3VR founder launches free, â€˜disruptive’ cloud-based video service
ORLANDO--It’s rare for a heavily-venture-backed Silicon Valley technology company to create tools of interest to security directors, but a company unveiled last week claims it’s doing that, and much more.â€¨â€¨
Started by Steve Russell, founding CEO and chairman of video analytics company 3VR, and Ron Palmeri, the well-known tech entrepreneur behind what is now known as Google Voice, Prism Skylabs leverages a business’ existing surveillance camera infrastructure by bringing the video to the cloud, correlating it with other real-time data, and allowing security directors easy access and sharability while offering business owners other value-added data and services. “When you look at the system in total, it’s a radical rethinking,” Russell told Security Director News.â€¨â€¨
Here’s Russell’s pitch: A business owner downloads a free piece of software, which will scan a local network for cameras, DVRs and other video devices. Using what Russell calls “video condensation,” the software will condense the images, reducing the data footprint by more than 100 times, by focusing on when there’s activity and creating more useful “storyboards,” Russell said. “All pixels are not created equal.”
Once the feeds are brought to the cloud, security directors could access them any time, from any device. They could also “share”--a social media buzz word--with other parties, including law enforcement. The software won’t disrupt any existing systems and works with any kind of proprietary equipment, Russell said. “I can tell you for sure [that security directors] are seriously considering all the time upgrading at a huge expense and tearing out their DVR and VMS systems to get these better features,” Russell said. “So if we can deliver these features for free without having to tear them out, that’s tremendously valuable to them.”â€¨â€¨
However, Prism Skylabs plans to offer other services, which while outside the purview of security directors could offer opportunities to increase the return on investment for deploying video surveillance systems. â€¨â€¨Prism Skylabs will correlate the video feeds with local POS systems and social media data pulled from sites like Facebook and Yelp. Russell uses as an example a retail company that offers a special promotion on GroupOn and wants to know if it increased traffic in the store. Tying together Prism’s heat maps and the social media data, “we can actually tell you how that online social media activity is affecting your business,” Russell said.â€¨â€¨
The business owner could also share those video feeds by posting them on their website or social media sites so, for instance, a potential customer could take a peak inside a restaurant to see if it’s busy. Built-in privacy controls would allow an owner to turn the activity going on in his or her space in the feed into “privacy-conscious silhouettes or heat maps or things that look more abstract that can give users or viewers a sense of activity or what’s going on, but wont reveal identity.”â€¨â€¨
The company has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from a bevy of well-known technology investors, including Garrett Camp, founder and CEO of StumbleUpon; and Aaron Patzer, founder and former CEO of Mint.com. It was also the first company to receive investment from CrunchFund.