'

Watching you, watching me

Network webcams or IP cameras make it possible for home users and small businesses to build CCTV systems without breaking the bank. Unfortunately configuring and managing IP cameras isn’t easy.

Network webcams or IP cameras make it possible for home users and small businesses to build CCTV systems without breaking the bank. Unfortunately configuring and managing IP cameras isn’t easy. Neither is recording and accessing the information they capture, each vendor having its own take on what’s needed.

Issues which Web start-up Jabbakam is looking to address with, what it claims to be, the world’s first online camera network.

Here’s how it works - sign up to Jabbakam, then create or join a camera network and follow the instructions provided to add cameras. Devices from Y-cam are the favoured choice here, but Axis and Panasonic cameras are also on the list and the company is working hard to add others from all the leading vendors.

Networks can contain as many cameras as you want with access shared by multiple concurrent users. They can be configured for public access or designated as private (where you have to be invited to see the footage) or hidden and not shown at all on the Google Maps used by the Jabbakam service.

A simple Web-based interface makes it easy to add cameras as well as configure recording and storage settings. Live video is available but most cameras can be triggered to start recording when motion is detected, Jabbakam sending alerts via email or text message to tell you when this happens. The video footage from the cameras is stored online in the Amazon cloud and made available via a Jabbakam inbox where clips can be browsed, searched and shared with others, using either a PC browser or a smartphone. An iPhone app is also in the works.

Charges are based on bandwidth and storage usage, with the average camera likely to cost around £5 per month to service. There’s no contract to sign and no setup fee, just pre-paid credits (5p per credit), with every new user given 200 free credits to get started.

An innovative take on video surveillance, Jabbakam is very new, with only a few seed networks so far. That said, it’s likely to be of interest to anyone concerned about security, from homeowners worried about possible break-ins to farmers wanting to keep an eye on crops or livestock. The ability to share cameras is a key selling point, putting community associations and small businesses in shared offices and on isolated industrial estates among other potential customers.

Check it out for yourself at Jabbakam

Alan Stevens