Using web storage services for your photos and videos are great, as they give you ready access to your media at any time, provided you have consistent internet service. While many of those services are free, your content does get data-mined and sold for profit. Some people are fine with it. Others, not so much. If you’re among the latter group in search for an alternative to online photo management services, you might want to check out the Monument 2.
Billed as a “photo storage and organization solution,” it’s a device that can store, organize, and manage your photos and videos with the same automation level as online services, all while letting you keep everything from the comfort of your home, kinda like what that Helm thing does for your emails. That’s right, you can keep your photos on your own hard drive while getting all the same benefits as Google Photos, iCloud, and whatever other photo management system you use, so you can enjoy the benefits of a cloud-based server without compromising your privacy.
The Monument 2 is a personal media server housed in a compact enclosure measuring 5.2 x 5.2 x 1.4 inches (width x depth x height), allowing you to keep it nearly anywhere in the house, provided it can get access to your network from its location, either over Wi-Fi or via the integrated Ethernet slot. Once connected to the internet, you can use it, pretty much, like any online photo service – just launch the companion app and do your thing. You can upload photos and videos to the server directly from the app, which is available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux, so you can immediately move all media from any phones, tablets, and computers that you own. It also has an SD card slot and a USB slot that you can use to upload photos from other sources (like your mirrorless camera).
Once you upload images, it does all the work automatically, organizing them by people, scenes, location, camera, and all sorts of other criteria, all while identifying and eliminating duplicates to ensure you’re not wasting precious storage space. It comes with face recognition, so it can isolate photos based on the subjects included in the scene, as well as identify locations and landmarks onscreen, allowing you to search for photos with specific items in it. Want to look up all your photos with dogs in them? This can do it. How about all photos with cars? It can do that, too.
The Monument 2 comes with end-to-end encryption and other security features to ensure only you get access to your content. Everything is processed locally, too, with any information only going through the internet to interface with any app you’re using. Want to share your albums? Not a problem, as you can create secure links that will give others access to specific collections of your choice. And yes, it supports automated backups, either via a drive you connect over USB or a network-attached storage somewhere in your home.
It comes with either a 1TB or 2TB SSD, by the way, although you can also opt for no storage, in case you’d rather use one of your existing drives instead. If you opt for the latter, you can fit a compatible SSD module inside or hook up your drives via USB. Other features include an editing module (yes, you can edit photos), an HDMI slot (in case you want to hook it up to a TV to see your photos there), and native RAW support.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for the Monument 2. You can reserve a unit for pledges starting at $179 without an SSD and $299 with a 1TB SSD.