Startup Deep North launches program to let schools test facial recognition safety system
Startup Deep North, formerly known as VMAXX, is working with school districts and universities in California, Texas, Florida, and Massachusetts to provide its artificial intelligence-powered facial and object recognition technology to help detect and prevent school shootings and other safety issues.
The company is launching an introductory program which will allow a limited number of schools to field-test its video AI platform as a cohort. The program is intended to lay a foundation for Deep North’s expansion into the education sector, where the market for safety measures is growing exponentially, according to the announcement.
“Our technology was borne of the challenges faced by the retail sector, with the goal to empower businesses with a data-driven approach common online, but sourced from the physical world. It was both unexpected and eye-opening to see the value our video AI and deep learning expertise could also bring to securing schools,” said Michael Adair, Deep North President and CEO. “Utilizing our solution, schools are able to automate and amplify the concept of ‘see something, say something’ in a way human security simply can’t match. We look forward to expanding our efforts with this program and helping more schools across the country enhance security, mitigate safety risks and better protect their students and faculty for the long run.”
While the deployment of facial recognition in schools has drawn criticism in the past, Deep North also has its supporters for the project.
“AI represents one of the few viable ways to make schools safe, and does it in a way that is more affordable than any other,” said U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas. “Using this technology we can tell before the first shot is fired that there is a problem, and that has to be the goal.”
Deep North’s platform works with off-the-shelf security cameras, and generates real-time insights with a self-learning sensor that monitors, detects, and interprets behaviour and movements to enhance school staff’s ability to quickly assess and respond to situations. The company says it maintains privacy standards, and assigns numeric hashtags rather than generating, retaining, or sharing any personally identifiable information (PII). Its patent-pending technology utilizes cross-camera tracking, hotspots, and object alerts, and issue alert notifications according to conditions set by school administrators.