Cast your mind back a few years, and it used to be that when you went on vacation, you were pretty much disconnected from your regular, daily lives. If you were abroad, you’d be without your familiar sources of news, TV and other entertainment, there was little chance of being contacted by work (hurrah for that) and you could immerse yourselves fully in the atmosphere and spirit of your chosen holiday destination and truly get away from it all.
Fast forward to the present day, and haven’t things changed? Most of us have smartphones and mobile PCs that keep us in touch with everything that’s going on back home. You could be thousands of miles away, but with the familiarity of your favourite websites, feeds and contacts just a click away, it’s just like you never left.
I’m still trying to work out whether this is a good thing or not, but it’s certainly powerful stuff. I’ve just returned from a week away with my family, and previously set up a couple of Logitech’s new Alert IP cameras to ensure we could keep an eye on the house whilst we were away. Sure, it’s great for security – with a couple of clicks I could view live and recorded video from around the home, receive email alerts when any movement is detected (along with a captured image of what was detected) and if I wasn’t near a PC, I could check out the video stream from my phone.
The cameras are awesome – easy to connect with powerline adaptors that power the devices and provide a fast network connection to your router through electricity cables, a simple wizard to configure the cameras, and remote access via PC and mobile phone set up in a matter of minutes. A great combination of hardware and software.
Truly amazing stuff, but whilst the primary need for the system may have been home security, the camera was more useful as a sleep aid for our son, Jamie! Jamie’s coming up to six months old and has recently discovered that we have a cat called Poppy. Of course, to Jamie, Poppy is now the world’s most fascinating thing, and with an IP camera carefully positioned near her food, we could show Jamie the continuing adventures of Poppy the Cat (well, the culinary chapters, anyway) at home before bedtime. For the first time, thanks to the power of the internet, it’s like we really did take the entire family away with us.