Omnilert uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect firearms and notify authorities.
SAN DIEGO — Parents are doing everything in their power to keep kids safe. Unfortunately, because of mass shootings, threats can be found in every corner of a child’s or adult’s life.
A California-based company, Omnilert, says it hopes to disable these threats before anyone is harmed.
Omnilert President and CEO Dave Fraser says their technology uses a building’s already existing infrastructure, such as security cameras, to keep people safe.
“It’s an artificial intelligence system that’s been trained to recognize handguns and rifles,” Fraser said. “We’re looking for guns wielding. The AI detects that, and then we ask the humans to take a second line of defense, largely to figure out what the right response might be needed.”
Fraser says if Omnilert technology was in place in the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, for example, he thinks more lives would have been saved.
“The shooter prepared for some time in advance. In fact, he did so in full view of the security cameras,” Fraser said.
He says that’s where Omnilert comes in. Their technology uses already existing cameras, detecting drawn firearms as a threat. Fraser says that once the threat is detected, the system can do even more.
“Lock the school doors if such a system has been installed, sound the sirens and alarms,” Fraser said. information to first responders,
Fraser says Omnilert has yet to prevent a possible mass shooting. However, Fraser adds: “I am happy to say that we have made many, many detections of firearms in places where they should not be.”
A basic Omnilert system costs a few hundred dollars per year, per camera. System tiers get more expensive with added layers of protection like lockout capability.
Jahnel and Paulina are local moms. Jahnel says she likes the idea of using artificial intelligence to prevent mass shootings.
“You never know who might come into the school. And for the security cameras to pick up on things like that, it’s nice to have that layer of security for the kids,” Jahnel said.
Both moms say they like what they’ve heard about using technology to keep people safe, but they have questions.
Paulina asked, “It’s red until they pull out the gun. So how fast would their response be? When a gun is pulled out it’s ready to use, so how quickly would the response be?”
David Bejarano is a law enforcement consultant. He is a former San Diego and Chula Vista City Police Chief and former U.S. Marshal.
“When it comes to law enforcement and public safety, we have to embrace all technologies to try to save lives,” Bejarano said. “We use gunshot detection where you get an alert after the shot is fired. This one is cutting edge because you get an alert before the shot is fired. I think you’re going to see more private companies, law enforcement, public safety – really embracing this technology and pursuing it faster than they have in the past.
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