Hi there, new as a poster but I have been lurking for a while. I have the new hub on order and I am in the market for a baby monitor. I have searched but there is not much in the way of suggestions in the Smart Things realm.
As you can imagine, my wife just wants the traditional baby monitor (Motorola MBP36). It is expansive, has limited features but has a working monitor.
I have researched the following:
Dropcam Pro: It looks like this was dropped from the compatibility list?
DLink DSC 5029L: This looks promising but there are few reviews as a baby monitor
Samsung Smartcam HD Pro: Looks the most promising but has had some less than stellar reviews
My main concern is that I want all of the features of a baby monitor, local storage, ability to use SmartThings App, ability to utilize across cell phones and ipads to monitor sound at night, trigger alters and have night vision to visually view the baby. We are more of the mindset of wanting to know if the baby is fussing, but choosing to pause and see if he self soothes and goes back to sleep. Having the ability to keep the ipad or phone on at night and/or having alerts is ideal.
Does anybody have any experience in this realm? Is the Smart Things app more of a work in progress here and most likely I will have to use the manufacturers app?
As a relatively new grandparent, I can tell you about two of my children’s experiences with their babies. One went the direction of a camera plus cell phone based system, and the other went with a dedicated baby monitor, called Summer Infant (offers a two camera system for twins).
In neither case would integration into ST have made any sense. The thing is, you and your wife are going to want as few systems involved as possible, as you will be closer to what’s going on than any system would provide. You won’t need alerts, because baby is going to provide more than you want anyway, and quite directly to you, monitor or not.
Of the two approaches, the Summer Infant was clearly the superior choice. The iPhone based system entails waking your iPhone, launching an app, etc., which is a lot to do in the middle of the night. The dedicated monitor is just there all the time and on, no fuss. You may think that having remote access to see the baby, say when you have a baby-sitter, makes sense. But if you get a chance as young parents to go out for a break from baby, you need a break from baby. I don’t think my son or his wife used the iPhone app away from home.
My daughter has twins, now almost three, and she still uses the Summer Infant monitor. She can talk through the monitor, which she does when they are misbehaving in bed. That’s quite funny because the girls don’t recognize her voice through the tiny little speaker, and refer to “that man” that says things to them when they are in bed (they will figure it out at some point, I’m sure, if they haven’t already!).
I just want to echo what @bravenel said. I’m going through this decision process as well, and after an obscene amount of research into various solutions, reviews and feedback from friends; the conclusion is to go with a dedicated baby monitor. They are definitely over-priced for the combination of hardware/software you receive, but they serve a very specific purpose and your phone/tablet just won’t fill the gap as well as you’d hope.
I also agree about not integrating with ST. Again, the dedicated monitor will just work, even if the power goes out (most of the cameras have batteries). No need to worry about wifi/internet, etc. The dedicated monitors have features like having audio stay on, but screen off that aren’t easily replicated on a phone/tablet/traditional cam setup.
Extremely funny! 20 chars. Dropcams and Nest Camera’s voice is at least very clear.
Another recent-ish parent here.
We went with a two-pronged approach. A traditional, cheapish, audio monitor and a wifi enabled DLink camera. (942L, I think?)
We use the audio monitor almost exclusively. That’s plenty to let us know of a problem or if he’s having trouble falling asleep, etc. For those times you want to see what he’s up to without cracking the door and running the risk of violating the golden rule of parenthood (“NEVER wake a sleeping baby”), you fire up the DLink app on your phone or a web browser.
We use a Foscam 8910W and TinyCam Pro, The motion sense & alert are nice (in camera & in app sensing). The Audio is quiet ish untill a change in peek is detected, then it goes to full volume. Also audio broadcasts in the background even when you phone screen is off.
Was nice to have on multiple phones/tablets so when wife had to go to store she didnt have to leave me her phone.
Still use it when the toddler is napping and we’re outside on the patio, or doing laundry on the other side of the house.
For a baby, the only thing I currently do is turn my Drop Cam on/off depending on whether or not our babies door is open/closed. I was thinking about putting a sensor under his bed to sense movement which would help me understand his sleep patterns better. I am also working on disabling the door bell when he is in his bed so the Dog doesn’t bark and wake him up.
Thanks everyone. All of the comments help. I think the thing I struggle with most is what Scott mentioned…the dedicated hardware software is pricey for what you get and it is not really useful deployed as anything else.
I should note some more detail on my plan:
-I have 2 ipads and one iphone that are no longer used by my wife or I. I was planning to dedicate the phone in a dock to our room, and the two ipads elsewhere…living room, floating ipad.
I am leaning towards the Samsung SmartCam Pro. Mostly because it has been getting better reviews than the Dlink as far as picture quality and it has better features the the Nest Cam (Dropcam). The little due is coming in November and I was thinking of buying it now, testing it and making sure the wife is a go (she is a touch critic). If its a no go then I guess we will go with the Motorola or Withings monitor.
If anyone has any comments, past experiences or suggestions…keep them coming! I am sure there are many other geeky dad-to-be’s that can benefit from this thread. I plan to updated once I do some testing…and to see what the Smart Things Integration yields…
Check out an app called Baby Monitor HD available on the apple app store. I have been using that for 5 years now and it works awesome. It only supports a few cameras so be sure to read the compatibility list.
One thing I like about using a IP camera is that once you no longer need a baby monitor, you can use it for other things.
We use the Withings Smart Baby Monitor. It is a little pricey ($200) but I think it has most features you would want. Night light, white noise/lullaby, noise and motion alerts, infrared viewing in the dark, and viewing of the feed from wifi, bluetooth or cellular network. Of course it doesn’t integrate with Smartthings, although I wish it did and it probably could if they would open their API or someone could write code to capture the feed. We have baby number two on the way and after consideration of options we are going to get the same monitor. We also do use a backup sound monitor just because wifi connections are not always rock solid, especially overnight.
I think this is the better way to go. To watch my toddler, we use a Foscam fi9821w v2 and an old android phone with the TinyCam pro app.
The TinyCam app is top notch and offers more features and control than all native apps or packaged baby monitors. The old phone is our “monitor” which only alerts us if the sound level increases above our set level ( I’m a light sleeper). You can use motion detection as well. I use two-way audio to tell her to go to sleep!
Being able to check in on other devices such as our phones, tablets, web, iPhone, makes it much more convenient. Checking it remotely on my phone or at work is nice as well.
Also you can use the ip camera for other purposes later.
Thanks! I just had the Samsung Smartcam delivered and I plan to play with it more tonight with the samsung app and with this app. Great suggestion!
If that is a no go, I was going to try the cloud baby monitor app. Apparently it has great reviews and you can use old devices like an iphone 5s and old ipads (like we have) as the client and host. The iphone can function as the cameras and ipads function as the monitor. Will let everyone know.
Hoping we like the smartcam because of the possible integration into Smart Things…but it sounds like you need other features as a baby monitor.
The smartcam looks more impressive than my IP cam. I don’t know how well the Samsung app works as a baby monitor but they make an IOS version of the TinyCam Pro app called Baby Monitor for IP Camera. Same developer. Works great on my wife’s iphone.
There’s android apps that will let you do the monitor with old devices as well. Here’s a guide in case you go that route. You can buy basic android phones for $20 on amazon that will work as cameras and/or monitors.
Get angelcare monitor and a hikvision 2cd2432 5 mp camera. Smart things is not reliable enough for a true baby monitor.
I have my alarm system and other things on st but I wouldn’t trust it over direct wifi connectivity to a Webcam and an audio monitor.
Tiny cam pro on android and baby monitor by tinycamllc on ios. Best apps and I’ve tried them all.
I received the Samsung SmartCam last night (SNH-P6410BN). From the time that I opened the box to the point where I had a full HD stream on my iphone was about 10 minutes. Super easy setup. Took me another 10-15 to get accustomed to the Samsung Smartcam app. I also downloaded the Baby Monitor App from tiny cam and it looks like they do not yet support the Smartcam. I did email them to ask if there is a plan for it.
First impression is that the cam looks great, great picture, and has all the features you want in a baby cam (IR, Motion and audio detection, programmable alerts, 2-way talk, stock lullabies (you can add audio files that you want to use, white noise, etc)
So far the wife seemed fine with it. We will do some further testing with the dog. Without much setup, the cam worked fine with the ipad and it did not turn off or go to sleep at all which is what I wanted. It does look like the tinycam app has some nicer features, would love to try that but will see.
Interested to see what integration into ST will bring. Not necessary, but as previously mentioned, would be nice to have it turn on/off based on the door being open/closed.
the tinycam ios app is really new and there just are not many good webcam apps on the ios platform. also look at babymonitor HD.
you can try using onvif for the cam type even if it doesnt support you cam, and it usually works, thats how i view my hikvision.
Just an update if anyone is curious. Love the smartcam so far. Really nice picture, nice, wide angle and good audio (good receiving it and sufficient when talking through the cam. I was unable to integrate with the tinycam app for iphone. I emailed support and never heard back. I did integrate into my v2 hub, the picture is nice but limited in functionality. Seems that we likely will stick with the samsung app as a baby monitor on different devices. I do have a routine set up where the camera will record if the fire alarm in that room goes off for any reason.
Anyways…just wanted to update if anyone is curious. Integration with ST was super easy, the functionality is just basic at the moment though (view cam, on/off record).
Thanks this is good info. The Withings Baby Monitor that I had mentioned in an earlier post just crapped out after about 2.5 years of service so now I am looking for something that will act as a baby monitor for baby #2 but that I can also used with ST. The smartcam seems to be the ticket. Also one question, why do you need it to integrate with Tinycam? Doesn’t it have its own app that you can use on the smartphone? Also, can you connect to it with anything other than wifi? We used to take our Withings monitor on vacation and to friends houses and could always connect to it via bluetooth or over the cell network if we didn’t have wifi access.
My advice is stick to an independent baby monitor. Amazon sells some really nice video baby monitors at a reasonable price under the brand “Infant Optics”. I originally tried to use a Dropcam as one, but after a few sleepless nights (because this cloud based stuff just can’t be trusted), I got the Infant Optics and never looked back.
Also, keep in mind who else will be using the baby monitor. Do you really want to give a babysitter access to your Smartthings or Nest account? Do you think if you did they would even feel comfortable using it?
I can’t speak for IP cameras, but I know after trying to use a Dropcam for a couple weeks with my newborn this summer, I ended up emailing them and telling them they should stop advertising it as a baby monitor. It’s only a matter of time until somebody’s baby gets injured or killed because the parents weren’t aware something “wrong” was happening because the “cloud” service was too laggy or, worse, looked like it was live but was actually frozen (I experienced this many times).
I know we all like to get fancy, but a baby monitor just might not be the right place to get fancy. Direct camera/microphone to monitor contact just can’t be beat for your piece of mind.
We are using the samsung smartcam app. For the reasons given above, we wanted to separate it from smart things in case anyone else was using the common ipads it is on.
For both fraserjr and pranalli:
We are still 8 weeks from the baby but have been using the Samsung Smartcam with great success with the dog when we leave. it has been our test. It has a great picture, easy to use, great sound at the app end and good sound at the camera end (for two way talk).
I would say the only downside is that we cannot turn it on and off via the app. I am installing a zwave outlet for this purpose. The only other downside I can think of is that it does get a bit hot but nothing most people would notice. So far in the last few weeks it has had 100% uptime with no problems at all and the phone/ipad stays on with audio if you leave the app up (like a baby monitor).
Still looks like a good choice on my end. Oh I should add that the feature used to detect movement is nice. Good ability to change the sensitivity and can segment off section of the feed to only detect there.
Using it in smarthings works but functionality is limited. I have it set to record through ST if the fire/CO alarm goes off. Pretty simple.