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Panasonic i-PRO EMEA announces expansion of the new AI-driven camera line-up at The Security Event 2021, headed up by Gerard Figols
Panasonic i-PRO EMEA announces expansion of the new AI-driven camera line-up at The Security Event 2021, headed up by Gerard Figols

Panasonic i-PRO EMEA is using The Security Event 2021 in Birmingham, one of Europe’s first large-scale security events, to be held face-to-face in 15 months, to share news about the newly-founded independent company that has been transferred from Panasonic. Gerard Figols will be leading the security market expansion of the new company, as it becomes an independent organisation from Panasonic, effective October 1, 2021. Innovative i-PRO products Gerard Figols, who moves from heading Panasonic’s European Total Security business unit, will use the company’s new agility to quickly respond to market developments, delivering more high-quality products, in shorter development times and at good value for money. The objective is to make innovative i-PRO products more available and accessible and increase overall competitiveness. Aligned with these goals, Panasonic i-PRO EMEA also aims to lead the widespread AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology adoption in the security camera market, by making AI the new standard. The Security Event 2021 At The Security Event 2021, i-PRO has expanded its line-up with 4 new AI-capable outdoor models At The Security Event 2021, i-PRO has expanded its line-up with 4 new AI-capable outdoor models, with 2 MP resolution in bullet and dome shape. The current AI-capable portfolio includes cameras starting at 2 MP resolution, up to 4K, in order to give all businesses access to the advantages of AI. i-PRO plans to triple the number of cameras in the range, over the next 6 to 12 months. Besides the advantages of cost savings, system reliability and flexibility, at the same level of accuracy as server-based systems, i-PRO AI-driven cameras are open systems that enable any developer to work on their own apps, to run on the cameras. AI-driven outdoor camera models “In order to underline our new direction and the evolution that the company is going through, combining expertise of more than 60 years of industry know-how, with innovative open technology, like AI, we will also begin to use i-PRO as the standalone product identity from April 1st, 2022,” said Gerard Figols, currently Head of Panasonic’s European Total Security business unit. He adds, “It will be the same quality products, introducing additional innovation from the i-PRO brand and its value to bring the product to the next stage in this new era.”

Panasonic AI-driven cameras empower an expanding vision of new uses
Panasonic AI-driven cameras empower an expanding vision of new uses

Imagine a world where video cameras are not just watching and reporting for security, but have an even wider positive impact on our lives. Imagine that cameras control street and building lights, as people come and go, that traffic jams are predicted and vehicles are automatically rerouted, and more tills are opened, just before a queue starts to form. Cameras with AI capabilities Cameras in stores can show us how we might look in the latest outfit as we browse. That’s the vision from Panasonic about current and future uses for their cameras that provide artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities at the edge. Panasonic feels that these types of intelligent camera applications are also the basis for automation and introduction of Industry 4.0, in which processes are automated, monitored and controlled by AI-driven systems. 4K network security cameras The company’s i-PRO AI-capable camera line can install and run up to three AI-driven video analytic applications Panasonic’s 4K network security cameras have built-in AI capabilities suitable for this next generation of intelligent applications in business and society. The company’s i-PRO AI-capable camera line can install and run up to three AI-driven video analytic applications. The AI engine is directly embedded into the camera, thus reducing costs and Panasonic’s image quality ensures the accuracy of the analytics outcome. FacePRO facial recognition technology Panasonic began advancing AI technology on the server side with FacePRO, the in-house facial recognition application, which uses AI deep learning capabilities. Moving ahead, they transitioned their knowledge of AI from the server side to the edge, introducing i-PRO security cameras with built-in AI capabilities last summer, alongside their own in-house analytics. Moreover, in line with the Panasonic approach to focus more on collaboration with specialist AI software developers, a partnership with Italian software company, A.I. Tech followed in September, with a range of intelligent applications, partially based on deep learning. Additional collaborations are already in place with more than 10 other developers, across the European Union, working on more future applications. i-PRO AI-capable security cameras Open systems are an important part of Panasonic’s current approach. The company’s i-PRO AI-capable cameras are an open platform and designed for third-party application development, therefore, applications can be built or tailored to the needs of an individual customer. Panasonic use to be a company that developed everything in-house, including all the analytics and applications. “However, now we have turned around our strategy by making our i-PRO security cameras open to integrate applications and analytics from third-party companies,” says Gerard Figols, Head of Security Solutions at Panasonic Business Europe. Flexible and adapting to specific customer needs This new approach allows the company to be more flexible and adaptable to customers’ needs. “At the same time, we can be quicker and much more tailored to the market trend,” said Gerard Figols. He adds, “For example, in the retail space, enabling retailers to enhance the customer experience, in smart cities for traffic monitoring and smart parking, and by event organisers and transport hubs to monitor and ensure safety.” Edge-based analytics offer multiple benefits over server-based systems Edge-based analytics Edge-based analytics offer multiple benefits over server-based systems. On one hand, there are monetary benefits - a cost reduction results from the decreased amount of more powerful hardware required on the server side to process the data, on top of reduction in the infrastructure costs, as not all the full video stream needs to be sent for analysis, we can work solely with the metadata. On the other hand, there are also advantages of flexibility, as well as reliability. Each camera can have its own individual analytic setup and in case of any issue on the communication or server side, the camera can keep running the analysis at the edge, thereby making sure the CCTV system is still fully operational. Most importantly, systems can keep the same high level of accuracy. Explosion of AI camera applications We can compare the explosion of AI camera applications to the way we experienced it for smartphone applications" “We can compare the explosion of AI camera applications to the way we experienced it for smartphone applications,” said Gerard Figols, adding “However, it doesn’t mean the hardware is not important anymore, as I believe it’s more important than ever. Working with poor picture quality or if the hardware is not reliable, and works 24/7, software cannot run or deliver the outcome it has been designed for.” As hardware specialists, Figols believes that Panasonic seeks to focus on what they do best - Building long-lasting, open network cameras, which are capable of capturing the highest quality images that are required for the latest AI applications, while software developers can concentrate on bringing specialist applications to the market. Same as for smartphones, AI applications will proliferate based on market demand and succeed or fail, based on the value that they deliver. Facial recognition, privacy protection and cross line technologies Panasonic has been in the forefront in developing essential AI applications for CCTV, such as facial recognition, privacy protection and cross line. However, with the market developing so rapidly and the potential applications of AI-driven camera systems being so varied and widespread, Panasonic quickly realised that the future of their network cameras was going to be in open systems, which allow specialist developers and their customers to use their sector expertise to develop their own applications for specific vertical market applications, while using i-PRO hardware. Metadata for detection and recognition Regarding privacy, consider that the use of AI in cameras is about generating metadata for the detection and recognition of patterns, rather than identifying individual identities. “However, there are legitimate privacy concerns, but I firmly believe that attitudes will change quickly when people see the incredible benefits that this technology can deliver,” said Gerard Figols, adding “I hope that we will be able to redefine our view of cameras and AI, not just as insurance, but as life advancing and enhancing.” i-PRO AI Privacy Guard One of the AI applications that Panasonic developed was i-PRO AI Privacy Guard Seeking to understand and appreciate privacy concerns, one of the AI applications that Panasonic developed was i-PRO AI Privacy Guard that generates data without capturing individual identities, following European privacy regulations that are among the strictest in the world. Gerard Fogils said, “The combination of artificial intelligence and the latest generation open camera technology will change the world’s perceptions from Big Brother to Big Benefits. New applications will emerge as the existing generation of cameras is updated to the new open and intelligent next generation devices, and the existing role of the security camera will also continue.” Future scope of AI and cameras He adds, “Not just relying on the security cameras for evidence when things have gone wrong, end users will increasingly be able to use AI and the cameras with much higher accuracy to prevent false alarms and in a proactive way to prevent incidents." Gerard Figols concludes, “That could be monitoring and alerting when health and safety guidelines are being breached or spotting and flagging patterns of suspicious behaviour before incidents occur.”

Panasonic joins IPSA as a founder to support key workers
Panasonic joins IPSA as a founder to support key workers

Panasonic Security Solutions announced that it had become a Founder of the relaunched International Professional Security Association (IPSA). The association is dedicated to supporting those individuals and companies working in the fire and security sector, many of which are classified as key workers. Member job roles range from installation technicians of security systems and fire systems to vital security personnel. Free app and membership The Panasonic investment, as one of a number of Founders, has helped to fund a radical shake-up of the UK's longest established security association. New initiatives include free membership for all frontline security and technical workers and a new free app. The app will provide information and training modules, and a network of approved suppliers that support the industry The app will provide information and guidance, welfare, training modules, and a network of approved suppliers that support the industry. IPSA also plans to use the app to capture important data and trends about unreported incidents, mental well-being, injuries, diversity, and disability - all of which, for the first time, will allow for an accurate picture of incidents affecting front-line security officers, businesses, and the wider community. Driving security standards "IPSA plans to represent the security industry with "one voice" and the support of Founder organisations, such as Panasonic, enable us to deliver on this vision," said Simon Pears, Chairman of IPSA. "Each and every one of our Founders is showing their commitment and support in driving security standards and professionalism forward. Their support is invaluable as we showcase all aspects of the security solutions and career progression available." Safeguard security society Commenting on the investment, Panasonic Security Solutions Marketing Manager Rachael Crook, said, "Panasonic has a 60-plus-year proud history of supporting the security industry - providing reliable camera and software solutions and the valuable real-time information used by its professionals to safeguard society.” “With the relaunch of IPSA, its commitment to the industry, and the important role it plays in society, as well as the focus on technology solutions like the app, it made perfect sense for us to support the new-look organisation."