AirBeam ($3.99) by Heiko Straulino is an app that allows you to use iDevices as a camera and monitoring system. AirBeam is a clever app, if you have two iDevices to spare. However, I do see this as a handy application for some purposes, such as a baby monitor. You can set your iPhone up in the baby’s room and keep a watch on your little tyke. You could also use it as a front door monitoring system if you are expecting company or maybe a package delivery. There are endless possibilities.
The idea is to set up two iDevices such as an iPhone and iPad on the same Wi-Fi network. One is the camera and one is the monitor. I experimented by monitoring the feline activity in my home while I was not in the room.
Setting it up was fairly easy. I just opened the app on both devices and selected one as the monitor and one as the camera. I set my iPhone up in our kitchen to video the feline eating habits. I went upstairs and watched on my iPad. Sure enough, I could see the cat come along in realtime, jump up on his food platform and chow down. I found it amusing, although not really practical for any significant purpose.
However, I do see this as a handy application for some purposes, such as a baby monitor. You can set your iPhone up in the baby’s room and keep a watch on your little tyke. You could also use it as a front door monitoring system if you are expecting company or maybe a package delivery. There are endless possibilities.
If you have several iDevices in your possession, this app supports multi-camera monitoring, so you can either launch as many cameras as you like, or watch one camera on multiple devices. The hardest part of using Air Beam is figuring out ways to support the iDevice you are using as your camera.
You can also record your monitoring sessions, and access them from your computer via your web browser. Your computer needs to be on the same network as the device. The web address to access the recording is the IP address of your device. This is shown on the recording page in the app.
You can also access the recorded videos right on your iPhone or iPad. The video quality of Air Beam is good and you can change the quality right in the app settings. It is helpful to make resolution adjustments depending on the speed of your wireless network.
When you download the app, you only have to pay once for all your iDevices. AirBeam is tailored to work with both the iPhone and iPad. I would love to see a downloadable version for your computer as well, so you only have to tie up one of your iDevices.
Currently, the iPhone 3G can only be used as a monitor, not a camera. This is due to hardware limitations. The Developer says that a couple of updates are coming soon, including audio transmission and higher quality 720p video compression. These will both be nice additions.
If you ever wanted to answer the age old question: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to see it, how do you know it actually happened?” AirBeam can help. Yeah, I know it is really a question about hearing the tree fall, but I would be more convinced if I actually saw it happen! (I would first have to be daring enough to leave my iPhone alone in a wild forest that happens to have Wi-Fi!)
Air Beam is a handy app to add to your collection of “cool things the iPhone and iPad can do.” You may not use it all the time, but it could come in handy from time to time.