Crowdfunding School Surveillance Systems: The Big Brother Project

By: Carlton Purvis, Published on Dec 20, 2013

Crowdfunding is becoming a popular source of raising money. In the last five years, interest has gone from nearly nothing to more than  $700 million raised. Even security technology startups are doing it successfully (see Pixy, Canary, the NFC ring as examples).

Now, a security integrator from Flint, Michigan has started the Big Brother Project, a crowdfunding effort to raise $30,000 for a school surveillance system. Can they match the success of security technology startups?

The Project

Flint, Michigan. Last year it had the highest violent crime rate in the nation for cities with more than 100,000 people. It was named by Forbes magazine, one of the most violent cities for women.

eos Business Surveillance Solutions started the Big Brother Project as an effort to “provide surveillance systems to low income areas or organizations who may not otherwise be able to afford them.”

“We wanted to find someone with a well defined need ... and provide them with surveillance,” said Luke McKay, marketing director for the company.

For its first major undertaking, it has partnered with Greater Heights Academy, a free public charter school in Flint, to raise money to install a surveillance camera network. Through Indiegogo, the organizations are trying to raise $30,000 in 60 days.

Here is the promotional video for the project:

McKay says $25,000 will go toward installation and equipment, and the rest will go toward the “perks” they will provider to donors. A $1,000 donation up to five contributors can have a plaque put up in the school in their honor, for example. A $50 donation will earn a person a “Big Brother” t-shirt. Funders who donate $25 can receive the follow Big Brother poster with the company president’s face on it:

The Equipment

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

The school and the integrator are still working to finalize the statement of work, but McKay says Geovision cameras have been specified for the project.

The school will get around 25 IP cameras (1.3MP, 2.0MP, and a 5MP panoramic for the gym) and a two analog cameras. The camera watching the front doors will be an analog camera hardwired to its own monitor separate from the rest of the system and will work alongside the “buzz-in” door.

“It’s just an auxiliary feed so administrators can have a live feed on their monitors. So instead of running multi-view on a desktop computer or putting in a decoder box it just goes to a separate monitor,” he said. The school does not have any security staff and the cameras will not be monitored live, but the equipment includes iPad for the director to access live views when needed and a 32 inch LCD monitor for the front office.

VMS and Storage

The cameras will run on a Geovision VMS and footage will be recorded at 10fps to a hybrid server and stored for 30 days.

Why “Big Brother?”

eos Business Surveillance Solutions says it aims to change the public’s view of surveillance through the Big Brother Project by reclaiming the term:

“Big Brother in surveillance is often synonymous with the government overreach and one of the things that often isn’t discussed in those conversations are the benefits of surveillance. We’re trying to take a term with a negative connotation and make it mean something where people think of taking ownership of their security and taking safety and putting it into their own hands. We want Big Brother to mean something more brotherly, like watching over your neighbors and your community.”

Nonprofit Status

The integrator is working to get nonprofit status for the Big Brother Project.

“We eventually want to have the resources to do these types of installations at will,” he said.

Not Promising

Three days after launching the campaign, no one has contributed. Indeed, trying to reclaim the term 'Big Brother' appears quixotic and more likely to scare contributors than motivate them.

On the other hand, what options does this small charter school in an impoverished city have to get a surveillance system?

[UPDATE January 7, 2014]

The Big Brother Project says Geovision has donated cameras for the Greater Heights Academy project. Unfortunately, the project has only raised a total of $60 so far. The project has 39 days to raise the remaining $29,940.

Comments (21) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Casino Surveillance Pro Interview: James Lathrop on Feb 15, 2019
James Lathrop [link no longer available] has been working in casinos for almost 25 years. During that time, he says he has held "just about every...
Verified Response Discontinued in Silicon Valley San Jose on Feb 28, 2019
Almost all security alarms are false. This has driven some municipalities to require verified response before dispatching police. However, now San...
Police Department Surveillance Manager Interview on Feb 28, 2019
Former Memphis PD Surveillance Manager, Lt. Joseph Patty retired months ago, but kept busy during his decades on the force, working to build up...
Large US University End-User Video Surveillance Interview on Mar 18, 2019
Schools have become targets in modern days of active shooters and terrorist fears. The need for video and access security is high. Universities...
Casino Security Consultant Carl Lindgren Interview on Mar 26, 2019
For more than 20 years, Carl Lindgren [link no longer available] worked as a casino surveillance pro, while being active (and sometimes outspoken)...
Verkada Wins $783,000 Memphis Deal on Apr 29, 2019
The US city, most famous in video surveillance for standardizing on Hikvision, has issued an RFQ for 962 Verkada cameras due Wednesday, May 1,...
Amazon Ring Public Subsidy Program Aims To Dominate Residential Security on May 20, 2019
Amazon dominates market after market. Quitely, but increasingly, they are doing so in residential security, through a combination of significant...
Kidnapping Victim Rescued With Video From Ring Doorbell Camera on May 24, 2019
A kidnapping victim was rescued within 24 hours, with the police crediting video from a Ring Doorbell camera as key to solving the case. A girl was...
Covert Elevator Face Recognition on Oct 24, 2019
Covert elevator facial recognition has the potential to solve the cost and complexity of elevator surveillance while engendering immense privacy...
Arcules CEO Retracts False GDPR Claim + Dahua and Milestone Claims Examined on Dec 03, 2019
Arcules CEO has retracted a false claim about his organization being a "fully compliant GDPR company" after IPVM reporting (Arcules CEO Threatens...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Video Surveillance 101 Course - Last Chance on Feb 20, 2020
This is the last chance to join IPVM's first Video Surveillance 101 course, designed to help those new to the industry to quickly understand the...
Vulnerability Directory For Access Credentials on Feb 20, 2020
Knowing which access credentials are insecure can be difficult to see, especially because most look and feel the same. Even insecure 125 kHz...
AI/Smart Camera Tutorial on Feb 20, 2020
Cameras with video analytics, sometimes called 'Smart' camera or 'AI' cameras, etc. are one of the most promising growth areas of video...
China Manufacturer Suffers Coronavirus Scare on Feb 20, 2020
Uniview suffered a significant health scare last week after one of its employees reported a fever and initially tested positive for coronavirus....
Cheap Camera Problems at Night on Feb 19, 2020
Cheap cameras generally have problems at night, despite the common perception that integrated IR makes cameras mostly the same, according to new...
Milestone Launches Multiple Cloud Solutions on Feb 18, 2020
Milestone is going to the cloud, becoming one of the last prominent VMSes to do so. Milestone is clearly late but how competitive do these new...
Video Surveillance Architecture 101 on Feb 18, 2020
Video surveillance can be designed and deployed in a number of ways. This 101 examines the most common options and architectures used in...
UK Stands Behind Hikvision But Controversy Continues on Feb 18, 2020
Hikvision is exhibiting at a UK government conference for law enforcement, provoking controversy from the press, politicians, and activists due to...
IronYun AI Analytics Tested on Feb 17, 2020
Taiwan startup IronYun has raised tens of millions for its "mission to be the leading Artificial Intelligence, big data video software as a service...
Access Control ADA and Disability Laws Tutorial on Feb 17, 2020
Safe access control is paramount, especially for those with disabilities. Most countries have codes to mandate safe building access for those...