Executives at Koll Development Co. of Newport Beach can track their construction sites now without leaving their desks. With the click of a mouse, they can view live images of four office buildings under construction around the country.
As part of the experiment, Koll has set up cameras that shoot pictures every hour, then posts them on the firm's Web site, http://www.koll.com. Koll is one of a handful of companies using the technology, mainly to attract tenants.
Potential clients can tap into the Web site and see what's being built. Company officials may add a camera at their Koll Center Irvine site, which is under construction, near John Wayne Airport later this year.
Although Koll has encased cameras in glass, protecting them from the weather, the company still finds cable and phone connections can be prone to disconnection. But in time, Koll said, it may expand the concept so potential tenants can take a 360-degree tour of their projects, allowing clients to see surrounding amenities.
George Gunnels, marketing and sales director of Internet Exchange International, the Newport Beach firm that set up the system for Koll, said companies with a Web site can add a camera for less than $5,000. While demand for this service accounts for a small portion of revenue, he expects demand to mushroom over the next couple of years.
"There's a lot of interest," he said. "As we move forward, I think you'll see more of these industries using new technology."