Plunging into the Security Industry
- By Ginger Hill
- Feb 01, 2015
Perhaps no one knows the true definition of entrepreneurship
better than David Gaw, president
and founder of Sensera Systems. Gaw’s
career has been a whirl-wind of startup businesses
and small companies, like the founding of a networking
technology company. But, as part of an acquisition
of a small company by FLIR, he was whisked
into corporate America.
Defining FLIR as a “fantastic company,” Gaw
eventually got the entrepreneurial “itch” to do something
new. So, going back to his roots, he took the
plunge into entrepreneurship once again.
Relying on his 25 years of experience from creating
technology-based products, marrying together
his knowledge of hardware and software, Gaw established
Sensera Systems to deliver world-class products
and solutions for integrated remote sensing and imaging
with a very focused mission: to create simpler
solutions at cost-effective prices.
The Starting Blocks
It all started recently, in mid-2014 to be exact, with
the launching of their first product that had its focus
on the construction market. This has put Sensera Systems
on the cusp of creating a new trend: the use of
site cameras for security purposes.
“Our solution offers ease-of-use at price points of
half of what that market had previously seen,” Gaw
said. “A lot of companies are starting to use site cameras
now because of what we have done to lower costs
and improve ease of use.”
After tasting success in the construction vertical
and based on Gaw’s prior knowledge, he decided the
best direction to take the company was to leap into
the security market as a whole.
“I had worked for a number of years creating and
selling OEM products, building blocks,” explained
Gaw. “This included selling products into the security
industry. One thing I observed is that those building
blocks have continued to get more and more powerful,
but creating a solution still required substantial
effort and expertise.”
Based on his observations, Gaw has reached the
conclusion that nearly everything is possible. Almost
any type of application can be solved; it’s just a matter
of complexity and cost. Of course, reducing complexity
is up to product and system designers, so he
pondered about how he could take some powerful
new technologies—cellular, wireless, solar and cloud
computing—and package them together to enable a
simplified user experience that lowered total system
and solution costs.
“By just eliminating wiring, for example, we greatly
reduce the costs customers see, and thereby open up
new markets and applications,” Gaw said.
The backbone of this company is rich in meritocracy,
open communication, innovation and assumptions
that produce high-level thinking, complex product
creation and satisfied customers.
“We try to encourage continuous questions of our
assumptions and the assumptions of the market and
our competitors,” explained Gaw. “Innovation often
comes from questioning assumptions.”
While its proprietary knowledge to Sensera Systems,
there’s no doubt that many a round-table discussions
took place, filled with questions and assumptions,
to create combinations of technology that lead
to their seemingly immediate success.
“Our cloud service operates over Wi-Fi and cellular,
providing customers access to their cameras from
any PC or mobile device…no app required,” Gaw
said. “Our cameras use Standard 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
rather than proprietary protocol and therefore, can be
used with standard networking equipment. Also, our
cameras have the features you would expect from a
state-of-the-art security camera including HD images
and streaming, H.264 video and advanced features
such as built-in DVR with deferred upload to optimize
cellular data usage.”
What all this boils down to is a one-stop, turn-key
solution for complex remote monitoring and surveillance
applications to take some of the pressure, worry
and confusion from the customer.
“Customers don’t need to think about storage
costs, solar panel or battery sizing, or cellular data
plans,” Gaw said. “Nor do they need to bother with
wireless carriers, contracts or SIM cards.”
Pieces of the Bundle
Uniqueness comes in the way in which Sensera Systems
offers bundled cameras with a cloud service user
interface as it is a true end-to-end solution.
Solar. Gaw understands that integrators have been
creating solar-powered camera solutions for some
time; however, it has typically been done with cameras
that weren’t designed for low-power/solar operation,
meaning that the required panels and battery systems
can be quite large and expensive. By designing and
creating a low-power/solar-operated camera with a
battery/charge system from the start, Sensera Systems
is able to offer extremely compact cameras at an affordable
“A piecemeal solar camera solution can easily run
$6,000 to $10,000, or more,” Gaw said. “We believe
that when you bring that cost down closer to $3,000,
there are many more applications that open up.”
Cellular. These networks have improved over the
past few years in terms of coverage and bandwidth
capabilities, so Sensera Systems has stepped up to
capitalize on these improvements.
“For example, our products can stream video over
cellular connections as well as WiFi,” Gaw said.
Cloud. Based on Sensera Systems’ own in-house
software development, their cloud service is based on
an industrial strength database and web tools, including
Amazon Web Services, to provide robustness and
“We offer a clean, simple user interface that customers
can access from a PC or mobile device,” Gaw said.
Gaw truly believes that Sensera Systems is part of
an active movement to leverage cloud computing to
improve security solutions.
“By focusing on the use of cloud computing, solar
and wireless to significantly simplify and lower the
costs of installing and operating remote surveillance
systems, customers’ demands are fulfilled by receiving
industrial-strength products, designed for missioncritical
applications,” Gaw said.
Mind you, Sensera Systems is not all work and no
play. With offices right next to the Colorado School
of Mines in Golden, the company offers an active internship
“Bright young engineering students can get ‘real
world’ experience working in a product-based company,”
Gaw said, proudly.
In addition, Gaw wants all integrators to know
that by working with Sensera Systems, they can offer
their customers more capability at the same cost.
“Imagine spending your time providing more advanced
and useful features and capabilities, rather
than running cables and configuring networks which
can be time consuming,” said Gaw.
Sensera System’s keys to success sound rather complicated,
with a lot of moving parts, but it all comes
down to simplicity, really:
100 percent wireless plus 100 percent solar-powered
solutions = ease of use and lower systems costs.
This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of Security Today.