GRAYBOX’s Live Stream of Downtown Portland

Posted on Mon, August 22, 2016 in GRAYBOX News, by Paul Weinert

We love calling Portland home. GRAYBOX is proud that we built a company here successfully, and we are enamored with the beautiful view we have of downtown from our new 7th floor office in the 110-year old Olympic Mills building. In fact, we felt like we should share our view with everyone! So we installed a rooftop camera that serves up a live feed of our view.

Put Our Office’s View on Your Website

Want to add the live stream to your website? Here’s a code snippet to do just that. Edit the width and height to match your website layout needs.

<iframe type="text/html" frameborder="0" width="480" height="394" src="http://view.grayboxpdx.com" allowfullscreen><p>Your browser does not support iframes.</p></iframe>

Upping the Ante

Upon gaining access to the rooftop, we found out that KGW also has a “live” cam feed up there. However, theirs runs on legacy camera and server technology that might be about 20 years old and the feed snaps a static picture every minute or so instead of streaming live video.As a crew of tech folks who thrive on the idea of improving systems, we decided to up the ante with our own system. GRAYBOX purchased a Nest cam. The Google-owned company sells Nest cams for about $150-200, which serve up 100% live stream video at 1080p. Instead of the special walk-in closet that houses the KGW system, ours is about the size of a softball and is protected by a waterproof outdoor case. Our system is wide-angle and live streaming 24-7.

Tips For Your Future Nest Livestream Feed System

In the interest of being helpful, we wanted to share some lessons learned from this exercise so if you’re thinking of setting up a live stream with a Nest cam you can benefit from them:

  • The camera needs to be really close to a wifi hotspot. So close that we ended up setting up a hotspot just for the camera on the roof. The camera is the only thing using that wifi.
  • Every time you disconnect the wifi and connect it again, you have to physically disconnect the camera and plug it into a computer to reconnect it to the wifi. This can be a challenge if your camera is mounted on a rooftop.
  • We’re using an indoor camera with an outdoor case. This left some cables exposed which we had to take measures to protect from the elements. A fully outdoor camera may have been better.
  • Screwing into concrete is hardcore - we broke three drill bits trying to install the system!

Are you going to embed the feed into your site? We want to see what folks are doing with the feed! Please take a moment to drop us a line so we can check it out.

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