Spokane - Journal of Business

A Sharper Security View

By Treva Lind
Of the Journal of Business - Spokane, WA

Colin and Kimberly Campbell say the company is trying to appeal to customers that want higher quality security images.
Colin and Kimberly Campbell say the company is appealing to customers that want higher quality security images.
—Staff photo by Treva Lind
Operating out of a renovated fire station in Cheney, Cascadia Video Products LLC plans to deploy a newer technology on a wider scale for closed-circuit security systems that its owners say produce high-definition images on par with Blu-ray disc viewing.

Cascadia manufactures digital video recorders for the security industry that display and record feeds from closed-circuit security cameras. It also sells closed-circuit security equipment—such as a line of security cameras and accessories—wholesale to about 50 dealers across the U.S.

Additionally, Cascadia builds custom-made security systems through those direct dealer relationships. Some users of its security digital video recorder systems include military bases, casinos, corporate headquarters, and schools.

"The consumer market for better pixel digital cameras is pushing the industry toward higher resolution security systems, because people are starting to want higher resolution images," says Colin Campbell, who co-owns Cascadia with his wife, Kimberly.

They have taken the company through about two years of research and development after buying out a business partner, and also while spending about $70,000 to renovate spaces in the 12,000-square-foot building it owns in Cheney, at 1321 Second.

Colin Campbell says the company now sets itself apart by manufacturing what are called its super-hybrid digital video recorders for security applications that interface with analog, Internet protocol, and megapixel security cameras.

In the past two years, Cascadia has developed a high-definition serial digital interface technology, known in the industry as HD-SDI, in their recorders for use with HD-SDI megapixel cameras. He claims the recorder and camera set-up using this newer technology is the only such system approved by the Washington state Gaming Commission.

"We use HD-SDI up to 30 frames per second, but the HD-SDI technology transmits between 250 and 500 times the data between the camera and the recording device. That translates into a higher quality image," he says. The technology also produces clear black-and-white images when the lights in a room are turned off.

"Most people equate it to Blu-ray quality," Campbell says. "There's no image blur. That's why it's exciting to us. That's broadcast quality, and the playback is the same. You can look at it and think it's live."

He adds, "That's how we were able to sell 100 (systems) without really taking it to the market yet."

He says the company's 2011 revenue of about $1.2 million last year was down about $300,000 from the prior year, as it built up research and development of this newer technology for its recorder-camera systems. However, he says Cascadia is on track for $4 million in sales, "if not 2013, then 2014."

The company assembles its digital video recorders carrying its Cascadia Video brand logo and calls them DVRTs, meaning digital video recorder transmitters. Each recorder has the company's software and video capture cards encased in a computer-type frame that is either vertical, like a tower, or horizontal, as a rack component.

"Our DVRTs are famous for being user friendly," Campbell asserts. "We have online tutorials."

The company's digital video recorders typically range from less than $1,000 retail for analog-only interface to above $3,000 retail for those using the HD-SDI technology, but costs can vary, Campbell says.

Kimberly Campbell says its digital recorders come in variations that offer four different technology capabilities. Some are designed for use with analog cameras only, and others can interface with analog and Internet protocol cameras. It also offers high-definition serial digital interface video recorders that use HD-SDI-interface cameras only. The fourth option is a super-hybrid digital interface video recorder that uses all those technologies together.

Cascadia doesn't manufacture security cameras, instead stocking the products of California-based CNB Technology USA Inc.

A few examples of dealers for Cascadia's recorders and custom-build systems include Certified Security Systems & Sound, of Spokane Valley; CWI Security Inc., of Yakima; Photo-Scan Northwest Inc., of Missoula, Mont.; and the Portland office of Convergent Technologies, among others.

Some of their dealers bring their clients to Cascadia Video's showroom, which is stocked with the latest digital, high-definition equipment to get a first-hand look at what the company's security systems can do.

The company currently operates with five employees, including the owners, but Colin Campbell says he expects to hire three to five new workers by this fall. The company also plans eventually to offer internships to Eastern Washington University students.

At the old fire station, the Campbell's did much of the remodeling work themselves, along with a friend who has construction experience, to prepare new office spaces for additional employees.

The 15-year-old company moved to Cheney in 2003, after operating in Spokane for about six years. It previously operated as AltSys LLC, but the company changed its name around the year 2000 not long after buying Cascadia Systems LLC, which was a small venture in Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

Colin Campbell says that the technology for closed-circuit security has evolved from the use of perhaps three cameras to multiple cameras. He says about 95 percent of the security industry market uses analog-based systems, while about 5 percent uses Internet protocol-based systems. He says HD-SDI systems are too new to have developed a market share yet.

While the industry has started to move toward using Internet protocol cameras and digital applications, that technology has some image quality concerns, Campbell says.

He adds, "There are a lot of people out there who are applying technology that's obsolete and they don't know it. If you saw the HD-SDI video, you'd say it's broadcast quality. If you saw an IP one, you'd say it's OK for Skype, but not the best application for security. IP megapixel cameras are not approved for gaming in the state of Washington, because they have image blur."

The DVRT's with super-hybrid and HD-SDI technology can record clearly, even in a network system that includes several dozen cameras, Kimberly Campbell adds.

She says a few businesses regionally that have Cascadia's products include Ringo's Little Vegas Casino, at 11420 E. Sprague, in Spokane Valley; and Black Pearl Restaurant & Card Room, at 2104 N. Pines, in Spokane Valley, among others.



    © Cascadia Video Products, LLC.