Many months ago, when I was pregnant, my husband and I were talking about baby monitors. While looking at the ones already out there, none really jumped out at us. Now, with both of us being geeks, we decided we’d evaluate our options here with the hardware and software available. After figuring out that we had spare hardware laying about, we decided that we had to find a piece of software that could do monitoring.
Software Requirements and Test
Our requirements were simple:
- Allow audio monitoring of the baby (video would be an added plus)
- Desktop & mobile clients needed to be available – for both Android and Windows Phone
That first option was easy – there are plenty of conferencing and video/audio chat programs out there that would meet that requirement. Now the second requirement, that’s where it got tricky. My husband has an Android phone, and I have the Windows Phone. Finding programs with Android clients is simple. Finding programs with Windows Phone clients alone is okay. But finding a client that works on both platforms – that wasn’t as easy.
Thankfully, Skype had a beta client for Windows Phone and already had a client out for Android. We took it for a test spin to see how it would work, and sure enough it worked wonderfully.
So… how did we set up Skype?
- Create an account for the baby monitor.
- Add ourselves to the baby monitor’s contact list.
- On the baby monitor’s Skype client:
- Click Tools
- Click Options
- Under the Call Settings section:
- Check Allow calls from… people in my Contact list only
- Check Answer incoming calls automatically
- If you want video, then also check Start my video automatically when I am in a call
- Click Save
The other thing we did at this point was muted the sound on the baby monitor’s client so that we wouldn’t have to mute ourselves every time and so that the baby wouldn’t hear us when we connected.
At the beginning of June, we went on vacation down to Outer Banks with a bunch of our friends and their families, and it was easy to travel with this setup. We didn’t pack the netbook, as we had two laptops packed. There were times where we had our baby in the crib in our room downstairs while sitting upstairs and playing games with the other adults. We would log in on the baby monitor account on one of the laptops, run through the settings from above, and then call in from one of our phones. This helped us hear our baby’s cries and tend to him while playing games.
Today marks 4 months of us using this setup. While we both can’t be Skyped in at the same time separately – someone has to set up a conference call to make that happen – Skype has definitely worked well for us. If you have spare hardware laying around, as well as need Android and Windows Phone connectivity, Skype works well for this!