Can surveillance cameras detect abnormal behavior by individuals?
After months of running tests in Sentosa Island, Singapore’s most popular tourist destination, local firm Vi Dimensions is convinced that video analytics can be used to identify suspicious activity.
From unusual crowd buildup to public brawls to unattended toddlers, the Singapore startup, says its abnormality detection (AD) technology can be used to identify abnormalities in limitless variations of public behavior.
“Any agency like the Singapore’s Land Transport Authority, or the police, who have thousands of cameras, with live feed coming into their command centers, can use our technology, as against deploying a large number of CCTV operators,” said Raymond Looi, the chief executive and co-founder of Vi Dimensions. “We help reduce manpower needed to monitor these video feeds for suspicious activity,” he added.
Looi explained that his firm’s technology would study motion patterns to see if there is a deviation from the norm. “For example, the flow of traffic is a regular pattern. If someone makes an illegal U-turn, our technology can identify this as a deviation from the normal pattern,” he said, while adding that the startup has demonstrated proof of concept with several government agencies.
Its patented unsupervised machine learning technique has received a badge of validation, as Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF) has invested $1.5 million in the startup. Vi Dimensions will use the proceeds to expand its R&D team as well as increase its sales and marketing effort in Singapore and APAC.
NRF, which is under the prime minister’s office, invests in local companies working on technologies that have the potential to go global, and is of the view that Vi Dimensions’ abnormality discovery technology and video analytics can re-shape the surveillance sectors.
For Vi Dimensions, this marks the second round of funding from Singapore government-linked schemes to support local startups. Its technology was developed with funding from Spring Singapore’s Technology Enterprise Commercialization Scheme (TECS). It comes at a time when the city-state is consolidating and restructuring its funding schemes and agencies, to recalibrate the economic focus towards value creation and innovation-driven enterprises.