Using a Foscam Pro and FI8909W as an iOS baby monitor
A friend who’s just joined the #dadops team asked me what baby monitor solution we use for our 2-year-old. According to my wife, this is one of the best tech investments I’ve made…
The hardware (Foscam FI8909W)
I bought a Foscam FI8909W off eBay (the easiest and cheapest way to buy it from New Zealand), but any indoor unit with IR and audio capabilities will do. I wired mine into the ethernet cables I already had throughout the house, but it worked perfectly well when I tested it over wifi as well. I’ve left wifi configured as a backup, for when my son figures out how to unplug ethernet cables!
The software (Foscam Pro)
I bought the “Foscam Pro” app from RobotoApps. It can be a bit fiddly, but when I made the purchase (about 18 months ago), it was the best app available in terms of features. The developers had a rough time with iOS7, but sorted the app out after a few troublesome months.
The app allows you to specify an internal and external IP for your camera, as well as custom ports. This means that while at home, Foscam Pro will connect directly to your camera over wifi, but when you’re out of the house, you can still connect to your cameras over 3G. (You’ll have to setup a port-forward on your router to make it work, of course). I like that the Foscam Pro app lets you specify custom ports for your external connectivity, which allows me to remotely access all my cameras (I have some external foscam cameras too) via my home ADSL connection, on custom ports.
Once setup, the app lets you listen to audio received by the camera (baby monitor function), as well as (if desired) send audio from your phone BACK to the camera (2-way audio function). My voice came out a little distorted, but enough to make out the words “go back to sleep”.
The Killer Feature (monitors baby)
I’ve played with some of the more advanced features like photo/video capture, but really for the purposes of baby monitoring, the killer feature is that both parents can view and listen to the camera from anywhere, simply by launching the app.