About ella

ella is a new real-time Search Engine that augments surveillance systems with natural language search capabilities across recorded video footage. ella uses algorithmic deep learning tools to give any surveillance or security camera the ability to recognize objects, colors, people, vehicles, animals and more. ella makes every nanosecond of video searchable instantly, letting users type in keywords like “white truck” to find every relevant clip instead of searching through hours of footage. ella quite simply creates a Google for video.

With ella, video cameras used to view. Now, they can see.

ella determines that something being recorded is interesting by detecting a significant amount of activity in a scene. Currently, ella sends the ‘interesting’ scene back to cloud based neural networks which simultaneously vote on what they think the user would consider interesting.

IC Realtime partnered with Camio, a startup founded by former Googlers who worked on the early Google Street View technology. In beta testing, Google found that people constantly searched for their own homes because they thought it was a live feed. Camio founders thought – why shouldn’t there be a way to search video feeds? The initial technology concept was born.

IC Realtime used its significant expertise in the surveillance and security industries to help hone the technology and create a platform that was market ready and powerful enough to turn any security camera into an AI-based network.

The app features a dynamic but easy to use interface that acts like a simple search engine along with easy access to all your relevant video clips. ella gives users the ability to vote clips up or down, helping the system get even smarter and customized for their preferences and ultimately will show them only things they really care about. The search feature works much like Google, prompting users as they type in letters through natural language process to find common words and search terms. The app also lets users view their live video feed.

IC Realtime professional install the ICR box on the camera network. The Box will allow ella to break down your surveillance video into metadata and send it along to the secure server. The metadata is analyzed by the deep learning engine and transforms it into searchable pieces of information. In as little as an hour, ella is ready to be queried for video clips on your system.

ella is an open platform for smart video monitoring and can scale from a single pet cam at home to thousands of video streams in data centers. It works with all cameras, DVRs, NVRs, and VMSs that support standard H.264 RTSP video streams. It can be purchased with cameras from the award-winning portfolio of HD cameras offered by ICR or retrofitted onto an existing camera setup.

About availability / pricing

The ella software and corresponding hardware are sold through the IC Realtime dealer network – over 5,000 around the country and available for a monthly subscription. They can set up users with ella and complimentary IC Realtime HD surveillance cameras or augment existing security cameras with the platform.

Find a dealer and get ella today here: smartella.com

On Impact / Relevance

Prior to ella, surveillance footage could be viewed or searched in two ways. First, someone can sit in front of monitors, watching footage live and monitor for any suspicious or relevant activity. The second way is to have someone review video footage, combing through hours and hours to find and mark relevant clips for review or usage. Either way can be tedious, time consuming and inefficient. ella creates an entirely new way to find video footage that matters – while it is still capturing streaming camera content, the camera is constantly sending ella footage and asking – does this matter? What about this? Or this? ella uses machine learning and metadata to analyze each piece of footage and can recognize when objects, people, cars and activities are relevant and when they are uninteresting. The relevant activity is captured, stored and tagged in HD and ready to be searched at a moment’s notice.

The impact ella has on building owners’ ability to keep their properties safe, or governments to protect citizens or law enforcement to solve crimes cannot be understated. This powerful technology has been adapted by the surveillance experts at IC Realtime to create an effective and unintrusive way to keep people and property safer.

The average surveillance camera captures 2 minutes of interesting or relevant video for users in a 24-hour period. The existing ways to find meaningful clips or see something problematic is to either sit someone in front of the camera feed 24/7 or search through hours and hours of footage. ella connects surveillance cameras/NVRs to state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms to create a new level of intelligence in security.

Due to the open platform’s brand agnostic approach, ella offers security dealers in residential and commercial applications the unique ability to augment any existing surveillance equipment or install a cutting-edge solution their customers will find powerful and ease to use.

Installation-wise, all that is required by the dealer is the install of the ICR box which is installed between the surveillance system and the customer’s network and the download of the ella software to bring the system online. Once installed, the system begins to take advantage of the massive ella cloud library to tag the metadata being fed through the system by the surveillance cameras.

The ella system offers security installers a direct path to easily attainable RMR. In installations where a surveillance system does not currently exist, dealers can add the ella solution without swapping out the NVRs or surveillance cameras they carry on their trucks and easily add the software solution into the installation.

ella can also be a powerful tool used by security dealers to revisit past installations with a quick, easy, and powerful add-on service or, bring on new business by visiting jobs they may have missed the initial bid on.


Nest Aware allows for facial recognition and alerts users of an event based on the history of what the cameras have seen. However, if an alert is not given, users still must sift through their captured footage to find certain events or moments that they might be looking for; Nest does not categorize or give users the ability to search. ella is a complete smart video search engine and designed to solve problems in the review and analysis of video footage.

Avigilon’s solution is closed and available to their solutions, but it also solves a different issue and isn’t complete. ella is a search engine for video that learns what warrants your attention and makes it fast to see it – meaning you don't have to know the answer before you ask the question.

Avigilon’s software requires you to find a relevant piece of information and click on it to find other similar clips and put together a timeline. Clicking on a known suspect person/car as the first step of a search is like Google saying "first, open the web page you want to read, now search for similar pages" - a nice-to-have for the very latest phase of forensic investigations but certainly not much help before then.

The Nest camera cloud is proprietary and closed and data cannot be used by the ella cloud to be analyzed and categorized into a search engine.


The implications for crime detection and evidence collection are huge: when Boston Marathon bombing investigations team had to review surveillance footage to find the two men responsible, it took 1,000 people 3 days to comb through it – with this new software, you could have everyone concurrently reviewing results for the search "people in black or white" and every single video clip of that would pop up instantly.

The use of surveillance cameras in public locations and on private property is ubiquitous at this point – ella doesn’t enable the expansion of monitoring in our lives but rather gives building owners, law enforcement, homeowners and commercial property managers the ability to accurately cut through the noise and see clips that matter to them.

ella reduces the likelihood that you are being captured and seen in video footage in public locations and on private property because if you’re simply minding your own business in these locations, the system and the owner aren’t interested in watching footage of you. ella curates the footage that matters and has impact.

ICR takes the security of your data seriously. To that end, ella cloud does not require port forwarding, which is an all-too-common practice of opening inbound ports on your firewall. The system relies on SSL protocol and Perfect Forward Secrecy which mean no captured data from previous exploits can be used to gain access to future sessions. This create clean, secure outbound traffic from your network which is owned wholly by the user and only accessible by the user (unless explicitly shared by the user).