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Video Surveillance Technology Company Run by ODU Grads Sets up Global Sales Office at IRP

Founded after completing the first large-scale, network based video surveillance system for the Atlanta Public Schools, ipConfigure LLC has grown to be a company that bids nationwide for contracts in the surveillance field, most recently winning a multimillion-dollar contract to provide video surveillance software for the U.S. Postal Service.

With the company poised to become a leading player in the rapidly expanding field of electronic surveillance, ipConfigure has set up its global sales office at Innovation Research Park @ ODU to take advantage of its proximity to the Old Dominion University Vision Lab, also located at IRP, and the ready pool of well-trained, enthusiastic workers who are just a few minutes away from the company's door.

"Our company is a Cinderella story," said ipConfigure CEO Christopher Uiterwyk. "We are a bootstrap company that grew the business organically while avoiding external investments."

ipConfigure develops software to manage video surveillance systems. What makes the company's operations unique is that ipConfigure supports "off-the-shelf" technologies, which allow their customers to purchase any brand of cameras, servers or storage, which is very different from the proprietary business model that the closed circuit television industry has used in the past.

Additionally, ipConfigure's products support a highly scalable architecture which operates on a Windows server platform and is accessible from any networked computer's Web browser.

Uiterwyk's Norfolk history goes back to the early 90s, when he was stationed here as a Navy rescue swimmer, then as an ODU student.

"I don't think people realize the significance of ODU's presence in the area, and the capabilities it brings to a technology company like ipConfigure," Uiterwyk said.

"Aside from the intrinsic value of the ODU campus, Innovation Research Park @ ODU provides critical amenities for our sales and training efforts, such as high-speed Internet connectivity, abundant parking and nearby hotels and restaurants. More importantly, IRP is within 750 miles of two-thirds of the U.S. population, which makes our office and customers extremely accessible."

In addition to Uiterwyk, all of ipConfigure's Norfolk-based staff also graduated from ODU, including senior software developer Jeffrey Patterson, national sales manager Brad Stice, sales and marketing coordinator Bethany Messier and graphic designer Sami McLenegan.

ipConfigure, which has sold more than 60,000 IP (Internet Protocol) camera software licenses worldwide, added the Norfolk location to its existing Houston presence in 2008. Negotiations with IRP started last year.

Uiterwyk said this location was ideal for his company's projected growth. "We have space, we have expertise and it's near our workforce. We have everything we need," he said.

Thomas Osha, IRP president and CEO, said companies such as ipConfigure are why IRP was built in the first place.

"ipConfigure's multidimensional relationship with ODU is a perfect example of the university-private sector collaboration Innovation Research Park @ ODU fosters," Osha said.

"It's a company run by an alumni, hiring graduates, creating internships for students, leveraging research, and taking advantage of the amenities of the campus and the University Village."

Uiterwyk has all sorts of ideas about how to collaborate with ODU, including using the campus as a test model for surveillance camera technology, even running security seminars for other colleges and universities.

Early in March, ipConfigure conducted a three-day course, IP Video Surveillance University, which was attended by other school and city officials, and technical experts in the field. The attendees heard a presentation from scientists from the ODU Vision Lab, who talked about the applicability of facial recognition technology in surveillance cameras.

"We certainly want to build on the expertise that already exists here. We'd love to make Hampton Roads the center of video surveillance technology," Uiterwyk said.

The Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance was involved in the negotiations to bring ipConfigure to Innovation Research Park @ ODU.

"ipConfigure is a significant and impressive addition to Innovation Research Park @ ODU and one that HREDA is proud to have been involved with," said Alliance president and CEO Darryl Gosnell.

"Not only did the region score with ipConfigure's decision to locate its global sales office in Norfolk, we retained locally educated talent. That is how regions thrive."

Larry Lombardi, business development manager - technology, for the city of Norfolk Department of Development, is excited about ipConfigure's potential for growth in the video surveillance field.

"ipConfigure is a company with tremendous upside in growth and job creation which is compatible with the city of Norfolk's goal of building and sustaining a technology-based economy in the 21st century," Lombardi said.

This article was posted on: March 13, 2009

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