I have used a video monitor with both my girls since the day they were born. There is something unbelievably reassuring about seeing them tucked up snuggly in their cot/bed, hearing them breathing and watching their chest rise up and down in their slumber. When Neve moved into her own room at around 6 months old, watching her on a monitor next to my bed cushioned the blow a little at least (not that I don’t still see her frequently throughout the night!)
Whilst it may seem a little unorthodox, we also still use a video monitor in Erin’s room. She has just turned four, and whilst my concerns about safe sleep aren’t as strong as they are with a newborn, a camera has been incredibly useful for those night time wakings, noticing if she’s climbed out of bed, is heading to the loo in the dark, or even when those nasty sickness bugs come to visit.
We were recently given the opportunity via Mumsnet Blogger Network to roadtest Motorola’s Smart Nursery range, a collection of six products that make up the world’s most intelligent connected baby nursery – using a powerful app to monitor and track your child’s sleeping patterns and nursery conditions. As a bit of a tech lover as well as an existing fan of Motorola products, we were keen to see how it faired. We have now been testing the range in our home for the last 2 weeks – so here’s the low down! 🙂
About the Products
The Motorola Smart Nursery range is a collection of six wifi connected products that are smart on their own, but even smarter together. The range includes the Smart Nursery Cam, alert sensors, connected scales, humidifier and dream machine with features including in-depth analytic tracking, a rechargeable camera and digital scrapbook and video diary. Each product works through the Hubble Connected app to track sleeping patterns, monitor nursery conditions, send alerts and much much more. Parents can use the information from the Motorola Smart Nursery on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to learn more about their baby, and the nursery’s environment.
We have now had the Motorola Smart Nursery in our home for 2 weeks, and whilst it is early days, we have overall had a positive experience with just a few niggles or things we would change. The technology is nothing like we have used before, and has the potential to be fantastic when used correctly. For ease, I will discuss our experience’s of the six elements of the Motorola Smart Nursery individually, however it is important to note that they all work inclusively via the Hubble Connected app. My experience of the app itself is included in the write up below.
The Camera & Monitor
The Smart Nursery Camera and monitor are visually very impressive. Compared to other cameras we have used previously (Motorola ones as it happens), the monitor has a much wider screen – meaning that we got a large and high quality colour (1080 mp) image of my daughter in her cot.
Setting up the camera in her nursery was very straight forward – the set comes with a flexible camera stand that looks a little like a tripod. Its bendy legs and additional height mean that no matter where your nearest shelf or camera hook may be, you can angle the camera to ensure that you get the best possible view of your child whilst keeping the camera safely out of reach.
Using the monitor in my own room, I am able to remotely rotate the camera and move it up and down and left to right, which is extremely useful if she rolls out of sight. I can even talk to her through the monitor should she need the odd sshhh or calming without leaving the comfort of my own bed!
When connected to the Hubble App via wifi, I can also be alerted via notifications when motion is detected, highlighting the fact that she is starting to wake, or in some cases stand up in her cot. The app also lets me keep an eye on nursery conditions including temperature, and will advise me if the room becomes too hot.
I love the fact the camera has two way communication, and the app allows you to keep snapshots of your day / night as a bit of a diary of your child’s movements.
Whilst the camera can be moved via the app, I found this to be much slower than when using the monitor directly.
The app is at times a little clunky and sometimes the live feed took a while to load, however this may be down to the quality of my wifi connection, it’s hard to know for sure. Sometimes the app just shows a loading circle, and if my daughter was younger I would have found this a real irritation, as it was not as responsive as it should be.
The Dream Machine is probably my favourite part of the Smart Nursery (and Neve’s too!).
The Dream Machine is a stylish looking nightlight and projector combined and projects moving pictures on to the nursery wall or ceiling. It can easily be angled according to the size of your room and where you would like the image to be displayed. Neve was fascinated by this, and whilst it didn’t sooth her to sleep directly, watching it on her wall definitely calmed her before bed.
The Dream Machine comes with 3 different disks – jungle, ocean and space scenes which can be changed according to your preference – these are like little retro film disks which are very cute, however I do wish there was a little compartment to store the spare ones, as it’s the kind of thing I could lose quite easily! The three different scenes are great, with a rotating image of bright and engaging scenes and friendly looking characters. It would be fab if you could buy additional scenes, particularly if you are going to use the device as your child grows up.
The Dream Machine doesn’t come with any preloaded songs, but you can download from the set of standard lullaby songs via the app. Whilst the songs were pleasant, I would have preferred these to be preloaded, as before you do this you simply get a recorded advisory message in various languages advising you to download the app. I would be more likely to use the sound element if you could stream your own songs and lullabies. The sound can be turned on or off, and for us personally, with Neve being that little bit older, we have stuck keeping the music off.
The nightlight feature is lovely on it’s own, with a range of 6 colours or you can alternate between them all. They create a nice warm glow in the room, and are easily enough light to see what I am doing when breastfeeding in the early hours of the morning.
Using the Smart Nursery App, I can control the Dream Machine from my phone so if she wakes earlier than I want her to I can keep her calm and settled in the cot until I its a more reasonable time to get up. She very rarely drifts back off with the projector, but does stay quiet and content without waking her sister which is always a bonus!
During the trial I have so far only used this once, but this is a very clever piece of kit. With a child who suffers from bad eczema, having a dry and stuffy room is not at all helpful. The humidifier will be a huge benefit in the winter months when the central heating is on, usually leaving them with dry throats, and agrevating their skin. The humidifier can be controlled remotely using the Hubble App, adding moisture back into the air, and releasing silver ions that kill germs and ensure hygienic humidification.
As with all the items in the Smart Nursery range, it looks visually very attractive, although the Humidifier is on the larger side and as such needs a reasonable sized surface space.
I am less panicky with my second child, but when Erin was little I was very paranoid about her weight gain, and as such, took her to see the health visitors for a weigh in with my little red book almost every week. These mother and baby scales are fantastic for peace of mind. You can set up individual profiles for every person in your home, and there is a mother and child setting so that you can hold baby in your arms, and accurately record their weight.
Using the Smart Nursery app you can scan weigh in’s to keep records of weigh in’s by date – meaning you can track gain (in the girl’s case) and loss (hopefully!) in mine. Whilst it took me a while to get my head around how to flick between the parent and child settings, once I got the hang of it, I found the scales quick and easy to use.
The scales are lightweight, slim and modern looking, and I would be more than happy to have these out on display in our bathroom. As with most scales, they do work better on a hard (tiled or wooden) floor.
For me, this is the one part of the Smart Nursery kit that I was less concerned about using, but for those with larger homes, ground floor properties or who are particularly concerned about security, these door sensors are another innovative piece of kit from Motorola. Via the Smart Nursery App, the door sensors will send an alert to your phone if a door or window is opened in the nursery, offering peace of mind against potential intruders, and reassuring you that if someone was to attempt breaking into your child’s bedroom, you would be notified very quickly.
The pack comes with 2 sensors (one for the window and one for the door), and sticky pads are included to hold these securely in place. We were able to set these up extremely quickly with no drills or screws required.
The Smart Nursery is a fantastic set of products, both stand alone and when used as a combined set. For me personally, the Dream Machine and Camera are the products I would be most likely to use on a regular long term basis. They offer fantastic peace of mind, insight, and tracking for these early years as a parent, and if my daughter actually let me, I am sure I would sleep much better as a result, knowing that this technology is keeping an eye on my family!
There are a couple of things that I would do to improve the set, and most of these centre around the app itself rather than the products. I would say that you should check your wifi speed before purchase, as we have Sky Q and stream our TV, and as such our wifi speeds are probably not as strong as they could be. In my personal opinion, in order to benefit from the instant visual and notification benefits without the odd delay, a high speed fibre wifi connection would be required.
Another thing to be aware of is if you do have a small box room style nursery like ours, you will need to have a few plugs available in order to use all the products. Some of the items such as the humidifier are a little on the larger side, and as such, you may need to be clever about placement to avoid trailing wires.
*Disclosure – I received these products free of charge in return for my honest review, however all views and opinions are my own.
I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.*