I wonder what story is being told to support this next round of funding? What compelling products are investors hearing about to convince them that a decent payoff is just around the corner?
Personally, I think we're on the verge of a real breakthrough that's driven as much by price as technology.
About 5 years ago I recall some great marketing (3VR? BRS Labs? Panoptics?) showing visualizations of transparent facilities in which you could see people and dynamic objects moving around in real time. Since it never delivered, it seems that back then, this objective was a bridge too far. However, it made for a very compelling story. That very clear, integrated view was something people could identify with and want. Contrast that with today's product: largely unstructured video. Multiple unrelated views. A world view that is really incoherent and challenging for a human to visualize and comprehend. Just following one person through multiple views and perspectives is a very significant cognitive workload.
An intuitive integrated view could help people to understand what's happening right now and to quickly grasp situations as they unfold. The simplicity and clarity should sell itself.
The tools to make it happen already exist in one form or another. Video games and graphics have developed much of the background technologies, to where they are almost commodities today. Today we use standard processors to geo-register and display imagery as its collected. We can rapidly and efficiently texture map images onto 3D models. We can develop 3D models from multiple views of an object. Cell phone imagers are so inexpensive that it's difficult to purchase a cell phone without any camera. Microsoft's Windows-integrated Kinect sells for $150 with both RGB and Infrared cameras providing depth information per pixel, admittedly with only 0.3 megapixel per imager. With sensors providing depth data per pixel, unified 3D visualization becomes much more precise and efficient.
Still, it's quite another thing for 3D sensing with unified transparent visualization to become accessible and affordable.
It may still be too costly to deliver such a capability to most residential settings. Each area would need two or three overlapping 2D views with depth information in order to reconstruct a comprehensive 3D view with 360 degree texture mapped surfaces. Just for an outside residential yard, I'd think you would need 10 or 12 ranging imagers to enable such a view. Add the cost of processing and installation and it would still be quite a substantial price.
Software development costs needn't be huge if the system sold widely.
So, what do you think? Is cost the largest barrier? How long can it be before video surveillance loses its opacity and becomes transparent and intuitive enough for the rest of us?
(P.S. I'm not a salesman, just an enthusiast :)