Watch Cam - Monitor and control your Nest Cameras

Discussion in 'Apple Watch Apps' started by Marconelly, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. Marconelly, Nov 21, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016

    Marconelly macrumors 6502

    Marconelly

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    #1
    Watch Cam for Nest Cam

    Here's my second Nest app, where I've tackled another one of their devices that I believe deserves the wrist treatment. As far as I know, there are no Apple Watch apps (or iOS Widgets) that provide Nest Camera monitoring, so I hope that fellow Nest users will find it useful. To cut to the chase, here's what the app offers:

    • Monitor all your Nest Cams on your watch - just swipe left and right to access them.
    • For each of the cameras, you can see the video clip of the last recorded event, or the current snapshot.

    [​IMG]

    • For each camera, if there are events less than 1h old, app will show the event first. Otherwise, the current snapshot will be shown (You can at any point switch between the event and the snapshot).
    • The app displays how much time has passed since the last event in an easily glanceable format (eg. "12 minutes ago", "3 days ago")
    • Force-touch menu allows for switching between the event/current snapshot view, setting the Away state, as well as turning the camera streaming on and off.

    [​IMG]

    • Again, much like Thermo Watch, this app can work even with the phone not being present, as long as your watch is within a known Wi-Fi network.

    Modular Watch Face Complications can display the following:
    • The time since the last recorded event from any of the cameras, and the location where it was recorded. So for example, if you have three cameras, no matter which one of them records the most recent event, that's the event for which the time and the location will be shown on the complication.
    • Status of all the available cameras - if the camera icon on the complication is bright green, it means that all your cameras are online and streaming. If it is dimmed green, it means that some cameras are offline or not streaming. If it's dark grey, all cameras are offline or not streaming.

    [​IMG]

    Other kinds of Watch Face Complications can only display the time since the last event.


    iOS Widget offers all of the watch app features, plus the following:
    • Tapping on the Event clip in the widget will launch the Nest app, and deep-link right into that event.
    • Tapping on the Current Snapshot view in the widget will launch the Nest app, and display the respective camera.
    Please note that due to the vertical size restriction imposed by the system to the iOS widget, the widget can only display up to three cameras.

    [​IMG]

    Much like with Thermo Watch, I strived to make an app that's not just useful, but that also feels high quality, responsive, and stable. I tried to make user interactions as streamlined as possible - for example, the video clip of the recorded event just plays as soon as it loads, with the rest of the interface unobscured - there's no "Play" button to press to start, no "Done" button to return from the video clip, or anything like that.

    Nest's QA department has reviewed, and approved it, and it will be featured on their website in the partnership program "Works With Nest".

    The app is $2.99. I assume the crossover of Nest Cam and Apple Watch owners makes this a pretty niche app, so I hope that people who need it, won't mind paying a few dollars for it. Much like with Thermo Watch, I've spent a ton of time making it, and making sure it works right. This time also, the iOS widget is included right from the start, making the app available to any iOS device owner.

    You can get it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/watch-cam-for-nest-cam/id1151579375?ls=1&mt=8

    You can also get it as a part of the "Nest Bundle" where, if you already own Thermo Watch, you can complete the bundle and get the Watch Cam for probably just $1 or maybe even for free (I'm not sure how the bundle completion pricing works).

    You can see some more about the app here, and read the privacy policy (in short, I don't ever have any access to any of your login info, camera feeds, or usage data): http://watchcam.wixsite.com/home
     
  2. teerexx52 macrumors 68000

    teerexx52

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  3. Clint1583 macrumors regular

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    #3
    Maybe you can make one for the Arlo Camera's for me.
     
  4. Marconelly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Marconelly

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    #4
    I've been just reading about it, and it looks like Netgear doesn't have public API for Arlo cameras. It might be possible to hack something together for personal use, but I wouldn't be able to release an app that would support Arlo cameras.
     
  5. cwosigns macrumors 65832

    cwosigns

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  6. Marconelly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Marconelly

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    #6
  7. cwosigns macrumors 65832

    cwosigns

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    #7
    An issue I'm having is that the small size complication is actually showing the time since last event instead of the streaming status. It says 36 HOU.... (not enough room to display the full text).
     
  8. Marconelly, Nov 23, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016

    Marconelly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Marconelly

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    #8
    Right now, if you want to see the steaming status, you have to use Modular watch face. Small modular complication will show the status.

    I'm definitely going to do something to make the utility large and small complications more useful. I have an idea how to add streaming status to a large one without removing the last event time, and for the small one it may indeed be better to just use it to show the streaming status, without displaying the event time.
     
  9. frjps macrumors member

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    #9
    This is such an excellent app and one Nest should have made a long time ago! It's works great and has everything I would want (so far). Thank you so much for this...I would have paid so much more for this app!!!
     
  10. frjps macrumors member

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    #10
    Me too! These are the two cameras I use all the time! Would LOVE one that worked the same for Arlo!!!
     
  11. jplusc macrumors 6502a

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  12. Marconelly, Nov 25, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016

    Marconelly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Marconelly

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    #12
    I'm really glad that those of you who tried it so far, seem to like the app. If you have any feature requests, let me know, I'll be sure to add them if I'm able to. Extra special thanks to frjps for leaving a review on the app store! I am not sure if the sound playback is possible, but I'll look into it right away.

    I wish I could do that, but it loos like Netgear doesn't have public API yet, like Nest does. Once they add it, I could easily add support for other camera systems.
     
  13. Marconelly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Marconelly

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    #13
    Hey frjps, I saw the updated comment you left in the review. Can you tell me if you keep the Watch Cam complication on your active watch face? Also, does the app appear to work faster if you kill it and then relaunch? Does the speed appear to degrade over time, say after about two days?
     
  14. frjps macrumors member

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    #14
    I have the app complication on one of my three watch faces so it's not always on the active face but it is in the dock. Don't know how to kill it. Don't know if speed degrades over time. Just always slow. Have you tried the Drip app? That works very fast. Try it and you'll see what I mean. Happy to help you if I can do feel free to reply.
     
  15. Marconelly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Marconelly

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    #15
    You can kill it like this - when the app is active, press and hold the dock side button. Then when the power off menu appears, press and hold the crown. You'll see the app being deactivated. Then try restarting it , and see if it runs faster.

    I'm asking this because there's a performance sapping bug in watchOS3 when the app's complication is active and the app itself never restarted (which is the case when it's in the dock). Very annoying, and I've left a bug report about it, but so far no signs of it being fixed.
     
  16. frjps macrumors member

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    #16
    Ya and Apple didn't seem to do any updating of the watch OS in the last two betas with the iOS (10.0-10.2).

    Does it make a difference whether the complication is on the active watch face or whether the app is in the dock? Does either scenario keep the app in an active state?
     
  17. Marconelly, Dec 30, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016

    Marconelly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Marconelly

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    #17
    If you have the complication on a watch face that you use sometimes, but not all the time, it will only slow down the onset of that problem, it won't eliminate it. The only way to eliminate it is to restart the app periodically, which won't happen on its own if you keep it in the dock. Keeping it in the dock keeps the app active all the time. It's a very annoying issue that will only be fully remedied once Apple does something about it.

    What I think I will do to increase the speed however, is making better use of the background fetched data, so you will have at most a few minutes old snapshot loading right up as you slide to the app in the dock. That should make the initial wait for the app to do something almost non existent, and it will only have to start loading if you switch between cameras.
     
  18. frjps macrumors member

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    #18
    That sounds like it may help. Let me know if you want me to beta test.
     
  19. Marconelly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Marconelly

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    #19
    The new version is finally out - and thanks to big help from frjps, I'm happy to say both the watch app and the widget can now show the live streaming updates from Nest cams. It's not a smooth video, but rather a series of images refreshing every 2-3 seconds - still much better than a static image.

    Also, thanks to frjps for testing and discovering it, a bug is now fixed where the camera views could sometimes appear out of order and mis-labeled.

    Beside that, the widget has received a pretty serious UI performance upgrade, everything should now be snappier.


    For the next version, I'm planning to cut down on the time it takes to start displaying the live feed in the watch app, to probably half compared to what it's now.
     
  20. jplusc macrumors 6502a

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  21. CobraPA macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Looks really nice. Nice job, a little sad I don't have any Nest cams here. ;)
     
  22. dojoman macrumors 65816

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  23. Marconelly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Marconelly

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    #23
    The one good thing Nest has over other home camera providers, is that they have a dev API that allows anyone to create an app for themselves, but also someone that they certify to create an app like this - that's public, and can work for anyone. So far, I'm not sure if any other systems offer something like this.

    Correct me if I'm wrong - I've looked into Synology's (makers of DS Cam) approach to this, and they offer a dev API to people who use something they call "Surveillance Station". I'm not sure right now what that is exactly, but it sounds like it's meant to give a power-user (like say, a corporation that uses their cameras to survey the premises) an opportunity to create an app for themselves. But that's still a very closed approach, and it wouldn't be the same as what Nest offers.
     
  24. CobraPA macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Surveillance Station is a piece of software that runs on their NAS boxes. It provides configurable continuous camera recording along with live and historical video stream viewing. (I'm sure that's not all it does, but it's a quick summary.)

    The difference with a product like this is that it works with a bunch of off the shelf cameras.
     
  25. Marconelly thread starter macrumors 6502

    Marconelly

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    #25
    I've just now released an update that should fix the bug in which the app would still keep showing the live feed, when the streaming was stopped on the watch app.

    Also, I've cut down the live feed startup time on the watch app by a few seconds, which I think should bring this startup time to a lowest possible. This is something I've been wrestling with for a while - I always knew it could be faster, but it was tricky to do due to the nature of the app, where it can show either the live feed or the last captured event.
     

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