HowTec launches mobile surveillance products

Monday, December 1, 2008

VISTA, Calif.--As a small and nascent systems integration firm, HowTec Video Security Systems “wanted to catch a niche that seemed to be overlooked,” said owner Greg Howard. Seeing $1.5 billion a year in losses and few non-permanent surveillance solutions for the construction-site vertical, Howard and HowTec endeavored to explore a mobile IP video solution equipped with DVR, Pelco Spectra IV camera system, a cellular router, back-up battery and GPS system.

The company met up with Barnhart, a division of Heery International, and one of the largest school builders in the United States, and soon made their first sale of a Mobile Surveillance Trailer that now watches over the construction of Poway Unified School District’s new high school in San Diego County. The system is monitored in real time by Total Monitoring Solutions, a video monitoring central station based in Los Angeles.

However, the video feeds back to TMS were triggered by motion sensors, and “with sensors there are a lot of false alarms,” Howard noted, so HowTec began exploring video analytics as sensors.

“There wasn’t really a lot of competition out there that was even mature enough to compare,” Howard contended. “Ioimage had the best prepared equipment on the technological side and the marketing side, as far as material you need to promote it and get the end user to understand what it does.”

Of course, “everything was expensive,” so he said price wasn’t much of a factor.

Now HowTec is working with resellers in Oregon and northern California to distribute the Mobile Surveillance Trailer. Barnhart bought the unit it’s using, but HowTec believes there’s a market for leasing the trailer to end users, and it’s also developed a Builder’s Cam the company is planning to rent to builders.

The interest in the construction site solution has grown HowTec to six full-time employees, and the company recently moved into new warehouse and office space. “We’re relatively small,” said Howard, “but we’ve got big ideas and big intentions, and we intend to grow quickly.”