Editors' note, January 3, 2017: This preview from CES 2016 has been updated with new info from CES 2017.
I'll admit, my eyes glazed over a bit when a First Alert representative said his connected camera had "non-contact video respiration detection." As he explained further, I understood how important this feature could be. This OneLink by First Alert connected cam functions as a baby monitor with all the normal basics that entails: 1080p video along with an air quality detector. But it brings something new and unexpected to the table -- it monitors and tracks your child's breathing.
We first saw the cam at last year's CES in prototype form. Now, at CES 2017's Unveiled press event, the device has polish and an official name: OneLink by First Alert Envirocam. The rep I talked to last year wouldn't tell me exactly how it works, but if it does what's promised, it could indeed be a fantastic addition to smart-home baby cams.
From a position near where your child is sleeping, the OneLink Cam will send you a live feed in high definition and will alert you if your child's breathing stops, or even if it changes suddenly. You'll know if your child is taking shallow or deep breaths, and the OneLink cam will track the patterns so you get extra insight into how your baby is sleeping.
The cam also features two-way audio, motion detection and night vision. A PR rep for the company confirmed there would be no monthly fees. I'd still like to find out the range of the cam, and how far away it can pick up breathing patterns. I'll be sure to update with more details as they become available, and hopefully, now that it's no longer a prototype, we'll find out the rest of the details about price and availability soon.
When I saw it at Unveiled last year, the OneLink by First Alert Envirocam looked like an ordinary IP camera, but its marquee feature has the potential to make it much more than that.