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Sophos Vets Launch AI Security Camera System For VARs, MSPs

Rhombus Systems, a startup founded by Sophos veterans, looks to recruit VARs and MSPs to sell its new artificial intelligence-based video security system, which is backed by a new $3 million funding round from investors.

Garrett Larsson first saw the power of the channel when he sold his last startup to cybersecurity vendor Sophos and served as a director of product management there.

Now Larsson and other Sophos veterans are making their own bet on managed services providers and value-added resellers with Rhombus Systems, a startup selling an artificial intelligence-based video security system he said is as easy to set up as other modern IT products.

"It's just like going in and installing access points from Aerohive," Larsson said.

[Related: SparkCognition Targets MSPs With AI-Based Endpoint Protection]

Rhombus Monday launched its first video security system, the Rhombus R1, which is receiving a sales and marketing push thanks to a $3 million seed round raised from multiple investors, including Lemnos Labs, Promus Ventures and Portfolia.

Perry Dearaway, vice president of sales at Verge Technologies, a Campbell, Calif.-based VAR, said Rhombus' system resonates with him because of how it combines video, facial recognition, analytics and cloud storage together into an easy-to-set-up package for IT teams, which are playing an increasingly larger role in buying, installing and managing video security systems.

"Rhombus has developed a hyper-converged, next-generation IP camera system that addresses the underlying need to move this type of technology from the traditional facilities role to the network engineer role," he said.

Verge Technologies is now running proof-of-concept deployments with some customers, Dearaway said.

"I’m in the process of trying to sell this to a very large retail customer," he said.

Despite being a young vendor, Rhombus is already close to reaching 100 channel partners who have been signed up to sell its video security systems, Larsson said.

Larsson, who is Rhombus' CEO, said the company provides partners full training and one or two cameras for them to play around with. While partners are expected to develop leads and provide tier-one and tier- two support, Rhombus will also help identify customers, Larsson said.

Depending on sales, partners can expect a commission of between 15 percent and 25 percent for both hardware and subscription revenue, the latter of which covers cloud storage, management and other things, according to Larsson.

One of the video security system's biggest innovations is AI, Larsson said, which allows the system to learn over time and enables customers to do things that traditional IP cameras can't, like count the number of people in a space and track individuals, both of which have use cases that go beyond security. For example, Larsson said, a retail company can use the system to generate a heatmap of which sections customer visit the most.

The system can also alert customers when, for instance, a disgruntled former employee has entered the office. In addition, it comes with end-to-end encryption, automatic firmware updates and integration with single-sign on solutions, Microsoft Office 365, Slack and other software.

Larsson acknowledged that privacy has been a major concern with the increasing prevalence of security camera systems that use AI to identify individuals.

"Privacy is something that is super important to us," he said, adding that Rhombus does not have access to any of the data that is collected in the cameras or cloud servers.

Larsson said the company will also try to be a part of the dialogue surrounding new proposed legislation popping up in various states that seek to regulate facial recognition technology. He added that the company is also working to educate customers about various laws for video and audio recording.

"It's meant to be an early detection system," Larsson said, providing "additional eyes and additional visibility you might not have had."

Larsson previously co-founded and led Mojave Networks, a cloud-based provider of mobile and web security for enterprises that was acquired by Sophos in 2014.

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