Dan Kerning is no stranger to seizing the business opportunity of the moment.
In late 2013, his data management and security company, Webhouse Inc., was approached to solve a problem for New Jersey Transit.
Super Bowl XLVIII was scheduled for February 2014 at MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, New Jersey. The transit agency needed software on a short deadline that would allow it to supplement its internal security camera feeds by crowdsourcing photos and videos of possible security incidents.
After that project was completed, in the middle of 2014, Kerning carved out the software developer as a separate unit, Cloudscann.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, Kerning recognized that Cloudscann's mobile software could solve some immediate problems relating to the new environment.
"You had everybody working remotely and pivoting how they do business," he said. "That flowed into the product."
Kerning, a former U.S. Navy aviator, spoke with Newsday about the evolution of Garden City-based Cloudscann, which shares 22 employees with 23-year-old Webhouse, whose revenue sits in the range of $15 million to $20 million.
How central is the pandemic to the success of Cloudscann?
The good part of our software is that it's very [adaptable]. The pivot to deal with the pandemic was not hard. Tomorrow it might be that we're having flooding issues. We'll use IoT [Internet of Things] devices that pick up water and humidity issues.
What did the pandemic teach you about your internal organization?
One of the biggest lessons I learned is that I thought being in the office helped collaboration. [But after instituting remote work] efficiency went through the roof. I'm doing five meetings before 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
Do you outsource any software development?
Everything is based out of Garden City. There's no overseas development. The personnel sits in the offices of Webhouse. From an administrative view, you don't have two payrolls.
How is the Cloudscann software being adapted by your real estate client?
[Real estate agents] initially will be using the app to sign in and go through a COVID questionnaire before they can go to work or do showings. A question list says: Have you been in contact with anyone that [tested] positive? Have you experienced shortness of breath? We're working on a temperature device that goes on the phone. It actually reads your temperature.
What's the next phase?
They will then use the [security] features during showings for keeping the agents safe. In the next phase, we will be implementing IoT devices to do temperature checks and mask verifications.
What other features of the app are you offering for the commercial and education markets as workers and students migrate back to the office and classroom?
We can have proximity devices that warn employees they have to remain 6 feet apart. We can do contact tracing. We can integrate video analytics. Realistically, our platform is the central command center.
What kind of public safety applications would Cloudscann's software provide?
It could be a public incident management system, reporting on rioting, burglaries or accidents. It monitors mobile users' movements and provides alerts in the event of distress or deviation from planned travel routes or failure to arrive at a designated time. It lets field personnel stream live video to a command center.
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