My reflections after 7 months of using a Nest Indoor Cam as a baby monitor solution.
Baby cams are one of the many things that seem to still be stuck in the early 2000s technologically speaking. Moreover, who wants to spend $50-$100 on garbage hardware in software that has such a limited use-case you're just going to throw it away in a few years. So naturally, as a new father who is a tech professional, the standard baby cam products on the market weren't going to cut it.
Here are the requirements:
Not a problem, a minimal amount of creative thinking and problem solving yielded the obvious answer. A smart cam.
Alright, I'm already bought into Nest ecosystem at this point with some Nest Protects and a Nest thermostat; so a Nest Cam it is. It's a solution that seems to check all the boxes. So here's what we'll get:
Sure, it's a little more expensive, but for a solution that can be reused to solve other problems, it's a small price to pay.
Ok. So you can take them with you, it's just not super convenient.
The first time the grandparents want you to stay over at their house the panic sets in: "How will we make sure she isn't screaming? We can't easily take our smart cam with us?". My recommendation here is to just buy a super cheap audio monitor. It's good enough for a night or two here and there.
The Nest Cam App is apparently not built for continuous video streaming for extended periods of time. After about 45min of streaming on the app, there's an error that takes you out of the stream and you need to click back into it. The big problem with this is that if you're not paying attention and restart the stream when this occurs, your device thinks that it's not being used and goes to sleep. This means that you might think you're monitoring baby, but actually your device is sleeping, so if there's any screaming or movement going on, you're going to be completely unaware of it.
It's possible that this is a network connectivity issue; however, we have average internet (a mid-grade cable package). When you're downstairs streaming Netflix because baby is finally asleep and your monitor keeps going out because of you apparently don't have enough bandwidth to support both video streams and whatever else is randomly going on on your network, it kind of harshes the let's-finally-spend-some-hang-time-as-a-couple-vibe that you just had going for you.
Additionally, Nest goes down... a lot... (looking at you Google :angry:). Perhaps this has been a particularly frustrating 12 months for Nest & Google, but they've had a pretty significant service outage at least once a quarter if not more, and quite frankly, I'm over it.
This has been probably the single most frustrating thing about using the Nest Cam in this capacity.
That's right, it needs a connection to the internet. No internet. No worky. No monitor.
So that means when your electric provider decides to do some work on the power lines or there's a storm in the area and screws up your cable: No monitor.
This leads to my second largest beef with the Nest Cam.
If you want to access historical video with your Nest Cam, your out of luck unless you want to pay a ba-gillion dollars for their cloud storage service. So that means you get realtime only with some occasional completely useless still images when it detects activity.
Nest does not give you the option to stream your video to a local storage device on your local network. Which again, is not only frustrating because they want you to take out a second mortgage to get video streaming, but it would also greatly alleviate the issues mentioned above with the bandwidth and internet outages.
If I were going to do it over again I'd add 2 requirements to my original list:
The local streaming would solve bandwidth issues, and provide a better service where I could scrub to earlier in a day and see exactly what was going on without having to pay Nest every month.
This is what my shopping list would look like:
The Synology is a little expensive sure, but they're awesome and multi-purpose. They can be used for network file storage, computer backups, a dropbox replacement, aaaand they have something called "Surveillance Staton" built into them, that'll record video streamed from an IP cam.
I'd connect my IP cam up to my Synology, and I'd be off.
Hope you found this helpful!