Logitech Alert home monitoring now available for the Apple iPad

logitech alert for iPad

Last year, we reviewed the Logitech Alert HD home monitoring system. This easy to use home security system is of course perfect for people who rarely see their home, but still want to keep an eye on what is going on. At its launch, it came with an iPhone and Android app – and last week, Logitech added a fantastic iPad version of the remote software.

When installed on your iPad, you gain full screen HD access to all your cameras, and because the Alert system offers secure remote access, you’ll be able to watch your home or other area anywhere in the world.

The app is free of charge (like the other Alert mobile apps) and is available from the App store. If you don’t have a Logitech Alert system yet, check out the lineup of cameras and master kits at Logitech.com.

SkyMall Monday: Fake TV Burglar Deterrent

skymall monday fake tv burglar deterrent gadling home securityGoing on vacation should be a stress relief. Putting your job, chores and responsibilities aside for a break from your everyday routine is just what everyone needs. However, leaving your home unattended can be a worrisome endeavor. Sure, you could get a housesitter, but that requires you to trust someone not to rummage through your things, steal your valuables and seduce your cat. Whenever I go away, I worry that someone will break into the SkyMall Monday headquarters and steal all of my favorite gadgets. That fear leads to sleepless nights on the road. So, how can we protect our homes and deter would-be thieves? Thankfully, SkyMall understands our concerns and has just the thing to put our minds at ease and keep our homes safe when we’re traveling. The next time you leave home for a vacation or business trip, you can rest easy thanks to the Fake TV Burglar Deterrent.When I was a kid, my parents would typically leave various lights on in our house when we went away. This would give the appearance that we were home at all times (and that we never slept). As technology advanced, we put the lights on timers, so that it did appear as if the humans in the house were alive and keeping some sort of normal schedule. However, any criminal casing the neighborhood could probably tell that no one was actually home. Since Home Security Decoys were not an option, leaving lights on was the only viable way to deter criminals. The Fake TV Burglar Deterrent takes that strategy to the next level by simulating the flickering light of a television, thus giving your home that “lived in” feel.

Think that a home security system is more than enough to keep your house safe? Believe that no criminal worth his salt will fall for a decoy? Well, while you’re filling out a police report, we’ll be reading the product description:

Using super bright LEDs, the Fake TV Burglar Deterrent Device simulates the light and flickering of a real 27″ HDTV while consuming up to 50 times less power. From outside your home, this fake tv gives the illusion that someone’s inside, so burglars will go elsewhere…make sure the fake TV is not visible from outside.

Burglars will think that you’re home and not wealthy enough to afford a very large television. Most thieves want at least a 32″ TV screen. And, of course, leaving the decoy out of plain sight is probably a solid idea.

Sure, home security systems can keep your home safe, but they aren’t your only option. I’d much rather trust my home to a flickering light than a sophisticated monitoring system. Especially since someone could always just kick in your door.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

Review: Logitech Alert home security HD camera system

A review of a home security camera system may not immediately make sense for a travel site, but just because you are on the road, does not necessarily mean you can’t keep an eye on what is going on with your home. We have looked at other camera systems in the past, but the new Logitech Alert is the first HD security system specifically designed to install yourself.

In this review, we’ll take a closer look at their outdoor master system. The Alert 750e master system consists of a rugged and waterproof HD camera, a powerline transmitter and receiver and an assortment of accessories and cables.

Installing the camera system is a breeze – you place the camera where you want, then connect it to the outdoor powerline transmitter. This obviously means you will need a power outlet outside, or you’ll need to find a way to route the cable inside.

Then, you plug the powerline receiver into an outlet, and hook it up to your home router or modem. The best part of a powerline solution is that you do not need to pull Ethernet cables to the camera.

To get the whole setup working, you then install the Logitech Alert software, and provide a few pieces of information. From start to finish, I had the system up and running in about 15 minutes.

The biggest selling point of the camera is its video quality – and it really is something amazing. The camera monitors your home in HD video, using a wide angle lens. At night, the system switches to night vision, which is powerful enough to monitor a dark driveway for about 45 feet.

The camera includes a variety of mounting materials, and a screwdriver is all you need to attach it. A rubber cover protects the screws from the elements. The camera itself is very rugged – with a strong metal housing and waterproof cover for the cable and memory card.

Behind the rear cover is the connector for its power/communication cable and the MicroSD memory card slot. This memory card is used to record video when motion is detected. The camera comes with a 2GB card, but you can expand that with any card you want (up to 32GB). Recordings are stored on the camera, or in the desktop software package (more on that in a moment).

The Logitech Alert Commander is where you can view live video, configure settings or monitor multiple cameras (if you add more than one). Video is very smooth and the application is simple to use.

Inside the Alert Commander, you can configure how motion detection is used – it can monitor the entire area, or you can draw your own zone. This is handy if you have parts of an image you don’t want to monitor, or if part of the screen has things that move on their own (like a tree).

Inside the app, you can also view recordings. Since the camera only stores 2GB, you can tell the application to copy camera based video to your PC for archiving. If you are worried about crime in your area, having a place to store video could come in handy, as long as your computer isn’t stolen in the process.

Now, none of this is especially interesting for travelers – so Logitech also allows you to access your camera using the web or a mobile application. Almost every feature of the desktop based commander can also be accessed inside your web browser – anywhere in the world.

The alerting option can send you an email when motion is detected – and it can include a snapshot of the recording, along with a time stamp.

Mobile applications are available for the iPhone, Blackberry or Android devices. These apps are all free of charge. Included with every Logitech Alert package is free remote viewing. If you want access to remote or web playback of recordings, you’ll need to upgrade to the Web and Mobile Commander version for $79.99/year.

Night mode is probably one of the most impressive features of the Logitech Alert – as soon as daylight is gone, the camera automatically switches to this mode. With an array of infra-red lights and a sensitive camera sensor, even the darkest of porches will be perfectly viewable.

The Logitech Alert system comes in two versions – indoor and outdoor. Both systems include one camera and the powerline receiver. The indoor package costs $299.99 and the outdoor package costs $349.99. Additional cameras can be added without the need for extra powerline receivers – an extra indoor camera is $229.99 and the additional outdoor camera is $279.99.

The travel related uses for this system are endless – you can use it to monitor for packages, record suspicious activity or even watch your child(ren) play in the back yard. Image quality is the best I have ever seen for any consumer camera system, and the installation is a breeze.

To learn more about the Logitech Alert system or to place an order, head on over to the Alert product pages.

Review: iCam app streams webcam to your iPhone

I was pretty shocked when I read on Gizmodo that a man had used the iCam iPhone app to watch as someone burglarized his home. Not just because the story was so crazy, but because I often wondered what I would do if I witnessed my home getting robbed while using that exact same iPhone app. I’ve been testing the iCam app for several weeks and, while it won’t keep intruders out of your home, it will certainly give you some piece of mind while you are traveling.

The iCam app allows you to monitor your webcam via your iPhone (or iPod Touch) from anywhere so long as you have an Edge, 3G or WiFi signal. Obviously, WiFi is ideal for monitoring the video, but I was surprised with how well it streamed over 3G, as well. You can also enable motion detector alerts which will push notifications to you whenever your webcam senses movement. This is ideal for people wanting to use iCam for home security.

In order to use iCam, you must first download the free software to your computer (available for both Mac OS and Windows) and download the $4.99 app to your iPhone. A very simple setup process links your webcam to your iPhone, allowing you to remotely view your camera feed from anywhere you have a signal.

I tested the app while remotely keeping an eye on my two dogs. iCam allows you to stream up to four webcams directly to your iPhone, so my girlfriend and I set up both of our MacBooks in the bedroom while our dogs stayed behind. Leaving your dogs at home can be stressful, so having the ability to check in on them no matter where we are definitely intrigued us.

When you open the iCam app on your iPhone, you see thumbnail views of every feed that you linked to your phone. In the photo above, you can see our two camera feeds. Tapping on one of the small boxes opens that feed in full screen, as shown here:

Additionally, you can set iCam to take still images of any motion activities that it detects. Curious pet owners will finally see what their dogs and cats do when left alone and victims of burglaries may just have a critical piece of evidence to show to law enforcement officials.

On a few occasions, iCam failed to sync with my webcam. I remedied this once by repeating the initial setup and two other times the situation resolved itself when I closed the iPhone app, waited a few minutes and relaunched it.

Overall, the iCam app is worthy of its $4.99 price tag. It provides piece of mind, shows only a few signs of being infrequently buggy and offers more than enough features beyond just the video streaming to make it both useful and entertaining (at least for people watching their pets while also out with friends).

If you have pets (or perhaps a babysitter that you don’t trust) or want an inexpensive home monitoring system, then iCam might just be right for you.

The iCam app is available in the iTunes App Store and the software for your computer is available on the company’s website.