The Silicon Review
CrowdOptic unlocks capabilities by analyzing data within the live streaming ecosystem.
The Internet of Things (IoT) represents the paradigm that the Internet extends to the physical world. Eventually, every physical object will be connected to the Internet and serve as digital nerve ending for novel applications and services. The vital assurance that Internet of Things offers is to make our world smarter, which can only happen when the right information is provided at the right time. Maximum value from IoT streams can be derived only if they can gather and analyze data immediately and at an ever increasing scale. San Francisco-based CrowdOptic is a technology company that provides intelligent live streaming solutions through the real-time analysis and delivery of video, IoT, sensor data, and biometrics at the network edge. CrowdOptic can live-stream from any device—including smartphones, wearables devices (e.g. smartglasses), drones, and fixed cameras—while understanding the engagement geometry of where devices are aimed in common (at fixed or moving targets).
Founded in 2011 by three Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, CrowdOptic provides an enterprise platform that enables intelligent video live-streaming from mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. CrowdOptic’s algorithms can detect what direction cameras are being pointed to identify targets of common interest, both moving and fixed. It uses real-time sensor data from electronic devices and its own patented CrowdOptic algorithms to identify and track where devices are aimed (focus) and to identify groups of people with the same focus (engagement geometry). Its technology, which includes sensor data smoothing, EXIF data mining and focal analytics, is instantly deployable in a range of mobile applications and technology environments to enhance broadcasting, security, social media sharing and advertising. CrowdOptic works with leading global enterprise companies in the public safety, healthcare, and sports & entertainment sectors.
Since inception, CrowdOptic has focused on delivering enterprise solutions for mobile and IoT devices. CrowdOptic developed initially for smartphones, but adapted quickly to work on wearable form factors (e.g. smart glasses), IoT devices, drones, and fixed cameras—including the company’s own CrowdOptic Eye™ live-streaming camera.
Prevalent Market Status
The market for live-streaming solutions is established, but the market for intelligent live-streaming solutions (with actionable data and analytics) is just emerging, with numerous global enterprises initiating pilots around public safety, healthcare, and training. Furthermore Live-streaming at the edge is unreliable for enterprise purposes and Enterprise use cases often require intelligence beyond simple live-streams.
CrowdOptic specializes in live-streaming solutions at the edge (connectivity-challenged environments), and is the only company to offer intelligent live-streaming capabilities (real-time analytics) at the edge.
The Million Dollar Idea and The Avant-Garde Innovation
After selling his fraud-detection startup Bharosa to Oracle nearly a decade ago, the serial entrepreneur Jon Fisher conceptualized the technology behind CrowdOptic while out on his deck watching ships out in the San Francisco Bay. While watching sailboats glide by, Fisher thought about how great it would be to simply look at a vessel (or anything else for that matter) and instantly receive information on what he was viewing. He was curious about the ships and boats that he saw, and in that moment he envisioned a way to point his smartphone at a boat to get information back. “I wanted to be able to aim my phone at moving boats on the water to get more information about them—such as their location,” he recalls.
Expanding on that vision, he assembled members of his prior team at Bharosa (acquired by Oracle in 2007) to build the technology to do so, and CrowdOptic was born. Blazing new ground once again, CrowdOptic has been developed specifically for smartphones, wearable devices such as Google Glass and Sony SmartEyeglass, IoT devices, drones, and fixed cameras products. It gathers and displays additional information about anything you happen to look at while wearing a connected AR device.
Pièce de résistance of CrowdOptic Eye™: CrowdOptic Eye™ live-streaming cameras connect with multiple devices to broadcast single data streams to remote application servers. The CrowdOptic AquaEye™ streams audio, video and biometrics to enable coaches to train swimmers from remote locations.
Intersect™: CrowdOptic Intersect™ is a new solution under a partnership with HPE to bring intelligent live streaming capabilities to the edge. Intersect combines the rugged processing power of HPE Edgeline servers with CrowdOptic’s patented software algorithms and IoT devices. The result is an industry-first solution for live streaming that harnesses sensor data from mobile and IoT devices and/or biometric data from end-users and objects of interest, to provide powerful analytics capabilities. Intersect analytics are computed in real time at any remote location, and can be contributed to a larger analytics collection and analysis effort.
Intersect provides situational awareness and actionable information through the real-time analysis of video, IoT sensor data, and biometrics at the network edge. Mobile servers aggregate high-resolution video and operational data from devices at the edge while streaming compressed, curated content to a remote server each second.
Awe-inspiring applications of CrowdOptic’s technology
The technology is currently being used in public safety, healthcare, and sports applications. Below are few illustrations to explain these:
Rescue workers can respond faster: Police, fire, and rescue vehicles are equipped with CrowdOptic servers to stream on-site data to give command centers the ability to contribute support and forensic analysis in real-time. This enhanced feedback loop makes it possible for first responders to tend to emergencies faster and with more precision, saving more civilian lives.
Firsthand medical learning becomes more accessible: The medical community now has a high-level and cost-effective means of connecting remotely to live medical procedures. By streaming video and IoT data from devices across multiple locations onto a single web page, CrowdOptic eliminates the need for costly integrated systems. CrowdOptic’s technology coupled with the HPE Server is a cost-effective means of connecting live procedures to remote colleagues and students.
Blue heart of the planet can be saved in times of peril: Eye™ is CrowdOptic’s first standalone hardware product for instantaneous, professional-grade live streaming. The latest iteration of the Eye™, the AquaEye™ also happens to be the world’s first underwater, wireless, live-streaming camera. The product has many applications, whether to help swimmers optimize their fitness regimes, or aid a naval operation in an oceanic accident or disaster.
Ingredients for Success
Tenacious Dream Team: “I’ve been with the same core engineering team for 20 years now,” Fisher says. “We’re like a less good-looking version of Ocean’s 11. But we do it legally, of course.” The company’s head of engineering and the CFO have been with Fisher for 20 years, he says, and most of the lead engineering staff has been with him for 15 years or more. “The majority of my private investors have also been with us for a long time, at least the largest ones, although we certainly have new relationships,” Fisher says. “As a team, it’s almost like we have been able to operationalize a degree of startup success. We are formulaic about how we do this.”
Zeal for Innovation: CrowdOptic holds 10 patents and 5patent applications pending related to engagement geometry analytics and live-streaming capabilities. It unlocks capabilities by analyzing data within the live streaming ecosystem. Through an understanding of device sensors, users can connect and interact with each other in real-time based on where their devices are aimed, and by examining device streaming and connection performance the best video from multiple feeds can be determined on the fly.
Case Studies showcasing CrowdOptic’s disruptive technology
China Traffic Police / Futton: China’s traffic police selected Intersect to tie in multiple cameras from mobile trucks, helicopters, and officers in the field, to provide situational awareness to officers and to allow command to see where officers are looking by querying streams via object of interest.
Medtronic: Medtronic selected CrowdOptic to deploy secure, HIPAA-compliant live-streaming solutions with algorithmic QoS for remote viewing opportunities of critical product procedures for physician and staff training purposes.
The Labs: The Labs selected Intersect to enable remote training of athletes, combining live streaming with in-session analysis of device sensor and biometric data to create a real-time, science-based fitness regime.
To Quote The Clients….
“My research left me blown-away with the technical background of the CrowdOptic team, as well as the technology they’ve been able to field.”
- Bill Heseltine, Supervisor, Operations Research Analysis United States Special Operations Command
“We’re very happy to have CrowdOptic, an IoT innovator, as part of our HPE Edgeline Innovation Network. We’ve collaborated to combine their Intersect software with our Edgeline Converged Edge Systems, creating an effective IoT appliance solution with several visualization applications such as medical, military, and law enforcement.”
- Dr. Tom Bradicich, Vice President and General Manager, Servers, Converged Edge, and IoT Systems, HPE
“With this cutting edge technology, National Bioskills Laboratories is excited to expand our vision of connected and integrated training centers nationwide allowing us to reach more people while enhancing their learning experience—all while doing it at a lower cost for our clients.”
- Douglas A. Hampers, MD, CEO, National Bioskills Laboratories
Mastermind behind the Masterstroke
Jon Fisher, Co-Founder and CEO: Prior to CrowdOptic, Jon was co-founder and CEO of Bharosa (Oracle NASDAQ: ORCL), an enterprise software security company that developed the product known today as Oracle’s Adaptive Access Manager. Previously, Jon was co-founder and CEO of NetClerk (Roper Technologies: NYSE ROP), one of the first SaaS providers known for creating the online construction permit, and co-founder and CEO of AutoReach (AutoNation NYSE: AN), the first company to enable real time car sales from existing inventories. Jon is a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Emerging Category, 2007), and is a prolific inventor, named on 59 patents globally.
“I’m so focused on making CrowdOptic the most successful thing I’ve ever done that it doesn’t make sense for me to focus on much else other than maintaining the ground we’ve taken, and pushing it out to the next levels in our strategy.”