December 01, 2010
| by Steven Castle
How do you keep track of infants and toddlers when you can’t always be there with them? People have been using baby monitors and web-based cameras for a while now, though Ben Henkel and his team at Integrated Systems (iSys) in Tarzana, Calif., regularly equip their clients with some high-tech twists on traditional child monitoring.
Instead of using web-based cameras that have trouble detecting a baby in the dark, Integrated Systems uses standard analog cameras with IR (infrared) capability so that they can “see” better when the lights are off.
In the case of this Malibu Hills, Calif., home, two Nuvico analog CCTV cameras were used in the nursery, and another two in the kids’ playroom.
The signals from the analog cameras travel over coaxial cable to a central equipment rack, where a Panasonic analog-to-digital converter converts the video into digital form for viewing on any of several TVs and Control4 touchpanels throughout the house. From virtually anywhere in the house or remotely, the parents can check in on their little ones.
To distribute audio along with the video, Integrated Systems often uses a Panasonic telephone system. It simply installs another phone station near the crib, puts it on INTERCOM and takes the cord off the phone for safety reasons. The parents can monitor the baby inside the home from any one of the other phone stations in the house.
The Control4 system provides the proud parents with even more convenience. It’s connected to a wireless Somfy motorized shading system that’s on timers to close the shades to help block out the afternoon light during nap time.
Henkel reports that the parents really love coming into the nursery and pressing one button on a touchpanel called GOOD NIGHT to turn down the lights, draw the shades and play soothing music for baby’s bedtime.
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates