Baby monitors are getting a big, high-tech upgrade with both toymaker Mattel (NASDAQ: MAT) and networking specialist Netgear (NASDAQ: NTGR) introducing high-end devices that interact with your children as well as keeping tabs on their well-being.
Similar to Amazon's Echo -- which was the biggest seller of 2016 for the e-commerce retailer -- Mattel's new interactive monitor, Aristotle can play lullabies, emit white noise to help a child fall asleep, track things like diaper changes and naps, and (if you'd like) upload that data to the cloud. Through partnerships with retailers like Target and Babies 'R' Us, it also can be used to order more diapers or other baby supplies.
Aristotle (which actually has a female voice) grows with the child so as your toddler begins to learn, it can play educational games with her too. It uses Microsoft programming to collect data, and uses the Bing search engine to try to answers the many, many questions youngsters are prone to ask.
Netgear's Arlo Baby isn't quite so advanced as all that, but it does monitor nursery temperatures, air quality, and humidity, while providing two-way audio, 1080p video streams, and playing preloaded lullabies through its built-in music player. As a Netgear product, the device naturally wirelessly connects to your smartphone or tablet so you can monitor your baby from wherever you are. A separate 7-inch monitor can also be bought.
The device is an outgrowth of Netgear's foray into a line of security cameras called Arlo Pro that it introduced last year for home protection.
All this technology to keep tabs on your child doesn't come cheap. Mattel's Aristotle is priced at $299 and Netgear's Arlo Baby is $250, with accessories that can add to the cost.
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