More new analytics in a box

Eptascape brings MPEG-7, metadata to the CCTV market
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Friday, December 1, 2006

PALO ALTO, Calif.--A firm here in northern Califoria has come to market with a video encoder and network appliance that allows users to quickly apply video analytics to a surveillance network, even with analog cameras. Eptascape is pitching its MPEG-7 technology as unique among its peers. Rather than a compression technology, it is a way of sending along information, or metadata, culled from video, enabling analytics to be applied without actually having to send any video back to a central server.
Integrators will be servicing "these campus environments with well over 250 cameras," said Christian McMillen, the company's chief technology officer, "and all they do is record and record and record. How do we add value to that infrastructure?" Eptascape's answer is to upgrade the analog cameras and add analytics in one product.
McMillen said the technology was developed by the motion picture industry. "The metadata is about what the camera has seen," he said. "It's encoded in XML real-time," which means descriptor codes for coordinates, shape, color, and dozens of other categories can be analyzed for all manner of rules that result in alerts for lines crossed that you can draw on a screen, boxes entered, identified objects removed.
"Then the client software sends over the pre- and post-event motion JPEG [compressed video]," McMillen said, "bookmarking the DVR, which is no longer recording hours and hours of video."
"We've really genericized the idea of rolling all the analytics into a box," McMillen said. "In the very near future, you'll see a camera with all of this embedded. We'll go to market by converting analog, but then we'll deliver the camera."
Other manufacturers, like Cernium and ioimage and soon IBM (see related story, page 1), offer somewhat similar products that use different technology to convert surveillance systems into "smart" systems employing video analytics.