Albert Stepanyan & Ara Ghazaryan, Scylla: “AI will supplement rather than replace human intelligence”
Experts believe that no matter how advanced technology is, some aspects still need a human approach.
While the use of AI can dramatically improve operations for a variety of fields ranging from healthcare to cybersecurity, AI-powered physical security is still a rare sight. Nowadays, implementing protection measures from cyber threats, such as antivirus software, seems to be the only security concern for companies. However, it is important to remember that attackers can sneak into not only your network but the front door of your office as well.
Today we are talking to the founders of Scylla, a company that provides next-gen AI solutions. Our guests, the CEO Albert Stepanyan and the VP of AI Ara Ghazaryan, explain that while AI can be harnessed to ensure public safety, this powerful tool should be used responsibly.
How did Scylla originate? Can you tell us more about your journey?
Scylla is an AI-powered real-time physical threat detection solution.
Initially, our team provided consulting services for a Mexican semi-government project involving surveillance cameras to boost security in Mexico City. It was a successful project, however, it became clear that a consulting model wasn't scalable and the market was in need of a powerful AI video analytics tool. That's how the company was founded in 2018.
In 2021, we successfully raised $4.9M seed funding and earned an impressive client portfolio worldwide, including Major League Baseball, Iowa State Fair, Chicago Cubs, Legrand, Oman International Airport, and Daimler, among others.
Last year, Scylla showed a skyrocketing 3x growth. And we aren’t going to stop there. At Scylla, we aim to provide the industry with best-in-class, highly accurate AI-powered solutions at a reasonable price. That’s why we are continuously improving our system performance, customer support, and the quality of our solutions.
Can you introduce us to what you do? What types of technology do you use to ensure public safety?
At Scylla, we utilize AI and computer vision to detect objects, actions, and behavior anomalies. Scylla AI-powered solutions serve to improve every part of your security infrastructure and range from object detection, anomaly detection & behavior recognition, to perimeter intrusion detection, facial recognition, and drone security.
At the end of last year, we further expanded our product offering and included Scylla AsteriaTM, a smart edge monitoring solution. It’s specifically designed to provide small-scale installations with advanced AI-powered functionality to enable effective false alarm filtering and motion detection. The greatest thing about it is that it’s compact enough to sit on a shelf and is cost-effective, which is particularly great for small businesses and homeowners. This would help even more customers bolster their security and better protect their people and property.
You often stress that AI should be used responsibly. Could you tell us more about your ethics?
Scylla is laser-focused to use advanced AI-powered video analytics to protect human life. With the power of AI comes the responsibility to use these capabilities wisely and ethically. Scylla has consciously made training, product design, and marketing decisions that ensure that our AI is used in accordance with our mission and ethics.
At Scylla, we deliberately built ethnically and gender-balanced datasets in order to eliminate bias in face recognition. We do not store any data that can be considered personal. What’s more, in jurisdictions where face recognition is not permitted for privacy reasons, Scylla’s person search technology can be used to search for someone based on their general appearance.
How did the pandemic affect the physical security landscape? Have you noticed any new security issues arise as a result?
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to focus on developing our proprietary thermal scanning technology, social distancing monitoring, and other related solutions to help organizations return to work quickly and provide safety to their staff and visitors. It all made up a comprehensive COVID-19 Compliance Solution that enables non-contact thermal screening, social distancing monitoring, face mask usage detection, occupancy monitoring, and contact tracing. It’s trusted and used by many organizations in North America and the Middle East.
What physical security measures would you consider essential for organizations nowadays?
The most important physical security measure is situational awareness, which means having awareness of what is happening throughout a site. Our customers understand that without situational awareness, they are unable to provide effective security. This comes from not just having cameras, but having these cameras effectively monitored, to detect events as they occur.
Most of our customers are looking for an effective perimeter intrusion detection system to protect their premises and facilities from unauthorized access. AI algorithms help to enable 24/7 monitoring across all connected cameras, detect intruders in real-time and notify security personnel instantly, providing them with further information about the place and time of intrusion.
Anomaly detection and behavior recognition systems are also gaining popularity these days as different types of clients are looking for smart solutions that can detect violent or abnormal behavior and hazardous events. As such, Scylla has several AI-powered technologies that are trained to detect fights, suspicious shopping behavior that can result in shoplifting, slip, and fall. The latter is of major interest to healthcare, hospitality, and events segments as they are looking to provide immediate help to those in need. Scylla can also detect visible smoke & fire.
Most of our customers have multi-use facilities and many cameras that need to be continuously monitored. However, did you know that after 20 minutes, security operators can miss 95% of critical events? Increasing staffing levels is costly, but missing an actionable event is even more expensive and dangerous. Therefore, an effective false alarm filtering system is an absolute must-have for security operators, data centers, and video monitoring companies.
What predictions do you have for the future of technology in the public safety field?
Definitely, AI-powered technologies will continue to improve their capabilities and will be more widely used and accepted. AI will supplement rather than replace human intelligence, by replacing mundane work that humans find boring and difficult, allowing people to exercise their judgment. Artificial intelligence helps humans focus on more serious and strategic problems and automate their response in case of a high-impact threat.
AI will become more ubiquitous in organizations, across platforms from the edge, to on-premise servers, to the cloud.
More businesses and solutions will be migrating to the cloud and cloud infrastructure will be more sophisticated and secure. The increased interest in such technologies and their use will bring further improvements in user-friendliness making the whole interaction with the software more seamless and efficient.
Talking about staying safe online, what security tools do you consider to be must-haves nowadays?
Cybercrime is a costly and growing problem. According to RiskIQ research, it costs organizations $2.9m every minute and IBM calculates that the average attack costs $3.86m. Data breaches can result in damage to the organization’s reputation, as well as direct financial losses. Verizon found that 70% of breaches were caused by outsiders.
The first step is to educate users about cyber security to increase awareness of issues such as social engineering.
Biometric security is a key way of ensuring that someone accessing a system is who they say they are. Cameras are an excellent, contact-free, real-time form of biometric security that is already in place and in wide use.
One solution is using face recognition via an organization’s cameras to validate that the person is within a facility and linking this to the organization’s IT access to ensure that a hacker can’t use the access of someone who is not even in the office.
Scylla is already linking face recognition to access control solutions and to IT security solutions.
Would you like to share what’s next for Scylla?
Over the next few years, Scylla will continue presenting best-in-class AI-powered solutions for healthcare institutions, the oil & gas industry, airports, sports venues, video monitoring centers, and security integrators. With our smart physical security products and edge monitoring solutions we’ll continue to promote intelligent security infrastructure and become the truly global leading brand of physical security products.
We have recently rolled out our smart Traffic Flow Analysis solution as we noticed that many organizations want to have actionable insights about traffic flow at their premises. This will inevitably help improve customer experience and increase profitability as the tool allows to run more effective queue management, service and dwell time analysis, occupancy monitoring, and much more.
We won’t settle there and will keep developing smart, user-friendly, and accurate solutions to make this world a safer place for everyone.