April 21, 2012, 7:43 AM — The scoop: iZON Remote Room Monitor, by Stem Innovation, about $130
What is it? A network-based camera that connects via Wi-Fi, the iZON Remote Room Monitor lets you watch rooms in your house or office remotely. The monitoring is done via the Stem:Connect iOS app, letting you see live images coming from the camera, or setting up motion-detection or sound-detection alerts. When the motion or sound is detected, the clip can be uploaded to your YouTube account as well.
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Why it's cool: This device and app were developed first for mobile devices, unlike other devices that rely on monitoring via a Web browser -- in fact, you can't watch your camera's feed through a PC browser (the company says a Mac app is coming, and other methods down the road). The small device is inconspicuous, and would work well as a baby room monitor, or if you have a second house and/or office and want to be alerted if the device detects motion. The YouTube upload option is also a nice touch. The camera and app were somewhat easy to hook up, as long as you're using an 802.11n Wi-Fi router with WPA2 (not WEP) security.
Some caveats: I had trouble with the motion alert and YouTube uploading; sensitivity adjustments need to be made so that you're not constantly getting alerted with very tiny motion settings. But at low sensitivity settings, I was consistently not receiving alerts, even though I knew motion was going on (I was recording video in the office). The device and app are a work in progress; I'd wait until Web browser monitoring and other settings were added to the system.
Grade: 3 stars (out of five)
The scoop: Wireless Dual-Band Travel Router, by Belkin, about $80
What is it? This small device provides a wireless router capability for travelers, hooking into a hotel's wired Ethernet connection and providing wireless connectivity for tablets, smartphones and notebooks. The wireless capabilities allow you to use one connection for multiple devices.