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Spotlight: Ikena Forensic software extracts video detail quickly for forensically valid evidence
MotionDSP automates entire video processing chain in seconds while extracting better detail
Company Name: MotionDSP
Headquarters: Burlingame, California
Signature Product: Ikena Forensic
MotionDSP uses deep IP to dramatically improve the fidelity of video captured by a wide range of sources: from surveillance cameras to drones and manned surveillance aircraft in commercial, law enforcement, commercial security and military applications.
Where did your company name originate from?
MotionDSP is a combination of “Motion” and “DSP,” which stands for Digital Signal Processing. MotionDSP’s video reconstruction algorithms use the motion in video, either from object or camera motion, to enable reconstruction with better detail. Along with our patented super-resolution algorithms, our software has a wide variety of digital signal processing algorithms which all contribute to our software’s ability to extract information from forensic video.
What was the inspiration behind starting your company?
MotionDSP started with super-resolution technology spun out of the University of California, Santa Cruz in early 2005. Our original business plan was to apply the technology to improve the video quality of mobile phone videos uploaded to YouTube, but in 2006, the U.S. intelligence community approached us, and explained that our automated reconstruction algorithms could vastly reduce the time required to extract evidence from video. We pivoted to making software tools for video forensics, and the rest is history.
Why do you believe your products are essential to the police community?
Police forensic labs are overwhelmed with video forensic evidence requiring analysis, enhancement, and preparation for court. Because MotionDSP has automated the entire video processing chain into a single mouse click, our software can do in seconds what traditional video clarification tools require hours to do, all while extracting better detail. We want video forensic experts to have the best tools, so they can spend their time doing what they do best: finding out what happened. We designed Ikena Forensic for them.
What has been the biggest challenge your company has faced?
One big challenge for MotionDSP and our customers is the complexity of proprietary DVR video formats. The CCTV/DVR industry uses proprietary video formats which hamper an investigator’s ability to extract, view, and process that video. We have developed multiple product features to address this, from extensible video codec architecture to releasing a sophisticated yet simple screen grabber, and soon, we’ll have a new solution for natively opening DVR files within Ikena.
What makes your company unique?
Our people. We have built a team that combines the world’s experts in image processing with a team of former active-duty forensic and FMV (video) analysts, and tasked those two groups to work together to create the best solution for our customer’s problem: finding answers in their video.
What do your customers like best about you and your products?
Our people and our company culture. Our customers know that when they call us for help, someone just like them is going to answer the phone and help them. Because we come from the community ourselves, we are passionate about our customers’ mission. Our customers make critical decisions using our tools, and we know these decisions come up 24/7, and we are there for them.
What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder community?
It is an honor to support the mission of our customers, both in public safety and in defense. We are constantly impressed with the caliber of the individuals who use our software, and it is a privilege to support them in their work.
Do you support any charitable organizations within public safety?
Yes. Along with donating our time to assist with helping solve open cases involving fallen officers, such as the case of Officer Schneider of the Montana State Troopers, we support various public safety and veterans organizations, both as a company, and individually.
Is there any fun fact or trivia that you’d like to share with our users about you or your company?
Sean and Mark Varah, CEO and CFO of MotionDSP, are brothers. Sean founded the company in 2005, and Mark joined in 2011. Between them and our engineers, there is a lot of humor in the office. We know we’ve been accepted by our customers when they start joining in.
What’s next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?
More than I can list. We have a massive pipeline of research and development. One major area of research is measuring height and width from a video scene accurately, and easily. Another is detecting and tracking movement in video while determining the geospatial location of them at the same time. And, we’re always asking our customers to tell us their biggest challenges.