IP Sidekick - A New IP Camera Installation Tool

Everfocus has a forthcoming product, the IP Sidekick, that will power a PoE cameras and allow you to wirelessly connect a tablet or smartphone to an ONVIF S compatible camera.

This is the only reference online I could find.

Street price is about $225, although I would like confirmation this thing actually works first.

NOTICE: This comment was moved from an existing discussion: PoE Installation Tools?


Ari, thanks! This looks interesting.

Here's a physical overview screencap'd from their user manual:

And here's their marketing video (no voiceover):

This seems a cross between bringing your own fixed wireless router and using a tool with a screen (like the Axis / Dynacolor one). It's half the cost of that one plus techs generally have their own smartphone now.

Btw, Ari, B&H website says it is shipping in 3 to 7 days? Does that mean it's available now?

Everyone, What do you all think?

Everfocus said two weeks ago that they would have them available for drop shipping in North America by now.

I really have to emphasize I haven't seen this thing work in person. All I have is a specsheet. I was waiting till we got one and I could play with it before I mentioned anything.

I think it's worth talking about even now to get feedback on the general idea.

(1) Focusing / setup is clearly a pain point and (2) there's clearly a shortage of good options - Reference IP Camera Installation Tool Preferences survey results.

It appears locked to work only with Everfocus cameras? I couldn't find the reference to ONVIF profile S compatible, but I could be missing it in plain sight.

The guy swears up and down it's ONVIF S compliant. So... someone should check and make sure, but as we here at IPVM know, it's not exactly what you call expensive to make an ONVIF compliant product.

Guys, I'm not sure what exactly the excitement here is all about.

I really have to emphasize I haven't seen this thing work in person...

@Ari, I think it will work, because its not doing anything more than any poe pass thru wap + poe battery/poe in would do... There is no secret sauce here! They didn't even put in one box or hide the connecting rj-45 cable between the two. Notice the stern warning in the manual to not take the components out of the 'bag'.

It appears locked to work only with Everfocus cameras...

@Brian, it appears that way because they tell you, naturally enough, to download their camera app. But you don't have to use theirs, because your on the same network! Use whatever mobile client you would use for the camera your working on...

The guy swears up and down it's ONVIF S compliant.

@Ari, he has little to fear, because it is, and when ONVIF profile Z comes out it will be instantly be 'compliant'. Of course thats assuming the client app your using is ONVIF compliant. Of course the everfocus app might not be updated, but who would use it anyway, unless they had everfocus cameras?

(1) Focusing / setup is clearly a pain point and (2) there's clearly a shortage of good options - Reference IP Camera Installation Tool Preferences survey results.

@John this thing should work, but I dont think it offers any significant advantage over a small windows netbook with ethernet jack and a pinpoint type device that passes the poe part of the ethernet connection (from the switch in the closet) to the camera with the data part from netbook. At least with the netbook you can natively run all the camera finder apps. Wireless ethernet doesnt do broadcasting so you have to know where to look. Plus juggling the bag o battery with a mobile device isn't easy unless you're Anthony Gatto.

Plus juggling the bag o battery with a mobile device isn't easy unless you're Anthony Gatto.

Holy obscure reference, Batman!

I'm sure it's easier to juggle this thing- lighter and smaller than the Veracity PoE battery- and a mobile device, which most people use one handed, as opposed to a netbook, which are larger and need to be rested on a surface to be used efficiently. Not to mention 'netbook' is essentially a dead catagory, which you may have noticed if you've tried to buy a lightweight laptop that's not too expensive and doesn't run Chrome or Ubuntu.

its not doing anything more than any poe pass thru wap + poe battery/poe in would do

Well, a PoE passthrough and a WiFi hotspot. Which anyone could have done but no one did.

Holy obscure reference, Batman!

And that's John's point exactly, you can be the world's greatest juggler, yet can't even be casually referenced in a sentence where juggling is the verb and Gatto is the juggler, without Robin crying Holy WTF! (Note: Gatto is now a trunkslammer)

But that's not my point, and honestly I'm not sure what caused me to wake in the middle of the night with one pressing goal, to end the charade and expose the sauceless wonder in a bag for what it really was, a sauceless wonder in a bag...

On the other hand, that was not necessary since the device itself has no pretentions, and aside from remarkable aesthetic and ergonomic deficiencies, is just a natural pairing of useful components that some tech probably put together to do his job. Other techs said that's cool, which led to where did you get it? and we should sell one!

That said, it does have a couple of things that show its more suited to being a test diag rig for a particular brand of camera than a general purpose integrator tool:

For instance the battery is nice and certainly could come in handy, but for an intergrator (correct me if I'm wrong), lack of POE to the camera is not usually the problem, the problem is connecting to the camera to your mobile device AND powering it at the same time. Unlike, say a RMA tech trying to determine working status of 50 boxed cameras in some corner of receiving.

And as I mentioned before, unless the cameras are all one brand, you typically want to be running Windows on a wired connection. if only because thats where and his all the good discovery tools run...

Well, a PoE passthrough and a WiFi hotspot. Which anyone could have done but no one did.

Well certainly Everfocus did not develop a POE and wifi hotspot first. If you mean they were the first to bag it and say, Integrators Use This, It Is Good!, then I'm sure you are right.

Poe passthru WiFi hotspots have been around for a little while now, from multiple vendors... Here's a DLINK one that looks a lot like the bagged one...

Anyway, it just didn't seem like anything you couldn't do yourself. What I can't believe doesn't exist and would be glad to shown wrong is, a laptop that has PoE out on its ethernet jack! That's all you need! So where is it? :-(

I am not sure what the point is arguing about imaginary products that might work better.

If someone has an opinion on the Everfocus Sidekick based on what actually exists now, feel free to share.

...arguing about imaginary products that might work better. If someone has an opinion on the Everfocus Sidekick based on what actually exists now, feel free to share....

Ok, I just dug a hole for myself that I'm not likely to make it out of... I the ordered the components that I think are necessary to make my own real Sidekick, based on what exists now. It should be pin compatible and therefore can be tested as a Black Bag. $94.00 so far. If it works I'll send it over to the boys in the lab, complimentary...

@Ari, I owe you an apology for discounting the novelty of the poe passthru waps. When I searched for them, I found two DLinks and what looked like a bunch of other ones. But when I went to buy them for real, I found them quite scarce, with maybe 3 brands tops, I chose one from ubiquiti.

Do you sell ubiquiti at that certain store your familiar with?

"I the ordered the components that I think are necessary to make my own real Sidekick, based on what exists now. It should be pin compatible and therefore can be tested as a Black Bag. $94.00 so far."

Sure $94 in parts and then the labor and hassle of everyone putting it together themselves.

Even if you make something that works, the reality is most users want a finished product, not a kit.

Please do not continue on this point in this discussion. If you do the experiment, you are encouraged to start a new thread with your findings.

Did you get anywhere with that half price prototype? Did you I've messed around with poe pass they stuff and found out the hard way about the many flavors, not all compatible. Did you find any .af in .af out routers?

No, no not really because I cancelled my first order and instead ordered a dlink one (DAP3310), but it is still coming from ireland! Yes, it is supposed to be poe in and out otherwise it might be tough, but it cost 100 bucks alone...

Of course it's poe in and poe out, what I am asking is whether it's 802.3.af poe or passive. Makes a big difference when you need to power an af PD at the other end.

I'm replying in the poe install tools thread, since this ones about the sidekick, mainly.

A member got an IP Sidekick and tested it out. He posted his feedback in the PoE install thread. I am copying it below to make it easier for readers here to see it:

Hello Ari Erenthal,

I got myself onto B&H (New York USA distributor) mailing list 12 days ago (12.June2014) and they advised me of in stock availability last week Australia time (14.June.2014).

I paid for 1 x unit immediately and had it into AU in 4 days via UPS!......AU$270.00 inc delivery.........

Fired it up, downloaded the Everfocus IOS App, low and behold, it appears that ONLY IP cameras with a DHCP IP as default and possibly ONLY Everfocus IP cameras can be connected to the app and Ipad/iPhone!.........

HOWEVER!........ As it is essentially a WiFi hotspot with POE and battery connectivity..........

I successfully connected my laptop and surface tablet via wifi to the hotspot, then cable connected a generic IP camera (fixed IP) and VWALLA!...... connection to the IP camera default GUI was established along with configuration menu.......

GREAT little device for the price considering the WiFi/POE/HotSpot on Battery capability.

WELL WORTH the money if you are regularly in th IP device config realm as no main power required!!!!!

Regards to all readers,

Shane Lott

Ari Erenthal response:

EverFocus says:

Their camera must be set to DHCP.

Connect cable to their camera.

Launch their APP.

None of their APPs has auto search, so you must manually put in the IP address according to the IP Scheme: 192.168.1.100 and go up 1 IP address at a time until it connects

Good to hear B&H did right by you. Which camera did you try it with?

Hello Ari,

I will try seting the camera to DHCP first to see if that makes a difference.

I also tried setting the iPad / App IP to static (same as camera default) but app didn't connect either auto or manual.

For folks looking at the DIY route, check out this Rechargable 12V battery pack for CCTV Cameras on eBay.

12V 6800mAh Li-Po battery pack/charger for $22.43

http://www.ebay.com/itm/400743563926

I'm going to investigate using it for temporary IP camera setup with local storage. We have situations that come up where we need some coverage for overnight in an area where theft may be happening.

Just had another thought about this. You could connect a camera with this between the AC adapter and camera, and have a Mini UPS :)

You can also put a real ups on the PoE switch and have uninterrupted power to many cameras. Anyways, what I proposed to the RD team was to put this into an IP66 housing and pair this device with a solar panel(for charging) to make a wireless (via WiFi bridge) and powerless (solar + battery) kit to put cameras anywhere.

Just spent an hour with Everfocus. Couldn't get it to pop. They basically said - not working.

Michael,

Does that mean an Everfocus rep / employee couldn't get it working or?

Howdy John, Sorry for the late reply. Everfocus could not. However, the distributor researched and said we needed to download the player for the camera brand, which was reiterated on this thread. We've been spread to the far corners the last month, but will give it a shot when things settle down.

Was it an EverFocus Rep/Employee or the Tech Support department that basically said it's not working? Do you remember his name?

What brand of camera are you using it with? Do they have an App that will allow you to put in the IP address of the camera and connect directly to it?

Howdy - Acti and Vivotek. Sorry, my tech doesn't remember the name of the support person. He worked with them quite a while. When things settle down, we shall certainly try again...

Howdy - I'm waiting for a response from Acti on exactly that. I haven't tried it on the Vivoteks as yet. Thanks for the confirmation. Obviously would like to access cameras via cellphone.

Both ACTi and Vivotek cameras work fine as I've personally tested them on various occasions. You need to install the ACTi and the Vivotek apps for your phone and set the camera to DHCP, which they are by default unless you changed it to static.

I don't remember if their app has the capability to do a local network search, if not, the built-in DHCP server in the Sidekick starts at IP address 192.168.1.100 and increments by 1 at a time on the last quadrant if additional wireless devices are connected to it.

Also make sure to connect to the Sidekick's WiFi on your phone after you downloaded the apps from Google / Apple store.

Excellent information... Everfocus should have just kicked the call to you. We shall give it a shot.

Thanks!

Be advised that Everfocus just updated their app, which they claim now works with third party cameras. You shouldn't need to download specific camera players any more. See the top video on their training page for further details.

Here is my solution to the problem. TP-LINK makes a battery powered pocket 3G/4G Wireless access device, that can operate in bridge mode.... So what I have done is programmed this to connect to a wireless access point (my pocket 4G databrick), or to my shared Wifi Link on my tablets/laptops. Then use battery power POE (veracity point source) inserter to power the camera on the RJ45 side.... 11n wireless gets me 40 to 50Mb from 100' ft away or more...

total cost <$250 TL-MR3040 for $30 or less.....

A big plus too is if you get a static IP address on your 3G/4G databrick, you can place the camera on line and have someone from afar confirm the camera views... Use DYNDNS to resolve your IP to doesthatlookgood.dynalias.net

I mentioned the Veracity due to its polarity, many cameras have an optional 12V connector, you can buy 5a/hr ELK batteries for $10 from any distributor, add a fuse holder, wrap, and strap, and connector, and extension cord and voila' instant camera power. The TP-LINK wireless bridge / router is a really fine product, and I use it often. I previously mentioned a static IP on your cellular carrier as they often use non routable IP's 172.16.x.x. and 10.x.x.x IP's on 4G but 3G carriers mostly use routables... Then DYNDNS lets you see the cameras across the Internet... Good demo tool....

Regardless of savings, there is a lot be said for writing a check and having the fix now. The Sidekick looks good...

Those Elk batteries weigh 5.6 pounds (I checked), not including all the other stuff you need to make it work. The Sidekick weighs 3 pounds, total, and has a handy strap. Makes a big difference to the guy on top of the ladder.

I wasn't belittling the SideKick, It looks great and there is a market and the price is nice. However, to tell others how we've done things in the past, and presently, I was sharing our solutions. But in keeping with the "automatic defense mechanisms in these forums" I'll take my comments further in fun.

Why would I not place a 25' cord on my "el-CheapO" solution? I leave the battery on the ground. Or better yet, I also have a larger power source (12v cigarette plug in truck or portable car Jumper) and use a dumb switch that makes 4 POE+ ports from 12v , and leave this in the truck or ground, and have 100 meter Cat5 cables on reels.

The reality is no one solution is best, and they all have merit. Cheers

For what it is worth I think the sidekick product is perfect for field site survey / demo's on customer sites. We purchased a single unit in our tools budget and I have generally kept it in my travel bag. I use a colapsable background stand that I can adapt camera mounts onto I have supported Arecont 180 and Omni cameras and small Axis M series cameras in jail cells and confined spaces. I use one of the sidekick straps to support it in on the stand and we are good to go fire up my laptop (recently upgraded to a Dell ultraportable which is super lite weight) so far I have never even used it with Everfocus camera products yet...

The combo seems to work really well to quickly set up a specific camera near a proposed install site, link up to my laptop and at a minimum grab some screen shots. Time permitting I will set up a camera in my instance of 3xLogic Vigil server on my laptop to grab clips if needed. Prior to that I cobbed together a Wal Mart battery booster, power inverter and WiFi router which weighed in around 15Lbs not counting bungee cords!!!

Generally if I can run a manufacturers finder application I can quickly get into the camera and do my survey, I sometimes try the ONVIF manager which in this applicatiion is not as reliable as a manufacturer specific sniffer applications. The only issue I have seen so far is the battery size limits how long I can run equipment. Last week our office service manager and I used this exact setup in side a food processing plant we powerd up an Illustra (formerly American Dynamics) 5MP 360 camera elevated the stand 10' and grabbed very useful screen caps from 7 different locations in the plant after a couple of hours the battery was about shot, but we got solid images and did not have to cart around a lot of gear.

My two cents worth as a project manager moving into a sales role I think the sidekick product is a very useful tool when it comes time to capture / show a customer what a paticular camera shot will actually look like.

Sidekick and mini dome demo

Nice,

I was raised very poor, and our family motto was "po-folks - got po-ways." I experimented with a number of ideas, and settled on yet another "El-CheapO" solution. I purchased a spare DOME cover, and drilled a hole in the plastic, pre-bent to washers (with a concave dent) placed epoxy as a filler in and out, and attached an off the shelf drop ceiling 1/4 x 20 2" post. I scavenged the threaded portion of a mop, screw attached the wall mount portion of the 1/4 x 20 post. I glued foam to the topside of an indoor mount for our cameras. Using 1 of 2 RV extendable washing poles 1 extends to 14' the other extends to 22'.

By adding a good rubber foot to the pole, and by extending the pole and creating compression on the foam. the pole free stands quite nicely. The cable from the camera has an RJ45 coupler, so we can use a cable of of choice to connect. (working in a large area, having a 100' cable, and everything doing the recording in one location is a plus) Moving the camera around is extremely easy.

It's been great for placing the camera exactly where it will be, and is extremely Stable and resists any wind interference when outside under a canopy. Of course what do you do when you don't have a ceiling to compress against. The answer cam in the form of using the lower tripod portion of indoor constructions lights.

Our El-Cheapo Ceiling 360 general purpose mount

I use the Zipwall with a U bolt and connect a camera that way. Makes travel easy and you can set it up about anywhere. Snug fit without ruining drop ceiling and you can quickly go from one place to the other without much effort.