MaxMon is a free Android app that lets you use an Android phone as a monitoring system. Rather than just using your personal phone to connect to the internet and find out what your sensor is reporting, the MaxMon app turns your phone into a data collecting device.
The MaxMon app monitors mains power and vibration using sensors built into the phone (with a shake-to-alert feature useful for people in distress) and if you have Wi-Fi at your remote location you don't even need a SIM in the phone, or a mobile phone contract.
Great uses for MaxMon include monitoring elderly relatives living alone, boats in marinas, unoccupied properties and so on. MaxMon are very keen to stress the social benefits of their app and the lost cost nature of their business. Not only is the app free to download and able to run on cheap hardware, but the entire business was started with just £10k. Founder Martin Lambert is over the moon with this, saying he "burned through $50M+ of investment" in his previous venture.
If you need extra sensing capability such as temperature, humidity or motion monitoring you can purchase an external gadget (the cutely named Quatropus - picture above) from MaxMon that connects to your phone and enhances its inbuilt sensors.
More details at http://www.maxmon.co.uk/.
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Managing Director of Softwire, technology and backgammon presenter. Plus a little bit of new music radio.