In less than a minute, you can watch 24 hours’ worth of recorded activity in a hanger at the Stuttgart Airport. Another 20 seconds later, and you’ve seen a summary of nine hours of surveillance footage from a busy intersection in St. Petersburg.
“It’s like a time machine,” says Gideon Ben-Zvi, chairman and president of Israeli start-up BriefCam.The company’s proprietary video-synopsis technology allows viewers to rapidly review and index original full-length video footage, by concurrently showing multiple objects and activities that actually occurred at different times.
Similar to a book’s index, this technology drastically cuts the time and manpower involved in event tracking, forensics, and evidence discovery.
“Today there are cases where police are in danger of losing court cases for lack of evidence because they don’t have the manpower to watch the video,” Ben-Zvi tells ISRAEL21C. “The price of not having an efficient way of looking at the footage is painful.”
BriefCam’s technology not only eases the time-consuming process of identifying assailants, thieves, and intruders in parking lots, power plants, airports, banks, stores, and border crossings, but also has valuable applications in areas as simple as daycare centers and nursing homes.
From surveillance, to theft and abuse
“It can be used wherever there is a need to summarize surveillance video to see if someone invaded the plant or stole cash, abused a child or an older person, or even took their medicine on time,” says Ben-Zvi. “All of this is possible, using exactly the same technology.”
BriefCam is the fifth in a string of successful high-tech companies that 48-year-old Ben-Zvi has co-founded in the Jerusalem area. It began as a way to commercialize a technology developed by Hebrew University scientist Shmuel Peleg.
Peleg, 58, has achieved world renown for creating panoramic mosaics from sets of images and videos — a field known as “computer vision.” In late 2007, he told his longtime friend and colleague Ben-Zvi that his new video synopsis technique had been met with excitement from major corporations such as GE Securities and Siemens.
“I said to him, ‘If everyone is so impressed, we should start a company.’ We simply needed to take the ‘half baked’ and bake the second half,” relates Ben-Zvi, a computer scientist who is also chairman of the tourism and culture portal jerusalem.com.
Peleg is BriefCam?s co-founder and chief scientist, while Yaron Caspi, a recognized leader in the field of analyzing data from multiple video cameras, is vice president for research and development.
It was not long before the team had its first sales order. Costs are measured per “channel,” or the recording area of the camera.
Maximizing security in difficult times
“We have customers in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, and the United States, and we have been approached by a Japanese giant,” says Ben-Zvi. “We have had inquiries from all over the world.”
BriefCam’s sales and marketing efforts will be boosted by $2.6 million in funding recently awarded by Aviv Venture Capital and a group of private investors.
In addition, the company has just begun an integration partnership with Milestone Systems, the leading open-platform company within IP video management software. Milestone XProtect users will now have access to BriefCam?s technology, thereby “redefining the possibilities of how stored video can be used,” says Martin Kaufmann, MSP Program Manager at Milestone.
“Especially in difficult economic times, BriefCam’s surveillance technology will allow companies large and small to maximize security, while saving on manpower, time and money,” comments Yoav Chelouche, managing partner at Aviv Venture Capital.
Based on his earlier successes in Israel’s capital city, Ben-Zvi is sanguine about BriefCam’s future.
“There is such a creative and innovation-supported entrepreneurial atmosphere here,” he says. “We have excellent manpower that is devoted and willing to improvise. That’s why Israel has gained a reputation for innovation around the world.”