Featured Stories

Videosurveillance.com aims to take world by storm after merger

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Josh Daniels company VideoSurveillance.com, based in Durham, recently merged with a California company.In a small business park in Durham, Josh Daniels watches the feed from a small camera through a monitor.

“That looks good,” he says, adjusting the angle of the camera for a better view.

Daniels, the founder and president of VideoSurveillance.com, is getting ready for the biggest challenge of his company’s short life.

The six-year-old tech company develops security cameras across the country and has accrued an impressively diverse list of clients, from Pixar Animation Studios to local school districts to NASA. Its equipment is working in businesses and organizations in more than 60 countries.

Last month, the company merged with a California-based security company CamGuard, expanding its reach and preparing VideoSurveillance for an even bigger hold on the surveillance market.

“It’s a growth industry,” Daniels said. “When we started, there was a significant transition underway from analog cameras to digital technology.”

Businesses of all types use security cameras to keep their property safe, Daniels said. Daniels estimates that the remote video surveillance market is a $1.4 billion industry.

Daniels said that a growing market for surveillance companies are legal marijuana shops and dispensaries. Oregon law requires that marijuana retailers set up security cameras as part of their operations.

“They are a classic security risk,” Daniels said. “It’s so easy to take a truck and back through a garage, and now, $1 million worth of equipment and products are out in the open. There are heists going on.”

Security cameras have come in handy for the company in more ways than one.

When someone broke into the business next to VideoSurveillance’s office, their security cameras helped police capture the burglar.

“If you have good quality video, and you are caught in the act, it’s very hard to refute,” he said.

Technological improvements

The merger was funded by Riverlake Partners, a Portland private equity firm. The financial terms of the merger haven’t been released.

As technology has improved, the digital cameras used by surveillance companies have gotten more and more impressive, Daniels said.

“Some clients are using our cameras to check license plates to say ‘This car is OK. This one is not,’” he said.

At CamGuard’s facility in California, a team of dispatchers watches feeds from all over the country.

“Software algorithms work with the feeds to look for problematic behavior,” Daniels said.

The suspicious activity is brought to the attention of dispatchers, who use two-way radios to talk directly to the site.

“They can say, ‘Hey. You in the gray sweatshirt with the red pickup truck — you’re on private property. If you don’t leave the premises, the police will be called out,’” Daniels said.

That’s usually all it takes.

“When somebody’s stealing something or conducting arson, that’s pretty disturbing to have someone call you out and address you.”

It’s a different take from the traditional model of security guards on site, Daniels said.

“Historically, security guards are unarmed, walking the beat looking for problems,” Daniels said. “They have a cellphone and can call the police when they see a problem. This is a much more effective solution and considerably less expensive than having a security guard on site.”

The technology also allows them to be places too dangerous for humans, Daniels said.

“There are places that we monitor where you can’t have a human being, like electrical substations,” Daniels said. “There is so much electricity running through there you can’t have people there. When people break in they could die, so part of our job is to secure it and make sure people don’t get in there.”

While most of its employees are based in California, Daniels said he has no plans to move the company’s headquarters south.

VideoSurveillance.com is located at 17858 S.W. Upper Boones Ferry Road, in Durham.