It's a small world. The CEO of Avaak and I were both involved with a DARPA research program called SensIT to develop self-organizing and self-healing wireless mesh networks. My project was the "Tree Hugger" contingent, but we were fortunate to get the chance to do a cooperative field test with some folks from the MIT Media Lab, and the technology that developed eventually became ZigBee. Avaak's technology is another spin off from the SensIT project. Called the Vue personal video network, it utilizes what Avaak calls FrameMesh networking.
Gioia Messinger, the founder and chief executive officer at Avaak, certainly thinks the Vue system is a big deal: "Just as the iPod revolutionized the way consumers experience music and entertainment, we believe the Vue personal video network will change the way users remotely view their lives on a daily basis.”
Let's take a look at what makes this system a paradigm shift from the traditional Webcam. First and foremost this is a wireless mesh; it isn't Wi-Fi and it doesn't require hiring someone to tinker with your home firewall to play with port forwarding and NAT relay rules for inbound traffic. This system is very easy to set up, well within the realm of possibility for a "normal" end user. The Vue system's wireless mesh capability of re-routing or relaying information isn't in the camera but rather in the Vue Repeater. So for instance, if you have a basement camera which was too far away to communicate directly with the gateway, you could place the repeater at the top of the basement stairs or somewhere convenient between the two devices, and provide connectivity to the basement cam even though the basement camera cannot directly communicate with the Vue Gateway. I have also been tinkering with how to use Vue for special events, and Gioia mentioned that multiple gateways can be set up to allow for more throughput between the cameras, a good feature if you’re expecting a cyber crowd.
Another huge difference between Vue and a Wi-Fi system: Vue doesn't require huge amounts of power. Gioia tells me that in a "typical" home the Vue's batteries (CR-123 standard camera battery) should last upwards of a year. Less power also means that the Vue has less chance of interfering with other wireless devices.