Video tech's role in a smarter and safer Singapore

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Jean Lim
Communications Manager, APAC
April 19, 2021
Benjamin Low, Vice-President of APAC, went live on national radio  to discuss insights and perspective on the role that video technologies play in a smarter and safer Singapore. In a short 16min live segment, he highlighted how he foresees innovative technology, such as video, can be used for the betterment of society and used the public platform to address public concerns about data privacy and security and how that will drive a smarter future for Singapore.

Check out the recap below.
Wui Lynn started off the interview highlighting that when senior citizens fall, it can be dangerous or even life threatening. She cited that falls have accounted for 40% of injury-related deaths in Singapore and a study found that 3 or more seniors aged 65 years and above have at least one fall within a year
  • Stanley then introduced the topic of tackling the challenge of an aging population and how seniors can get help when they fall. He then introduced Benjamin and asked him to share more about the role that video monitoring solutions play surrounding senior citizens
 Stanley first asked Benjamin about how Covid-19 has accelerated the demand for video solutions offered by Milestone
  • Benjamin shared that over the last five years, Milestone is seeing a compounded annual growth of almost 67% on a year-to-year basis. Solutions like software, video recording, video analytics, detections, has seen a double-digit growth as well.
  • Benjamin further elaborated that clients have primarily been installing cameras for the purpose of theft detection. However, smart video technologies such as temperature checking, crowd control, facial recognition has seen a lot of adoption through the Covid-19 period
 Wui Lynn inquired on the usage of video solutions for home use
  • Benjamin said that he has seen smaller installations for home use but the more significant changes in adoption has been in places such as hospitals, retail areas such as shopping centers. These places are using video solutions for purposes such as crowd control, entry recordings and temperature checks
  • Wui Lynn followed up on Benjamin’s response by asking how video solutions will feature in our healthcare system in the future
    • Benjamin shared that Covid-19 has acted as a catalyst for innovation within the healthcare sector and he has seen healthcare systems adopting technologies to prepare themselves for challenges
    • Benjamin gave an example of video technologies that help medical facilities facilitate minimized contact between patients and staff
    • The ability to also monitor patients remotely through video has allowed staff to study patient behaviour and symptoms in greater clarity
    • In the case of Covid-19, analytics have been used for quarantined patients to notify nurses if there are potential emergencies (e.g. if a patient that has fallen down)
 Stanley then moved into the topic of what the future of video solutions might looks like, whether it can eventually be used for detection of masks and other functions
  • Benjamin shared that he came across the news of IT students who developed a facial recognition software that can detect if masks are worn properly
  • The industry is seeing a lot of R&D, he has seen a big adoption of technology especially in the transportation industry in terms of detecting traffic congestion and accidents
  • Places like the airport also use video technologies for immigration checkpoints
  • He also shared that subway fares in Singapore can also potentially be paid through facial recognition, without the hassle of taking out concession or cash cards
Wui Lynn asked Benjamin about the pilot video technology program aimed at helping senior citizens who live alone and how it works
  • Benjamin explained that Milestone had partnered with technology players to pilot a system that can assist caregivers in looking after senior citizens living at home
  • The elderly, such as older parents, prefer to be independent and live alone so as to not burden their children.  When they injure themselves, it would be difficult for their children or caregivers to respond in time
  • For the pilot programme, Milestone is using video technology to detect human falls, using a combination of AI enhanced video and sound analytics. It will act as a life saving system because of its ability to see and hear, eliminating unnecessary delay in caregiver responses
  • Stanley asked how the programme would work and whether these cameras will be planted in the person’s apartment. He also asked about privacy concerns
    • Benjamin elaborated that in phase one, cameras are planted in common areas where senior citizen go to, such as for their checkups or gatherings
    • TV screens are provided in those areas so that the people being surveilled are able to see what the cameras are capturing
    • Privacy masking is also turned on where either the person’s face is blurred or the camera captures only the silhouette of the person
    • These privacy settings are put in place to give seniors assurance
 Wui Lynn asked if the solution will work in scenarios such as when a senior might fall in private places such as the bathroom
  • Benjamin shared that they typically do not have cameras in private areas because of privacy concerns
  • To tackle this, Milestone uses a combination of sound sensors installed outside the bathroom and if seniors were to call for help, the sensors will automatically detect it. This will be used to activate medical professionals
  • These sensors can be turned on and off depending on the hour of the day
 Stanley followed up on Benjamin’s response by asking if cameras can be programmed in a way where if there have been no movement for a certain number of hours, an emergency prompt can be sent
  • Benjamin shared that it is possible and there are ways to alert medical professionals should that happen
  • It can also be communicated through connected hardware such as speakers to prompt the individual if he/she is alright
  • Benjamin expanded that this analytic software could detect if a person is sitting, lying on the floor or have fallen down. There are different scenarios and triggers that can be used for detection through video analytics
 Wui Lynn asked Benjamin on Milestone’s progress and next steps with regards to the pilot programme
  • Benjamin shares that it is going well and was implemented only months ago
  • Milestone plans to put up different types of enhanced analytics software to detect different scenarios
  • The next step after participants get used to having cameras in some common areas, is to introduce the technology to vulnerable places such as homes
  • Privacy concerns play a big part in the pilot, so Milestone wants to make sure that parties involved have the necessary training and awareness before proceeding into the next phase
 Stanley raised a question regarding security concerns as privacy was previously discussed
  • Benjamin explained that Milestone has strong backlines when it comes to accessing video images, retention and deletion among many others
  • A lot of time is spent training users and administrators for best practices when it comes to security
 Wui Lynn asked about other solutions or sectors that Milestone will be focusing on
  • Benjamin responded that aside from healthcare, which Milestone has spent a lot of time on, there will also be focus on transportation in areas such as airports and train stations.
  • Other sectors include smart city infrastructure as well as retail and shopping malls
Wui Lynn concluded the interview by thanking Benjamin for joining them on Money Mind.