The Future of Security—Served on a Plate

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PlateSmart: A smarter ALPR

The surveillance of communication has been in the news a great deal lately, raising a whole bunch of national security questions. But there is another type of surveillance and a low-profile object that may eventually play an unexpectedly large role in advancing our safety: video surveillance and the license plate.

PlateSmart is a technology company that has “developed the world’s first software-only Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) and video analytic solutions, which are compatible with both state-of-the-art and legacy cameras.” The company turns conventional surveillance cameras into smart ALPR cameras.

Because PlateSmart’s solutions are software-based, widespread implementation is practical and affordable. The technology reads license plates from the full-color video as well as recognizes state jurisdiction and vehicle make. Being able to identify vehicles, search and report on them quickly, and share information with law enforcement agencies makes PlateSmart a powerful security tool.

The technology has numerous applications. To name just a few, it can be used for neighborhood watch programs; registering and monitoring vehicles at hotels, healthcare facilities, and other locations; as part of city surveillance to deter and fight crime; identifying potential threats at casinos or ATMs; campus and airport security.

Parking management. It’s hard to imagine anyone aspires to write parking tickets. Both businesses and law enforcement could turn to PlateSmart to ticket parking violators with time-stamped video recordings instead of relying on staff to patrol lots.

Besides the ability to integrate PlateSmart with existing software and hardware, AI adds another level of exciting possibilities. PlateSmart doesn’t just read license plates, it can analyze movements and provide actionable insights. Say airport staff gets distracted by a medical emergency. PlateSmart could identify a suspicious vehicle either idling or circling, issue a warning, and prevent a terrorist attack while our human guard is down.

We tend to think of surveillance as an imposition on our freedom, watching our every move. And concerns about the abuse of such technology deserve discussion. It’s refreshing, however, to have a clear example of how a well-conceived system that takes advantage of innovative technology could work to our collective benefit.

PlateSmart has quickly been recognized as a leader in security technologies and been racking up awards, including the first-ever ASTOR award (American Security Today, Homeland Security Awards) in the Best ALPR category. Speaking about the recent awards, PlateSmart CEO John Chigos said, “What we’re seeing is that ALPR and ALPR-based video analytics are being adopted by law enforcement, counter-terrorism agencies, and private security organizations with rapidly increasing frequency.”

“The industry has just begun to recognize ALPR as being one of the most effective and proactive security technologies that can help to identify and track criminal and terrorist suspects in real-time. The ASTORS awards are a great testimonial to the importance of ALPR technology and we are thrilled to win… As we continue to expand into other areas such as business intelligence, we anticipate more innovations to come.”

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