Security Journal UK speaks exclusively with Hartmut Schaper, CEO of Security & Safety Things.
The pace of technological development throughout security is quite staggering. It seems to be on an almost daily basis that manufacturers are launching new products delivering next generation technologies and capabilities which promise to advance security even further.
This rapid level of innovation can most clearly be seen within the surveillance sector. Hardware components are becoming more advanced all the time, but the real progress is being seen in the video security software. Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning algorithms are enabling software providers to develop ever more accurate and intelligent analytics.
One of the main factors driving this development in video analytics is the move towards open platforms, where Security & Safety Things has quickly established itself as a leading name. The German startup has locations in Munich, Pittsburgh and Eindhoven and is 100% funded by the Bosch Group.
Security Journal UK caught up with the company’s CEO, Hartmut Schaper to find out what makes Security & Safety Things so unique and why open ecosystems are so important to the security industry.
Building from the ground up
The platform offered by Security & Safety Things is based on a camera operating system that powers cameras from various manufacturers on the market. It connects to the Security & Safety Things Application Store where leading video analytics development companies offer cutting-edge apps. Some of the manufacturers partnering with Security & Safety Things include Bosch, Hanwha Techwin and VIVOTEK.
Hartmut Schaper has been the company’s CEO since its inception in 2018 and has led the firm to a number of notable successes as well as overcoming the COVID-19 related challenges of the past 12 months.
Looking back on his time in the role so far, Schaper said: “Building up this fantastic platform has been an unbelievable achievement. We have built an operating system, an app store, device management and a software development environment. We started from “ground zero” and now have a fully working platform for the industry.
“In just a few short years, we have been able to build a very strong network of partners, including leading system integrators, app developers, VMS vendors and camera manufacturers, it is an entire community of companies working together to advance the industry.”
Schaper paid tribute to his colleagues at Security & Safety Things for the part they have played in the company’s success so far: “We were only a team of ten people when we started but we now have more than 130 employees, and we have built a great team which possesses a lot of digital talent.
“My focus has always been on finding the right people in the right places and giving them the right conditions to work together. If you give good people the freedom to make the necessary decisions, you will enjoy a lot of success.”
He continued: “One of the significant factors behind our success has been the diversity of our team. Almost half of our management team is female, and we have individuals from three different continents included. I believe diversity is strength and whilst it may superficially look easier if everybody is from the same cultural background, you miss out on a lot of different perspectives and experiences.”
Openness is key
The open platform provided by Security & Safety Things is helping to revolutionise the video security industry. Many users have been expressing concern for a long time about being limited to using a single vendor, but the decoupling of hardware and software is now very much a reality.
Schaper explained: “I think we are one of the key drivers behind the decoupling of hardware and software because basically any camera vendor can use our operating system. Any of the apps on our App Store can be added to any other cameras using the operating system. No matter where you buy your camera from, as long as it uses our operating system, you have a complete decoupling of hardware and software. This enables a lot of innovation to happen a lot faster, for instance, we were able to offer the first face mask detection app within two weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic beginning.”
According to Schaper, this open ecosystem will have huge benefits for the security and safety industry: “A platform such as this allows camera vendors to focus on what they do best – build cameras with the best image quality. The software people can then focus on building the best apps and the system integrators can offer a complete mix and match. It will be a totally customer focused solution.”
The good news for organisations across the UK is that this flexibility and freedom of choice is now available to them: “Alongside Germany, the UK is probably the biggest market in Europe for video security. The UK is extremely innovative, and its businesses use a lot of video analytics technology. For us, it is one of our key markets and we are working really hard to prove the merits of our platform and the superb solutions we can bring to users.”
Living life on the edge
The emergence of edge-based analytics has been another interesting development in the surveillance industry in recent years. Schaper believes this type of analytics offers a number of advantages to the user: “Running on the edge provides some significant structural advantages. You have a very low latency because there is no network involved and you will not take up a lot of network bandwidth because you don’t have to stream data all the time, only when an incident has occurred.
“This is a real benefit when it comes to privacy. For example, if edge-based analytics is being used in a hospital, patients won’t have to be monitored all the time, the video will only be streamed if a patient has taken a fall. By running the analytics purely on the camera, no video has to leave the device unless an event has happened.
“We can also offer integrated solutions between the edge and the cloud as the cloud provides much higher scalability and larger processing capacities. A lot of our applications can be mixed and matched like this.”
With so much choice being offered to integrators and users, it is no surprise that Security & Safety Things is proving so popular and Schaper expects even more success to come over the next 12 months.
“We are expecting many more devices to be released by different camera vendors over the next year, we already have more than 90 apps and we expect that number to quickly grow as well to offer customers options, to solve new vertical market use cases and bring more innovation to the market in what security cameras can do.
It has been a rapid rise for Hartmut Schaper and his team and it is clear that there are big plans in place for Security & Safety Things. The video surveillance revolution has well and truly begun.
This article was originally published in the June edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital copy, visit: https://digital.securityjournaluk.com/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&edid=c1f7d3d1-1e78-412a-a61c-f9089a040a2d