A Vancouver startup based on the audacious strategy of launching high-definition video cameras into space has captured the attention of one of Canada's most high-profile CEOs.
Anthony Lacavera, chairman and CEO of Wind Mobile, has joined the board of directors of UrtheCast, a company that plans to operate and sell footage from a host of cameras attached to the International Space Station.
"I'm interested in very difficult to produce and replicate content," Mr. Lacavera said in an interview. "And cameras going to space is what I'd call hard to reproduce."
The addition of Mr. Lacavera as chairman of the board is a small coup for UrtheCast, which plans to market live, near-real-time footage of global events to consumers, businesses and governments.
For consumers, UrtheCast plans to provide footage of breaking events such as Hurricane Sandy, and to make that footage compatible with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Governments and businesses will be able to pay extra for raw, uncompressed footage that they can then manipulate to a much greater degree.
UrtheCast co-founder Cameron Chell said a variety of organizations have shown interest in acquiring the video footage, including environmental groups looking to study the effects of deforestation and United Nations bodies studying the impact of peacekeeping efforts.
The first UrtheCast camera is scheduled to go live in March, 2013, and will provide a global camera view of the Earth, Mr. Chell said. More cameras, capable of producing images up to five-metre resolution, will go online in July, and one-metre resolution cameras will be added in September.
For Mr. Lacavera, who's day job is in the mobile carrier industry, UrtheCast presents a unique opportunity to provide his (and other carriers') customers with exclusive content.