We’ve had a little issue here at Boulder Weekly offices in the past couple of weeks. In the office’s kitchen, we have a couple of trashcans for trash and a bin strictly for recyclable products like bottles, cardboard, cans, etc. But apparently some people think the bin is for trash and keep throwing coffee grounds and dirty paper towels into the recycling bin. After numerous announcements, emails and signs posted in the kitchen, the problem continued. So we had to take it to the next level — enter Stem Innovation’s iZON Remote Room Monitor.
The iZON Remote Room Monitor is a small video camera that allows you to watch and listen to anything going on in your home or office from your iPad, iPhone (4 and above only) and iPod Touch (running iOS 4.0 or later). The camera needs to be in an area where wi-fi is provided and the process in getting everything up and running is a bit tedious and requires some patience.
You first need to download Stem Innovation's free app and setup an account, which allows you to control the camera and its settings. The app asks you to connect to the camera, which gives off its own wi-fi signal, through your device’s wi-fi settings. It takes a bit of time to configure. Then you go back to the app, connect the camera to your office’s wi-fi network, then connect your device to the wi-fi network and then wait five or so minutes while the camera starts communicating.
When the camera first starts broadcasting to your phone, there’s about a 60-second delay between what’s seen on your device and what’s in front of the camera, and the view is a bit choppy. After awhile, the delay goes down to about 30 seconds and the feed smooths out. The quality of the feed also depends heavily on the speed of your network. You can view the feed live and unlimited as long as you’re in the local wi-fi network and if you go outside of the network, you can view the feed over Edge, 3G or another wireless network in five-minute increments.
The camera also has motion and audio detection capabilities where the camera will turn on and begin recording or start a live feed when the detection system is triggered. It can also automatically upload clips of the feed to your YouTube account in case you need safe storage of some important footage.
The camera needs to be plugged into an outlet at all times. When we went to move to a different location, we had to reset the camera with a paperclip and start a lot of the process over again in getting our device and camera to communicate. So make sure that the camera is in a place that you want it so you don't have go through the process again.
As far as our problem at the office, however, the word got out that we put a camera in the kitchen, so everyone was on his or her best behavior. So no luck on finding any perpetrators but the iZON is a great tool and at around $130, it’s cheaper than some of the other remote cameras on the market.