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BusinessRx: MediaSolv Solutions

The entrepreneur

With any single police case, there can be dozens — or even hundreds — of pieces of digital evidence, from interrogation-room videos and in-car video, to photos and surveillance footage. Herndon-based MediaSolv Solutions is helping police departments keep everything filed and organized in one Web-based system.

After spending 25 years in software development and systems integration for numerous public-sector companies, chief executive James Weaver joined with two partners to acquire MediaSolv in May 2009 from a parent company looking to divest the business. The new owners got their feet wet with their first client — Toronto Police Services. They faced a learning curve rolling their company’s system out in North America’s fifth largest metropolitan area, but getting that implementation done helped them grow the company to more than 150 clients today.

The pitch

Weaver

“Much like in our private lives, law enforcement markets have seen an exponential growth in the use of video. There were no good systems out there for those entities to collect and manage all of this content. MediaSolv is a product development company serving the justice and public-safety market. We’re delivering solutions to help that market manage various digital assets with a strong focus on video.

“We’ve got a unique Web-based solution that allows us to deploy in various-size organizations — we could manage assets for just one building or deploy as broad as citywide, statewide, countrywide or worldwide, depending on the organization and its needs. Our system allows clients to gather video, photos, audio files, documents, surveillance videos and other assets tied to a single case and manage them all in one application.

“We also offer specific end-to-end products. We have a custodial interview room video solution, where we are capturing the video and then managing it for clients. We also have an in-car solution, much like you might see in a ‘Cops’ show, where video is automatically captured during traffic stops, car chases or other incidents. Likewise, that video gets managed in our central management application.

“Right now, we’re in a unique place where we have the opportunity to create a market. Most clients are looking to solve only one problem and they aren’t necessarily thinking about other issues. We offer clients the ability to manage their digital evidentiary assets in a single application tied to a single case. Our challenge is to take advantage of these opportunities by helping the market understand that they can manage all of these assets with our product. Ultimately, they would save money in the long run. How do we determine if we are most effectively communicating our value proposition to a client?”

The advice

Jason Shrensky, entrepreneur-in-residence, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship

“Perhaps this sounds too simple, but I would just run a focus group with your clients and prospective clients. Next time you are at an industry trade show, invite six to 10 of them to a group dinner. Ask the group what they perceive to be the value proposition of MediaSolv. Ask them what you could do to better communicate the value of MediaSolv’s different offerings to others and/or within their organizations. I think you will be surprised (especially after a few drinks) how helpful and frank your focus group will be.”

The reaction

Weaver

“I think the idea of a focus group is an excellent one. We have used this approach successfully in the past when looking to assess and prioritize features and functionality to be built into our solutions. This creates the opportunity for honest and open dialogue with the group most impacted by our product suite.”

© The Washington Post Company