Jabbakam Starter Kit review
Jabbakam is an inexpensive IP camera that aims to take the pain out of home security. We've seen such claims in the past, but all have failed to deliver on the promise. Not so with Jabbakam.
When your camera arrives, it's simply a case of plugging it into the mains and connecting the 5m-long network cable to your router. There's no configuration at all, so you can immediately log into your account using the email address and password you entered when ordering the camera. You'll find video clips already there in your inbox ready to view, download and share.
This supreme ease of use has required a few trade-offs compared to most IP cameras. The video clips don't actually contain smooth video; they're a series of still images playing at roughly 1fps. This is more than enough to identify potential thieves or keep tabs on your cat, though.
The good news is that the images are better than average thanks to accurate colours and a fairly wide angle of view. As it's a basic IP camera, resolution is only 640x480 and there's no night vision, so it only works when there are lights on.
Another thing to bear in mind is that there's no way to connect directly to the camera to watch a live video feed. There is a pseudo-live feed available from Jabbakam's website, which shows images from the camera every couple of seconds. It's not bad, but it isn't a patch on a traditional IP camera with smooth video and audio. It's another trade-off for ease-of-use: data flows only from the camera to Jabbakam's servers. This avoids the need for users to grapple with port forwarding in their router, but means you have to pay Jabbakam a monthly subscription fee to access your footage since storage and internet bandwidth cost money.
When you order a camera, you sign up to one of Jabbakam's monitoring bundles. For £6 per month, video clips will be stored for 14 days. For £10, they're stored for 45 days, but the top £14-per-month package buys you 90 days' recording storage. Apart from the length of time, there's no difference between bundles. They all allow unlimited numbers of clips to be recorded and stored, but on every package your images are deleted once the number of days you have paid for has passed. You can download any clips you want to save permanently to your PC, but make sure you do this before the storage time limit is reached for that clip.
Some questions if I may?...
Interesting review and great to see some easy to use ip camera kit out there. But I'm unclear on a few things which I'm hoping someone can clear up.
1) Does the camera auto set up port forwarding on one's router or is the pre-config limited to just setting up the uploading of recorded video and you still need to set up port forwarding for viewing Live video? The Live video access didn't get much of a review unless I missed it.
2) Can the camera work over wifi or is it hard wired only? If the latter can it be used with a PoE kit?
3) Presumably the online platform Jabbakam are touting is the same kind of thing that eyespy247 has (which annually seems to work out less cost)? Are there any key differences otherwise?
My main concern would be all this expense (which is quite a lot when you factor in the on-going costs) and not having the ability to live view a camera - which is probably the most important part of having an ip camera for security etc. so any reassurnace on that front would be useful.
By smify on 30 Sep 2011
Some answers if you will ...
The camera that was reviewed here is a simple entry level camera designed to be easy to install and use whilst retaining effectiveness as a remote monitoring tool. When requested the camera produces live images which are sent to our servers so no port forwarding is needed.
If your application requires 24x7 surveillance a more sophisticated camera will be required Jabbakam supports Y-Cam, Axis and Panasonic cameras too. If you use one of these you can go to the camera live as well as using the Jabbakam service.
The camera under review is designed to be simple to install and use - if a wireless service is required we recommend using a powerline product. If WiFi, 3G or satellite connectivity are required we would recommend using a different more sophisticated camera or cameras with the Jabbakam service.
I don't have access to the eyespy service but, a quick look round their website reveals that there are limits to the amount of data that can be stored within their usual tariff. Data storage on the Jabbakam service is unlimited and our users typically store many gigabytes of data.
Additionally, Jabbakam is designed to enable users to set up networks of cameras, a very useful feature if you need to protect disparate assets.
If you have a requirement to sit in front of a computer all day long monitoring events taking place in front of an IP camera, Jabbakam is not for you. If you are looking for a service that will provide you with accurate, immediate alerts that correspond with the relevant events with huge flexibility then Jabbakam will be ideal for your needs.
By jameswickes on 30 Sep 2011
Some thoughts then...
James, thanks for the very detailed reply to some of my questions (as you missed answering others to some extent).
Let me declare that I do have some cameras from eyespy and y-cam and hence do have some experience of IP cameras.
So, if we take the hardware/software element of your cameras/service I do like what you seem to have done in terms of offering a good intro to IP cams to those that have never used them before - but I don think you will quickly find that without the ability to view real-time live video your customers might start to think twice about the cost-effectiveness of your package IMHO.
If you take for example for the equivalent camera from eyespy including their service for 1 year costs around 100 quid whereas yours works out at about 130 quid (and you can't get live video from your camera) then I don't think it stacks up that well tbh.
That said, I do like the way you've got your online packages worked out - even if they are a tad expensive especially when you consider most people won't really know if they are getting value or not as they have little to compare to.
I see from looking around that you had a paygo system at one point. Any thouhts on bringing that back or including as an offering?
Just one other thing, I note you say you provided unlimited storage but as you are limiting to 14 days continuous archive how does the unlimited bit work? Eyespy have a smaller amount of ongoing storage by defaul (though you can increase it) but I like the ability they have of auto-looping that storage space and where I can download and keep the recordings I need and let the other recordings simply overwrite - which has its own benefits over masses of storage which I hated trawling through when I had a DVR based system.
By smify on 3 Oct 2011
Less than the cost of a Sherbert DipDab
Awww come on Smify you are hardly going to rubbish your own purchasing decisions are you? ... If you are happy with what you have got fantastic - I am sure you have made all the right decisions .... for you!
Live view is useful if you want to watch the postman deliver your mail but, you have to be quite lucky to be observing when something important occurs, which is why we bring back a live image every second from the camera instead - I agree it is not Spooks but, it is adequate for the needs of most people spending £60 on a basic camera that works out of the box. Let's face it bandwidth restrictions mean that live view across the web is not quite there yet except for the bandwidth rich. Our camera is built to do what it says on the tin even in the back of beyond where bandwidth availability often is not good.
If a client says "I must be able to watch the postman deliver my mail live" then we will provide them with a different camera that will cost more money but, they will not miss that important moment when the Postman steps onto the path.
What is crucial is the camera's ability to properly report when something happens that you need to know about.
I am not sure where you have got your costs from? The Jabbakam service works out at around £70 a year for the 14 day storage package - 20p a day, which is less than a Sherbert Dip Dab.
You are right that there is nothing to compare Jabbakam to, other systems are basic record and report services, Jabbakam is a cloud based software infrastructure that enables the rapid creation of self-administered security camera networks for private individuals, businesses & communities.
You refer to value as if we are able to confuse people with our pricing - The pricing is pretty straightforward and simple to understand. I think offering a comprehensive IP-based remote awareness system for less than 20p a day is pretty good value in anyone's books. So I can neither see the point of this comment or the point behind the point.
With regard to storage, you can store as much as you like (gigs) for a period of 14 days / 45 days or 90 days as the archive moves beyond the end of the period data is gradually erased. The problem with the EyeSpy system is that you could run out of storage very quickly and loop a recording over stuff you might want to keep - but, if you like that then cool!
Any data that you wish to keep for perpetuity you simply download from the jabbakam servers and store locally.
By jameswickes on 3 Oct 2011
Some final thoughts
James, many thanks for the very detailed and considered reply to my points/questions even if you missed the points I was trying to make as a general disscussion and turned it into a sales pitch :-)
I do think that without the ability for your camera to offering live viewing you are not only hobbling the capability of the IP camera but you're cheating customers out of what they should be getting from one. Anyway, that's your choice of course and if people buy into them fair enough of course.
By smify on 4 Oct 2011
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