by Scott Goldfine, Security Sales & Integration and Robolliance Sponsor
David Antar, president of IPVideo, is a unique Robolliance Sponsor, who represents all three categories of sponsorship. He and his companies, IPVideo and A+ Technology & Security Solutions, not only supply technology for security integration, but are also integrators themselves. Both perspectives inform David’s know-how and thought leadership when it comes to robotics as a solution for end-user organizations and their security challenges.
As part of our Sponsor Spotlight series, Scott Goldfine of EH Publishing’s “Security Sales & Integration” interviewed David Antar to get his answers to our Robolliance inquiries. Here’s what David had to say . . .
SG: Please tell me about your organization, and how technology, like robotics, fits in to its interests and opportunities.
DA: “IPVideo Corporation’s history coincides with developing technology and solutions that revolve around network video and IP video. IPVideo Corporation was one of the first companies to offer IP video surveillance, and we were the first partner, in 1996, of Axis Communications, the inventor of the IP camera that has since been acquired by Canon. Our security solutions are now sold now through our worldwide network of dealers to governments and enterprise-scale customers.
In the past 5 to 10 years, the scope of solutions that have become integrated with video products through the network has expanded rapidly to the point that, today, the connectivity to the IoT is driving how technology is being used. Robotics fits within that spectrum, and robotic solutions are being built right into devices with which our solutions interface. For example, with the evolution of IP cameras, analytics that can identify certain conditions and visual cues have been built into the cameras themselves, and the ability for surveillance software to generate alerts and initiate responses to them epitomizes a simple form of robotics. It allows security solutions to transition from being reactive to being proactive.
Bringing this concept to the next level, we’re now working to provide security and video surveillance software that interfaces with robotic vehicle prototypes. We see robotics being able to augment human intervention and interaction in a wide variety of applications, whether it be to improve efficiency, lower operating costs or reduce exposure of humans to dangerous situations.”
Please tell me about yourself, and how your background and interests intersect with the direction your company is taking with high tech, like robotics.
DA: “As a serial entrepreneur in the technology arena, the ability to anticipate the far-reaching impact of robotics as it continues to evolve is imperative. One certainty is that all of these solutions will be connected through IT networks; robotic devices will be IP addressable and an integral part of the whole “Internet of Things, or ” IoT, movement.
IPVideo has been involved with the IoT before it was commonly referred to as the IoT. Our C3fusion software, which was introduced about five years ago, is software we developed to command, control and communicate between systems, devices, and sensors. The software also facilitates automated responses and workflows, which is where the power of automation and, ultimately, robotics, brings added value to the marketplace. That was a vision that IPVideo helped to bring to the forefront of the security industry.”
SG: Why did you and your organization decide to become part of Robolliance, and what do you envision the initiative accomplishing?
DA: “Partnering with like-minded companies within Robolliance, especially as it pertains to unmanned ground vehicles, is an opportunity we could not pass up. It is clear to us, that from founding sponsor Sharp to other Robolliance sponsors, we are closely aligned as to the changing security landscape and role that robotics will play in it. And with the proliferation of the IoT, our interest beyond security solutions also expands dramatically.
As the general public looks for information on these topics, we are pleased to be part of a leadership forum, like the Robolliance, which we feel is tremendously well positioned to serve as a premier online resource for related information. And who is better than Sharp, a company with such strong brand value and manufacturing history, to spearhead an effort with other industry leaders? We’re honored to be a part of it.”
SG: Looking at the overall marketplace, how do you see robotics making an impact as force multiplier, safety enhancement and/or security solution? Any other major impact potential?
DA: “Global threats of terrorism – both physical and cyber- related have made all of us more acutely aware of vulnerabilities. Concern for physical safety is on everyone’s radar – each time we take public transportation, attend a sporting event or find ourselves in a highly trafficked public space. Further, concern for our digital privacy should cross our minds each time we enter a password online, swipe our credit cards or connect to public Wi-Fi.
Robotics allows us to be as responsive as possible to all these situations. It can serve as a force multiplier in support of physical security needs, and as a more perceptive and efficient responder to cyber threats. Robotics is the perfect way to integrate multiple technologies in ways that can provide more powerful solutions than the individual component parts.”
SG: What do you see as the top impediments to robotics market penetration, particularly UGVs and UAVs?
DA: “Cybersecurity is the biggest issue to us. Concern over the ability to hack these systems is justified. But, misconceptions about artificial intelligence and the fears that mass proportions of error are linked with AI are hindering what AI can really do to help the security sector. In essence, it can help to reduce human error. If AI is done properly, it does reduce human error. People underestimate how effective it can be.
As with any IoT device, we need to make sure that unauthorized personnel cannot obtain control or access to UGVs or UAVs, and so the most important step is to make sure firewalls and systems are airtight.”
SG: How can those challenges, or the challenges of any new technology, best be overcome?
DA: “Education and thought leadership are the best ways to overcome challenges. What’s exciting about being part of Robolliance is that, with our peers, we will be able to share ideas and concerns, and work towards a common goal.
In the end, it all comes down to educating. If you are transparent with the industry on how your technology is valid and how it can provide a solution to a problem, that is what matters most. These notions that cybersecurity, and the algorithms we create, can be used for more bad than good have to be put to rest. At the end of the day, robotics is our future and a key component to better safety, and better living. Transparency is the key.”