"Our Aim is to Provide Next-Day Delivery to the System Integrators"
02.09.2022 - Gerard Figols, President of i-PRO EMEA, speaks about the way to the forefront of AI-driven camera systems.
Last year in October we saw the formal start of i-PRO EMEA, headquartered in Amsterdam. A lot has happened since then and the company has succeeded in creating brand awareness while taking on the legacy of the Panasonic security and IMV business. We had the opportunity to talk to Gerard Figols, President of i-PRO EMEA, about the first year of i-PRO EMEA, AI in the security field, challenges in the market and the future ahead.
GIT SECURITY: Can you give us an update on the development of i-PRO EMEA during your first year? How do you see the company fit in the overall industry landscape?
Gerard Figols: The last 12 months have been very intense but extremely positive with a huge amount of activity in our newly established company. We have doubled in size, with a significant recruitment program across Europe; we have introduced 100 new products; we have doubled the models available within one month of lead time through our quick delivery service, and much more.
From my perspective, i-PRO is undertaking all the right activities to establish itself as an important player in the security industry based on our two key pillars: having an open policy and time-based competition. Both of these attributes are really valued by our partners and the market. In today’s current uncertain times, particularly surrounding availability, we keep expanding our portfolio, bringing the latest innovations in AI to the market, and we are maintaining our strong position around ensuring the availability of goods.
In addition, we see the market trending towards recognising the importance of cyber protected surveillance systems and NDAA compliance more and more. We at i-PRO strongly emphasize on providing a fully cyber-secure and NDAA compliant line-up to give customers peace of mind and act as their trusted next generation partner. For that we are embedding world leading encryption certificates into our hardware in order to provide the maximum security and protection.
What have you achieved in the first year and what are the challenges in the near future?
Gerard Figols: We have been able to position the new i-PRO brand in the industry and new i-PRO products in the market. As well as this we have sustained the confidence of our long-term partners and gained the confidence of new partners, who have approached us thanks to our open policy, proving that the key pillars of our strategy are being well received by the market.
There are many uncertainties in the market today for any kind of business (not just in security) related to the availability of components and goods, disruptions in the supply chain and logistics, material cost increases and soaring global inflation. At i-PRO we will continue to work closely with our partners globally to minimise any impact to them and their business.
At the start, it was your goal to deliver the right products, at the right time and at the right price. Implementing a shorter development cycle for the latest technology available in the market was another task. Can you give us some examples where you achieved this?
Gerard Figols: I believe the launch of the new Multi-Sensor line up is a clear example of this. We have recently introduced 16 different Multi-Sensor models with different variations, bringing an open AI deep learning platform at the edge. The newly launched i-PRO Multi-Sensor Cameras are the thinnest and most advanced products available in the market, moreover they are the same price as the previous models, which had far fewer features and lower performance. Before i-PRO was established the overall timing from product planning to launch was around 22 months. With the new Multi-Sensor Cameras, we have dropped this to 12 months. This time reduction allowed us to bring the latest technology to the market, leading by innovation and putting in place the basis of our time-based competition strategy.
In our last interview you described the AI-specification of your security cameras. Can you give us an overview about the AI capabilities of your camera range?
Gerard Figols: When we talked last year in September, we had just 14 cameras with AI capabilities, while today we have 102 models with a deep learning AI on the edge, and we’ll keep on expanding this trend over the upcoming months and years. Having many cameras with an Open AI platform to fit different needs is very important, but what really matters is the ability to be accurate in the classification of objects and gather all the meta data required. Key to this accuracy is the number of attributes provided for segmentation. i-PRO AI-capable cameras have 13 main attributes (gender, age, hair colour, etc) and over 80 attribute items to be able to properly classify the data and deliver traceability of searched persons or objects.
i-PRO is the camera manufacturer with the highest number of attribute items on the edge in the market, and in addition we are the only manufacturer that delivers up to 8 directions of movement, which enables proper follow-up for searches.
Last but not least, as privacy is very important in Europe, i-PRO is the only camera manufacturer that has pixelation on the edge. This means we are able to pixelate the full body or just the face, and we are able to properly monitor at the same time as we provide the right degree of privacy to each individual.
All of the above are examples of the continuous evolution of our product strategy, and i-PRO is committed to developing the AI capabilities in our camera range to keep leading by innovation.
How does the introduction of i-PRO Active Guard fit into the AI strategy?
Gerard Figols: i-PRO Active Guard is a key pillar of i-PRO’s AI strategy. We see i-PRO Active Guard as a game changer because it allows you to process all the AI data in real time, which means that operators can take decisions extremely quickly and be more proactive.
To make i-PRO Active Guard easily available i-PRO has integrated it with the two major VMS players, Genetec and Milestone, and the plug-in is available free of charge, making it accessible to everyone at no extra cost. Thanks to this, many new partners are approaching i-PRO wanting to know more about our products and technology. Additionally, i-PRO Active Guard is a clear example of i-PRO’s newly implemented open policy.
Having the right products is the basis for a successful business, but the best products are not enough if they are not available fast enough. Can you comment about your ability to deliver your products in a timely manner?
Gerard Figols: I completely agree and that’s why i-PRO is implementing a time-based competition strategy and aims to have operational excellence to support our customers globally. i-PRO has most of its products available under our quick delivery service, which helps our partners receive their products in a maximum of two to four weeks. However, our aim is to provide next-day delivery to the system integrators that are working with i-PRO. And for that we are working closely with our premium distributors to pursue the same goal: to provide the best products in the shortest timeframe possible to achieve operational excellence which will bring benefits to all the industry stakeholders.