Pivot, Camio partnership helps businesses deal with coronavirus

Impinging technology helps detect, monitor, enforce social distancing
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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

COLUMBIA, Tenn.—Being in the security industry for over 20 years on the integrator’s side has afforded Brian Carpenter, president, Pivot, Inc., the ability to continue to evolve and move with the industry into today’s new technology landscape. After starting a one-stop-shop offering everything from data to security, successfully operating it for about nine years and selling to a local technology company, Carpenter took a little break and ended up in the Country Music Capital of the World — Nashville.

“It was funny,” Carpenter chuckled, “Amy [his wife] and I came out here [to Nashville] once a year for business for one of our manufacturer partners and we always said if we ever had the opportunity, Nashville would be one of the places we’d move to.”

Lucky for them and quite out of the blue, an industry veteran and friend called Carpenter, letting him know that an Indianapolis-based company was looking for a senior manager to help get their Nashville branch going. Needless to say, the Carpenters could check one thing off their bucket list.

“Some of my responsibilities were finding new partners and revenue streams, and figuring out how to diversify and bring more revenue to the table,” Carpenter said. “That’s all I’d ever really done with my [previously-owned] company; I was constantly evaluating the market, always trying to be ahead of the curve and see what’s coming instead of waiting until it’s here.”

From that company, he went to another well-known security company as VP of sales, where he continued to evaluate by speaking with peers and customers about their business, their day-to-day, what they’re currently doing and looking to do, and reading … a lot.

“It’s a lot of time, research and due diligence, but had my thumb on the pulse of the market and saw where things were going and found new revenue streams,” he explained, adding that there were times when he’s still up until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning reading about emerging technologies.

Pivot, Inc. Founded

Carpenter refers to his previous two jobs as “stops” … pauses along the way that afforded him time and opportunity to research and evaluate the market.

“What I kept coming back to was machine learning, cloud-based solutions, and VSaaS and SaaS,” he said. “I took that to both company’s ownership and senior executives and I’m not kidding you; both companies had the exact same answer: ‘We’ve been successful for the last 20, 30, 40 years doing what we’re doing; we’re a premise-based company doing what we’re doing.”

It was then that Carpenter realized it was up to him to go out and really prove what he’d been saying.

“So, I started Pivot, Inc. on the premise that I’m going to focus on SaaS, VSaaS and cloud-based solutions to ‘pivot’ companies away from the premise-based solutions to cloud-based solutions because the technology’s smart, adaptable, flexible and cost effective, and can quickly fix problems that arise because of artificial intelligence and machine learning. This is why I think of Pivot as the ‘new-age integrator solutions provider.’”

Pivot is a single-man company doing business with international companies at the enterprise level and this is all because of the power of partnerships. And not just any partner will do; being selective is key.

“I vet them [potential partners] more than they vet me because I want to have the exact same type of partner across my portfolio,” explained Carpenter. “If you look at my website, I only have five partners … that’s on purpose; I would rather be an inch wide and a mile deep versus the opposite.”

Carpenter wants to focus on what’s relevant today and according to him, that’s SaaS, VSaaS, cloud, video analytics, PSIM, AI and machine learning.

“I go out and find people who are relevant in that space,” he explained. “I communicate, build relationships, and become partners and friends. They rely on me as much as I rely on them, and that creates an incredible opportunity and partnership. I’m running a successful business with global reach now with me, just myself, nobody else, with the help of partners that are trying to accomplish the same things that I am.”

In fact, it was through a simple google search that Carpenter found the partner that would work with him to help get America back to work, offering a tool to help manage social distancing during these times of COVID-19.

“I was googling AI and machine learning, SaaS and VSaaS, and cloud and Camio kept popping up,” reminisced Carpenter, “so I reached out and got a hold of Carter Maslan. At that time, I didn’t know who Carter Maslan was; I didn’t know he was the president and co-founder, but he answered the phone, we started a conversation and one thing led to another … he’s a partner and more of a friend than anything.”

Social Distancing Tool Created

Maslan, previous director of product management at Google who brought Local Search in Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Mobile and Web Search, kept asking his now business partner why they can sit down, enter a subject into Google search and find it in 50 milliseconds, but it takes a ton of hunting and pecking to find anything relevant within video. It was from this conversation that Camio, the AI-powered search engine behind cost-effective remote video monitoring, was created.

“Camio has really created a new paradigm in the security industry especially in the GSOC space where Pivot focuses its aim because a company can now find what they’re searching for [on video] within seconds versus minutes, hours or sometimes days,” Carpenter said.

As Camio evolved, they sought out to tackle the issue of tailgating within access control situations. Based on what Carter called the Einstein Project, regular 2D traditional cameras could be turned into 3D sensors.

“We [When Carpenter speaks of his partners, he refers to them as “we,” no longer a single entity, but together, a team of like-minded individuals as one.] took that and said, ‘hey, if we can do this with anti-tailgating, then why can’t we do the same thing for social distancing?’ In less than a week, Carter was able to take the anti-tailgating 3D technology, turn it and we had an actionable solution to go out and introduce to the market for social distancing.”

The social distancing monitoring application offers a three-pronged approach — detection, alerting and reporting. It does not collect any personal identifying information; it’s just numbers in a string. It works with any camera that can produce an H264 or RTSP steam as Camio gives existing cameras a new sense of depth and understanding by segmenting and tracking people as they move on a 3D floor plane grid.

A full dashboard is provided and reports can be generated and sent to key personnel as many times per day as needed.   These reports offer a way to help businesses keep employees safe, demonstrating measures put into place for social distancing.

In addition, video can be tied into a VMS or SOC so it can go back to a centralized security command center and it can be sent via email or text message to a manager, for example. The solution comes with a pre-recorded audible, but the end user has the ability to create whatever message is needed.

“We’ve got it [social distancing monitoring] currently deployed in manufacturing, fulfillment and distribution centers and we’re seeing a lot of traction,” Carpenter said. “There’s so many ways we can use this to help get America back to work by mitigating the risk of exposure by tracking and providing alerts for social distancing.”

Carpenter and Maslan realize that the coronavirus is probably going to be around for a while, so flexibility from a cost perspective was important.

“There’s probably going to be periods where lockdowns and restrictions and loosened,” Carpenter said, “if the virus starts to peak, they’ll tighten it back up and lock down again. So, with Camio, it’s a subscription-based solution; it can be day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month.”

This enables businesses to deploy the social distancing solution and when they don’t need to continue monitoring, they simply suspend the service.

In addition to using the Camio technology for social distancing, there are other applications as well. Take retail environments, for example. Flow through aisles; total number of people in the store at any given time; people gathered in certain areas showing highest activity level to determine where and how to stage products and number of people waiting at the register to check out are just a few other ways this technology can assist end users.

“You can think outside of the box on numerous applications,” Carpenter said. “That’s the great thing about AI and machine learning, if you don’t have a solution for today, or we’ve not thought of it, tell us. We tell this to our customers all the time. For example, I’ve got a customer in Nashville that we’re rolling this [social distancing solution] out internationally for and they asked for ‘xyz.’ I told them, “give us a week.’”

To All Integrators   

Carpenter believes that AI and ML are becoming more common in the security industry because of the productivity and cost savings, which can be achieved without the privacy concerns surrounding face recognition.

“I’ve heard CIOs, and IT and Dev Ops teams verbalize that they know this [AI and machine learning] is coming and they’ve got to align,” Carpenter explained. “So, they are taking the steps internally to start preparing themselves to roll it out.

These companies are also starting to realize the cost savings, efficiencies and things they can do with it and stay more security at a lower price point with fewer people and less overhead, all the things that solution providers have been saying for years.”

For the security industry, Pivot represents a new way of doing business. With Pivot and Camio partnered, Carpenter will go out and identify target customers, then Carter will come in and they will work together throughout the entire sales cycle. Camio does the entire implementation and post-sales support because it’s their product. There’s no need to go out and hang cameras, haul ladders, roll trucks, manage technicians, etc. because all they’re doing is pushing out software remotely. Carpenter said that he’s basically handing over a project to a trusted partner, project managing it, but the manufacturer is doing the implementation and he’s collecting money at the conclusion of the project.

“I think Pivot is a great story and I think Camio is a great story,” said Carpenter. “We have solutions that solve today’s problems. We’re changing the way we do business; we’re doing it smarter and more cost-effectively by providing smarter, more intelligent tools. And, we’re trying to get America back to work safely and quickly. This [global pandemic due to coronavirus] has been a sledgehammer to our economy, and we, Pivot and Camio, are providing tools and solutions for our end users to integrate into their operating procedures.”