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Baby monitors have been around for decades, but a new one from Netgear debuted this year that may be one of the most advanced and user-friendly.
It’s called the Arlo Baby, and among its features are a 1080p HD video camera, a lullaby player, a night light, a rechargeable battery and sensors that monitor air quality — all accessible anywhere, anytime on a smartphone, tablet or PC.
Arlo, known for its home security cameras, designed the device because it felt the ones on the market were technologically lacking, said Senior Product Marketing Manager Greg Falgiano, noting that millennial parents are "used to having access to all this information for other aspects of their lives. Now they can apply that to the baby as well."
To operate the monitor, users download the Arlo app, follow instructions to connect it to their Wi-Fi network and then hold their phone up in front of the monitor’s camera until it chimes to indicate that the monitor and phone are linked. Everything is password-protected and has layers of encryption.
The Arlo Baby has a high-definition video camera that lets you watch your baby on your smartphone in crystal-clear, 1080p HD.
"You can pitch and zoom on the screen…[and] set the viewing angle of the camera…. [to] what's right for you," such as narrow or wide, Falgiano said.
Parents can turn off the camera if they choose to monitor only the sound. Unlike other monitors that have glowing red lights that can disturb the child, the Arlo Baby has night-vision LED lights built into the front.
There’s a speaker on the back that can play lullabies, many of which are included - others that can be downloaded. Parents can also record their own singing for the baby to listen to.
There’s a night light that offers a host colors that can be changed, blended and adjusted for brightness and warmth.
And there are air sensors that provide information about the baby's environment.
"You can get the temperature [and]… the humidity of the room,” Falgiano said. “It also has an air quality sensor so it lets you know if the room is too dusty, and it will link to recommendations to open a window, or ‘needs more air flow.’
“All of this is tracked in the app, too, so you can go back and see… How was the temperature over the last week? Or, was it really humid, and that's maybe why the baby wasn't sleeping well?"
Even the look of the device can be adjusted. Parents can dress up Arlo Baby to look like a rabbit (with snap-on ears and feet) , a Dalmatian, or a cat.
It also records video, so busy parents don't have to miss milestones like their baby’s first words or first steps.
"If one parent is on the road, you can use your smartphone and get access to a live feed from the camera, and type in your password to get into the app and see what baby's doing at any time of the day," Falgiano said.
Users can talk to their babies when they’re away, thanks to the monitor’s two-way audio. Speak into your smartphone, and your baby will hear your voice on the monitor’s speaker.
The camera can also be used to record or live-stream nannies and babysitters.
"The most important thing you can protect is your family,” Falgiano said, “so being able to have tools to help monitor the child… and have it all tied in to [a smartphone experience] you're already using… we thought it made sense to bring that experience all together."