Eyesthere Featured In The Dallas Morning News

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Smart cameras touted for security

First, there was the fingerprint. Then the burglar alarm. Now there is digital imaging. Hyperbolic? Certainly, says Rick Rene, chief executive of Carrollton-based EYESthere; the comparison overstates the security applications of fingerprints and burglar alarms. Mr. Rene and his fledgling company think the introduction of so-called smart cameras will disrupt the security industry enough to make room for a coast-to-coast network of EYESthere franchises. Incumbents such as ADT doubt any start-up will outcompete them, but they also foresee a revolution. JIM MAHONEY/DMN Rick Rene of EYESthere holds a PDA displaying an image of him that was recorded by a high-definition camera. He equips homes so that occupants can see what's going on remotely.

"Imagine you're in your bedroom and something trips the burglar alarm," Mr. Rene said. "Rather than risking your life by walking down to investigate, you turn on your bedroom television and use your motion-detecting cameras, all equipped with night vision, to see whether there's anyone inside your house or on your property." If an alarm sounds when homeowners are on the town or vacationing in Hawaii, an Internet-connected system will generate a text message. The owner can then use a cellphone to tap the camera network, determine whether a burglary is under way and notify the police. This remote-view system provides obvious value in cities such as Dallas, where police won't respond to burglar alarms unless a property owner confirms actual problems. It even speeds response in towns where police still investigate every alarm. "Most studies I've seen show that police take 15 or 20 minutes to respond to a typical alarm but only three to five minutes when there's visual verification of a break-in," Mr. Rene said. "That's the difference between catching a burglar and cataloging your losses." Smart camera systems differ greatly from the video surveillance networks that began appearing in banks and other cash-rich businesses years ago. Sharp color images sometimes high-definition images shot with night-vision cameras have replaced their grainy, colorless predecessors. Digital video recorders with massive hard drives have replaced VHS machines and the need to maintain libraries of clunky cassettes. The important parts The transition from analog to digital has enabled the addition of computer software that can detect when activity is happening on camera and record only those moments. This makes it much easier for system owners to search video archives and find relevant events, particularly in less trafficked areas. Such technology was developed for the military and other deep-pocket buyers, but the rapid and relentless improvement of both optics and processors has slashed prices. EYESthere now sells basic systems for around $1,100 a camera, including installation and setup. The availability of broadband Internet over power lines, along with pending improvements in wireless networking technology, will further cut prices by a third or more. (Current systems require wires to be expensively buried into home walls.) Plus, both cameras and computers will only keep getting cheaper. Lower prices may not be enough to make Americans embrace smart cameras unless security companies and law enforcement agencies can overcome privacy concerns. The giant security company ADT addresses Big Brother fears by excluding video feeds from its monitoring service. "We have special arrangements with certain customers who want us to monitor video feeds. One woman in Manhattan, for example, has us check all the rooms in her Upper West Side home before she'll go inside," said Tim McKinney, ADT's director of custom home services.

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EYESthere, Inc.
2765 E. Trinity Mills Road
Suite 300
Carrollton, TX

Phone: (972) 416-6920
Toll Free: 877-EYES-LIVE (877-393-7548)
Fax: (866) 635-3348

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