Rather than writing a diary, most of us now record our lives in photos. Cloud services have made great leaps in recent times in terms of storing these precious memories, offering both cheap storage and intelligent sorting; but for unconnected cameras and outright functionality, online photo libraries still leave a lot to be desired. Monument is a device that seeks to blend the best of both worlds, combining local storage and memory card compatibility with automatic backups and clever organization.
In use, Monument works much like a photo-specific wireless hard drive — except it has no storage of its own. Instead, you plug in one or two standalone hard drives, which can be housed within the hub’s sleek outer shell. The idea is to provide owners with complete flexibility, with three configurations to choose from: 1TB, 2TB and 4TB. For added security, you can back up one Monument to another, remotely.
After downloading the free accompanying app (iOS and Android), photos on your phone start to sync to your Monument via Wi-Fi, while images from your camera can be transferred via the integrated SD card slot.
With your images copied across, the system gets to work. All incoming photos are sorted by time, date, place, and camera, with automatic face detection applied to make photos of people easier to find. The app is slick, making it easy to browse your library, and the hub has an HDMI output for displaying photos on your TV. Equally, you can see your photos on any iOS or Android device, or sync your slideshow between small and big screens.
At the time of writing, Monument is seeking funds for production via Kickstarter. Early adopters can back the project and pre-order the device for $99 — a very reasonable price, considering that there are no monthly fees to be paid. The eventual suggested retail price will be at the more challenging price point of $209, but even then, this device still seems very tempting for the enthusiastic photographer.