It is pleasing to find that others acknowledge the importance of ensuring the safety of civilians. FMHipHop was granted the opportunity to interview the co-founder of Iterate.ai, Brian Sathianathan, on their artificial intelligence Threat Awareness and License Plate Recognition technology used to keep businesses and schools safe all year round.
Q&A With Brian Sathianathan
“Over 3,500 locations have been equipped with Iterate.ai’s Threat Awareness technology. Do you receive regular updates regarding the impact of technology on those locations?”
Brian Sathianathan – “Yeah, so I think there’s a little bit of correction there. So it’s not our technology deployed at 3,500 locations, it’s 3,100 locations, but they’re not deployed with Threat Awareness technology.”
“It’s basically deployed with computer mission and license plate recognition, as well as other computer mission technologies. The company that I’m from, we provide an Al platform where you can build computer mission technologies a lot faster. The first application we bring to market was the license plate technology, and that technology is deployed around 3,100 locations.
“The License Plate Recognition technology has the ability to look at vehicles automatically, unlock and provide the necessary business services based on the license plate. Now, what we’ve done in addition to that is we’ve also deployed one school with this technology.”
“If a threat is detected, the technology has the ability to create alerts into the school’s notification system. Because most of the schools that are in the U.S. have an inbuilt notification system, not primarily for threat detection, but for various purposes. Like simple things, like when you go and pick your kid up, you tell the attendant you’re here and then they call the teacher. So it takes notifications like that. So the schools that already have notifications built in, when a threat is detected, our technology will notify that system. Based on the business rule, how we see the threat is intellect various folks all the way from teachers to authorities.”
“Can you tell me how long it took to develop this technology?”
Brian Sathianathan – “Yeah, this technology, that’s a great question…the technology took quite a long time to develop because, you know, this is all based on a computer mission technology that is already a part of our AI platform. So, first, we developed during the pandemic time, we developed the License Plate technology that got deployed in several locations across a few customers. Then while we were looking at it, some of the customers basically, we had some customer problems where there were robberies in various stores and so on.”
“So, they wanted us to use the same technology to see if we can look at robberies, so that’s how the conversation started. We started looking at various situations where robbery and theft, and even armed robbery, can happen. Then we decided since we are able to do this, why don’t we take the technology and we propose it for schools.”
“Because one data point that’s very interesting is in the last six months, just in the year 2022 alone, There have been 314 mass shootings, right? And 27 school shootings in the last six months. There’s been 29 retail shootings as well. Because you hear about schools a lot, but similarly, retail and public spaces also have these incidents happening.”
“So, we’re like, why don’t we take this technology and bring it to schools? So we did a lot of things. One thing we did was to make the technology compatible with the existing cameras that I used in the schools because the schooling iteration would use 20 to 50 cameras. So, we wanted to bring the price point down so that it can work with existing cameras and so on. We also have a different pricing finally for schools, so it’s more affordable for schools compared to commercial.”
“Is this technology used on college campuses as well?”
Brian Sathianathan – “It hasn’t been used yet, but that is also definitely a market we are proposing as well.”
“Has Iterate.ai received any complaints regarding the use of this technology?”
Brian Sathianathan – “Not yet, not yet. In fact, we’ve got very positive thoughts because we collaborate, of course, with the school administrator, and at the same time, we also collaborate with the local security folks in there. So a lot of times, you know, people come in, and they test it out, they’ve got good results, and we got pretty good encouragement and the support from teens.”
“What is the maximum distance to which the technology can detect if a person has a weapon in their bag?”
Brian Sathianathan – “Yeah, so currently, the technology uses the camera. So anything that can be seen with a human eye or seen through a camera, the AI will determine that there is a weapon carried. This is a scenario where say somebody coming with a gun or a pointed gun or a weapon that is physically visible by a human eye, right through the camera. So, that typically will be up to 100 feet we could detect the weapons.”
“Now what happens is, the closer you are, the better accuracy you have. Because you can, you know, as the person approaches, the accuracy improves. But then, we are also working in partnership with another company who actually develops a piece of hardware that uses radar technology, not just cameras, but also millimeter radar technology. Think of like when you go to the TSA in the airport, you lift up your arms, and then the thing goes around you to see if there are objects on your body. Same type of technology, but in a smaller form factor. It’s a little device, it’s not a big thing like that.”
Continued response to the question: “What is the maximum distance to which the technology can detect if a person has a weapon in their bag?”
“So, they built the technology, these companies, and we partner with them to integrate that with our software. Based on this, what will also happen, in addition to things that we can visually see, we also have the ability to see things with aid of this technology, we can also see weapons inside bags. We can see hidden sharp objects inside bags and so on, right. The Iterate.ai threat detection system leverages AI-based image recognition to identify guns, knives, kevlar vests, and robbery masks.”
“So, that’s kind of the next level. We haven’t fully deployed that yet. We’re still testing it, but that’s also another thing we want to bring to market. Our goal is to do whatever we can to keep our kids safe.”
“Will Iterate.ai add any additional features to this technology in the near future?”
Brian Sathianathan – “Yeah, so one of them is this capability, right. The other, of course, we are also looking at; currently the system has been trained with about 25,000 images. In addition, we’ve actually have about another 40,000 images that is primarily like computer generated.”
“So it’s storing about 65,000 images. We are actually increasing the training set because the more data we add to it, the better things get. Another is we are also enhancing because these types of technologies are potentially tenser. We need something called a GPU, which is like, you know, more powerful sense systems to do it. So, what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to make it more and more efficient so that it could work on cheaper hardware so the cost for the schools will be lower.”
“What is the cost of purchasing this technology?”
Brian Sathianathan – “So, currently, for schools, we are looking at a one-time setup fee of $5,000 to $10,000 one-time. That’s just to set it up and make sure it all works. The other is ongoing every year. It’s a $1,000 annual cost.”
“You mentioned the License Plate Recognition technology earlier. Is scanning the license plate of a vehicle that picks up a student a reliable method of determining whether the person driving the vehicle is safe?”
Brian Sathianathan – “You know a number of things, that’s a great question! So, currently, when license plate is recognized, it’s not only purely the license plate. It’s also the presence of the app on the phone is also a part of it, right. The person who carries the phone also is recognized and authenticated. So, actually, there is two steps that happens.”
“So, it’s not just purely anybody driving or steering the car cannot pick up the child or cannot be a part of the ecosystem. They have to own the phone, and they also have to actually authenticate on the device as well. So there is a two-step process. There is an app on the phone that would actually prompt saying you’ve been recognized, can you authenticate it? One has to actually have the device as well as the vehicle.”
Nikiya Biggs brings the interview with Brian Sathianathan. If you’re interested in knowing more about Iterate.ai, visit their website here.
Written by Nikiya Biggs | Instagram: @ngv6236 | Twitter: @BiggsNikiya
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