A Cheshire man – let’s call him Jim – put a wireless CCTV camera into his elderly mother’s house, so if there was a problem of any sort, he would be alerted and would be able to take a look at the live picture on his phone or whatever. The camera was connected wirelessly to a broadband router, and no other equipment was needed – so far, so good.
Now Jim, being security-minded, emphasised that the camera was there for his mother’s safety, and the woman, let’s call her Dolly, knowing that son Jim wanted the best for her, began to quite enjoy waving at the camera each time she passed it. Far from being an intrusion, Dolly found that it actually gave her a sense of security.
So much so, that on leaving the house one day, Dolly unplugged the camera and tucked it into her shopping bag, leaving the zip undone so that the camera lens could peek out at her as she walked along. That way, she reasoned, Jim would still be able to see that she was safe and well even when she was away from home. Of course, as soon as she walked down the road, the camera lost its wireless connection to the router. This was enough to cause the CCTV system to send an email to Jim, reporting that the camera could not be contacted.
“I thought it was wireless. I paid extra for wireless.”
Jim, on receiving the email, tried to log into the camera, in vain. Then he tried to phone Dolly – no answer (as she was out). Jim was about to leave his office and make an impromptu visit to his mother’s house to check that all was well, when suddenly he got another alert email – this time from the camera, which seemed to be connected again. Great, thought Jim, until he logged into the system to see what the camera was recording: people, dozens of them – well, their legs and feet anyway – apparently in some sort of public place – not the usual shot of Dolly in her living room at all.
Jim arrived at Dolly’s house just in time to see her returning from the shops, fully-laden with groceries, camera peeking out of the bag as before. It transpired that Dolly, not being quite as technophobic as you might think, realised on the way to the shops that the camera needed power to operate – so on arrival at the supermarket she duly found a power socket, pulled the camera out of her bag, plugged it in and left it on the floor while she went round doing her shopping. The camera had somehow managed to connect to a local WIFI network and, unfazed by its new surroundings, had proceeded to detect movement and record footage as usual!
Later, Dolly is reported to have said, “I thought it was wireless. I paid extra for wireless. Then I thought – it can’t be wireless, it’s got a plug. So I found a socket in the corner of the supermarket, and plugged it in.”
Jim was, apparently, not amused: “Can you believe it – she actually took it to the shops! I’ve screwed it to the wall now. I’m thinking of doing the same with Mum!”
Reminder to installers: When installing wireless cameras in someone’s home, explain the word “wireless”. Carefully. Or just screw it to the wall.
Image derived from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bolso_Artesanal.jpg