinen, in conjunction with the release of a new iPhone. Suutarinen recalls holding in his hand his old, yet still completely functional, smart phone with a slightly cracked screen.

— I ended up getting a new one, but at the same time, I thought about the fate of my old phone and about the many features of mobile phones in general, such as charger detectors, cameras, microphones, motion sensors, and WiFi and 3G connections, says Suutarinen, who has an extensive background in computer programming.

And from there the idea took off, with the first prototype programs coded by Suutarinen himself. It quickly evolved into a diverse alarm and surveillance application.

Easy to use

To use BiiSafe’s app, users must first download it from the AppStore or Android Play to two devices, such as an old mobile phone and a new tablet. The user must then create an account, which requires only an email address and a user ID. The data is registered automatically in the cloud.

The old phone can be used, for example, as the monitoring device, and the new one for viewing. The monitoring device automatically takes pictures at the desired intervals and analyses the surrounding sounds. If a security alarm or fire alarm sounds, the device recognises it and forwards a message to the viewing device.

The program is suitable for many locations, from homes to businesses. The user can monitor the situation at any time, say, while out jogging or while on holiday. The app can also be set to monitor, for example, power outages and to take pictures or videos remotely.

Today’s mobile technology offers countless opportunities to develop monitoring devices and services. BiiSafe makes simultaneous use of old and new technology.

Demand for security services on the rise

— In future, we might see a shift towards a decreased volume of unnecessary electronic devices, as their use can be transformed to fulfil new purposes, Suutarinen envisions.

— The iPad, for example, is already proof of how many uses one device can have. Wireless capabilities, voice control and cloud services are constantly opening up new opportunities. The navigational abilities of mobile phones, for example, have already made separate car GPS devices somewhat obsolete.

There is major potential for BiiSafe’s app, as remote monitoring systems cover only some 10 per cent of homes in Europe, and in the U.S. the figure is somewhere around 20 per cent. Suutarinen reckons the unsettled global situation and urbanisation will keep demand for security services stable globally, at a growth rate of more than 5 per cent annually.
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