Internal computer webcams are great for some communications, but when it comes to family communication – trying to fit everyone in front of the webcam can be difficult and limit participants to a confined area.
At DEMO09 I saw a product called Vue™ Personal Video Network by Avaak, a wire-free video system that allows families to communicate from virtually anywhere in the house. There are "no cords to connect, no software to download or home networks to configure" – the system utilizes the existing home wireless system. The Vue™ enables simple recording with one click. The video's can be shared or families can communicate with family and friends who also have the video system. Moms or dads on business trips can view videos and families can hold live video events. One of the demonstrators showed a video of her son doing karate, which made me think of my boys (who I have not see since Sunday morning). Funny enough, karate and wrestling seems to be the first thing my boys do when they wake up in the morning.
UPDATE 3/309 Here is the video presentation by Avaak, Inc at DEMO09:
There are two parts of the product: personal video network hardware and a online software web interface.
1. Personal Video Network hardware: A Gateway (attaches to the home wireless router), two cameras and 4 wall mounts in the kit. Additional camera's can be purchased. The cameras have a range of 300 feet and can be moved easily. An estimated one million frames can be transmitted from a single battery (which is about one year under normal use). The wall mounts are "peel and stick" but the camera's can be moved anywhere. Repeaters can be purchased for those locations too far away from the Gateway.
2. Software Web interface (my.vuezone.com) for online viewing, sharing and recording. To register, a username and password must be created. After logging on, videos can be shared with family and friends.Two gigabytes of storage online is included in the service plan.
InfoWorld published a post that with an interesting discussion about the security. Instead of modifying current home firewalls, the Gateway makes a secure "outbound" connection to my.vuezone.com. The home firewall "sees it just like another computer on your home network". The key control is to only give access profiles to trusted family and friends.
The Vue™ Personal Video Network price is $299 per system, $99 for additional cameras and repeaters are available separately. 2gb of secure private storage with service plans for expanding. The gateway can support up to 50 cameras. The product will begin shipping in early summer 2009. Pre-orders can be placed now on Avaak's Web site at http://www.VueZone.com.