Later I came to the conclusion that this should have been able to be done through the Omna app as well, but for some reason it had hung. I should have closed it down fully and restarted it. But, that said, the selling point of modern technology is that it’s supposed to be “Idiot Proof”. Even if I’m an idiot, there ought to be clear instructions?
Anyway, rant over.
So once “My Home” had found Omna, it asked me to position its individual code number (which is on a sticker on the back, as well as the quick start guide) in a window using the iPad Mini’s camera. Did that and it instantly connected the camera to the network. It was so, so fast. I had a chance to give it a name (typically the room) and either use a photo or take a new one to give it a visual ID.
The Omna actually appeared as two devices within My Home. One was as the video camera, but the other was as a motion detection device.
Before getting into it, I gave the iPad Mini 4 a reboot and tried the Omna app again, and now it worked fine. There’s some crossover between what it does and what Apple’s “Home” app does, but Omna provides generally greater control.
From within my home, with the iPad Mini 4 running on the same network, the camera provided a smooth, sharp and colourful image. I could hear what was going on in the other room and could talk. There seemed to be a delay of a good part of a second between what was happening in the other room and its appearance on the screen, most obvious when I tried having a conversation over the system. But that’s not its purpose.
The dark room mode worked well, too. That switches the camera mode so that it works in black and white (regular colours make sense when you’re translating an invisible wavelength into a visible picture). To make sure things really were dark, I put it in a cupboard. It took a couple of seconds to switch over, but produced a clear result.
Reconnecting to the network if power is lost (that is, when I pulled the plug, and then plugged it back in) took around 47 seconds. No intervention was required. Once the front LED switched from red to green, it was right to go.
You can grab a screen shot just by touching the camera icon on the view screen. This is saved to the iPad/iPhone and viewable through its normal pictures app (or through the Omna app). You don’t appear to be able to record video to the iOS device, only to the SD card.
The app had an odd weakness: having the iPad Mini 4 horizontal made for a bigger picture, and thus better quality with the full HD feed, but none of the icons were available for switching audio or taking pictures. I had to rotate it to portrait mode for that.
Recording and motion
Some things are complicated by the controls being split over two apps. For example, you switch whether or not you want notifications from the motion detector on or off in the Apple Home app, but control everything else about it in the Settings section of the Omna app, including sensitivity and watch zones. There are a grid of sixteen areas within the camera’s field of view and you can select any number of them as “Detection Areas”.
It’s likely that D-Link doesn’t think people will want to use notifications. There were no notifications by default. Instead, the motion detector triggered the video recorder. Indeed, I could find no way to trigger video recording manually. When triggered, twenty seconds is recorded – with a few seconds of pre-recording, it seems. So it must buffer whatever the camera sees to allow each recording segment to commence before the motion that triggers the recording to start.
D-Link’s judgement on notifications seems sound. When I switched on notifications, I was getting a motion detector notification every thirty seconds. Of course, that’s because I had it in my office, pointed at me and I was always moving. You can change the “Motion Retrigger Delay” to up to five minutes, but even that’s going to be irritating if, as is likely, you’ll have the Omna installed in a room actually used by people at least some of the time, so your iPhone will be making it’s notification noise every 30 seconds to every five minutes.