Prism Skylabs Revolutionizes Surveillance Video

The latest brainchild of 3VR's founding CEO and current chairman Steve Russell and Ron Palmeri, the technology visionary behind GrandCentral (now Google Voice) and Scout Labs, Prism Skylabs, was launched this week at TechCrunch's Disrupt San Francisco 2011.

Prism is a cloud-based service that changes how businesses use video and how consumers experience physical spaces online. The technology enables companies to "see, understand and share their real-world places in ways that are beautiful, informative and, perhaps most importantly, protect their customers' privacy," Russell explained to

Proprietary software makes use of the billions of dollar’s worth of camera infrastructure that businesses already have in place and converts the resulting video "noise" into "beautiful photo-like images”. The resulting video is sent to the cloud and is “summarized” into usable bits of information. The images can then be automatically pushed out to a company's Facebook, Twitter or Yelp page, giving customers a real-time view of the place.

The resulting online and publicly-available "storyboards" will help businesses find new revenue streams, engage their customers in exciting ways, analyze customer traffic patterns, track the success of social media campaigns and sales, interact with a broader audience and more.

To use Prism Skylabs, a business simply downloads the free software that automatically detects cameras, DVRs, encoders and mobile devices on its network. Without disturbing any existing equipment, the feeds are linked to Prism Skylabs' cloud infrastructure. Instead of simply streaming high-bandwidth video, Prism Skylabs fuses images over time into something more powerful and informative: real-time summaries that add visual treatments and filters designed to showcase a space while still protecting customer privacy. Prism's unique approach creates "privacy-conscious silhouettes" that will give viewers a sense of what's going on without revealing someone's identity. Businesses are then able to syndicate these real-time views across popular websites to transform how customers explore and engage with their offering in a real way.

For example, a restaurant or bar owner can use Prism to review a visual heat map of activity to help understand how Yelp ratings affect restaurant traffic. For a retail shop owner, it means comparing recent weather against foot traffic to explain a recent barrage of slow sales totals. On the other hand, for a restaurant goer, it may mean observing a privacy-protected view into the same space to determine how likely they are to find a seat if they stop by, read recent reviews and check out the daily specials, as well as an option to book a table. And for a shopper on a mission to find a specific item, it means the ability to see if a store has restocked it or is still awaiting shipment.

"Forty million cameras are scattered across the globe, and millions of images are being shared online every second. Still, for consumers who increasingly expect the same ease and access we have offline in the online world, we can't move beyond 'street view' to peek inside our favorite venues in real-time. Prism Skylabs is changing that," Russell said. "We're aiming to transform the world's multi-hundred billion-dollar camera network investment into a platform for online-to-offline commerce that creates new revenue streams and new opportunities for businesses to engage customers."

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