Cernium’s Archerfish in USA Today


No, the product wasn’t written up. It was being advertised. I did a double-take when I saw the guy next to me on the plane reading the Sports section and asked if I could take it home with me. Check this out, from the front page of yesterday’s Sports section:

archerfish video analytics for the home

Seriously? An ad for an analytics-enabled camera on the front page of the USA Today sports section? Not only is it mainstream advertising, it’s mainstream advertising to the least-discerning readers - the people who need candy to read in the morning in their hotel room or on the plane. Sure, that’s a lot of business travelers, who might be early technology adopters, but it’s also a lot of grandmas and grampas and people at Disney World.

Check out the copy, too: “Meet Solo, the First Thinking Camera.”

Um, huh? They made the first thinking camera? No one was ahead of Cernium? That kind of seems untrue. Especially since Solo wasn’t even around a couple years ago. But we’ll let that slide.

“Solo is a smart, wireless security camera and recorder with Homeland Security technology.”

Wha? “Homeland Security technology”? What does that mean? Are they implying that it was developed by the government? Does Homeland Security imply the best of technology development, because only the slickest stuff would be used to protect the “Homeland”? And since when is “Homeland Security” a proper noun?

“It understands what it sees and sends video alerts only when important things happen, so you can rest easy - no matter where you are. Other cameras just watch. Solo thinks.”

Good marketing, overall. Straight to the mainstream public, who aren’t aware of all the VideoIQ, etc., cameras that also come with video analytics on board. And look at the packaging. The camera looks like a cute little hedgehog that’s going to waddle around your house making things safe.

And they even have a slick web site set up,, that tells us Archerfish is “the most effective security camera available for consumers.”

Of course, you can order it at right now. It’s $399 and comes with a free three-month subscription. After that, you’ve got to pay $7.99 a month to use all the video analytics capabilities through the online portal, but you can use the camera like an all-in-one DVR for free if you want, just without any of the bells and whistles.

It’s an end-around, for sure, but a pretty interesting one, and it’s good for the industry, introducing the concept of “smart” cameras to the general public, and making it seem relatively easy.

Whether it works well or not? I certainly haven’t tested it out, but the public will let Cernium know pretty quickly whether it agrees that “it understands what it sees and sends video alerts only when important things happen.”



<div class="comment_text">
<p><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">June 16th, 2010 at 9:12 am </span></span><br />
Who the heck has that amount of marketing $&rsquo;s to throw around?<br />
I agree, it&rsquo;s healthy for the industry as a whole for companies to spend big bucks educating the public, but you have to wonder if they&rsquo;ll get any return on that investment.</p>

<div class="comment_text">
<p><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">June 4th, 2010 at 2:18 pm </span></span><br />
Looks like a sincere waste of marketing dollars right there. The Sports page? I know the concept was to grab the sport loving business man&rsquo;s attention, but the ROI just isn&rsquo;t there. That&rsquo;s like marketing fishing poles on a Victoria&rsquo;s Secret catalog. Sure, some guys look at it, but that&rsquo;s not what they&rsquo;re looking for.</p>
<p>Also, what the heck is Homeland Security technology? Unless this camera waterboards the criminals it catches in it&rsquo;s site, I&rsquo;m not sure that &lsquo;technology&rsquo; is helpful to the industry.&nbsp;</p>
<p>Swing and a miss. Good try though&hellip;</p>

<p class="comment_time"><span style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153);"><span style="font-size: x-small;">May 30th, 2010 at 9:49 am</span></span><br />
You know what? At this point, it doesn&rsquo;t even matter if it works well or not. As long as it doesn&rsquo;t completely suck, it&rsquo;ll sell and sell fast. And every camera that sells is a win for the industry as a whole. You know why? Right now, everyone knows that cameras are worthless and a waste of money, because of all the terrible VHS time lapse 380 line video that our customers see on the evening news with police asking anyone for information to call the tipline. Every camera Cernium sells is a win for the industry as a whole, because the customers who use it will understand that video is a useful tool, and will want CCTV for their homes and businesses in the future. AOL sucked, but before AOL everyone knew that computers were only for nerds and hackers. After AOL came out, everyone had to have a computer and everyone had to have an email address.<br />
Finally, a security company that actually understands marketing!</p>