Plunging into the Security Industry

Industry Professional

Plunging into the Security Industry

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.

Technically Speaking

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 price.

“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 scalability.

“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.

Parting Thoughts

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 program.

“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.

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