5.2 Mobile viewing application
The second part of our solution is to implement a mobile viewing application. This will allow students from SIT to check the availability of study spaces in school before heading over to the study locations. Some features of our mobile viewing application include ability to allow students to view a live feed of the study areas which highlights the bird’s eye view of the study area. The mobile viewing application will tap on the current surveillance cameras available at each of the study areas in SIT@Dover. Taking reference to the secondary research section, our team proposes use of the existing surveillance cameras installed at the various study areas to monitor crowds.
Assuming the current surveillance cameras installed at each of the study areas in SIT@Dover utilizes the Analog system, a converter can be installed to give them internet access. If the current cameras utilize the Internet Protocol (IP) system, the video feed can be directly projected onto the mobile application. With the cameras granted internet access, the live video feed can then be extended onto the mobile application for students to retrieve remotely.
The mobile application will consist of four pages. The login page, reminder page and two viewing pages. To access the application, students will have to log in with their SIT user account (STU/170****) and their password.
The Figures below shows the interface of the application:
Once the mobile application is launched, its download link will be uploaded onto the school’s website, a follow up email will then be sent out to all SIT’s students with step by step instructions on where to download the application and how to navigate it. As mentioned under the proposed solutions section, the instructions will also be printed out in the form of posters and pasted onto the school’s social media accounts.
The team learned, in the market, there are 2 different kinds of security cameras namely the Internet Protocol (IP) Camera and the Analog Camera. The main difference between the two are the way the broadcasts are delivered to the user.
The IP camera receives digitalised video input directly and transmits it onto an IP network for users to stream and record the feed in real time. As such an IP Camera’s feed can easily be remotely accessed with internet access.
On the other hand, the Analog camera transmits video signals by the means of a video cable to a central system before the user able to view the feed. Therefore, to transmit the video feed to the internet for remote monitoring, a converter needs to be installed to the central system
Some other differences in the two systems are the video quality and storage features. In terms of video quality, the IP Camera’s resolution is 9 times better than an Analog Camera thus can provide greater detail to the user. In terms of storage capabilities, the Analog Camera relies on a physical storage unit to record the video footage while the IP Camera’s video footage can be stored directly on a cloud. However, since the purpose of our camera is to report crowd volume at a location to the user, it is not necessary to consider storage and video quality.
An alternative solution from the mobile application is to install monitor screens of the study areas at strategically high traffic locations around the campus for students to check on the crowd. This system essentially serves the same purpose of being able to check on the study areas’ occupancy remotely.
However, this idea wouldn’t be as feasible as a mobile application as this kiosk would incur many costs to setup as well as regularly maintenance. Apart from the high cost from implementing it, the monitor screens will only be limited to certain areas in the campus whereas the mobile application can be accessed by students from anywhere.
With the convenience that our implementation brings, a primary concern is that non-SIT students/staff can download the application and abuse the system, as a result compromising the security of our facilities. For prevention of such problems, the team suggests integrating SIT’s student portal into the log in page of the mobile application. This means only members of the faculty can log in and access the application’s feature.
Our group also did a two-weeks site survey to understand the crowd situation in its study areas and to also gather feedback on further improvements to the current system. We hope to learn about the current issues students are facing when using the study spaces at SIT@Dover. Through the survey conducted targeted at forty-two students in SIT, the team found that students reflected a general inconvenience in finding study spaces in SIT. Of which, most students have also given positive feedback on the idea of a monitoring system and agreed it will help them reduce time wastage and effort in looking for seats. (Refer to Appendix A for detailed survey results.)