Cernium dives into swimming pool security

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

RESTON, Va. and CANBY, Ore.--Cernium Corporation, a developer of video analytics, has partnered with pool equipment manufacturer SR Smith to create a poolside security solution. Utilizing Cernium's P-Core analytics engine, PoolOptix uses advanced video technology and video analytics software to detect events and provide early warning as events occur in a swimming pool environment. The launch date for PoolOptix Pro, a solution for commercial installations, is November 2007. PoolOptix, for the residential market, will be released in the second quarter of 2008.
According to safekids.org, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death of children aged one to 14 in the United States, and the first leading cause among children aged one to five.
Said Helen Shepro, vice president, strategy and marketing of Cernium, "Our point of differentiation is the ability to do complex analytics using a fraction of the processing capabilities. We convert the information about pixels into data and then analyze data versus analyzing the pixels. That capability allows us to partner with SR Smith. They needed something more complex, because it's a pool environment" with many variables.
In addition, "The leadership team at SR Smith comes from the security industry. Their guys have done this for a while ... they knew there was a [security] gap in that particular marketplace. They've relied on underwater acoustics, but there's a lot of legislation that is currently mandating risk mitigation around pool areas."
Brett Fritts, vice president of marketing at SR Smith, was previously director of marketing at GE Security. "Ironically, there's a lot happening on the regulatory side in legislation as it relates to pool safety," said Fritts. "There are sensors that sit in the water, but no one was doing the whole area surrounding the pool. We had the idea to use analytics for vandalism and theft, as well as traditional security concerns like unauthorized use ... so it's kind of the perfect storm of factors that led us down this path." There's currently a bill going through Congress, the Pool and Spa Safety Act, proposed by Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schulz, that's "going to mandate multiple layers of protection in and around the pool," said Fritts.
Fritts said, "Right now, the PoolOptix system is just going to be a local alarm, but we do have the means to communicate that information off site, via email and text message." PoolOptix will utilize one to four cameras, depending on the pool. "Within the software you set up three virtual detection circuits," Fritts said, "one around the perimeter, one on deck, one just inside the fence or tree line. Those are all programmable. If someone breaches detection circuits, it may trigger a recording that says 'vacate the pool, security is on its way.'"
PoolOptix is also able to be monitored off site by a third-party monitoring station.
Fritts said they are hoping to sell the product through the security dealer channel as well as through SR Smith's existing pool equipment resellers, and that information about it will be up on the company's web site in September.