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In 2005, David “Doc” Chaney received the type of divine inspiration that kept him awake for nearly three days straight. The Baltimore native became intrigued by the thought of merging video images and the Internet. As the idea and the design solution finally came together, Chaney spent the next eight months tweaking his invention.
Chaney and his partner, Al Baiocchi, a former pharmacist, invested roughly $200,000 of their own money to set up Overweb3D L.L.C., an Internet company with a proprietary engine capable of delivering high-quality video over any HTML- or Flash-based Website. The product attracted so much interest during its beta test launch period that Chaney and Baiocchi almost immediately filed for a patent to protect their method and delivery technologies. The visitors were coming from across the globe–as far away as India. “I didn’t know anything about intellectual property protection,” says Chaney. “That’s a whole other side of business that African Americans need to know; we have to become informed.”
Part of the key to Overweb3D.net’s Web-breaking innovation is the way the company manipulates its video delivery systems to enhance client Websites. Instead of embedding video content into a Web page, Overweb3D.net employs a chroma-key method so that a video presentation that’s been shot in front of a green or blue screen can appear to sit on top of a Website, while the site remains intact. The green or blue screen appears transparent and the site becomes the digital backdrop of the video presentation. It’s what television stations use when meteorologists appear to be standing in front of large weather maps as they present their forecasts.
In addition to the video delivery engine, Overweb3D.net offers production and scripting services as well as a feature that allows business owners to measure the traffic on their Website. Clients can also choose to alternate between several video clips or determine how many times a clip runs on the Website. And, because of the intellectual property issues that Overweb3D.net experienced, the engine comes equipped with a digital rights management component to ensure that video segments cannot be pirated.
“Instead of seeing a picture of a [Website’s] business owner,” says Chaney, “you’re actually seeing this person on their Website. The business owner [now] has the opportunity to tell a visitor where to go on the Website and what to do. It literally gives the feeling of meeting that individual person to person. We call it ‘first-impression technology.'”
Initially, the partners had intended to sell the engine to individual clients. But the response to their product prompted a restructured business model that included selling licenses to businesses that already had a bulk market in place for Overweb’s engine. The license fee structure accounted for a significant chunk of the company’s $350,000 in gross sales last year. The move also gave the company some room to focus on developing additional delivery systems.
“Overweb3D has an engine that is able to power several areas of the marketplace, but we’re not just one product,” says Chaney. He adds that as the company