AI to help upgrade Middle East security industry
As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to grow in importance around the world, security experts have recognised the need to upgrade the industry to keep up with such technological progress.
According to Naoufal El Ouali, President and CEO of Axone Systems, which manufactures industrial packaging automation machines in France, adopting AI across the Middle East will prove crucial for its protection.
“In other industries, AI has already replaced humans in repetitive tasks and hard labor like the automotive chain, carrying heavy loads and simulating human intelligence,” he said. “In the security industry, it can help security managers to be faster in detecting and anticipating problems, acting on the field and informing higher-level individuals.”
“In the security industry, AI can help security managers to be faster in detecting and anticipating problems, acting on the field and informing higher-level individuals.” - Naoufal El Ouali, President and CEO of Axone Systems
The security process is split in three parts, including collecting data with sensors, processing with video analytics and rules engine, among others, and analysis, such as security guards. In the collecting step, sensors are commonly installed on different sites, while in the processing stage, Mr El Ouali explains, the job has to be done by AI. In analysis, he called for shorter decisions and intervention cycles, in which AI can support. But there remain limitations.
“We cannot increase the level of guards, police or other security forces on a central command or on the field,” he noted. “Police cars cannot drive at 200km per hour in the city to intervene faster in case of emergency, so we need AI to help us shorten the decision loop, detect incidents early by exploiting weak signals, and better understand the events that occurred and respond.”
“We need AI to help us shorten the decision loop, detect incidents early by exploiting weak signals, and better understand the events that occurred and respond.”
Ultimately, AI is expected to save time and improve quality in the decision-making process, as false information can deeply mislead those in charge.
Mr El Ouali spoke about two families in AI, including machine learning modelled and coded by humans, working on low to medium complexity problems and repeating tasks with a low adaptive capability, and deep learning and the neural network, which are based on learning a given situation, much like a child, and making intelligent decisions on its own. “Deep learning is able to find associations in data we humans would never be able to find, helping us reach new levels of detection we could not before with traditional models,” he added. “In the security industry, we have different complexities, from the threat facing us, to weak signals.”
New technologies are emerging in the AI space, such as video analysis for face recognition or object classification, as well as big data, used for analysing massive amounts of data captured daily by millions of security sensors to detect patterns of threats in real-time. However, for Mr El Ouali, the key factor is ensuring security works on a central command with new technologies in an easier and more reactive manner. “In our company, we say: ‘A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good’,” he argued.
The AI trend is gaining momentum and showing no signs of slowing down. According to the market research report “Artificial Intelligence in Security Market by Offering (Hardware, Software, Service), Technology (Machine Learning, Context Awareness, NLP), Deployment Type, Security Type, Security Solution, End-User, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2025”, the market is expected to reach $34.81 billion by 2025. And although Mr El Ouali believes AI technologies will help the security industry, he explains that will only be partially. “AI is useful when you have a lot of data,” he said. “We could compare it to video games where AI has been used for so many years, and you see the evolution and the adaptive intelligence of some games in the last 10 years. But when dealing with something as critical as security, AI could scare people, who compare it to movies or Sci-Fi series.”
He stressed the importance of conveying the right information to the market to ensure it understands that robots will not “take control”.
But the security industry in the Middle East has, indeed, embraced that change, recognising itself as a large market for technology, notably such new technologies. “Most of the customers have a lot of sensors, human resources and centralised central command,” Mr El Ouali added. “This market is ready for AI and new technology to improve security. It is not so hard for the Middle East market to adopt it, since most of the infrastructure exists in terms of IP, and the network is almost everywhere.”
“This market is ready for AI and new technology to improve security. It is not so hard for the Middle East market to adopt it, since most of the infrastructure exists in terms of IP, and the network is almost everywhere.”
And the United Arab Emirates has been one of those key countries in the region to spearhead technology adoption into modern society – from smart cities to the protection of its critical infrastructure. As such, the International Exhibition For National Security and Resilience (ISNR) in Abu Dhabi has become one of the foremost tradeshows presenting the latest innovations in the field.
For Axone Systems, ISNR was beneficial for a number of reasons. “First, it allowed us to exchange information with different end-users and partners coming from different countries, while enriching our vision,” Mr El Ouali said. “We are a company working in innovation, so we need feedback from different types of users. To be adopted by a customer, an innovation has to be invisible and not change the way he or she works.”
During the three-day event, he was able to meet and come across more than 1,000 people from different vertical markets, some of which provided valuable opportunities to the company. “We attend a lot of exhibitions in the region, but generally they are split by market, such as electronic security, law enforcement, and others,” he explained. “But ISNR is one where you have everybody, so I truly recommend it. From the booth to the conference, the quality of people at the exhibition, the organization and the meetings, it was all a good experience.”
On a final note, Mr El Ouali spoke of ISNR as the type of tradeshow that brings different parts of the industry – from vendors, integrators, end-users, consultants, and technology experts – on the same platform to exchange their thoughts on the same subjects with different approaches. “With the different conferences, the level of speakers and the high public attendance, ISNR is clearly one of the tradeshows to attend if you want to understand the need of end-users and develop your business in the Middle East,” he concluded. “The floor is shared, and the topics are vast, allowing for a truly comprehensive understanding for everyone”.
“ISNR is clearly one of the tradeshows to attend if you want to understand the need of end-users and develop your business in the Middle East”