Swiss-army security camera
Product: Mobotix M10
Reviewed: July 02, 2004
By: Brian Chee, Oliver Rist - (Source:infoworld)

Mobotix M10 has features to burn but doesn't play well with others

The mobotix M10 is the Rolls-Royce of IP surveillance cameras. From the high-quality stainless steel mounting brackets to its expansive internal software support, the M10 is a high-end surveillance junkie's dream. However, until third-party management console vendors support Mobotix cameras (On-Net Surveillance Systems plans to do so), the M10 will remain suitable only in scenarios that require a limited number of cameras.

The M10 was originally designed for European ISDN links. Alas, some of its coolest features -- such as audio monitoring during an alarm and even telephony capabilities, thanks to a built-in speaker and microphone -- work only via ISDN. (We were also unable to get the M10 to work with a "standard" power-over-Ethernet switch.) Still, the M10 demonstrated a respectable arsenal of features that we were able to implement without an ISDN connection.

Most impressive is the M10's vast array of triggers and events, including IR (infrared) receive from any standard IR remote control; IP-based triggers on any TCP port; serial triggers through data logging and string comparisons; light-, noise-, and temperature-level triggers; video motion in a specific area of the camera view; and even a passive IR detector built into the unit.

In short, getting past this camera is a job for Impossible Missions Force. And if the built-in triggers aren't enough for you, remember that this camera runs embedded Linux, which means there's a programming interface you can use to create custom triggers.

The biggest issue in an event-triggering scenario is sorting through the mass of video that gets stored on your server. To make this job easier, the M10 can modify the images saved during a triggered event by changing the frame color, inserting an alarm icon into the frame, adding color bars to the top or bottom of the screen, or adding a colored ball to the screen's corner -- whatever works to bring that set of frames to your attention when you are reviewing the video.

In addition, when an event occurs, the camera can trigger a circuit for a specified number of seconds or minutes (read: sound a siren), or it can trigger multiple FTP sessions to primary and secondary FTP sites. Or it can trigger both. And of course, it will send an alert e-mail as well. While we're on the subject, the M10 can actually play recorded sound files as your alert message; these alerts can also be called in through the ISDN phone line. Plus, you're not restricted to a single message setup, meaning the system is designed not only to phone the police but to contact you as well.

Frankly, we loved the Mobotix M10. Its only shortcomings are that it's too reliant on ISDN connectivity and that it isn't supported by NetDVR and other camera-management consoles. Until a compatible management console comes along, the Mobotix M10 will be a monster to configure in a high-density implementation.

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