Wouldn't it be nice if you could see how crowded a bar is, how backed up traffic is on a bridge, or the surf forecast, without leaving your living room?
Avalon resident Michael Crovo was thinking the same thing when he developed the Shore Cams application for the iPhone, iPad and Android, which allows users to view live-streaming video footage of their favorite shore spots from their handheld devices.
"I tried doing something like this before, but this was really before the smart phones came out and the technology wasn't there yet," said Crovo, a web developer and the president and owner of Jersey Shore Review, which created and owns the application.
Crovo and his team launched the Shore Cams app in February as a trial, and it took off.
"I knew it was going to be successful when I was away from town and I found myself absentmindedly checking the cameras throughout the day," he said. "I've had people who don't live down here all year round say they use it to check on their houses, see if there's flooding after a storm or so forth. It just gives people peace of mind."
Crovo said people also have told him they have used the app to check the weather at the shore from out of town, to watch the sunrise or sunset and to check for traffic.
"When we took the Avalon bridge camera down for three days for maintenance, we got a ton of emails," he said. "Surfers are also always asking for certain locations to check the waves. I'd personally really love to get one at the Cape May County Zoo, maybe on a particular animal they're trying to promote. We have a lot of ideas."
Users pay a one-time fee of $2.99 for the app, which is added to their phone bill, and they get access to all of the Shore Cam cameras and any new cameras added to the system. Businesses also can request to have a camera put on the exterior of their property for a small fee, which includes a business advertisement on the app.
The state-of-the-art, salt-air resistant cameras are up in select locations throughout Atlantic City, Avalon, Stone Harbor, Sea Isle City and Wildwood. Jersey Shore Review is in the process of adding cameras in Cape May and Ocean City.
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For more information about Shore Cams or to view a demo camera, visit shorecams.com.