Hikvision recently held its African AI ‘Shaping Intelligence’ Conference in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Hi-Tech Security Solutions attended the event in Johannesburg, along with Hikvision’s local executive team, as well as many partners and customers interested in the future role AI will be playing in the surveillance and broader security industry.
Over 400 Hikvision customers and partners attended the conferences, including Hikvision’s national distributors in South Africa, as well as key system integrators and technology partners. By the end of the event, everyone was thoroughly convinced that AI is not going to play an important role in security, but it is already and its impact will only increase over the next few years.
Johnny Ge, project sales director for Hikvision South Africa, welcomed the guests and played the role of MC throughout the event. First up on stage was Hikvision Africa’s CEO, James Dong, who explained that the goal of artificial intelligence (AI) was to develop machines that think like humans and achieve parity in intelligence.
“Technology innovation and partnerships are key factors for success in our future development in the security industry. Based on the company’s sophisticated video technology and experience in AI, we will enable our customers to add more capabilities and value to their businesses in different vertical markets,” said Dong in his keynote speech.
Evan Liu, GM of Hikvision SA was up next, with more insight into the company’s performance over the past few years, specifically noting that Hikvision has over 10 000 people employed in its R&D division, which is based in China, Canada and the USA.
As far as customer support is concerned, Liu said the company now has seven call centres located across the globe as well as 33 regional subsidiaries. It has also seen an increase in the number of people obtaining certifications for the company’s products. Liu ended with a short introduction to Hikvision’s AI cloud vision.
Taking the AI cloud further, Matthew Guo, technical director of Hikvision Africa followed with more history of AI globally over the past few decades, arriving at the present where Hikvision is developing an intelligent IoT infrastructure that combines perception and cognition (seeing the world and understanding it). The ultimate goal is the company’s AI cloud, described as a multi-dimensional perceptual IoT solution.
AI cloud will consist of an Edge Node where a variety of devices (including surveillance cameras) collect data in various formats, analyse the data on the edge according to the latest AI algorithms, and only transmit relevant information back to a centralised hub. This can be supported by local storage and further analysis on-site, while the Cloud Node will be the place where analysis of big data stores takes place based on various hosted applications, in a process named multi-dimensional data fusion which is again based on the latest AI algorithms.
Ruaal Tromp, senior trainer at Hikvision SA, was next with a presentation highlighting the different solutions Hikvision has for different vertical markets, such as banking, retail, airports etc.
Ronnie Gower, MD of ICTS, a Hikvision systems integrator, shared a successful story of an AI deployment for SPAR, one of the largest retailers in southern Africa. Hikvision AI powered facial recognition technology is applied to safeguard both shopping customers and properties for the retailer.
Francois Malan from Camsecure, another local system integrator, took to the stage to provide some real-life insights into how AI was changing and expanding the way the surveillance market operates. He highlighted a number of areas where AI is playing a significant role in the local security industry, from number plate recognition through to unusual behaviour detection, object classification and more.
Martin Kruger from Seagate was up next talking about the growth of data. Expectations are that data generated globally will grow tenfold between 2016 and 2025 when it will amount to over 160 ZB (zettabytes, a ZB is around 1 trillion gigabytes).
The solutions Seagate offers include the SkyHawk drive designed specifically for video surveillance operations that currently support 10 TB per drive. And the company is also catering for the masses of data that AI will produce with its SkyHawk AI drive, designed for AI surveillance.
The next presenters represented three of Hikvision’s local distributors. They all spoke of the importance of AI in the security market going forward as well as their companies’ readiness to embrace this new era. The presenters were:
• Gordon Moore from ADI Distribution,
• Michael Collier from Regal Security, and
• A joint presentation by Henry Brown and Marco della Peruta from Sensor Security.
The event ended with a networking session and refreshments after Ge closed the conference by thanking the attendees as well as the presenters. The AI Conference will be held in other African countries, including Mauritius, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria and more.
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