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Most streets of major cities are crowded in India, with poor traffic management and crowd management. It is often seen on Indian streets that people stop their vehicles after crossing zebra crossing, or pedestrians cross the street even when the signal is green. Somehow we have grown with this practice, but what if artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to control the flow of traffic or manage crowds through the already deployed CCTV camera?
This is what a Singapore-based startup Graymatics is offering with much more to it. In an interaction with Entrepreneur India, Abhijit Shanbhag, chief executive officer and founder of Graymatics talks about the potential of CCTV cameras and the importance of video analytics platforms.
Interests Towards AI
Shanbhag upfront confesses that he is a tech geek. A Mumbai boy, after completing graduation from IIT-Bombay moved to California for further studies. Both in India and the US, he studied artificial intelligence, a technology that was yet to ripe. After working for Qualcomm in 2001, he finally took the entrepreneurial plunge and founded Scintera, a fabless semiconductor company that claims to have developed the industry’s first RF signal processor. However, Shanbhag wanted to dive into the world of AI, as he understood the technology will be adopted by most tech companies in days to come. He founded Graymatics in 2012.
In the initial days, Graymatics founding team comprised top domain experts in AI from Stanford University, UC Berkeley and University of Southern California. The initial financing of the startup was led by Citrix Systems and Singapore’s Prime Minister Office.
More Potential Of CCTV Cameras?
Graymatics is a cognitive media processing company. Headquartered in Singapore, Graymatics also has offices in India and California. Graymatics is a cloud platform that enables automatic analysis and recognition of products within videos and images. The company claims to offer various AI solutions for security and surveillance, digital marketing, e-commerce, telecommunications and the Internet-of-Things (IoT).
On asking the reason behind choosing this space, Shanbhag said, “The major problem was the massive proliferation of image and video content around us, with very few, if any, video content-aware tools such as search, analytics, etc.” He said as the Internet became largely visual and CCTVs generating massive video content, remained untouched.
“We could see a massive opportunity to create a highly scalable, versatile cognitive platform that could analyse large volumes of video content in near real-time, and convert that content into machine-understandable data. This would immediately transform CCTV’s from the very passive devices today to a very compelling array of solutions,” he explained.
Graymatics currently has over 25 employees based in Singapore, generating average annual revenues of $5 million.
Powering Smart Cities
Shanbhag boasts that Graymatics AI-enabled solutions on the back of deep learning are being used to enhance security and surveillance in different industry sites or smart cities.
He said that Graymatics is currently focusing on UrbanVision (highest revenue generator), SiteInsights, LabVista and VistaMart. Smart banking, construction and port management are some of the other verticals the startup is looking into. The surveillance technology services included by the startup offer people and clothing analytics, whereby the technology can pick up on human demographics and physical attributes using face detection solutions.
“Some of our other premier services include traffic monitoring, number plate recognition, vehicle detection, monitoring and vehicle counting, car park monitoring, parking assistance/parking guide and premises monitoring, which can be scaled to smart cities, buildings and malls owing to their versatility,” he added.
Graymatics claims that its solutions can also detect unattained objects, help in crowd management, and even identify littering patterns for better waste management.
A few months back, smart city enabler Quantela made a strategic investment in Graymatics giving the former a minority shareholding in Graymatics with significant strategic and go-to-market (GTM) alignment, helping them build comprehensive capabilities in video analytics into its AI-driven smart solutions for its target markets spanning smart cities, buildings, education campuses, public spaces and commercial establishments.
Pandemic Innovation and India
The startup which is about to raise its next round of funding before the year ends is looking at new ways to ensure public safety against the invisible virus. Shanbhag said that the pandemic has compelled them to innovate and adapt to the surroundings. The startup has come up with CoVideo, an additional solution that detects masks maintains social distancing and alerts if there is a crowd.
“With easy access to AI and COVID-19, the new trend is to leverage technology and analytics in every aspect of a business to minimize human touchpoints. Due to these factors, there is an increasing demand for video analytics solutions as customers want to avoid relying on human supervision in retail stores or business premises,” he added.
At present, Graymatics provides video analytics solutions to different smart cities especially in the East Zone of India, and various smart spaces including buildings, highways, ports, airports, telecom carriers in Singapore, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Japan, Korea to enhance safety, security, operational efficiency and customer experience. It hopes to have clients across APAC, America, Europe and the Middle East
When it comes to India, the startup’s UrbanVision solution is deployed in various cities, police stations, airports and railway stations and is working cordially with the Indian army.
As for VistaMart, the startup is looking at large banks and large fast-food chains to name a few. When it comes to SiteInsights, the startup is working with large building properties and housing companies.
“India is one of the markets where we see a lot of scalability in terms of the products we have and our partnerships have been very fruitful and impactful so far,” he concluded.