Alarm.com acquires ObjectVideo

Deal will help company bring advanced video analytics to both resi and SMB markets
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

TYSONS, Va.—Alarm.com, which provides a platform for the connected home and business, announced the acquisition of substantially all of ObjectVideo Inc.'s business, including the company's products, technology portfolio and personnel.

The business, now called ObjectVideo Labs, will accelerate Alarm.com's research and development of video services and video analytics applications for both the residential and commercial markets, and will continue to provide advanced research and engineering services for federal government customers.

“What we liked about ObjectVideo is the company started doing high-end, very sophisticated analytics in the late ’90s working on military and government research-type projects,” Jeff Bedell, chief strategy and innovation officer for Alarm.com, told Security Systems News. “So when they came on the market, we looked at them and said these guys are a great fit for the company, plus they were located close to us.”

Founded in 1998 by scientists and program managers from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the ObjectVideo team averages more than 15 years of experience and includes a mix of computer vision scientists and video software engineers that have expertise in machine learning, 3D modeling, and complex activity recognition.

“One of the main reasons we acquired them was for the expertise of their staff—the group was engineering heavy, largely a research and development team, which we were very interested in,” said Bedell. “We have been investing more in our video solutions and they are experts in both general video software plus this high-end computer analytics/vision-type of stuff, including a commercial solution—it really was a no-brainer for us.”

Bedell said the idea is to bring high-end video analytics capabilities to the residential mass market as well as to the SMB commercial side.

Earlier this year, Alarm.com unveiled its Insights Engine, which takes all of the data being produced by the home and uses machine learning to have the homeowner alerted based on any kind of anomalous behavior the AI sees in the home.

“That is us applying machine learning to big data, and the machine learning that we were applying was based on sensor activity alerts, motion detection, and other things, and not based on the lower level of detail in the camera itself,” Bedell explained.  “ObjectVideo can do the same thing to the video feed, so what we want to have them take a look at is applying computer vision to our video feeds to provide the same capabilities that the Insights engine does on the non-video data we get.”

The second phase, he said, is to integrate the two—“to allow the Insights Engine and the video analytics engine, if we can call it that, to be more tightly integrated so you can even do more advanced or combinations of event detection and/or automation.”

Alarm.com looks to bring these solutions to the commercial market as well, and this builds on the company’s announcement of its Smart Business platform at ISC West last year.

“What we are trying to do in the commercial space is what we did in the resi space—bring interactive services and automation to the SMB business,” said Bedell. “We created this Alarm.com Smart Business framework and we are out recruiting dealers and making a big push generally for the platform to position it in the commercial market. And when you get into that space the video analytics need to get more sophisticated as well, and this team is very positioned to do that.”

Embedding commercial video analytic solutions will allow businesses to get operational intelligence about their stores, said Bedell. “Sometimes it is security surveillance but many times it is more business intelligence for the store—people counting, as well as analyzing store traffic, patterns and trends,” he said. “What we are trying to do is video analytics at scale.”