At the recent ITEXPO (News - Alert) East event held in Miami, TMC’s Erik Linask spoke with smart services and smart premises solutions provider Clear2there’s (News - Alert) Tom Shafron about how smart technologies are being used today and in what industries and environments. Clear2there is an Oklahoma City-based company that provides video surveillance solutions as well as machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions, sensors and a “surgeon’s eye” helmet camera designed for surgical video recording. Linask asked Shafron to define the term “smart premises.”
“In general, smart premises are where you’re taking equipment like security, video, quality of life things like entertainment, residential controls on the residential space,” said Shafron. “On the commercial space, you’re talking about things like access control, video, PoS integration, and you’re tying all those systems together and offering it as a cloud service. Now…when we say ‘hybrid,’ the reason our architecture is a hybrid architecture is because we actually place our servers in service providers’ data centers. So it’s not a public cloud, it’s actually pushed down to the service provider level.”
Concerns have been raised about a number of aspects of smart video technology when it comes to security while at the same time home and business monitoring solutions are exploding in growth. Americans already believe that they live in a surveillance society (with good reason), and many balk at the idea of putting sensitive information, much of it in video form, into the cloud.
“If you look at retail and a lot of other systems, the architecture is such that you just buy these systems and you put these devices in your home or business and effectively, you’re trusting the manufacturer or the provider of that system to have designed it in such a way that it’s secure,” said Shafron.
With multiple manufacturers working in different verticals, security may not be their number one motivation: after all, they’re in it capture market share, offer the best features and make the most sales. Security, however, is particularly critical in some industries that deal with (for example) remote medical monitoring. Shafron notes that Clear2there’s model is different.
“What we do is stick everything behind a firewalled VPN encrypted tunnel connection so there’s no direct communication with our devices or our systems at a customer’s premises,” he said. “Instead, the communication actually has to flow through the application servers that are at the service provider’s data center, so the security model is placing that security at the service provider’s data center and at the customer’s premises. It’s completely locked down, even at the local network level. “
Clear2there works with a number of service providers across the country that have begun integrating the company’s services into their own product offerings. In the last year alone, the company has brought about 77 service providers located all over the country on board its platform. Customers are attracted by the retention of subscribers, which enable them to build loyalty with their customers, and new revenue streams.
“When people look at our services versus the competition, because we partner with service providers -- we put our services at their data center and it’s presented as their brand, tied to their billing – it acts as a customer retention and loyalty system as opposed to just an additional revenue stream,” said Shafron.
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Edited by Cassandra Tucker