Google Glass’ killer app: surveillance
The company has come up with a real-time video sorting and streaming platform capable of gathering multiple Glass video streams from different locations and organize them so as to broadcast them to other wearers wanting a different video perspective of the same event they are watching.
The main task of the cloud-based CrowdOptic platform is to organize the video streams into clusters of video footage with intersecting sightlines (i.e when different wearers look at the same thing but from different locations), so as to make the video footage searchable by geolocation and field of view.
To do so, the CrowdOptic platform relies on the sensor data provided by Glass (or any other sensor-laden video camera or smartphone) such as GPS position, compass orientation, and accelerometer tilt to calculate the line of sight and the sightline distance for each user. This so-called focal data is associated with each media file and verified for legitimacy and accuracy.
Every second, a Cluster Detection Server calculates the intersection points created by the different video streams, running cluster detection routines to group the intersection points, explains the company in its technical brochure.
Using proprietary algorithms, the company can then search through and filter content from any given cluster to find the most relevant, crowd-sourced content. With the crowd-sourced video streams, the Broadcast‐in option allows a user to inherit the video feed from another wearer, while the Broadcast-out option allows a wearer to broadcast a live video.
“Ultimately, this could lead to real time searches of the real world” said CrowdOptic’s CEO Jon Fisher in an interview with CBN.
Although these video streaming and broadcasting services where initially demonstrated and promoted through sports events, giving access to first-person video footage of celebrity basketball players, or enabling fans to exchange their viewpoint of a game as if they were swapping seats, the consumer market is probably a drop in the bucket.
The surveillance and law enforcement markets could be much larger, admits Fisher who is in talks with a number of public safety agencies. "I can ‘inherit’ the view of a low-orbiting satellite or a drone or any device," Fisher said during the interview, “You can beam into something 10,000 meters away that you can’t see with the naked eye."
Fisher discarded any consumer privacy issues, arguing that the super human powers that this technology provides are quite an offset to any privacy issues, i.e, trade-off your privacy for super powers.
Google Glass units ship pre‐loaded with the CrowdOptic Broadcast app, to support both the Broadcast‐in and Broadcast‐out scenario including for Android and iOS smartphones. Now, for the better good, will the application ask you if accept to share your video footage with law enforcement agencies or will it just be part of an explicit trade-off: no data shared – no service?
Video streaming across users isn’t new. Until last April, Californian company Looxcie, Inc. was in the consumer business, offering wearable cameras and a streaming video service for the recorded media.
But the company recently closed its consumer line of cameras, services and support to focus on the enterprise business under the Vidcie brand. Following a recent partnership with Genetec, a provider of unified IP security solutions, the company now concentrates on mobile live video streaming services for law enforcement officers and security personnel using hands-free on-body cameras. At least in this use-case, the company seems to be evading the privacy issues.