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Mike Lahiff, CEO at ZeroEyes – Interview Series

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Mike is the CEO of ZeroEyes a security company powered by AI. Lead by former Navy SEALS, they offer software to monitor camera systems and to detect weapons. They system notifies authorities on the risk of possible active shooters and it reduces response time, with the goal of keep schools and other public spaces safe.

Can you explain what ZeroEyes is, and how implementing this system can save lives?

ZeroEyes is an AI weapons detection platform that helps identify threats at first sight. Founded by a team of Navy SEALs and military veterans dedicated to ending mass shootings, our platform integrates with an organization’s existing IP security cameras to play one component of its overall security process, and provide security personnel and first responders with real-time information needed to keep people safe. ZeroEyes focuses only on the essential information needed to stop a threat, and closes the critical seconds between when a gun could be spotted to when it is fired to save lives.

 

Can you discuss the process for integrating ZeroEyes into an existing video camera infrastructure?

ZeroEyes’ AI weapons detection platform is one component of an organization’s multi-tiered security approach. Our software integrates with an organization’s existing camera systems and video analytics to detect weapons in real time. If ZeroEyes detects a gun, an alert with the image of the weapon goes to the ZeroEyes monitoring team. Once positively identified, an alert is sent to a local emergency dispatch (such as a 911 call center), onsite security staff, police and school administrators (via mobile and desktop). This process takes three to five seconds and bypasses the traditional dispatch process.

ZeroEyes’ software uses AI and computer vision, integrating with existing 3D satellite maps of a building so that as a visible weapon passes a camera, the map lights up. This allows first responders to know the precise location of a threat. By seeing exactly where a shooter(s) is in real time, security personnel can lock doors, move people to safety and enact other aspects of their security process, while first responders can go towards the shooter much faster with the knowledge of how many and what kinds of weapons the person has.

 

How much of a weapon needs to be visible for the system to correctly identify it as a weapon?

This can be dependent on multiple variables such as type of camera, height of camera, angle, lens, field of view, lighting, distance, and type of weapon. If a human eye can detect the gun on a camera feed, our system will detect the same gun.

 

How much of an issue are false positives and how is this minimized?

We are always looking to minimize false positives and are constantly improving our deep learning models based on data collected. In customer installations, we incorporate time upfront to collect data and custom tune the parameters for each camera, which allows us to more effectively filter out false positives. If a false positive happens, an alert gets sent to our team and we vet the threat in real-time. We then respond accordingly and let the customer know that it isn’t a serious threat.

 

Your initial focus was in installing this in schools, what are some other markets that ZeroEyes is targeting?

We sell to a broad list of decision makers, including school resource officers, school district administration, corporate security directors, chief security officers and chief risk officers. Our technology can be used in education (including K-12 schools, universities and training facilities) – our technology is used in Rancocas Valley Regional High School (NJ) and South Pittsburg High School (TN), commercial (including office buildings, malls and stadiums), and military/government installations (force protection). We partner closely with both our customers and local first responders to ensure that they have the additional layer of security to identify and stop threats.

 

Can you discuss the ZeroEyes app and how threat notifications work?

If a true weapon is detected, an alert is sent to ZeroEyes’ security monitoring team. Once positively identified, it is then sent to a local emergency dispatch (such as a 911 call center), onsite security staff, police and school administrators. This process takes three to five seconds and bypasses the traditional dispatch process. We include details such as the location of the camera, bounding box identifying the detected object and detection label.

The image lets first responders know the type of weapon (i.e. pistol or machine gun). This then dictates response tactics and amount of damage a shooter can cause. It also lets us know the total number of shooters and weapons so those responding to the alert are properly informed of the situation.

 

What type of relationship does ZeroEyes have with different law enforcement agencies and how are they set-up to receive dispatch alerts?

ZeroEyes works with local law enforcement to help decrease critical response time to serious threats to public safety like active shooter situations. If a threat is detected and verified, the alert is sent to a local emergency dispatch.

ZeroEyes provides real-time information to help first responders understand the situation at hand, allows security to quickly enact security protocols, and dramatically reduces response time which can mean the difference in saving lives.

 

Facial recognition capabilities are built into the system, but facial redaction is used to protect patrons’ privacy. Can you discuss these capabilities, for example is ZeroEyes able to identify specific individuals such teachers and principals in a school?

We do not use facial recognition, we solely focus on weapons detection. Our technology sits on top of existing IP security cameras, which could also have facial recognition software installed by the organization. We pursued weapons detection because we want to reduce mass shootings and active shooter threats, and security personnel should know where and when weapons are present regardless of who is carrying them.

 

Is there anything else that you would like to share about ZeroEyes?

Our mission is to detect a threat before it happens. We firmly believe that if this happens, we can reduce the amount of mass shootings and save lives.

Thank you for the interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit ZeroEyes.

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Antoine Tardif is a Futurist who is passionate about the future of AI and robotics. He is the CEO of BlockVentures.com, and has invested in over 50 AI & blockchain projects. He is the Co-Founder of Securities.io a news website focusing on digital securities, and is a founding partner of unite.AI. He is also a member of the Forbes Technology Council.