Our DoorBot has Been Decommissioned: Part 3

DoorBot-Looking-Left.jpgFor the several weeks we’ve had the new “Extended Range” Doorbot installed in place of the original device. The only apparent difference between the two is the addition of a short external antenna to enhance the Wifi connectivity.

Happily, the new unit does seem to stay better connected to our WLAN. In the past I was not comfortable evaluating the behavior of the Doorbot+client application given the questionable connectivity. At present the network connection seems sufficient to examine the behavior of the system as a whole.

I have the DoorBot client application installed on a variety of devices:

  • Nexus 4 Android mobile phone (Me)
  • Nexus 5 Android mobile phone  (Mrs)
  • Nexus 7 Tablet (2013)
  • 4th generation iPod Touch
  • iPad with Retina display

The fact that I’m using so many devices may be a little unusual, but I would expect that many families will use 2-3 devices, most likely a couple of cell phones (his & hers) and a tablet. Although a family with kids may well have more than this.

Continue reading “Our DoorBot has Been Decommissioned: Part 3”

Our DoorBot Has Been Decommissioned: Part 2 – How Fi is Our Wi?

PowerAP-N & DoorBotThe problem with using a less than common Wifi AP is that a manufacturer can say, “we’ve never heard of that make/model”  and hope that they are thus absolved of any possible requirement to help troubleshoot the situation.  Not that the crew at DoorBot took that stance, but I’ve heard it plenty in prior situations.

It recently occurred to me that there was a way that I could confirm the state of our Wifi at the gate location where we had the DoorBot installed. I could stage a video call over Wifi using tools that I already had on-hand. If I could record a decent quality video call from a Wifi connected mobile device that location then it would prove that our Wi is way-Fi!

Staging this proved to be pretty simple. I pointed my Nexus 7 tablet at the school yard across the street, then established a video call using Talky.io. Talky.io is a free WebRTC-based service from &yet. It runs just fine in Chrome for Android.

Continue reading “Our DoorBot Has Been Decommissioned: Part 2 – How Fi is Our Wi?”

Doorbots Are On The Move

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The DoorBots are coming! I was pleasantly surprised to see Jamie Siminoff, Chief Inventor of Edison Jr, in a video posed to their Facebook page. Jamie is announcing the fact that DoorBot is actually shipping, which is great. We have had an opening near our front gate waiting for DoorBot for quite some time.

What took me a bit by surprise is that Jamie is reportedly shown in the video packing up the very first DoorBot to ship…to a customer her refers to as “Michael”…in Texas no less. That could well be me!

On the other hand, Michael is one of the single most popular names for boys since the time of Christ. If you want to see fifty necks get whiplash yell out “Hey Mike!” in a crowded airport or shopping mall.

The DoorBot package he describes reminds me of the NEST thermostat, which is a device that we like a lot. It includes all the tools and hardware that a typical homeowner might require.

Our particular installation may not quite follow their expectations. We’re installing DoorBot to an upright post of the wrought iron fence at the front of our yard. At present there’s a 4 5/8” square surface mount box that once held the DoorBell Fone.

Further, it’s location near the front gate will also be a minor test of our Wifi. Nonetheless, that should be easily addressed, and I look forward to never missing another courier deliver once the DoorBot is on duty.

DoorBot vs iDoorCam

DoorBot-iDoorCamSome time ago there was a film about a meteor that was about strike the earth. It was Armageddon, starting Bruce Willis amongst others. That very same year another studio released Deep Impact, with Robert Duval & Morgan Freeman.  Different movies, same subject.

We’re still eagerly awaiting the arrival of our DoorBot, which is arguably delayed a bit. Imagine my surprise when today I read about iDoorCam, a very similar device to DoorBot, also crowd-sourcing their funding.

I guess great minds think alike. Of course, that’s only the first half of that quote.

DoorBot was originally to ship in July. Just as I’m writing this and looking at their web site I see that they now project availability in “early September.”

iDoorCam projects availability in October, according to their promotional video, “in plenty of time for the holidays.”

DoorBot looks to be larger, but costs a bit more. Both devices send their calls/notifications to a smartphone app.

To both companies I offer the same advice, think beyond the app. Don’t follow the FaceTime model of the walled-garden. Leverage existing standard protocols like SIP and XMPP.

The iDoorBotCam should be able to ring any SIP device on my home network. That way I can answer on the Polycom VVX-600 that’s on my desk or the Bria soft phone on my wife’s PC.

While DoorBot most definitely resembles Stanley Kubrick’s HAL 9000 the iDoorCam looks like it has more in common with our Nest thermostat. The big difference being that we actually have one of those.