LA Port uses real-time wireless video-surveillance technology

Thu, 03/04/2010

Tracy Ford

The Port of Los Angeles is using Reality Mobile's real-time mobile video technology to enable its police department to monitor more than 350 fixed cameras on site. The contract win for the 30-plus person Reality Mobile is indicative of its plans to change how large enterprises and government agencies use video-monitoring solutions going forward.

Reality Mobile has invented software called its RealityVision Platform that basically creates a self-contained network that allows field personnel and office employees to view what is happening in the field in real-time via smartphones and on computers. The technology enables any camera (whether it's fixed or embedded into a cellphone) to securely transmit live video to share with anyone else on the network. The company also has software that lets people share their computer screens with anyone else on the network.

“It leverages the phone's camera to stream live video that anyone else on the network can view so people can share information with each other very rapidly,” said Brian Geoghegan, EVP and chief product officer at the company. The technology can work anywhere there is satellite, cellular or Wi-Fi coverage.

The company, which was founded in late 2003, has been working with the federal government to find new ways to leverage wireless technology in the field, Goeghegan said. Some of its higher-profile contracts have included the Department of Defense and Homeland Security projects, as well as providing surveillance tools for the Academy Awards, Super Bowls and President Obama's inauguration, among other events.

In October, the company secured $6.5 million in expansion capital to pursue contracts in the energy and utilities sectors. That funding round was led by Energy Ventures, an independent venture capital firm providing capital to high-growth oil and gas technology companies, as well as CTTV Investments L.L.C., the VC arm of Chevron Technology Ventures L.L.C., and the Dobson Partnership, which focuses on the communications sector. As part of that funding, Reality Mobile opened a Houston office with sales and support staff. “We are dealing with an increase in globalization, a rise in security threats and increased competition. Having true ‘eyes' in the field that can be accessed instantly from anywhere in the world is critical to growing business in this 24/7 digital world,” said Everett Dobson, managing partner with Dobson Partnership, and founder and former CEO of telecommunications leader Dobson Communications when the funding was announced.

The company spent two years working with the various government agencies including DHS to develop the technology, Geoghegan said, and today concentrates on critical infrastructure assets and high-security areas. Essentially, the live video stream enables everyone in the department to see the same thing at the same time. For the Los Angeles Port police, this will be helpful if one policeman is chasing a suspect to share what the suspect looks like with everyone else on the force, for example. In the oil and gas sector, a medical expert can take a look at an employee hurt on a rig out at sea. Reality Mobile has been working with utility company Con Edison, which uses the service to ensure its own employees' safety when they are out in the field. The company also is working with a major transportation company for its video surveillance.

One of the benefits of the RealityVision platform, Geoghegan said, is that it integrates within a company's existing IT system rather than act as a silo operation. “Customers want a fully integrated system not a piece of the system. It has to be integrated into the back-end; the Port just spent $5 million on next-generation console displays, so we need to be embedded in their equipment.”