Friday, April 05, 2019

Livecam business plan from 2001

Blogger will just not let me copy this document in to the blog. 


The information in the following document is a first draft and has not reviewed for it accuracy; its still being modified on a daily bases.

Nothing in this document should be considered a statement of fact and its author John L. Sokol has been it’s only contributor up to this point.

John L. Sokol or any companies, corporation or organizations make no guarantees to this documents accuracy and by reading past this, you agree to not holding the above or any other parties responsible for anything contained or inferred in this document.

The information within this document is considered proprietary by
 John L. Sokol and it is requested that this not be distributed or disclosed to any other parties without his consent.



Copyright ©
John L. Sokol

Livecam Digital Camera System

Surveillance, Conferencing, Video logging

By John L. Sokol
Pre-draft Version 10/08/2001

The mini Livecam™ camera and its applications.

            Usually when you think high tech and Internet video the last think you think of is security cameras and surveillance. It’s not very sexy, some guy making minimum wage in a blue uniform sitting behind a bank of CRT’s. It’s a technology that’s been around since the 50’s and it is a very large and well-established market. This market is just starting to feel the impact of the digital revolution let alone the Internet. This is where it gets interesting because the advances in compression, image processing and recognition, AI (Artificial Intelligence), face recognition and broadband are going to revolutionize the entire security industry.

            This change will be bad for some and good for other.  Many of these companies are still in the Stone Age and barely know what a computer is. This great for a new high tech company as long as they keep this in mind. Not only is the competition in this backward mindset but also are the customers.   The key here is not to make the mistake I have seen so often, a low tech customer base intimidated by a wiz bang gadget that will do one thousand and one thing and not one person can figure out how to make it perform basic functions.

This is where the Livecam has always shined, proving the latest and most advance compression and technology inside the box while at the same time keeping the outside familiar, reliable and dirt simple fool proof. Use of standard and familiar connectors for those who already know analog video, a simple web page to access and instantly they are up and streaming live video. The new product design is also that same way. It’s simple and modular allowing those with little technical ability to set it up and those with greater skills to be able to use this as the building block of very powerful system.

History of the Livecam and
Companies surrounding it.

Livecam has a long history for an Internet technology.  John Sokol had participated in some very early streaming audio experiments over the internet in 1988 and later streaming video at Sun Microsystems in 1991.

  The very first Livecam was created in 1995 for to place Livecams at tourist locations on the Tahitian Islands, this was done jointly with FountainHead Internet Systems. From there, the Yosemite Livecam was place at Glacier Peek and recorded its collapse in 1996 for Internet Outfitters and .  Many Livecams were placed around the country, most would only capture an image every minute or so and place it on a web site.

 This work was done under the name Sokol and Associates. S&A had been involved with many advanced Internet projects; it had over 60 costumers with many with very close working relationships. One was with the first Streaming video company Xing with their Streamworks product. Xing was later purchased by Real Video for $78M.

S&A spun out, or was part of several companies, Netsys inc, Symatrix, Process Network Productions, Omnetrix, Light Entertainment, (DVT) Digital Video Technology, and (IBS) Internet Broadcast Systems.  NetSys (short for Network Systems) was to deploy a Distributed Serving Network called SDSN in Early 96 it only received partial funding and was later acquired by IBS.

Internet Broadcast Systems deployed a large video rebroadcast network for early Internet customers that were able to charge for video. IBS started with a customize version of the Xing product developed by Sokol.  Very quickly be became clear there were problems with Xing product and the Livecam was redesigned to replace Xing as something much more scalable and reliable. At one point over 10,000 views we observer at one time watch Livecam video. IBS funded S&A and DVT to experiment with many different video-streaming technologies. From this the record breaking Afterburner was created. A streaming Wavelet Video was created, Streaming Fractal video, as well as an early MPEG-4 solution that is still plays current MPEG-4 files better then many current players. The Livecam was the simplest and most straightforward of all the solutions and was found to work best in the real world environments. With further development it was achieving almost the same compression ratios as more sophisticated compression scheme while still remaining compatible with the JPEG Standard.

 In 1998 IBS became DVBS as part preparations for becoming a Pink Sheet and later a publicly traded company on the VSE (Vancouver Stock Exchange) (Symbol  IMVC).  In 1999 DVBS California was created and development was moved to San Jose California. At this time the Livecam video Conferencing features were added, performance and picture quality continued to improve and the user interface became much simpler to use.  DVBS acquired several companies, Sirex USA, and FutureTech International. In 2000 DVBS began to have funding problems and split apart, the public entity became Pervasys Inc. (Symbol PVYS) and continues to sell a product similar to the Livecam called Felix. 

Current Status

   John Sokol, still retaining all his intellectual property went separately and started Zydeo Inc. with new partners in August of 2000.  Zydeo so far has not raise money or completed a business plan. The board of Zydeo has agreed to either restructure the company, diluting the original shareholders or allow Zydeo to be acquired by a new company for a small percentage.

The Current Livecam as well as some competing products can be seen at 

Figure (1) Cost for sending video and audio.

After 10 years of toiling with video over the Internet I began to realize a few things. Most people want to do something “Glamorous”. They think TV stations over the Internet, Independent films or radio stations. Often they just don’t have the content to attract paying customers. They want to provide content for free and pay for it with advertising and sponsorships.


Looking at Figure (1) the cost of Internet video and audio starts off low. Many people think this is a great opportunity just a few thousand dollars and they have a global TV network just like the CNN or AT&T. But on several occasions I have seen this type of thinking, very quickly turn into a nightmare of bandwidth bills. The problem is the way the Internet revenue model works. This is where the send and receiver each pay their upstream ISP for their share; in some sense it’s like a 50/50 Split.  Senders (servers / content providers) pay their halve and receivers, the guy at home, pays his $20 a month.  Each viewer cost the provider only a few cents to send a video; this is happening 24 Hrs a day 7 days a week 365 days a year and quickly adds up.

Even if it’s 10 cents an hour, per viewer, this is $72 per viewer per month. By each viewer I mean one allocation of resources for a viewer to connect into. This is equivalent to a seat in a restaurant; one seat may have many occupants over the course of a day but only one at a time.
So for 100 (seats) viewers it’s $7200 a month.  For 10000 viewers it $720,000 per month, at this point renting air time for infomercials on cable starts to look very cost effective.  The other problem is even if you transmit one hour per week to 10,000 viewers, you still need the whole bandwidth, flat rate as if you were broadcasting continuously. Just as you would to seat 10,000 people in a theater you need to build out the theater and pay the full month rent on the building.
  The economics just don’t scale up for Internet video.  Currently Internet video can only compete where there are a small number of viewers.

Why to choose security and video conferencing?

Based on Figure (1),
The applications where Internet Video makes economic sense is:
1.)    Markets with only a small number of viewers
2.)    Markets where people pay to view.

Security and video conferencing fit the first scenario.
This is the market I have decided to pursue and have designed the new product to address the needs of these specific markets.

Education, adult, gambling, special events such as football fit the second.
These are complicated and depend entirely on producing or having access to video or music content.

Video Conferencing could also be used in the second scenario as well but it seems like a difficult market logistically with a large capital outlay.

Another technology option is to use Peer-to-Peer transmission technology elimination the provider’s cost of bandwidth. I have research this to a great extent and found that even with the broadband connectivity available today, the upstream wasn’t sufficient for video, but was fine for just low bandwidth audio transmission. Also there are complication being created with firewalls and NATS (Network address translators) that are used to allow multiple computers on a DSL connection. Although, there may still be an opportunity here.

Analysis of the Video Camera Market.
Figure (2) Cost of video camera vs. image quality

Currently in the Medium quality, mid-range there only exists analog video systems. Digital is both low cost and low quality or high cost ultra high quality with little in the middle ground. There seems to be no digital solution with adequate quality for security camera use and that is still cost effective. 

            This is where I plan to place the new Livecam camera product, the only midrange digital solution that beats the “disposable USB Cameras” and provides an industrial grade security solution while still being sellable into business and consumer markets for a higher quality of video conferencing then is available today.

            Even if the low cost cameras like the USB or a connectix QuickCam deliver better video it’s not compressed output and they require a $1000 Windows PC to connect to and convert the video into an Internet format. Currently it’s only the very high end DVC equipment that included the video compression electronics to be able to save 1 Hr of digital video to a tape.

The Wireless World

Figure (3) Xcam2 Wireless Video Camera with built-in Video Transmitter

Product Misperceptions

The X10 camera that has been seen all over the web with these new annoying pop up from behind ads. There are great little cameras, but they are not digital. These X10 cameras are analog video cameras with analog wireless radio links and have nothing to do with the Internet video. They are another security product that is selling like crazy. It’s one of the few consumer grade security products and before their very effective Internet marketing blitz they were having a very difficult time selling them.

It’s funny because most people perceptions still are they can send video over the Internet with the Xcam2 product. To do this you will still need to use a Livecam or similar to convert and compress the video to a Internet format. I have used these X10 cameras with the Livecam on many occasions to eliminate having to dangle wires across a room or get into difficult to access locations.

Importance of Wireless

This brings up a very valid point. Wireless is an important technology and can simplify the installation of surveillance systems to a large extent. The new Livecam product is designed to connect to standard Ethernet networks.  There is an 802.11 wireless Ethernet standard that is very quickly dropping in price and increasing in popularity. Some future models of the Livecam camera will have 802.11 (DSSS, wireless Ethernet) support build in thereby being 100% identical in operation to the wired version but operating wireless. In this version a third Party wireless card will just be added internally to the camera.

Figure (4) Older CCTV (Closed Circuit Television System)

Cameras technologies have improved over time.
  1. Black and white tube
  2. Color multiple tubes
  3. Color single tube
  4. Black and while CCD (Charge Coupled Device) a silicon chip
  5. Color CCD
Coming soon is:
  1. Color CMOS – cameras build using digital silicon chip process
  2. Color CMOS all digital output, USB cameras do this now but the image quality is not there yet.

The technology for 6 and 7 is still being worked out, I would very much see this company eventually make a #7 based product where there is nothing but a chip with a lens and network connections coming out of it. This would be the ultimate in low cost.

Until the mid 80’s there was little improvement in the rest of the system.
VCR’s came in the 70’s but these are just modified consumer VCR’s that move the tape slower and cause severe reduction in picture quality. Most systems still use this.

Also the addition of a control/effect box allowed one TV to display 4 cameras at one and also allow the rotation of multiple camera images to cycle through an even larger number of attached cameras. 

Figure (5) Current CCTV systems

More recently digital recorders have become available. These are like the consumer TiVo product that store compressed video on a hard disk drive. These units can run from $1200 to $20,000. Most are based on Intel PC computers and some even run windows inside.

Most of the lower cost recorders claim full motion and support for several cameras at once, but when evaluating these I found as soon as you have more then one camera the video drops to a image per second or lower. This is more like a slide show.

Most will not transmit video over the Internet and there are separate boxes that support this.  The older Livecam product can be consider one of these, even though it has superior image video quality then the competition, its higher price, larger size and appearance as a desktop PC has limited sales into the security industry.  The new Livecam camera rectifies all of these issues.

Figure (6) Livecam Camera in and All Digital CCTV Security System

  • A – All Digital Cameras connected directly to network.

  • B – Typical Ethernet LAN Hub to interconnect all network devices.

  • C -- Windows Based PC can allow viewing of cameras or recording

  • D – Unix server can allow conversion of digital video to Analog TV and also record digital video.

  • E – A standard TV or Analog CCTV Security Monitor or Computer VGA Monitor

  • F – Same as D except connected over the public Internet

  • G – Same as C except connected over the public Internet

Size of proposed new video solution. In Inches.

Version with built-in cheap plastic lens.

C-mount removable lens version. Customers can select their own lenses.

Rear view of unit, Notice 2 x 10-BaseT Ethernet Network connectors and power.

Front view of C-mount version.

This is a bad drawing I did to show a typical system setup.
Notice how the cameras are in a daisy chained or start configuration and attach them directly to a network hub and directly onto the Internet.


 Just a Search for the word “Surveillance” in Red Herring still needs to be filtered.

Date and Source
Topic Area
09/19/2001   Red Herring
Catch of the Day
09/11/2001   Red Herring
08/06/2001   Red Herring
08/01/2001   Red Herring
05/01/2001   Red Herring
Venture Capital
04/27/2001   Red Herring
Venture Capital
04/25/2001   Red Herring
Venture Capital
04/23/2001   Red Herring
Venture Capital
04/20/2001   Red Herring
Venture Capital
04/11/2001   Red Herring
04/03/2001   Red Herring
Venture Capital
02/15/2001   Red Herring
02/06/2001   Red Herring
Venture Capital
01/18/2001   Red Herring
01/16/2001   Red Herring
01/01/2001   Red Herring
11/20/2000   Red Herring
Venture Capital
11/01/2000   Red Herring
11/01/2000   Red Herring
10/16/2000   Red Herring
Venture Capital
09/19/2000   Red Herring
Venture Capital
08/01/2000   Red Herring
05/01/2000   Red Herring
03/01/2000   Red Herring
01/01/2000   Red Herring
04/01/1999   Red Herring
03/01/1998   Red Herring
01/01/1998   Red Herring
12/01/1997   Red Herring
12/01/1997   Red Herring
08/01/1997   Red Herring
08/01/1995   Red Herring
07/01/1995   Red Herring
04/01/1995   Red Herring

redotVisionics (face recognition)
redotViisage (face recognition)
redotIdentix (fingerprint recognition)
redotIridian Technologies (iris recognition)
redotEyeTicket (iris recognition)
redotKeyware (various biometrics)
redotBioNetrix (biometrics application platform)
redotAnkari (security and authentication)
redotRSA Security (authentication and data security)


Adds  of other competing technologies.

The Livecam in this page is the old Zydeo Livecam product.

Video Streaming Basics
Before video streaming, you had to download an entire video file onto your hard drive before you could watch it. This usually involved a long wait. With video streaming, you only need to download a small portion of the same video file before you can watch it online. Although image and sound is still not television quality, you do have instant access to information.

Streaming media can be a live experience--actual broadcast time. It can also be an archived video that is stored on a server that you can view anytime. For archived video, you need a camcorder to shoot original material and you need to edit it before broadcasting it. If you are going to capture your own video footage, because of compression and decompression you should limit movement, avoid zooming, simplify backgrounds and get close to the subject matter.

A video file starts its journey as an analog signal, then becomes a digital file and finally, converts back to an analog output. Basically, the analog signal is sent from a video camera to the transmitting server to be encoded and compressed into the digital file before it is sent via the Internet through a FTP (File Transfer Protocol). When the digital video reaches your computer, it is decoded and decompressed back into an analog signal before you can view it.

Only: $719.00 USD
The WE-10 is an integrated camera and video streaming server all in one attractive unit. Provides full remote access via internet.      

Only: $1,979.00 USD
The new VPON-300 remote video web camera server supports full motion live video and full two way audio transmission via the Internet, Intranet, or direct dial-up modem connection      

Only: $5,995.00 USD
The broadcast quality LSX-01 audio/video streaming server operates without the need for plug-ins or media player - ideal for video conferencing applications.      

The OPTICOM LSX-01 is a broadcast quality streaming audio/video server. With Broadband Technology becoming a dominant force in the marketplace, it is important to make sure that users are able to utilize technology like the LSX-01. Because the LiveCam video stream is actually Live, and the applet is delivered concurrently with the stream, the LiveCam video stream can be utilized in unique ways currently unachievable with traditional streaming systems.
  • Broadcast Quality Streaming of Any Video Feed via Internet or Intranet
  • Complete Audio/Video Streaming System
  • True Real Time Viewing - No Buffering
  • Linux-based PC/Server Technology
  • Proprietary Compression Algorithm
  • Easily Embedded into Existing Websites or Emails
  • No Need for Additional Software Plug-Ins or Media Player
  • Scaleable Original Image Size (320 x 240)
  • Up to 100 Simultaneous Users with No Frame Rate Loss
  • Compatible with Cross O/S Platforms Including MS and Mac
  • Real Time Audio/Video Provides Video Conferencing via Internet
The LiveCam operates on cross platform, all makes of PC's and Apple/Mac computers can accept and view the stream. Live video and audio can be e-mailed to opt-in mailing lists, allowing the user to see video right from their Eudora or Outlook Express mail program.

The LiveCam can be used as a powerful marketing tool as the stream can be integrated into hundreds of banner adds across the web to increase click-throughs and regular site visits. The LiveCam will support hundreds of simultaneous users with no video or audio loss. The "real-time" aspect also allows for web based "interactivity" on a new level: Remote control devices, mass internet marketing, and videoconferencing are just a few examples.

The Webeye™ WE-10 is an integrated camera and video streaming server all in one attractive unit. The Linux based Web-server combines high speed networking technology with a 1/3" format CCD camera. In addition to this, the WE-10 is equipped with a 32bit RISC CPU, making it even more efficient in processing images. The WE-10 utilizes a High-Speed Internet connection (ie. Cable modem, ADSL, T-1) by connecting directly into the Ethernet and providing live motion color pictures via the Internet.
  • Superior Wavelet Compression Algorithm
  • Maximum 30 Frames per second (FPS) Image Compression
  • High Resolution Images (720 x 486 NTSC, 720 x 576 PAL)
  • Maximum 30 FPS High Resolution Image Transmission
  • Provides 100 Simultaneous User Accessibilty
  • Motion Detection Alarm w/Off-Site Notification
  • Supports Remote Pan/Tilt/Zoom Control
  • External Sensor Input and Solid State Relay
  • External Video Input via RS232~RCA Adaptor
  • Focus Area Selection and Setting
  • Adjustable Image Compression and Decompression Rates
  • 6MB Configurable Web Page, Self-contained FTP Server and Email Functions
  • Supports TCP/IP, ARP, RARP, ICMP, DHCP, FTP, HTTP, and SMTP Protocol
The WE-10 generates pictures in Wavelet format, which is a more efficient, by 30-300%, compression system than standard JPEG. By utilizing the Internet, the user can save expensive long-distance charges often associated with PSTN modem-to-modem dial-up connections, while still able to have real-time monitoring of live video.

This lists “which is a more efficient, by 30-300%, compression system than standard JPEG”
In tests this is much less efficient then the original Livecam product requiring more bandwidth to achieve the same frame rates and image quality then Livecam was using.  In addition they have a low profit margin because they have had to embed and entire windows PC inside their camera.

EYEWITNESS® In-Car Video System
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Designed for constant use, the system features top-of-the-line, industrial-grade components, including a Panasonic recorder and Sony camera. Be sure to check out the wide range of features that continue to make Eyewitness the most preferred in-car video system on the market.
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Network Camera and Video Servers
Axis Network Cameras and Video Servers provide an easy way to capture and distribute live images over a network or the Internet using a standard web browser. Whether you want to enhance your web pages with live images and sound, or if you need a network surveillance solution, Axis can match your needs.