ISJ Exclusive: The i-PRO mission


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Mike Burton, Regional Sales Manager EMEA, i-PRO discusses the benefits of open platforms with International Security Journal.

Why are open platforms becoming a preferred choice for businesses and organisations?

Open platforms are enabling the explosion of AI analytics applications we’re seeing now for security cameras. The phenomenon is comparable to the explosion of smartphone applications we saw a few years back. One difference with this wave is that hardware is critically important. When you’re talking about video, hardware impacts picture quality – and if it’s not reliable and able to run 24/7, software cannot run or deliver the outcome it has been designed for.

As hardware specialists, i-PRO is focusing on what it does best – building long-lasting, open platform network cameras which can capture the highest quality images that are required for AI applications, enabling software developers to concentrate on bringing specialist applications to the market. But, I believe we’ll see, like we have with smartphone applications, that AI camera applications will proliferate based on market demand and succeed or fail based on the value that they deliver.

The development of AI-enabled cameras will continue to open opportunities in both traditional security and new areas of business. The combination of high quality images and the ability to analyse data at the edge of the network using deep learning capabilities allows the cameras to be used in many new areas, from the automation of processes in industry to keeping shelves stocked in supermarkets and even monitoring the health and safety of shoppers in stores.

A critical factor for businesses to succeed with this open approach will be to partner with the best software developers to co-create specialist applications for AI cameras and get the best value out of them. I-PRO pairs an open hardware platform with the industry’s most sophisticated AI-driven cameras. We must continue to build our network of software developer partners that want to create applications for the equivalent of our ‘app store.’

Businesses and organisations need systems customised to their specific needs. But most importantly, they need agile systems that can adapt to an ever-changing world. Open platforms like i-PRO are built with an open and documented API and SDK tools that enable customisation of the system.

What are the main advantages of taking an open platform approach?

Intelligent camera applications based on open platforms are the foundation for automation and the introduction of ‘Industry 4.0,’ in which processes are automated, monitored and controlled by AI-driven systems.

They can be used as intelligent sensors to replicate repetitive, tedious tasks – reducing costs and freeing up the time of the workforce for more rewarding activities. One example of this is a remote monitoring application where the camera acts as a visual verification of an alarm sent or a component application where the camera acts as a sensor inside of a whole ‘machine’ delivering edge analytics.

i-PRO has designed its AI offering to make use of and also drive these innovations; industry specialists have confirmed that our AI capabilities are first-in-market. In addition, we have built an open AI hardware platform which enables us to focus on our strength – the development of high quality and reliable AI-driven cameras – allowing software developers to bring their own ideas and easily develop their own specific applications to run on our cameras.

Finally, we are building these capabilities into our cameras at no extra cost to the customer. By the end of 2022, i-PRO will offer more than 100 different AI camera models in the mid-market range and above, without raising prices typical for these cameras without AI capabilities. We understand that some businesses may not yet be ready to implement AI, but they can invest in i-PRO cameras today that are AI-capable and future-proofed – at no extra cost. We intend to hold our competitive pricing while continuing to add value to our line-up.

We believe that in this rapidly evolving security climate it’s better to take an open platform approach. Multiple applications can live on one platform and organisations can also optimise one database and share platform services. It’s impossible for a developer to create one application that can do everything for all end users and industry needs. Organisations must empower themselves with the ability to add essential tools that will continuously improve their security systems.

How important is it to be able to integrate video surveillance with other technology platforms?

Collaboration is critical to advancement. We are able to bring much more to the world by partnering to co-develop hardware and software. The success of the iPhone and its developer network speaks volumes about this model.

Our aim at i-PRO is to make our partners’ lives easier; we endeavour to think on their behalf, help them to use our hardware and easily add it into their existing systems.

Just a year after launching i-PRO as a standalone entity, we have already integrated two market-leading VMS providers, Milestone and Genetec, into our i-PRO Active Guard AI plug-in. This software enables seamless integration of AI into existing CCTV infrastructure for simplified intuitive management based on edge analytics. The i-PRO Active Guard can turn VMS into powerful search engines capable of real time searches or deep forensic analysis. This gives the majority of the surveillance market access to intuitive and easy end-to-end management of their AI-based metadata and cost effective integration into their existing CCTV infrastructure.

i-PRO is also fully integrated with other third party technologies, expanding market access to a number of applications tailored specifically to their needs. A.I.Tech is one example, with apps for different verticals, as well as Vaxtor, a well-known provider of automated license plate recognition software. i-PRO deeply values integrations as they unlock the development possibilities of our platform and fast-track the creation of new features for the i-PRO platform, our partners and end users.

It’s i-PRO’s mission to collaborate with visionary third-party software developers, using our open AI platform, to deliver the most powerful AI applications across every industry sector, putting our customer-focused business model in action.

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This article was originally published in the October edition of International Security Journal. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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