Sunday 21 December 2014

Watch out as Evercam eyes the US

Published 31/07/2014 | 02:30

CCTV survellience is becoming more prevalent in all areas of life
CCTV surveillance is becoming more prevalent in all areas of life

There was a time when closed circuit TV camera meant a grainy black and white video in a 24 hour petrol station, the type of thing you only saw on a programme like 'Garda Patrol', if you can remember back that far, or the numerous cop shows that seem to fill the graveyard shift on so many satellite stations.

Not any more. Today, you can log on to a traffic camera in Washington DC, or watch wildlife in South Afica if you are so inclined.

Clearly this has implications for civilian life but especially for business. After all, there will be very good reasons for staff to have access to a live feed from one part of the business, but how do yo make sure that only the right people have access to the feed?

This is where Evercam.io comes in. The brainchild of Marco Herbst and Vinnie Quinn, it evolved from their original company Camba.tv.

"A picture paints a thousand words," says Mr Quinn. "A live image provides visual verification of an event - for business users this means traceability, accountability and easy dispute resolution. Access to the right live image at the right time can also be a great tool in decision-making.

CCTV systems were all designed to be closed circuit. They are not designed for easy integration with business processes. Increasingly though companies want to share images and footage with their staff, suppliers and customers.

"Now that we can all view images and live streams from our phones, the important part is managing the permission layer to make sure the right person sees the right image at the right time," he claims.

The key to Evercam is its simplicity. To date, large scale camera integration projects have been expensive, complicated and prone to failure - they just have not been strong enough for what is required of them. Evercam is an API (Application Programming Interface) for any camera that can connect to the internet. An API basically tells specific programmes and software how to interact with each other. In practice this means that Evercam makes it much, much easier for firms to integrate their CCTV cameras into their systems.

Using Evercam, a software developer can write software once, and it can communicate with any existing or new CCTV cameras. The connectivity to the internet (often the point of failure with camera integration projects) is the responsibility of the local engineer, and once the camera is registered with Evercam, functions can be added to make the camera more useful to the owner.

Take a factory production line, for example. In many cases, when the production line fails, it is for a specific reason, but few managers or executives will have the ability to see exactly what was happening when the system failed.

Using Evercam though, the person in charge can say "Show me the production line when it stopped", or if there was an issue with a specific product, see 
tape of every copy of that product 
before it left the factory.

The potential benefits for businesses is clear then. According to MR Quinn, the solution is "particularly suitable for franchise owners who often have different CCTV systems across their outlets, and can now receive scheduled emails with images of key areas, a simple management tool based on existing hardware".

The company, which has seven staff in Ireland and a development team based in Belgrade, has been busily working on firming up its product for some time. Now though, expansion is on the cards.

Mr Quinn and Mr Herbst have their eyes on expansion to the US, having launched Evercam at the Techcrunch Disrupt event New York in last May. They then spent most of June in Silicon valley and San Francisco. Interest has so far been strong.

The business is backed by Enterprise Ireland and has also completed a private round of seed capital.

The concept has been proved, now it is up to the firm to make Evercam work long term.

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