|When an alarm is activated, I-View Now uploads a video clip the cloud and sends a link to that clip to monitoring operators and end users. From that link, an end user can call the central station to confirm that the alarm is either valid or false.|
Since the company’s formation in July 2011, I-View Now has offered a service that it says turns burglar alarms and passive surveillance appliances into active video systems with no hardware or software to purchase.
Based on the premise that a security control panel is a “simple and dependable device,” the cloud-based I-View Now service is designed to simplify and streamline the video verification process. While primarily designed to lower the barrier for central stations to offer video verification, I-View Now is also a useful tool for customers, who can access live and stored video through an end-user Web portal. They also can set alerts that will trigger an email or a text message to their phones.
“We’ve created a stripped-down interface that delivers a pre-alarm video clip and allows an operator to quickly go down the responsible party list to provide a level of verification,” described Larry Folsom, president of I-View Now, who is also president of American Video and Security, a Las Vegas-based security dealer.
When an event occurs, I-View Now generates a video clip from the DVR or NVR and sends that clip to the cloud. From there, a text message or email containing a link to the video clip is sent to both the central station and the end user, who can view the clip from their computer, tablet or smartphone.
That link takes the end user to the clip, which includes clickable buttons to either refresh the video or dispatch. They can also view live video from any of the cameras at the location, and the clip is stored in their Web portal. Clicking the dispatch button will call the central station, allowing the customer to either verify the alarm as valid or report that it is a false alarm.
Simultaneously, the central station operator can also view the clip or live video. He or she then works through the customer’s contact list to verify an actual or false alarm. Often, an operator never gets to that step, Folsom explained. “A lot of times, customers are able to cancel an alarm before the operator has a chance to call for verification,” he said.
While there are a number of smartphone applications on the market that allow end users to do the same thing, Folsom said those are not always the best option, particularly if there’s a new phone involved.
“Apps can be problematic for dealers. As an alarm guy, if my end user upgrades their phone, they call us and they want the IP addresses of their devices and their password, which may have changed,” he explained. “With our service, there’s no app required, so all the client has to do is log on to their account and they have access from their phone.”
As a bonus, I-View Now is branded for the dealer rather than the manufacturer, as is the case with most smartphone apps. I-View Now charges its central station customer base on a pay-as-you-go basis, charging a metered rate for only the bandwidth and storage they use.
At present, I-View Now is compatible with a number of hardware manufacturers, including DMP, Honeywell, Bosch Security, VideoIQ, Hikvision, Speco Technologies and Axis Communications. It is also compatible with central station software from MAStermind, Bold Technologies, Micro Key, SureView and SGS Stages. Folsom said new integrations are in the works and should be available in the near future. The company also recently signed a partnership with Protection 1 that allows the latter to provide the I-View Now service to its customers.
Verified response is increasingly becoming a requirement for law enforcement and other first responders (see “Verified Alarm, Verifiable Results” on page 73), which is driving a industry movement toward video verification, including CSAA’s Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) efforts. Folsom said he wants I-View Now to play a role in this movement.
“CSAA has written a protocol to get us all on the same sheet of music. Right now, we’re using the same words, but we’re talking about different things,” Folsom explained. “By standardizing the gap between an event and video verification by a stated amount of time, an operator can verify it and go around 9-1-1, and that will drastically reduce response times.
“We’re working to shift the focus from investigation to video verification, and we’re providing an enhancement of the work we’re all doing already,” he added.