Oncam Global takes joint ownership of Grandeye

Oncam Global Group has taken joint ownership of U.K.-based 360-degree camera technology company Grandeye. Oncam now owns the exclusive worldwide rights to sell and market the Grandeye surveillance technology for security uses.

Simultaneously, Oncam named James Ionson, Ph.D., as the company's CEO. Ionson had become chairman of Grandeye in December 2008, following a stint at immersive video competitor RemoteReality Corporation. Ionson's background includes time spent as a lead scientist with President Reagan's "Star Wars" missile defense program.

Oncam was formed in the first quarter of 2009 to provide solutions and technical services related to immersive, panoramic video solutions. By forming the firm, the sales and marketing efforts of Grandeye's products were able to be transferred away from Grandeye. It is a move, said Ionson, which allows Grandeye to focus on technical efforts rather than sales management.

Oncam, besides heading up security applications marketing for Grandeye's technology, will be working as a security architecting firm, said Ionson. As such, Oncam will be designing solutions for clients in a variety of markets, such as corporate security, public facilities and critical infrastructure. The firm can architect solutions which presumably might involve 360-degree panoramic imaging. Ionson said the company is designed to work as a partner with security system integrators.

The Grandeye technology couples a small fisheye lens from Sunex with the company's camera. Inside the Grandeye camera is a high-power imaging processing chip from ZiiLABS (formerly a subsidiary of Creative Labs known as 3D Labs) that runs analytics and panoramic imaging functions. The chips are said to allow for 3rd party analytics to be written and added into the camera. A year ago, the company acquired the rights to use some of the former technology from IPIX.

The cameras, which use sensors with up to 5 megapixels, give users a variety of monitoring applications. One common ability would be to maintain 360-degree situational awareness while simultaneously doing a virtual PTZ function by zooming and or cropping in on a select area of the scene to investigate an incident or track an intruder. The software also allows the single camera image to be split into multiple images for something like a 4-camera monitoring matrix.

According to Ionson, early deployments of the Grandeye cameras have typically been indoors, but he says the company is going to move more and more to adding outdoor, perimeter security applications.

"When you're outdoors, you may have the luxury of mounting the camera higher, inside an environmentally protected dome, to give you more perspective, as opposed to mounting on a 10 or 12 foot ceiling indoors," Ionson said.

Looking back to his time working in the Department of Defense and indirectly under Ronald Reagan's Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, Ionson said the model of security hasn't changed. The verification that can be done from a 360-degree camera like Grandeye's is similar to the efforts that defense personnel would have to conduct in a missile defense program.

"Even in missile defense, verification was essential," said Ionson. "You had to know the threat and verify it was a threat against the nation and the Earth."