The little cameras in your home are multiplying. There are the ones you bought, perhaps your SLR or digital camera, but also those that just kind of show up in your current phone, your old phone, your laptop, your game console, and soon your TV and set-top box.
Varun Arora wants you to turn them all on.
The founder and CEO of GotoCamera in Singapore sees every such camera as an opportunity. The startup, which is attending this year's DEMO Asia conference in Singapore, provides software and online storage for capturing or streaming video, and says it now has 100,000 users.
Arora hopes that eventually he can convince his users to switch on the various cameras in their homes and let his company's algorithms analyze what they show, then sell the results as marketing data, in a sort of visual version of what Google and other firms do with search results and free email services.
"But video is another level of privacy for users," he said.
For now, his company makes money by charging manufacturers for offering its services with their products, or from users that upgrade to extra storage. Currently most such cameras are USB-driven, but a new wave of cheap Wi-Fi models are on the way, and manufacturers like Samsung and Panasonic are putting them into TVs and other devices, mainly for motion control and video conferencing.
"USB is a sunset industry" for cameras, Arora said. He showed off a tiny wireless camera from partner Trek 2000 International, about the size of a roll of film. It sells online for about US$65, and other manufacturers will soon launch for less than $50. Unlike USB models, Wi-Fi cameras don't need to be plugged into a computer or network, and usually just require a power source, which makes them ideal for security and monitoring...