Netwatch develops software to streamline video alarms

Company says new filtering technology will cut false dispatches, speed response times
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

MEDFORD, Mass.—Netwatch, a global video monitoring company now operating in the United States, has developed proprietary software that the company says will enable its 25,000 cameras to filter duplicative alarms and, in turn, reduce false dispatches and response times for its customers.

The new technology, created in partnership with the Center for Sensor Web Technologies at Dublin City University in Ireland, builds on Netwatch’s history of reducing “nuisance” alarms triggered by non-human intruders. The company specializes in remote video detection and personalized audio warnings to thwart would-be burglars.

“When we started 10 years ago, we took traditional intrusion detection devices off the shelf, but as we grew our business we knew that we needed to change in regard to moving toward software as a solution,” Netwatch CEO David Walsh told Security Systems News. “There’s a huge suite of video analytics products on the market [and] we used some of those. But the problem was most of them were developed from the outside in—in other words, they were developed in labs using algorithms in relation to how they would detect intruders or unacceptable behavior on a particular property.”

Netwatch’s software—Veritas externally and Cratos internally—has been created “from the inside out,” Walsh said, based on successes the company has had monitoring 2,200 properties across Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and the United States. Veritas is used to eliminate nuisance alarms in the field, while Cratos anchors Netwatch’s communications hub in Carlow, Ireland.

Walsh said the new technology will reduce false alarms and response times by enhancing the filtering ability of the receiving software.

“If an intruder, a criminal, broke past five or six cameras, then we’re going to get in our communications hub possibly 100 alarms for that one event,” he said. “The internal technology recognizes that [the alarms are] one event, that they’re the exact same thing. It will combine 100 alarms together on a particular site through visual monitoring and present it as one event.”

The benefit for Netwatch customers is that the software will handle a lot of the work that previously involved an operator, speeding the process if a dispatch is necessary, Walsh said.

“All that repetition is taken out, and it means that an intervention specialist can react very quickly to implement the pre-agreed protocol,” he said.

The software is being tested with 100 clients at the Carlow hub and is working “very well,” Walsh said. It will be deployed for all Netwatch customers in the next two to three months.

The company, which opened its Massachusetts office late last year, now has 30 clients in the United States. Ninety-five percent of the accounts are commercial.

“We’re making good traction here, and we’re very happy with that,” Walsh said. “The automobile industry has always been a sweet spot for Netwatch, and we’re making good progress in the pharma industry in the Northeast region. Factories, warehouses—pretty much any commercial property that from time to time is the victim of criminal activity.”

Walsh said Netwatch has plenty of capacity to handle its growing U.S. account base from its Carlow hub, but the company’s long-term plan is to build a monitoring center in the Boston area.

“There’s no technical reason why we can’t continue to do it from Ireland, but the plan has always been to have a communications hub on both sides of the Atlantic,” he said. “Many of our customers back in Ireland and the U.K. are large multinational companies from the United States, so for them to know that we have a presence in the United States as well is a big plus.”