Dell Computers founder Michael Dell has made a multi-million dollar investment in Eagle Eye Networks.
Photo credit: (Screenshot courtesy Eagle Eye Networks)
While cloud-based solutions are not a new concept in the security industry, one company believes it has developed cutting-edge technology that will change people’s perceptions about using the cloud to manage their video surveillance system. Eagle Eye Networks, Inc. made it official market debut on Tuesday with the launch of its first product, the Eagle Eye Security Camera Video Management System.
The company, which was formed about a year and a half ago, is the brainchild of Dean Drako, who is the founder and former president and CEO of Barracuda Networks, a pioneer in the development of appliances for IT security applications.
“The cloud has a lot of advantages for video security. We unfortunately, as an industry, haven’t really realized a whole lot of them yet, but the cloud is really growing in a lot of other segments; general computing; the email industry with Google mail and Microsoft mail; the phone PBX is basically moving to the cloud and most everyone is outsourcing their phone system and going to IP phones; the storage industry with Dropbox and box.net; and, so there’s a huge high-growth sector there and it’s going to continue,” said Drako.
According to Drako, one thing that differentiates Eagle Eye Networks from some of the more traditional VMS companies is that their product is designed for operational, as well as security professionals.
“We designed it for security, but we also designed it for operations folks – people who want to tune up their stores, people who want to watch and optimize customer service – and that’s a little bit different from what I think people have done in the past,” Drako explained.
Drako also feels that Eagle Eye has addressed many of the security and redundancy concerns surrounding cloud-based security solutions that have persisted among end users and contributed to their reluctance to use them in their companies.
“One of the things that we do with all of the video, which is a little unusual, is that we can encrypt the video… and that ensures that only the right people will get access to the right video,” said Drako. “The systems that we run are fully redundant. Everything we store gets stored kind of like it does in the Amazon EC2, S3 or Gmail system, so there’s built-in redundancy. Systems can fail, they’ll be replaced, but the data is stored in either two or three places at all times.”
Although the Eagle Eye solution is cloud-based, there is a hardware component that will be installed at customer sites. The company offers a broad selection of bridge and cloud-managed video recorder (CMVR) appliances that can support anywhere from 15 to 1,000 cameras. “We’re really the first VMS with the flexibility to record locally on premise or record in the cloud,” said Drako.
Because of the continued migration to IP, the role of IT professionals in security has increased substantially. In fact, according to a survey conducted on behalf of the company last year, nearly half of more than 280 IT security decision makers surveyed said that they are involved in supporting or selecting video surveillance products for their organization.
“I think there is a big opportunity here. Video surveillance is growing quite rapidly and I look at the IT world… where basically everything has moved to the cloud,” said Drako. “It is just a matter of time before video surveillance moves to the cloud and I kind of think we’ve crossed a point where bandwidth availability has reached a critical level where it’s feasible now, whereas five years ago it wasn’t very doable because there wasn’t enough bandwidth to get video up. I think bandwidth will still be an issue, but with every passing month, that issue declines. My mission is to build the Dropbox of video surveillance.”
Drako said they plan to take the Eagle Eye VMS solution to the market through the channel and will focus on small-to-mid-sized applications, as well as enterprise installations.
“In my mind… I really feel that Eagle Eye is first serious cloud player to enter the market in the mid-market,” Drako added. “We’re not out trying to sell to consumers. Consumers are not the target market for us; we’re going after the small, medium and large-scale businesses. Camera deployments from five to 1,000 are where we’ll be looking to get started.”
Another goal of Eagle Eye’s coming into the market, according to Drako, will be to improve the “usability” of video management platforms, which is something he said they did well at Barracuda.
“Unfortunately, in the video surveillance market, most of the products don’t have that reputation with their customers. Most customers don’t really like their video surveillance systems and try and avoid using them,” he said. “I think there is a huge opportunity to change that and actually make video more useful, so one of the things we’re pursuing in our extra time is applications of video surveillance other than security. We have customers that are using is for training, store review and recording big financial transactions – things where it is a little bit beyond the security guard staring at a screen or going and pulling videos and sending them to police.”