Reports from the video age
Reports from the video age

Oct 1, 2000 12:00 PM
Larry Anderson

If Big Brother is a television star, then the video age must surely have been fully realized at last.

There are other indicators suggesting an even greater presence of video technology in our lives as we face down that futuristic year of 2001. Here are just a few I found in the Access Control & Security Systems Integration in-box:

- If you can't go to Oktoberfest in Germany, you can still be there without being there. Virtual celebrants of the world's largest beer festival could view a live video transmission of Oktoberfest over the Internet, complete with carousel rides, traditional Bavarian atmosphere and brass bands. Offering insight into inebriation, the site is brought to you by our friends at Sensormatic, who undertook the project to highlight the company's acquisition of VideoCon, a Munich, Germany-based developer of digital processing and transmission equipment. Apparently at this year's Oktoberfest, not only is the beer flowing, but the video is streaming.

- Surgeons in the United Kingdom are enhancing their skills and keeping their surgical procedures up-to-date with the help of video communications and a remote training course being pioneered by the University of Plymouth. Currently, the university broadcasts regular lectures and live surgery via satellite TV. The Surgical Tele-Education course was set up by a leading British surgical trainer. Video links that use Motion Media Technology Ltd.'s mm120 videoconferencing systems are set up between the university and eight area hospitals. By this month, a total of 21 sites across the U.K. will be participating in the course, with around 300 surgeons in the program. "The ability to provide interactive, face-to-face communications means that videoconferencing can be used for question-and-answer and discussion sessions between surgeons and expert surgical trainers," comments Andrew Kingsnorth, professor of surgery at the University of Plymouth.

- Web streaming of video, combined with the expansion of high-bandwidth Internet access to businesses and consumers, will revolutionize broadcasting, according to Roger Henderson, the CEO of Chyron Corp., a supplier of broadcasting products. The result of the revolution will be a whole new - and massively large - group of people who will become broadcasters. The majority of this new group will be marketing people, suggests Henderson. In a speech at a broadcasting trade show in Amsterdam, Henderson outlined his company's vision of a new broadcasting market, which can be illustrated by a pyramid. The conventional TV networks and broadcasters are at the top of the pyramid. One tier below are existing cable and satellite channels. At the base of the pyramid is the Internet, with a potentially infinite number of operators. With current technologies, the top tier of the pyramid offers bandwidth and quality, while at the bottom there is high interactivity. To respond to the bottom tier of marketers/broadcasters, Chyron has developed a "complete turnkey operation in Web streaming."

- With cameras getting smaller and cheaper, they are also getting easier to hide. The result is a proliferation of improvised worksite covert surveillance, suggests an article in U.S. News and World Report. The new compact cameras - a.k.a. "sneaky-peekies" - are turning up in college dormitories, employee break rooms, and even in restrooms, according to the article. Illinois Power Co. recently taped workers at its nuclear power plant to discover who was vandalizing the rest-rooms. Customers were taped in the restroom of a Jefferson City, Tenn., beauty parlor. At a plumbing supply company in St. Louis, employees discovered a not-covert-enough camera offering a bird's-eye view of the women's toilet. "My plan was to find out what theft was going on," said a vice president of the company.

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