ella: A Search Engine For Your Security CamerasBy - 05/06/2018
The key to choosing a good security camera is finding the perfect balance between hardware and software. Unfortunately, a lot of camera manufacturers focus on building hardware, and they end up under delivering on the software side. To make matters worse, it’s almost impossible to recognize software flaws until you’ve made a purchase. If you are underwhelmed by your system’s current software platform or if you simply want to make your system smarter than it currently is, check out ella, a smart video surveillance search engine that supports third-party security cameras.
What is ella?
First of all, ella is smart. It’s cloud-based software that analyzes video recordings. It’s able to distinguish colors, objects, animals, humans, and vehicles.
Secondly, ella is a search engine. You can access its search engine feature using the ella companion app for Android and iOS devices as well as the web app. ella is kind of like Google, but instead of websites, it indexes video feeds from your security cameras. It then uses its algorithm to provide search results. For example, if you search ella for “black sedan,” it will search your videos for clips that include a black sedan. You can also use natural language search queries, such as “guy in blue leaving a black sedan” to further narrow down the results. This feature helps you monitor your security camera system and search for videos that matter to you rather than sifting through hours and hours of recorded videos.
Finally, ella is software that learns. Just to clarify, ella is already smart. You don’t need to spend time tagging videos or teaching ella to distinguish a tree from a dog. Instead, its ability to learn is an effort to personalize your experience. It learns what things matter to you based on your most recent and most frequent searches. For example, if it notices that you often search for “black sedan,” next time you access your ella account, it will show you the most recent videos that contain a black sedan.
If the whole concept of ella sounds familiar, that’s because ella is powered by Camio, another cloud-based video search engine. The difference is that ella is offered by IC Realtime, a security camera manufacturer. According to the CEO of Camio:
IC Realtime is the perfect partner to bring this advanced video search capability to the global surveillance and security market because of their knowledge and experience with the needs of users in this space. ella is the result of our partnership in fine-tuning the service for security applications.
IC Realtime and Camio will continue to work together to improve ella’s abilities. Recently, they announced that ella can now create timelapse videos based on your search queries. For example, you can create and download a timelapse video consisting of all clips from your “black sedan” query.
How ella Works
To get started with ella, you need four things. First, a compatible security camera or security camera system. Second, a gateway device sold by IC Realtime. Third, a subscription. And fourth, an installer.
ella is an open platform. Thus, it doesn’t work exclusively with a single brand. Any security camera, DVR, NVR, or VMS that supports H.264 RTSP video streaming can be used alongside ella.
The next thing you need is an ella gateway device. The ella gateway device is a small computer box that connects to your home network along with your cameras. It’s responsible for streaming videos to the ella cloud. The most basic gateway supports up to three 1080p cameras (or more if the resolution is lower). The more advanced model, ella Pro, supports up to eight 1080p cameras. IC Realtime also offers special order gateways, designed for businesses, that can support hundreds of security cameras.
Aside from streaming videos, the gateway device serves another purpose. On average, security cameras stream hours of videos to the cloud each day. Talk about data hogging, right? Backed by the ella cloud and a capable processor, the gateway device can minimize your bandwidth use by analyzing videos before streaming them to the cloud. It learns what events matter to you. Only relevant clips are sent to the cloud at full resolution. Irrelevant event videos such as branches swaying in the wind are still sent to the cloud but at a lower resolution.
The ella cloud subscription covers cloud storage and gives you access to all features. The lowest subscription tier is $6.99 per month. In addition to the subscription cost, you’ll also need to pay a minimal fee for premium features. For example, the time lapse-creation feature incurs a minimal on-demand fee. You’ll only pay for it if you use it.
To get started with ella, you will also need an installer. You can find an installer local to your area on smartella.com.
Photo Credit: Ella