The trend of video customers moving to the cloud has reached a tipping point. At the same time, artificial intelligence (AI) is being adopted on a massive scale. Combining the two trends adds a higher level of value than either component individually.
Merging the power of AI and the cloud is a driving force behind cloud surveillance company Eagle Eye Networks’ acquisition of Uncanny Vision, an AI and video analytics company headquartered in Bangalore, India.
Expensive AI resources
Cloud systems empower customers to leverage AI without having to install and program complicated and expensive hardware, in effect stripping away the barriers to entry that customers face when seeking to embrace AI. The cloud also enables customers to share expensive AI resources.
One of the key components is ease of deployment – click, click and turn on the AI for any camera"
Simplicity of implementation is crucial to the combined value proposition of Eagle Eye Networks and Uncanny Vision. “One of the key components is ease of deployment – click, click and turn on the AI for any camera (in a cloud system),” says Dean Drako, Eagle Eye Networks CEO. There is also a benefit of having AI systems networked, enabling 25 banks to perform facial recognition of customers from a single cloud-based system, he adds. A transition is also under way in the perception of AI.
Video surveillance applications
While previously it was seen as an add-on to surveillance systems, now it is seen as a very desirable feature on any system. “Centralised management of the cloud benefits the AI database,” says Drako. “In a project built around licence plate recognition (LPR), for example, all the data goes up to the cloud into a single database, and the customer can get a mobile view of everything going on across the world. You can’t do that without the cloud. And AI for LPR is more accurate.”
Uncanny Vision’s targeted focus on AI for video surveillance applications was one factor that attracted Eagle Eye Networks to make the acquisition, says Drako. In contrast, some other companies have embraced broader applications of video AI. Uncanny Vision also has more customers using their system in real-world applications than competitors. Finally, the acquisition will help to expand Eagle Eye Networks’ presence in the LPR market, where Uncanny Vision is especially strong.
Improving business operations
The 60 employees at Uncanny Vision are mostly engineers and programmers
Uncanny Vision’s deep learning algorithms enable recognition, identification, and prediction, improving business operations, customer service, and site safety. Applications include smart parking, retail, smart cities, ATM monitoring, worker safety and perimeter security.
The 60 employees at Uncanny Vision are mostly engineers and programmers. “These guys understand how to translate AI algorithms to run very efficiently on various types of hardware,” says Drako. “They optimise how they get the code to run so we can implement in the cloud cost-effectively. They do it at a modest cost to make it more accessible. They understand how to deploy software for high performance on low-cost hardware.” For Uncanny Vision, the new ownership provides more reach. “We have a huge channel and a huge brand,” says Drako. “They are strong technical guys who need a sales and solution channel.”
Video analytics solutions
Even in light of the acquisition, Eagle Eye Networks will continue to provide a selection of third-party AI and video analytics solutions to customers. Use of AI and video analytics is specific to the application and business needs of each customer.
Use of AI and video analytics is specific to the application and business needs of each customer
In addition to AI functionality, systems need a ‘business logic’ component that drives how that capability is integrated into a system. System needs vary widely by vertical market, and many third-party vendors are focused on a specific vertical and how AI can benefit that market.
Recurring monthly revenue
“Third parties can provide analytics and the business logic, which is different for a factory, an office building or for a drive-thru restaurant,” says Drako. “The market is looking for many solutions, and one company couldn’t own a majority of them.” To ensure flexibility, Eagle Eye Networks will accommodate third party solutions, deploy their own analytics, or leverage analytics embedded in cameras.
For Eagle Eye Networks’ dealer and integrator customers, the expansion into AI presents a new opportunity for recurring monthly revenue (RMR) and provides greater value to customers. Drako says the impact of the acquisition will be global as AI applications grow in popularity worldwide.