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Entries in video surveillance (14)


Drones Flying Out of Military Airspace

Drones may not be just for military operations anymore. Future plans for drones include commercial video surveillance and wildlife conservation efforts. A father in Vermont even tried building his own drone to follow his son around—talk about helicopter parenting.

Photo Credit: Secom

Secom, a Japanese home and business security company, will offer its business customers a drone service that launches when a property alarm sounds. When an alarm goes off, Secom monitoring personnel will fly the drone, located on the client’s premises, to the zone in alarm to record a crime in progress. Measuring 24 inches wide and weighing 3.5 pounds, the drone flies like a helicopter. It is equipped with a surveillance camera that transmits live video of the crime to the monitoring base. The video will then aid in any future investigation. The service will begin after April 2014 and is expected to cost approximately $58 a month.

To protect endangered rhinos from poachers, one of Kenya's private game reserves also wants to enlist the help of surveillance drones. Ol Pejeta, a 90,000-acre non-profit wildlife conservancy, has four of the world’s last remaining seven northern white rhinos. Ol Pejeta is hoping to raise the $35,000 needed for its first drone that will be equipped with a live-streaming camera to track rhinos chipped with RFID tags. In addition to protecting rhinos, the real-time video can also be streamed online to the public to raise awareness and promote education and conservation efforts. Rhino poaching is a huge problem in Kenya. A rhino horn can be sold for $12,000, the equivalent of 30 years worth of income. Kenya has the world's third largest rhino population—around 600 black and 300 white rhinos.

Photo Credit: Paul Wallich

Lastly, Paul Wallich, a contributing editor for IEEE Spectrum, built a drone to monitor his grade-school son on his 400-meter walk to the bus stop. Wallich said the drone was fairly easy to build, but it doesn’t work well in windy conditions, and the GPS only works up to 10 meters. So until he can design one that works the way he wants—and he’s working on it—or his son outgrows walks to the bus stop, Wallich’s son is stuck with his dad, which is probably less embarrassing than a drone. You can read Wallich’s article here.


Video Surveillance Analysis Startup Prism Skylabs Raises $7.5M in Funding

A big congratulations to our innovative friends over at Prism SkyLabs, which provides a cloud-based service that aims to better connect businesses with their customers. They just raised $7.5 million in Series A funding round led by new investors Triangle Peak Partners and Pacific Partners, and joined by Andreessen Horowitz, IDG Ventures, Anthem Venture Partners, Eagle, MkII Ventures, SeriesG and Data Collective.

Security industry veteran Steve Russell helped co-found Prism in 2011, intent on helping business owners make use of the hours upon hours of video surveillance footage that usually goes unused. How do they do that? Through a cloud service that leverages data from those existing video surveillance cameras to better understand every aspect of the business, from customer behaviors, social media impacts and marketing successes to consumer traffic patterns.

The startup previously had raised $1.5 million from the SV Angel, Yuri Milner, Eric Schmidt, Aaron Patzer, Brad Garlinghouse, CrunchFund and others.

“Prism Skylabs is exactly what brick-and-mortar retailers have been looking for,” Pacific Partners Co-Founder Gordon Rubenstein told TechCrunch. “It’s a simple and scalable way to understand product lift and customer movement across thousands of sites, and to gain immediate, mobile access to views of any shelf, display or store.”

For more info on Prism, check out the video or visit their website here.


Prism Skylabs Brings Traditional Camera Technology Back to the Future

Much like in fashion and music, everything old in technology is new again. Well, sort of.


A growing trend has emerged as business owners struggle to use their traditional camera surveillance technology in increasingly innovative (and useful) ways. More and more end users are combining their existing camera infrastructure with new cutting-edge cloud technology to create an entirely new tool. In the end, this allows for increased customer understanding and lets them maximize ROI to grow their business. 


Prism Skylabs, a San Francisco-based startup, is leading the charge. The company is transforming traditional security systems from loss prevention cost centers, into multipurpose, revenue-generating machines that the whole organization can use.


Prism uniquely provides businesses visually stunning and data-rich views of any shelf, display, room, or store—in real time—by transforming existing video infrastructure into a powerful visual, analytics and security tool. Their software automatically detects existing video infrastructure and seamlessly connects it with the cloud. From there, Prism uses cutting-edge computational photography techniques and advanced computer vision technology to enhance the typically washed-out video. Within minutes, that gives customers 24/7 mobile access to any place in their business; long-term, secure, redundant cloud storage; next-level customer analytics; and, best of all, immediate answers to what happened in their business, without having to watch hours of video


Even businesses with years-old analog cameras can benefit from this advanced software. And now, Prism has announced an integration with Milestone Systems and compatibility with Mac, Linux and Windows. Prism made the announcements during ASIS International's 2013 conference, which was held Sept. 10-13 in Philadelphia.


These integrations, along with a previous 3VR integration, mean that any business with a computer and networked security cameras can now request an invitation to download the Prism software. From there, they can start viewing their stores from their mobile phone or tablet, generate customer activity heatmaps and begin storing images indefinitely in the cloud. 


The implications of this are quite significant for businesses with existing video systems needing an update, as well as for businesses that are in need of ROI from hefty security and surveillance investments.


“Historically, setting marketing and merchandising strategy for a retail organization with many locations has been incredibly difficult, in particular because so few metrics are available to help guide decisions,” said Steve Russell, CEO of Prism Skylabs. “Our mission is to change that. We’re delivering never-before available, real-time data about the impact of your marketing programs and using a resource you already have—security cameras—to do it.”


Without purchasing any additional hardware, businesses simply download the Prism software, which automatically detects the cameras in the network. Once downloaded, business owners, store managers or employees are able to gain access to key marketing, merchandising and operational insights within their business, including customer traffic patterns, product life, dwell time, staff optimization, crowd counts, product display audits and more.


Businesses can also test multiple sites across an enterprise using a simple interface. Then, they can share their conclusions or visual images throughout the organization. And the best part? This can all be done remotely from a laptop, smartphone or tablet. 


Ready to bring your business up to speed? Get Prism's software today: For more information on the Milestone partnership and OS integrations, click here.




Prism Skylabs Showcases Integration With Google+, YouTube and Picasa at SXSW

Prism Skylabs announced today a software integration with Google+, YouTube and Picasa to further change how businesses use video to engage consumers more effectively and to drive smarter business. The integration is being showcased at the Google Village at the SXSW Interactive Festival, taking place March 9-13 in Austin, Texas.

Consumers increasingly expect the same ease and access they have offline in the online world, and businesses are trying to convert online browsing into offline purchasing. With the integration to a number of Google's products, Prism Skylabs now allows users to easily share real-time views of their business to their Google+ page and YouTube channel, as well as images on Picasa, creating new channels for businesses to effectively engage with their audiences and for consumers to get a more immersive online experience than ever before.

Additionally, Prism Skylabs now allows users to monitor Google+ check-ins at their businesses, in addition to the various other social media platforms the company already supports. This increases valuable insight into how consumers interact with a brand across different channels and helps businesses move toward a more composite view of what's happening with their customers at any given time -- whether it's online or offline in a brick and mortar setting.

Prism Skylabs is showcasing its integration with Google+, YouTube and Picasa for the first time at the Google Village at the SXSW Interactive Festival. The company's cloud-based technology is integrated into video networks at three different locations in the Google Village: Bar 96, Lustre Pearl and Icenhauer's. SXSW attendees are able to check out Prism's real-time views by checking out the monitor at Bar 96 that is highlighting activity across all three venues.

"The excitement around SXSW is being fueled by innovations in local, mobile and social media technologies -- and Prism Skylabs is at the intersection of all of that," said Steve Russell, founder and CEO, Prism Skylabs. "Our integration with Google shows our commitment to bringing an entirely new medium of experiencing, sharing and understanding of what's going on, where and when, to the benefit of both businesses and consumers -- and the Google Village at SXSW is the perfect venue to show it off for the first time."


Use of Intelligent Cameras Can Increase Customer Loyalty

"Doing more with less" is a common adage during tough economic times. And it even applies to advanced technology.

Imagine if something as fundamental as surveillance cameras at a bank could begin to do so much more: improve the customer experience, build brand loyalty and polish customer service and support. With the right technology, it's possible.

In fact, bank customers in a recent poll said being recognized by bank employees builds their loyalty to that company. And they don't mind if bank employees use advanced technologies to identify them.

According to the poll conducted by Zogby463 and released by 3VR, 69 percent of respondents said that their customer loyalty is positively affected by tellers recognizing them by name when they walked into a bank. In addition, consumers support the use of advanced technologies to deliver better customer service as 78 percent of those surveyed said that they are comfortable with financial institutions using cameras in their branches to better serve their customers.

It's clear that name recognition by bank tellers is an easy way for banks to bolster their relationships with customers. What's more, the poll found that customer service at one bank branch location directly affects the opinion of the entire financial institution for more than 76 percent of bank customers.

“Our polling highlights how customer service drives customer loyalty. Increasingly, video intelligence technologies are allowing financial institutions to creatively leverage their existing video surveillance investments beyond just security,” said Al Shipp, CEO of 3VR. “The ability for banks to use video to recognize customers by name, reward the most valuable customers, meet suspicious activity report compliance requirements and curb fraud, is quickly up-leveling the role of video in the IT ecosystem from a cost center to a revenue generator.”