iPad wifi intercom solution

Update:
There seems to be a solution to the problem: iDoorCam:

 

Before digging into the whole iPad domotica topic I wanted to give you a little background information.

My girlffriend and I use some shared calendars so we can schedule things perfectly, therefore, our paper calendar ended up in the rubbish bin and this was the trigger for my idea. It’s not revolutionary but I’m surprised nobody has started developing descent solutions.

To replace our ‘old paper calendar’ I started playing with the idea to mount a screen on our wall and write a web app that could fetch everything we needed. I could show our appointments, a small clock and maybe some other things too. As most of the sideprojects this one died a silent death too until yesterday… Yesterday, I was sitting at my desk and saw my iPad (1st gen) which I barely use and I started thinking that everything I wanted to show on my webapp dashboard was already an app on the iPad. Even better was the fact is had a touchinterface, allowing us to add or alter scheduled events in our calendar. Bonus points for the image slideshow, because after some time of inactivity it would simply show some of our beloved pictures. Extra bonus points for the remote app and our airport express in the kitchen. We could stream our music and even radio stations to our stereo (which I wanted to replace by a Zeppelin for quite some time now). How’s that for a paper calendar replacement ;-)

After seeing the light I went down to check some empty spaces on our wall where we could mount it. Maybe in the same place the old calendar: next to our intercom for our doorbell… So why not replace the stupid intercom with a nice wifi video intercom solution that could stream our doorbell right to our iPad using push notifications? So I started my search but I couldn’t find any thing that satisfies my needs, I only found 1 crappy solution that doesn’t support push notifications and costs a gazilion!

So what is it I want?

Well, imagine having a doorbell with a camera. You’re sitting in your sofa and someone rings the door. You go to your iPad, check out who’s there have some small talk or even allowing them to come in by unlocking the door with a swipe or any other gesture you can think of. That would be a good start, even better would be that if you’re not at home, the sytem sends a push alert to your iPhone and maybe a snapshot (or video if you’re on wifi) of the person in front of your door, allowing you to do the same as if you were at home: talk to the person and maybe let him/her in. (e.g. we have 2 dogs and it would be nice if my mother in law could enter our house if we’re stuck somewhere so she could feed them or let them out).

All of the above would be splendid, following extras would make me a happy man:

  • integrate RFID keys, swipe your card over the doorbel and enter (instead of using the key). Not really necessary, but nice to have, especially if you would use it as a company
  • Show a log of the video conversation with a timestamp for every time someone rang your doorbell. Even if you’re on a holiday you could still see who needed you
  • If we could integrate the RFID we could even show the log of when someone came at work.

Maybe there are already solutions doing (some) of these things, if you know about it feel free to share!

About joggink

I'm a freelance frontend developer and a proud member of the dutch fronteers.

30. August 2011 by joggink
Categories: usability | 12 comments

Comments (12)

  1. That’s the one:

    “I only found 1 crappy solution that doesn’t support push notifications and costs a gazilion”

  2. Onze bTicino oplossing laat toe om video signaal van deur te streamen op TV kabel. Dus pc kan dit oppakken alsook de webserver van bTicino. ( http://www.bticino.be/myhome.php )
    Voor die webserver bestaat er al een iPad en iPhone app waarmee je dan alles kan bedien of bekijken.
    http://itunes.apple.com/nl/app/my-home-bticino/id447059297?mt=8
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/imyhome/id295432139?mt=8

  3. Allemaal mogelijk. We kunnen een stand alone oplossing bieden om je huidige intercom op ipad en iphone aan te sturen met foto,s etc. Toegangscontrole is ook mogelijk, eventueel gekoppeld aan de inbraakcentrale. Je kunt me bellen voor meer informatie 06-14621131

  4. I’m totally in the same place, thinking the same thing. These door intercom, home intercom, home temperature control, home music control, home automation control systems are EXPENSIVE JUNK.

    We need to replace this with android/iOS software. For the front-door buzzer, the missing link seems to be a “front door buzzer” looking wifi camera. Foscam sells high quality wifi cameras with sound and night vision for $89. We just need them to build some plastics for a front-door intercom.

  5. Agreed, this is exactly what I was looking for. No solution so far in the market. Control4 costs a bomb. Still lost for words how come someone hasn’t come up with a solution which has a vast-reaching impact.

  6. I am totally with you. It seems very straight forward, someone could make a lot of money with that. I have recently been “intercom shopping” and am appalled to find devices that look like they fell out of 1982…. And they expect me to mount and wire that on my wall! Ferris Bueller had better looking technology in the 80′s… And I think 30 years on we can get a better solution that costs much less. Someone please make this, and enjoy the rewards.
    Emma

  7. This is a job for kickstarter.

    Anyone want to drop me a line and let’s develop this as a device / app business?

  8. @dan weston: that would be sweet!

  9. It all could be built with some 25 dollar rasberry
    Piis

  10. to iDoorCam or to DoorBot, that’s the question…
    Or are there more alternatives