Ottawa firm enters market of 'smart' cams
paul brent, ctvottawa.ca
Published Wednesday, May 25, 2011 5:34PM EDT
Video cameras hooked to the internet are rapidly becoming "smart" cameras.
They can interpret what they are looking at and then decide when you need to be notified. Now there is a new Ottawa entry into the market.
IWatchLIfe is the company and they rolled out a new product line this week. You sign onto the system and pay a small monthly fee or use the basic free service. You can buy their camera or use your own. The product is aimed squarely at consumers who want to monitor their own lives.
Tom Leger is head of sales and says "Rather than bring in an installer and have them put in lines and spend a lot of money they want to do it themselves and that is a big shift for us." The company used to sell to other companies that wanted video systems for security.
Now with iWatchLife you can add several cameras of your own, you can be given to other people's cameras with their approval. At his home Leger uses it to monitor the pool, and a new puppy he also keeps tabs on his parents. If something happens he receives an email alert showing him the video in question.
Users can customize every camera view. The CEO Charles Black says "We have the capability to analyze a specific part of the video screen and if something happens in that zone then we can report it back to you. " The decision is made by the software program to which the cameras are hooked up.
Several companies are in this market. Archerfish of the U.S. is very similar in that it offers analysis of the video view and decides whether to take action.
Calgary based Intelliview offers the same kind of services. Ottawa's March Networks has been a world leader in video surveillance systems mostly aimed at businesses but they too use what is called video analytics.
The uOttawa professor Robert Laganiere who developed the software for iWatchLife says this market is just starting
"We want to see more intelligent software that will be able to learn what the user wants. It is all about more options and ease of use. " Black says "I really believe that in just a few years we will all have five to ten cameras in our homes all linked to the web and we will be sharing video with friends and family and the cameras will be in bars and other public buildings and we will use them all the time. "
The interest in cameras is climbing as Black says a new generation wants to share their life video on social media sites.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Paul Brent