This week PeoplePower released an upgraded version of their Presence Pro app, which turns your spare tablets and smartphones into video cameras for home monitoring and surveillance. The new version, Presence 1.1, brings a new twist to the party by integrating KUBI controls right into the video feed. Naturally, we couldn’t wait to take it for a spin with KUBI and share our experiences.
The User Interface:
Presence 1.1 maintains the same clean and simple user experience as its predecessor. From a single home screen you can add devices to connect to and switch between them easily. Once the device is connected it will appear as an icon in the left sidebar. Tap on the device you want and you instantly get the video feed from that device. Individual settings for each device are available in the options menu once you have chosen a particular device.
We like how intuitive the app is to use, and that you don’t have to be an IT professional to connect devices. If you’re trying to catch your neighbors cat sneaking into your house to eat your cat’s food or make sure your teenage son isn’t having a party while you’re gone for the weekend the last thing you want to worry about is getting the camera to work!
Presence 1.1 and KUBI:
KUBI provides a natural enhancement to the already popular Presence Pro app. Instead of being limited to a static position you have complete control over 300 degrees of pan and 90 degrees of tilt, enough to view an entire room from one spot. From a home monitoring standpoint, the extra degree of agency gives you an even better perspective on what is happening while you are away. It also opens up the possibility of interacting rather than just observing. Placed in a common area such as the family room or the kitchen, KUBI+Presence becomes a great way to check in on your loved ones in a more fun and engaging way than simply making a phone call.
PeoplePower built the KUBI pairing function right into their app, so you don’t have to have the KUBI app running and paired with your tablet to use with Presence 1.1. With the app open and your KUBI powered up you simply press the “+” button in the top left corner of the tablet screen to add a device. A menu will pop up with the choice to “add KUBI robot.” Presence will recognize any KUBI that is powered on and give you a list to choose from. Choose your KUBI and Presence will pair it with your tablet.
We like the pairing feature within the app because it eliminates the extra step of opening the KUBI app and pairing from there. Also, once paired, Presence will automatically recognize that KUBI unless you disconnect from the options menu. Presence gives you the ability to connect to multiple KUBIs and lets you switch between them just by tapping the icon for that particular device, so you can view several different video feeds from one remote device without logging in separately or having several browser windows open.
The Presence 1.1 control interface for KUBI is super cool and fun to use. Log in to your presence account from a remote device and Presence will display any connected devices in the left sidebar. If you have a KUBI paired, it will show up as a KUBI icon. Clicking on the icon will bring up the video feed for the tablet mounted in your KUBI.
This is where it gets fun. Presence 1.1 uses a “screen swipe” control interface that is integrated right into the video feed. Sliding your finger across the screen in any direction will cause the KUBI to move the camera in that direction. It takes a second to get used to, but once you get the hang of it it is really easy and quite addictive. If you want KUBI to point at a specific object or person, you put your finger there and drag towards the center of the screen. We were impressed by how responsive it was to incremental adjustments in KUBI position. You can move KUBI a little or a lot depending on how far you swipe. Things get a little more complicated if you want to look outside the viewing window of the tablet camera, and accessing KUBI’s full range of motion typically requires multiple swipes.
A drawback we did notice is that the app only responds to vertical or horizontal swipes. If you try to move KUBI at a diagonal angle the app will default to whichever axis is more prominent in your swipe (a steep diagonal will move KUBI vertical, a shallow will move KUBI horizontal). Being able to swipe diagonally would eliminate the amount of commands you have to give to get the camera pointed exactly where you want it.
Presence 1.1 is marketed as a remote surveillance device, and for this purpose the video quality is perfectly adequate. The app does have a “share camera” feature, which allows you to share your video and audio for video calls if you desire.
In our trials video conferencing with Presence 1.1 we found the overall user experience to be fine for impromptu discussions and quick chats where the added features of more robust video clients aren’t needed, but the video quality is not as good as most. An upgrade in video resolution would be an added benefit.
Presence 1.1 is both fun and useful for home monitoring and for video calls. The best features are the simple user interface, quick device pairing and awesome integrated controls for use with KUBI. The overall user experience is very enjoyable. After testing the app here at Revolve we can see that it has tremendous potential and we can’t wait to learn how people are using it!
You can download the new Presence 1.1 app in the app store now. To learn more about Presence Pro visit the PeoplePower website.
PeoplePower is constantly working to improve the Presence app. If you have any comments, suggestions or helpful feedback let us know!