The GDPR's new ally
How C2RO and Lenovo deploy edge-cloud AI and computer vision to analyze video footage and stay GDPR compliant
Sponsored Feature A convergence of cutting-edge technology, generative AI and advanced server infrastructure has unleashed a wave of innovation in the realm of cyber security. This digital revolution is transcending boundaries to leave its mark on multiple industries - from retail, hospitality, and manufacturing to smart cities and transportation.
Nimble startups have been quick to recognize this shift and have been busy designing, building, and delivering new applications to address the market opportunity. This new business wave is the result of several factors coming together in the last five years: almost unlimited data storage; super-fast modern networks; cooler-running yet more powerful processors in improved servers and cloud services; and leaner, more efficient code in smart AI applications. It could prove a near-perfect storm of IT brilliance.
A prime example of this cutting-edge activity comes from ENTERA™, an AI-SaaS-hosted video analytics platform that uses what its creator C2RO has dubbed "100% FACELESS AI™" technology to conduct behavioral analysis in physical spaces. In doing so, it redefines benchmarks for protecting personal privacy says the company, having been specifically designed to help organizations comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its stringent rules on the use of any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.
Imagine security professionals as modern-day detectives, perpetually on the trail of elusive cyber criminals and cunning fraudsters using surveillance equipment and video analysis. If someone on a security camera appears to slip merchandise into a coat pocket rather than a shopping cart, ENTERA™ can help those security professionals by instantly detecting this as suspicious behavior in real-time. But its most remarkable ability, says the company, is being able to eliminate uniquely identifying personal data.
With FACELESS AI™ technology at its core, ENTERA™ can guarantee that no uniquely identifying information is ever captured, collected, stored, or processed, promises C2RO. It doesn't delve into how people walk or any other distinctive physical characteristics. Every piece of data generated by the system is explicitly void of any connections to visitors' faces. Therefore, customers can rest easy, knowing that their personal information won't be stored any longer than necessary or be used for dubious purposes; there's no link to any personal data whatsoever.
The platform behind the analytics
The platform works by deploying edge-cloud AI and computer vision to analyze video footage from existing security cameras, says Franco Forlini, C2RO's VP of Business Operations.
"We shed light on previously uncharted areas within your operations, sales, marketing, or human resources in the physical space," Forlini said. "Our mission is to empower our clients with valuable insights in places where data and visibility were once lacking. This transformation results in increased operational efficiency, cost reduction, enhanced marketing campaign performance, increased customer satisfaction, and elevated safety standards."
The ENTERA™ cloud-based dashboard guarantees the anonymization and aggregation of all transmitted data. Everything is segregated from customer to customer, enabling ENTERA™ users to securely access their respective biometric-free analyses in the cloud.
As such, it maintains strict compliance, unlike several other security providers still reliant on facial recognition technology, which can potentially encounter challenges, says C2RO. And the time may well come when the international GDPR regulations – fully embraced by the United States and seconded with regional laws in 11 individual states – will catch up with those companies who keep trying to bypass personally identifiable information (PII) legislation.
Wide range of potential use cases
FACELESS AI™ technology offers the potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries. Here are some usage examples:
- Retail: Analyzing customer movement in stores, identifying popular products and optimizing store layouts. This data can be used to improve the customer experience, increase sales and reduce costs. One use case involved a home-appliance retailer attached to a mall which discovered that eight percent of its traffic was cutting through the store to access the mall. By using ENTERA™ and A/B testing in-store strategies, the organization identified the most effective sales and marketing strategies to turn pass-through traffic into paying customers.
- Hospitality: Tracking guest movement in hotels and casinos, identifying areas of congestion and optimizing service levels. This data can be used to improve the guest experience and increase customer satisfaction.
- Security: Identifying and tracking the movement of suspicious individuals and potential security threats in public spaces, such as airports and train stations. This data can be used to prevent crime and improve public safety.
- Smart cities and transportation: Tracking traffic patterns and identifying areas of congestion, with data used to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and make cities more livable.
Forlini shared, "Today, our presence spans across quick-service restaurants, the world of fashion retail, and the realm of fueling convenience. Our journey began in the vibrant hub of shopping malls, where our story truly took off. The heart of our innovation lies in its versatility, capable of seamlessly handling single-digit transactions per hour to a staggering volume, reaching tens, or even hundreds of thousands per day. This boundless scalability is what truly sets our technology apart, and it's why we're positively thrilled about it, as we believe the sky's the only limit!"
The type of insights organizations can draw from ENTERA™ is similarly wide ranging. They include:
- Accurate and 100 percent faceless insights: ENTERA™ can analyze the movements of people in a physical space, including their dwell times, paths taken and interactions with objects. This data can be used to understand customer behavior, optimize store layouts and improve the overall customer experience.
- Detailed socio-demographic breakdowns: The software can also analyze the demographic characteristics of people in a physical space, such as age and gender. This data can be used to target marketing campaigns, develop personalized product offerings, and create more inclusive and equitable spaces.
- Full-conversion funnel analysis: ENTERA™ can analyze customers throughout their entire journey, from the moment they enter a store to the moment they make a purchase. This data can be used to identify areas where customers are dropping off, optimize sales processes, and improve conversion rates.
This behavioral analysis is conducted in line with EU rules on data privacy by anonymizing all data before it is sent to the cloud for analysis. That makes C2RO ENTERA™ a powerful video analytics platform that can be used to gain insights into customer behavior and improve the overall performance of businesses in a GDPR-compliant way, says the company.
AI Innovators and Lenovo systems
C2RO is a member of Lenovo's AI Innovators Program, which is a partnership of AI software companies leveraging Lenovo's hardware and services to help deliver innovative solutions for customers. The partnership has enabled C2RO to do the heavy lifting of video-to-data analytics by providing ready-to-deploy infrastructure based on Lenovo's ThinkSystems SE350, SE450 or SR630 servers, which are tailor-made for AI-centric applications. AI Innovators makes these available on a sliding-scale payment process, Forlini said.
"In essence, this works as a pay-as-you-go (process), where this hardware might be worth X dollars, but if you're really only using 20 percent of it, you're only paying for 20 percent of it until you scale up the usage of the box itself," Forlini said. "Our Lenovo partners empower every customer to seamlessly scale into the full range of services they require."
The interaction with Lenovo AI Innovators seems to deliver benefits to both C2RO and its customers.
"Coming from a rich hardware background, I hold a deep admiration for the intricacies of system design. It's not just the sleek hardware that captures my attention, but the unyielding dedication to reliability, accessibility, and serviceability. When you pair top-tier hardware with stellar after-sales support, you've got a winning combination," explained Forlini. "This is pivotal because when your clients rely on their data day in and day out to power their business engines, the last thing you want is hardware-induced hiccups. Our clients are devoted to their data, and it's our duty to ensure it's at their beck and call 24/7. Lenovo empowers me to deliver that kind of solution to our valued clients."
Lenovo servers just work, Forlini added. "But now Lenovo works with us to really truly ensure that when this hardware gets deployed at the customer site, that the customer is not going to see any integration issues between our AI and the hardware."
AI Innovators takes this a step further, Forlini said: "We take these great hardware platforms, then we take our AI solution we validated on preconfigured predefined configurations of hardware to ease the deployment globally of this technology and make it easier for customers to scale across thousands and tens of thousands of locations".
Lenovo AI Centers of Excellence
Lenovo AI Innovators Program is affiliated with the company's AI Discover Labs, which are global facilities that provide customers with access to Lenovo's AI expertise, resources and solutions. The labs are staffed by a team of AI experts who can help customers with a wide range of AI tasks, including AI strategy development, AI solution design and implementation and AI training and support. Lenovo AI Discover Labs are located in a number of major cities allowing the company to provide its customers with access to its AI expertise and resources.
The business value delivered by this combination of C2RO ENTERA™ and Lenovo is apparent, concludes Forlini.
"How do you quantify or put a price on saving the life of one person by ensuring they do not enter restricted areas?" he said. "And what about enhancing manufacturing plant efficiency and product consistency? It depends on the industry, but there are advantages to be gained across different industries. Whether it's retail, manufacturing, warehousing – as long as we can see it, we can analyze it."
Sponsored by Lenovo.