Perch turns phones, tablets, laptops into home monitors

Even before houses started getting smarter, home monitoring systems were already a thing, at least for those with something worth keeping an eye on. Whether for keeping an eye on the kids to keeping watch over valuables, such systems usually required some camera and computer combo to be installed, either by professionals or DIY. Today, however, most households have spare smartphones or tablets lying around unused. With Perch, you can put them to work again, to create an easy to use, and cheaper, home monitor.

Truth be told, the idea of utilizing unused mobile devices or computers with webcams isn't exactly new and you'd find half a dozen similar solutions over the Internet. Almost all of them, however, are nontrivial to setup and aren't exactly up to date. With Perch, you are promised a splendid mix of both old and new: old devices with cameras with new technologies.

Setting up Perch is, in comparison, trivial. There is an Android app, an iOS version is promised in the near future, or a PC app for those with laptops or USB webcams. You can select areas in the feed which you designate as hotspots. If movement is sensed in these areas, the user is alerted. No need to have more sensors or cameras at every nook and cranny if the Perch cam has those areas within sight.

Perch is also promised to be fast. Fast enough for real-time video communication. If you catch your kids or your dog doing something inappropriate, you can give them a holler through the smartphone or tablet to make them remember you have your eye on them. Good luck doing that with the cat, though.

Perch also integrates with some smart home platforms, like Samsung's SmartThings. This means that you can automatically turn off the TV or control the lightning to emphasize the point above. It could probably also be used to play pranks on unsuspecting visitors.

Perch is currently at its early stages and the Android app is still in beta. For now, the service is free to start, but will likely include paid subscription options later on.