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BroadWare Helps Companies Monitor Business

BroadWare Technologies (www.broadware.com), a company specializing in video monitoring solutions, announced it received $7.7 million in funding led by New Vista Capital with additional investment by McKenna Ventures, Hitachi Corporation and Defta Partners. BroadWare said it will use the new funds to develop its surveillance.com site, which let's businesses put their security cameras over the Internet.

William Stuntz, CEO of Broadware, said the company is just about six years old. In February 2001, it changed its name from Graham Technology Solutions (GTS), an old-time provider of Java-based streaming solutions. It has done work for a variety of companies including NASA, Oracle, Sun and has even helped Delaware put its highway cameras on the Internet. Now, Broadware is focusing on its surveillance Web site. Stuntz said that companies that sign up can log onto the Web site and access their security cameras from anywhere. He said that companies like retail stores, factories, banks, day care centers, or universities, can use their existing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera setups in conjunction with Broadware's services.

"There are many millions of CCTV cameras already installed in the U.S., at every retail store you can go into," said Stuntz. "They've spent billions installing those. Now, for a small additional investment (a few thousand dollars and small monthly fee), they can access those over the Internet."

Stuntz said that Broadware offers live video access to cameras, and even offers the option to archive the footage locally (inside a retail store, for example) or remotely (at Broadware's storage facilities). "You can go home at night and watch your store being closed down, or check on new employees," he said.

So how does it work? Stuntz said that Broadware is selling its services through camera retailers and dealers, rather than selling direct. If a customer has a traditional analog CCTV setup, Broadware installs a conversion box that converts analog signals to digital. The boxes come with their own IP address and plug directly to the Internet, so there's no need to install a dedicated computer or server at a customer's location. (Interestingly, Hitachi, one of the makers of the boxes, is also an investor in the company.)

Rather than using RealNetworks' or Microsoft's formats, Broadware uses a proprietary JPEG video method that can send out about five frames per second of video, that plays on any Java-enabled browser without a player plug-in. It can size a video in typical sizes like 160 by 120, 320 by 240 or 640 by 480.

Pricing starts at about $30 a month, although the price does go up depending on storage, broadband connection fees and other features. "Usually, you install a security camera to control expenses or losses," said Stuntz. "Now having it over the Internet, it's not just security, but business management as well. You can go on vacation and feel better."

Stuntz said that there are about 7 to 10 million security cameras installed in the U.S., and about 20 to 30 million in the world. Conceivably, it can be a large market, if even a few businesses decide to go online. But so far Broadware is just getting started. It has signed up a number of dealers right now and is starting to build out.

So what's the competition like? "Poor," said Stuntz, half-jokingly. He cited companies like Eyecast, Vital Link and Preview Networks who are doing similar things to Broadware. Still, he thinks Broadware has an advantage, even in this down market. "A lot of businesses were based on eyeballs instead of profits," said Stuntz. "We have a business model that generates both."

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