Closed-circuit television systems (CCTV) have demonstrated that they can do what they're supposed to: give humans better eyesight on the security situation in order to reduce security incidents. CCTV cameras can only show and record video footage and not much more beyond that. As they do not understand what they are watching, they are also unable to do anything about it.
To fight theft, violence, vandalism or fire effectively, cameras must be able to detect and interpret such incidents by themselves. They must also have the capability to cooperate with other systems, such as alarm systems. This is where the Internet of Things comes into play. It connects network-enabled cameras with other devices and systems that perform other tasks and turns security surveillance into smart safety and security management.
Meet Security & Safety Things that turns security cameras into smart IoT devices with its Application Store. The firm strives to use these technologies to make the world more secure. That’s why it is launching its open IoT platform for security cameras. Together with the firm’s manufacturing, app development, and integrator partners, it will shape the future of security. Its ecosystem complies with rules and ethical guidelines to ensure data privacy – so users and the general public can trust it.
Hartmut Schaper, CEO, will help us understand the company in detail
Tell us about the founding of Security & Safety Things. What does the company do and what is your geographic reach / market?
Security & Safety Things is a venture backed by Robert Bosch GmbH, offering an open platform for security cameras, which includes an operating system, an app store, and a corresponding development environment. It was designed to be an open operating system based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for surveillance cameras, creating a global standard that accelerates innovation.
Security & Safety Things was launched from Bosch in 2018 and today we have more than 110 employees in offices in our Munich, Germany, headquarters; our innovation center in Pittsburg, one of the epicenters of AI research and a strong team in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Today our solution is widely available in North America and Europe and we are rapidly expanding to other areas to service a variety of customers.
Brief us about your open IoT platform and why it is strategic for your company.
One of our main goals with our open IoT platform is to innovate the surveillance camera industry and lift it to the next level, enabling software developers to create and market innovative solutions quickly. The platform model allows camera manufacturers to power their devices with S&ST’s free and open operating system. It enables camera operators to flexibly install and run apps from the S&ST app store, helping our clients increase the security and safety and wellbeing of their employees and customers while dramatically improving their operational efficiency.
It’s a multisided business model whose success relies on cooperation between core security-industry stakeholders, including end customers, integrators, camera manufacturers, VMS vendors and software developers. To help foster this cooperation, Bosch, together with a few partners, initiated the formation of an industry alliance, the Open Security and Safety Alliance (OSSA), a neutral forum where competitors can talk to each other to drive standardization in our industry.
You have described your company as an innovator that wishes to change the dynamics of an industry. What are the paradigms that you see as potential barriers for your industry to innovate or advance in this area?
At S&ST, we see the value a camera provides as a powerful, data-rich sensor capable of capturing all types of information. However, such innovations that would expand upon this concept have in the past been stifled by the fragmentation caused by the large diversity of operating systems used in security cameras. New applications harnessing the possibilities of AI and machine learning had to constantly be refitted for the different cameras on the market. In effect, end user offerings became fragmented
as well - making it difficult for them to find the exact solution they were looking for. With this in mind, we developed this platform so that innovators have to develop new applications only once for our free operating system, for them to run on cameras from different manufacturers.
Our camera partners, who today include major manufacturers such as Bosch Security and Safety Systems; Hanwha Techwin, a division of South Korea’s Hanwha Group; Taiwan-based Vivotek and a host of additional partners, are leading the charge to redefine the capabilities of modern security cameras, leveraging sophisticated Software on Chip capabilities and AI-enabled analytic applications.
Industries such as AI, IoT, and even physical security have faced scrutiny from regulators or societal pressure about the impact of their technologies. How is Security & Safety Things positioning itself in this area?
It’s important to note that Security & Safety Things provides the technological platform for applications to run on security cameras, including technologies such as facial recognition, but is not a developer of such technologies ourselves. That being said, we recognize that there is little question that the ability of security cameras to perform these types of analytics has been growing in controversy over the past few years. This has not stopped the growth of cameras around the world or the addition of facial recognition technology to many of them, but it has allowed the technological providers in this space time to devise solutions to mitigate many of the mainstream objections to cameras with this technology.
Analytics in general allow for hands off “monitoring” of the camera feeds – the analytics can be set up to provide alerts to operators only if they detect anomalies in behavior, such as a car driving the wrong direction on a one-way road, an abandoned vehicle on the perimeter of an airport runway, or two individuals engaging in aggressive behavior.
One recent app uploaded to our app store blurs out the face of incoming customers to a retail store for privacy protection but allows shoppers to rate their experience with the retailer via interaction with the camera and a public view monitor by giving thumbs up / thumbs down hand gestures. This replaces traditional retail customer feedback terminals that require interaction with a touchscreen.
Security & Safety Things – a Robert Bosch startup that has developed an open IoT platform for security cameras, enabling seamless management of networked cameras by unleashing a new generation of AI-based security apps.
Schaper is an experienced executive, with a track record of successfully working in the computer software industry and serving in several senior management roles at Siemens Hospital Information Systems (HIS) and SAP AG and in several Start Ups.
“Turn security cameras into smart IoT devices with our Application Store.”