Articles by Monica Nascimento
As I reflect on the recent Red Dot awards that Ava Security won for high design quality and innovation in video security, I’m reminded of the power of simplicity. I’m not sure if Steve Jobs called his approach to design, design thinking, but I believe he would agree with the philosophy. Ava Security takes a similar, simplistic, and human-centric approach to the design of its video security cameras. Human-centric approach to the design Design thinking is a process for creative problem solving with the end-user at its core Design thinking is a process for creative problem solving with the end-user at its core. Ava Security follows this approach with all of its products, focusing on the people that they are creating for, which ultimately leads to better products, services, and outcomes. Steve Jobs meticulously designed Apple's products, interfaces, and marketing to first and foremost meet the needs and wants of the end-user. One of my favourite Jobs quotes is ‘Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.’ Ava’s video security cameras recognised The Red Dot award recognised Ava’s video security cameras for both how they look and how they work, offering a perfect mix of elegance and power. The award recognised the Ava video security camera line for several critical differentiators, such as: Aesthetics: Featuring precise shapes and softened surfaces that blend into any décor, the camera's split line enhances the cameras’ curved profile. Design: Built using robust, vandal-resistant materials, the cameras can withstand the harshest environmental conditions. Physical Security, an essential for businesses So why am I so excited about design? Because it matters. Physical security for businesses is no longer an option. It is a must-have essential. This said it doesn’t have to be intrusive or obvious. It can be aesthetically appealing, blending into the decor. This is why we partnered with Scandinavian consultancy, Eggs Design to develop and engineer the sleek, high-quality product identity and new look of our video surveillance cameras and hardware. Aware Cloud video management system We’ve accompanied this elegance with Ava’s powerful VaaS software and appliances We’ve accompanied this elegance with Ava’s powerful VaaS software and appliances, which are also easy to install, easy to use, and manage. For example, security operators simply scan the unique QR codes on the Ava Cameras, to onboard them to the Aware Cloud video management system (VMS). Adding to the appeal of the Ava Aware design is that it allows security teams to analyse video surveillance feeds from both Ava and third-party security cameras in a unified dashboard, and in real-time. Simple web-based interface In addition, Aware’s open API connects to existing sensors, access control systems, dashboards, external viewers, and communication systems to get a 360-degree overview of an environment. Plus, a simple web-based interface means physical security across sites can be managed with a smartphone from anywhere without additional plugins or configurations. “The design of Ava Cameras is excellent in terms of both the aesthetic and the functionality,” said Red Dot’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Peter Zec. Blending creativity with technology innovation It is an exciting time to be a part of the Ava Security team, as we help organisations of all sizes rethink the way they approach security. Like other Red Dot award winners - Apple, Google, Ferrari, and Sonos - we transform an industry through an innovative blending of form and function. Just as Steve Jobs built Apple to be a company, where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering, Ava Security understands the best way to create sustained value for our customers is to blend creativity with technology innovation.
Monica Nascimento is the Director of Marketing at Vaion and Jazz Networks, both Ava unified security companies, where she works with global enterprise organisations to detect physical threats at their earliest stages, thereby mitigating risk rather than simply responding after the fact and protect against physical and cyber threats. Monica stated that the recent events unfolding around the world over the last few weeks had got her thinking about her path to join Ava (Jazz Networks and Vaion joined forces as Ava in April 2020). Value of integrity My decision really came down to how much I wanted to work for a different kind of company My decision really came down to how much I wanted to work for a different kind of company. At this point in my 25-year long career, not only did I want to be part of an innovative company with a great future, but one that values integrity. Measuring integrity is, admittedly, a bit challenging, but here’s one of the things that caught my attention: How Ava’s Product Development team operates with respect to women and nationalities. First, there are a surprising number of women on the team, including many in leadership positions. This was quite remarkable to me in this typically male-dominated industry. Second, I noticed an incredibly rich mix of nationalities represented. Never before have I worked with either this many women, outside of what one might say are more traditionally female roles, or with such a cross-national group of people. Let alone both, Monica adds. Improving physical and cyber security Let me explain why I think both these matter, not just for me, but more importantly, for our customers and other businesses that want to vastly improve their physical and cyber security. When Ran Pugach, Ava’s Chief Product and Development Officer, presented his team to me, I couldn't help notice that his leadership team was 33% women. Also, there were (still are) 16 women overall in Ava's Product Development team, which spans our full range of cyber and physical security solutions. For a relatively small company, in the early stages of its journey, that’s huge. In all my years in the high-tech cyber and physical security industries, I’ve never come across this. Protecting physical assets and providing data security From the outset, Ava and its investors were intent on finding the best talent out there" When I jokingly asked Ran about the women in his organisation and leadership team and whether he was ‘checking the box’, he proudly said, "From the outset, Ava and its investors were intent on finding the best talent out there. Protecting physical assets and providing data security are extremely complex challenges demanding highly capable people with the right experience and outlook.” Ran added, “The reason why I brag about my team composition is that I was not explicitly looking to hire women. I was looking to hire the best talent and I’m very happy they were women!" Positives of multi-national team The same reasoning lies behind seeking out experts from all over the world. Ava develops products for both cyber and video security, which entails both hardware (appliances, intelligent cameras) and software (cyber security, video analytics, cloud solutions). Currently, 21 nationalities are represented on the team, including (beyond UK and Norway, where Ava is co-headquartered) Canada, Malaysia, Switzerland and South Korea, to name just a few. In every company that I’ve ever worked, including global companies where multiple nationalities were represented across the organisation, most, if not all the members of the product development teams, hailed from a single country. It may have been because they were all ‘known’ to the founders, or because the company started in a particular region of the world. Ava’s mix is altogether different and quite refreshing in my eyes. And, it makes business sense. Importance of knowing the global customer base Ava’s team brings a special discernment to meeting the 'less evident' needs of its global customer base To best serve any market, you have to have top talent. But beyond that, to sell software platforms to a global market, it’s critical to have global talent that reflects your customer base. This is true for obvious, and, for less obvious reasons alike. The perspectives of people from different nations are not only incredibly important for product development and roadmaps, but also for operational support and delivery. All too often, there are subtle practices, norms, or perceptions that can get in the way of smooth and frictionless adoption because the seller hasn’t figured out what a customer might be thinking or hasn’t recognised some cultural or national nuance or preference. Ava’s product development team brings a special discernment to meeting the 'less evident' needs of its global customer base. This brings me back to Ran. He’s lived in five countries and travelled to over 40 more, all while bringing complex technology platforms to the market. Ran speaks multiple languages, but more importantly, he speaks ‘global’. It’s a part of who he is and a big part of what Ava strives to be. Need for employees to feel valued I know it’s not easy to run a large team or a company. I’m not pretending I know how, especially in difficult times like the ones we’re in now. Feeling valued for who you are and the strengths you bring, rather than feeling like management has checked the boxes and filled the organisational chart, is palpable to employees and customers alike. It’s the basis for creating great teams, and for best serving the real needs of customers, as defined by them. And, yes, all of this circles back to what’s going on in the world and what ultimately informed my decision to work for Ava. As a woman and a part of this talented global team, I chose Ava not only because of its game-changing video and cyber security solutions, but even more so because of its refreshing perspective on people. The broader world is clearly up against a completely different set of challenges, but I stand by the fight for more integrity, whether it’s a team at work or on a national or global scale.
In the last few months, everyone has had to pivot. It has been noticed that the new normal has actually helped a lot of folks get clear on a lot of things. Vaion recently hosted a virtual event for physical security professionals, where almost all the questions raised were really about, “How can this help me do my job smarter, faster, and provide more value to my organisation?” The answer to the question is: Think more strategically about physical security. Better leverage the video security products already owned. Harness the power of big data. Vaion virtual event Before diving into the value question, let’s set the stage. A mix of security professionals from a wide range of verticals, including hospitals, schools, airports, and a naval academy, have joined the virtual event. Each visitor chose only the scenarios that he/she cared about, at virtual kiosks tuned to Commercial, Education, Government, Healthcare, or Retail sector needs. Not only did the company try to make it as close to a live booth experience as possible, but also offered it on-demand, allowing anyone to watch all or one of the sessions’ on-demand, at any point. Unique virtual experience It was particularly striking to see by how much the event mimicked a live tradeshow It was particularly striking to see by how much the event mimicked a live tradeshow. Each Vaion booth staffer had a personal style and favourite anecdote. And each demonstration was unique. The difference from a face-to-face experience was palpable too, since visitors don’t get immediate feedback from body language or personal rapport. But mostly, attendees were impressed by the persistence of one theme, Value. It occurred to me that this is the universal reality of the current crisis. The new norm dictates, rather it demands that value takes centre stage. This was clearly on display at the Vaion booth, with everyone hungry to solve problems in new and better ways. Vaion shared what has emerged from their experience, working with security professionals from different industries and with varying needs. Getting clear and definable value from video security comes down to better leveraging resources to: Catch threats before they escalate, Do more with video surveillance than just security, Support other functions in the organisation, and Get additional kinds of data and harness it for powerful new insights Importance of harnessing big data Better can also mean faster, a lower cost, the use of fewer resources, easier to deploy/use/maintain, and ‘dual’ compliance for both the present and future. Security professionals know that safeguarding people, assets, and critical infrastructure, when the risks are only intensifying, requires keeping up with technology. But they often don’t realise how much harnessing big data can push them forward on the security and value curve. Real-time detection, investigation and response With a proactive mindset and the right solution, organisations can get better data and leverage it With a proactive mindset and the right solution, organisations can get better data, and the ability to leverage it. It’s possible to get real-time detection, investigation, and response, along with the host of benefits mentioned earlier, just by applying resources more strategically. I’d call this achievable and meaningful value. Oh, and back to the booth experience, including who won the Apple TV 4K! Visitors got to see real demos of solutions in action, which is always the best way to see the simplicity, power, and most of all, the value of proactive video security. Here is a quick overview of what they experienced: Real use cases leveraging integrated video (and audio) analytics; The simplicity of integrated analytics and historical timelines; Smart map experiences for real situational intelligence; Powerful similarity searches that easily find people, vehicles, and other objects; Simplified management and policy implementations; Secure remote access; Integrations with access control. And to ensure that the feel of a real booth is maintained, Vaion offered one lucky visitor the chance to win an Apple TV 4K and a one-year subscription with the winner declared, Nate Wetmore from Short Circuit Electronics, Inc.
Monica Nascimento is the director of marketing at Vaion and Jazz Networks, both Ava unified security companies, where she works with global enterprise organisations to detect physical threats at their earliest stages—mitigating risk rather than simply responding after the fact—and protect against physical and cyber threats. Since the first hints of COVID-19, we’ve worked with businesses around the world to adapt to what’s now become a new normal. Companies once panicked at the thought of securing shuttered buildings or challenged to maintain social distance between employees and customers have settled into a quiet acceptance of the new reality. security monitoring services Unfortunately, just as business owners started to shakily emerge from the financial impact of COVID-19, new concerns about protecting retail storefronts have bubbled to the surface in the wake of national and international civil unrest. Innovative technologies are emerging to keep businesses, employees, and customers safe Just when you think the road is going to zig, it zags. This is the unknown businesses face. How do you plan for the future when each day seems to bring something new and unexpected? Now more than ever, businesses require flexibility, agility, and adaptability in their business solutions. This is particularly true when it comes to solving security challenges. Innovative technologies are emerging to keep businesses, employees, and customers safe. A great example is found in the changes we’re seeing in security monitoring services. No longer is it enough to simply check a camera at fixed intervals throughout the day. How often do you think an incident occurs at the exact moment you look at the camera? What if you could bring relevant feeds to the operator's attention in a dynamic video wall with alerts and notifications?? Intelligent video systems A timely example is found in the work my company, Vaion, is doing with security monitoring pioneer Global Axiom to help auto dealerships protect automobiles on car lots. Together we are delivering an innovative approach to security using intelligent video systems. Businesses must take a proactive stance on protecting assets. It is not enough to have cameras catching criminals and vandals on video, business owners must find a way to stay a step ahead. Just last week, not too far from my home in Northern California, more than 70 new cars were stolen from the San Leandro Dodge dealership. Unfortunately, by the time the looters had taken over the lot, it was too late to intervene. The window of opportunity was lost. Video security solutions Good news, by adopting an innovative intelligent video security solutions like our vcore video management system, Global Axiom is able to help businesses take a proactive stance against physical security threats. The use of machine learning brings a whole new level of agility and flexibility to monitoring services allowing security operators to detect anything unusual at any time. For example, vcore understands perimeters and behaviours, identifies, classifies, and tracks people of interest, vehicles, or other objects to send alerts before threats escalate. If the San Leandro auto dealership had deployed a solution like this, it could have been a totally different outcome. Massive surveillance footage The accuracy and speed with which data can now be retrieved are game-changing Analytics provided through artificial intelligence (AI) also transform the manually-intensive examination of massive surveillance footage into accurate and useful results within mere minutes. Security operators can use powerful appearance, event, or image search functions to narrow down and track people or objects of interest across a car lot or any business to identify exactly who, what, and when anything is stolen or vandalised. The accuracy and speed with which data can now be retrieved are game-changing. Also lending to speed and agility are new technologies that change video streams dynamically to bring only the relevant feeds to the attention of the operator. Real-time alerts and notifications show up on the video wall to describe the incident, the time, and the place it occurred. No doubt the role of security monitoring companies is evolving in the wake of COVID-19 and beyond. Innovative technology solutions It is no longer enough to simply throw more bodies at a security challenge. Flexibility, adaptability, and agility require innovative technology solutions like our end-to-end intelligent security system. Perhaps, the best news for security monitoring companies and businesses alike is that solutions like Vaion vcore can be used with existing security camera infrastructures providing an out-of-the-box solution to minimise installation time and eliminate downtime. Critical when life seems to change on a daily if not hourly basis. Businesses need to be able to predict and avoid threats rather than just document the damage. The good news is that artificial intelligence and video analytics integrated into a remote monitoring service can take video security to a whole new level. Intelligent video surveillance solutions allow organisations to proactively monitor, understand, and act on their surroundings. I look forward to sharing more insights in the days and weeks ahead and I invite you to register for a proof of concept of our vcore video management system.
Each time I hear about a break-in, theft, or other physical security incidents at a facility these days, I think of one of my dad’s most-loved analogies. “The time to discover you need a plunger isn’t when the toilet’s overflowing.” Crass, yes. But so true, isn’t it? As one of nine kids, remembering this colourful adage saved me a lot of grief throughout my childhood. It still does. And now I can’t help wondering, with all that’s on the line, why aren’t more enterprises or government organisations taking a more proactive approach to physical and cybersecurity? Video security products Let’s look at video security. Most companies and government agencies have video security products. That’s not the problem. The problem is that many get lulled into a false sense of security simply because they’ve installed security cameras. This mindset misses a major piece of the prevention puzzle. Video security without analytics to provide the critical insight needed to act—rather than just record incidents—is like being without that plunger. I’m referring to machine learning-powered security that can capture, analyse, and make sense of loads of unstructured data picked up by cameras and thrust upon security professionals every day. Frustrated operators aren’t getting the right data at the right time, even when bad incidents may actually be happening. Video security solution AI enables software to ‘learn’ what is considered normal and what isn’t for your organisation Before taking—forgive me—the plunge into smart detection, you should be aware of a few key things. First, go with a video security solution that can be used with most of your existing cameras. Imagine plug and play perimeter detection leveraging analytics! Overnight, your organisation will be more proactive, increasing the value of previous video surveillance investments. Second, video analytics technology has been changing fast. AI enables software to ‘learn’ what is considered normal and what isn’t for your organisation. Through machine learning algorithms, raw video content is converted into meaningful actionable intelligence and enhanced situational awareness. vcore, our intelligent video management system, for example, detects, identifies, extracts, and catalogues input like object type, appearance, and similarity. Behavioural detection factors Then it adds behavioural detection factors like dwell times, line crossings, vehicles in no-cross zones, or persons in sensitive areas. Combined with directional sound analytics on glass breaking, screams, and gunshot, operators only get alerts on what really matters. And when analytics analyse all your cameras, you get a complete picture because they help inform you what needs attention. It’s not every day I share my Dad’s pearls of wisdom, but as COVID-19 upends just about everything, moving toward proactive security to protect your organisation’s assets and people seems all the wiser.
New rules? No problem. Use to enforce today's new social distancing mandates. At no other time in history has there been a worldwide call to action like we are experiencing today. Governments around the globe have mandated businesses and citizens alike to adopt social distancing as a rule - as a way of life. As a company, we too are helping our employees, customers, and partners navigate during these unprecedented times with the goal to protect people and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The cost? Minimising social interactions means most businesses have unfortunately closed or shifted to a 100% remote workforce. All but essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, post offices, hardware stores, and banks continue to stay open. First responders, healthcare providers, and utility companies also continue to operate. Mandate for social distancing vcore provides intelligent maps and computer vision to accurately identify the presence of individuals and vehicles So how do these essential businesses keep safe and follow the mandate for social distancing while also serving the public? Intelligent video security has come to the forefront as the answer to this question. It provides a solution that can be implemented quickly and simply today. If your organisation was forced to shut its doors, you are facing a very different challenge of protecting buildings, structures, and campuses with no clear open date in mind. This additional blog is for you. Intelligent video security for social distancing The following are four specific ways video security is playing a pivotal role in helping businesses enforce social distancing. These are capabilities you can implement today using your current video security solution. People and vehicle tracking in real-time using a map view Businesses need a full picture of the people and vehicles inside a facility at any given point in time. Now more than ever it is critical to have a real-time view. A video management system (VMS) like vcore provides intelligent maps and computer vision to accurately identify the presence of individuals and vehicles. It can also track and locate equipment, products, and other assets. Imagine being able to see every person and vehicle in motion. People and vehicles can now be highlighted on site maps allowing businesses to carefully monitor and prevent congestion to maintain social distance. And maps can be linked making it easy for security operators to follow people and/or customers as they move throughout a facility. Counting rules to trigger notifications when the number of people or vehicles is too large Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and other essential service providers need to limit the number of people on their premises to allow for social distancing. The same goes for playgrounds or soccer fields where they remain open. Security operators can set object counting rules to receive notifications in real-time when there’s a larger number of people than allowed in a particular location. For tight spaces and hallways, operators can proactively monitor and identify potential crowding in real-time. Improve team collaboration Security and operations teams must also adhere to social distancing rules. An agile, collaborative video security solution provides these employees with full visibility into essential alerts while allowing them to maintain a social distance. This is accomplished through the use of webhooks that connect to an organisation’s communications tool of choice e.g. applications like, Slack or Google Hangouts. For example, authorised staff might be notified about an alert via Slack. By notifying and providing authorised staff with immediate access to critical video on their desktop or mobile device, the response time is almost instantaneous. Bottlenecks are removed. Today this is particularly important during the current health crisis. Share relevant video clips securely with people inside or outside your organisation Continuous collaboration requires the ability to securely share relevant video links internally and even externally with law enforcement via the cloud. Imagine viewing a video of a congested area from a control room and needing to relay the information to the security team on the ground. Being able to share video clips via the cloud saves time and delivers accuracy of information directly to the source to facilitate immediate action. Intelligent video security While the immediate future is a bit uncertain, intelligent video security is helping organisations globally and across industries gain peace-of-mind knowing they are effectively protecting and maintaining the safety of their employees and customers. It may not be easy but it has been proven social distancing is the best solution to fight COVID-19. I’d welcome the opportunity to talk with you directly about your organisation’s unique video security needs. We have an immediate solution which we are offering a no-obligation proof-of-concept so businesses can start using vcore immediately to get through this challenging time.