January 19, 2001, 2:15 PM — HERDON, VA. -- Managing security camera videos across a chain of convenience stores from central location is not what one would call an "Internet application." EyeCast is hoping to change that perception with this week's release of EyeView 6.0, a service for aggregating multiple video feeds into a single browser window.
Version 6.0 uses a proprietary version of the MPEG4 video standard for delivering up to 30 frame/sec to a browser, without the need for a standalone player or player plug-in such as RealPlayer or Windows Media Player. Older versions of the software used the motion JPEG format, which delivered about 1 frame/sec using 192K bit/sec of bandwidth. EyeView 6.0 can deliver 15 frame/sec of video at 100K bit/sec, says Mike Tobin, vice president of marketing at EyeCast.
Applications for the service include remote merchandising, marketing, security and loss prevention. Tobin says that during one live demo of the product, he witnessed someone stealing from the store they happened to be viewing.
The service works by installing a router and encoding device on the customer premises. Each encoding device can handle four cameras. The video is captured and sent over a dedicated or dial-up line to EyeCast's network operations center. Video is temporarily cached on a local hard drive at the customer premises in case the network connection is lost. EyeCast then serves the data and stores video clips for a predetermined amount of time.
EyeCast watches the network for any problems but does not monitor content, Tobin says.
Customers access their video through a database-driven Web page that is hosted by EyeCast. Pull-down and expanding menus are used to select the view wanted.
Pricing starts at $400 for four connected cameras at one site streaming 5 frame/sec of video with 30 days of storage. The service will work with most existing security cameras.