Top gear: Lextech C3 App

Features David Hayward Feb 17, 2013

Spy-nations and big brother watching, David Hayward’s voyeuristic tendencies lead to an expensive app

Significantly improved bandwidth and infrastructure have enabled us to connect with the world and each other in ways that was only seen in science-fiction. We can Skype across the globe and chat in real time to one another. We can join in with a game, playing with, at times, dozens of other players from the length and breadth of this odd little rock in space.

It would appear to be a golden age in communications, bringing people closer than ever before. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. With increased levels of technology, we seem to drifting further apart as a community, and instead of reaching out to meet new peoples, the bandwidth that has been provided for us is being used to view our every movement.

Surveillance, or situational awareness as it’s colourfully called, is necessary to some degree, granted. Private premises, factories, schools and so on require some form of electronic video feed to ensure their security and the safety of others. This traditionally called for a number of monitors showing the feed from a brace of cameras mounted in certain places. These days, though, all one needs is an iPhone.

C3

This week’s Top Gear looks at the world of mobile surveillance, in particular an app by Lextech called the C3. While Lextech itself sounds like a company run my Superman’s nemesis, the apps it produces are very serious. So much so that a single user licence for this iOS app will set the punter back an eye-watering $999 per year. If that wasn’t enough to make you feel faint, then consider the 20 user options, which allows those 20 users access to the same camera feeds at a whopping $18,000 per year.

In itself the C3 is a very well designed app. It connects the user(s) to their CCTV feeds via the internet, allows multiple split-screen viewing, recording and even PTZ control over each individual camera, which to you and me means pan, tilt and zoom control.

Indeed the app is all-powerful, and if you delve deeper into its workings you’ll come across such amazing features as LeX-Ray Vision, the ability to record video while continuing to watch the live feed through a split screen; military level encryption, which is guaranteed, as Lextech is well in hand with the US government; mobile investigations, allowing incident investigators access to every camera angle with slow-motion playback; and full server integration, which will grant the user full control over the CCTV servers.

Minority report

Remember that scene on the popular Tom Cruise movie, where he was waving his hands around and the augmented reality screens showed a multitude of viewing angles? Well, according to Lextech, its next foray into the world of mobile surveillance will include integration of Xbox-like Kinect technology.

This means that the users, whomever they may be, will be able to control the likes of the aforementioned VR screens, and feeding that information back to the mobile using operatives in the field. Apparently, the US government/CIA/FBI/NSA (take your pick) is very keen to develop such technology.

So don’t be surprised if in the very near future, when you swipe that ream of paper from work, you’re followed by a number of chaps in black suits carrying augmented-reality-enabled devices. Once they tackle you to the ground and produce an advanced selection of deadly weaponry, you could always lighten the situation and ask if they’re using Lextech apps on their devices.