This startup uses AI to power security cameras
Cameras have become indispensable for businesses everywhere, with their uses ranging from security and identifying damaged parts to ensuring perfect packaging and more. Yet, monitoring their recordings and performance in real-time can be a problem. This is especially so for several small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India that use cameras mainly for security purposes but worry about the high capital expenditure (Capex) involved and hence the return on investment (RoI).
Bengaluru-based startup.ai, founded this year by SRM University students Sourav Sanyal, Saurabh Ghanekar, and Miran Junaidi, has an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven solution to ease such worries.
“Cameras have a high Capex and rarely do businesses get any RoI from them,” says Sourav.
“OurEye intends to change this question around RoI by deploying a virtual auditor, manager and security guard in this network of cameras by putting a layer of AI and ML (machine learning) to ensure full automation and zero intervention."
"OurEye tracks SOPs (standard operating procedures) and custom objects, actions, patterns to get as many insights as possible from the cameras. Our technology is automatic, intelligent and available round-the-clock,” adds Sourav.
At present, the business ecosystem in India uses manual audits and other physical intervention methods that are generally accounted for in yearly compliance requirements, with almost no tracking until the next audit.
“Various companies and MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) go on to take screenshots of camera feeds and share information on WhatsApp,” says Sourav. “Hence, there is a need for remote auditing that is foolproof and online. OurEye would be perfectly positioned for B2Bs (businesses to businesses) to help them leverage existing data and become compliance heroes.”
OurEye is 100 percent software, with no hardware involved. This means an SME can deploy its solution fast without the need for a maintenance team. It is a plug-and-play solution for more than 95 percent of all existing cameras.
Thus, it automatically streams data to the cloud via a desktop application, where businesses can upload their custom SOPs, train it on the dashboard and deploy it to all their cameras with just one click. The AI pipelines allow the company to have multiple recognition through a single feed.
OurEye works on a low bandwidth of 2 megabytes per second and has customisable datasets and models that can be deployed by the user directly. It connects to existing close circuit cameras and provides real-time alerts to store managers for faster compliance.
The starting point
The three founders, all batchmates at SRM University in Andhra Pradesh who will graduate next year, were 19 when they took their first steps towards entrepreneurship. They gave several hackathons such as Developer Week and Minerva Hacks a shot and were also invited to LA Hacks, a global hacking event held at the University of California, which changed their fortunes. They ended up winners at LA Hacks.
After the LA Hacks win, the trio got invited to TechCrunch’s Disrupt Berlin 2019. That’s when they decided to start up in 2020. By the middle of this year, they were ready with back-end application programme interfaces (APIs) for real-time video intelligence.
“The founders had enough passion for starting up and making every camera play an active role,” says Sourav.
All of 20 now, the founders have seven global clients signed up with them, including ongoing pilots with Burger King and Ghost Kitchens.
The founders have each invested Rs 4 lakh of their earnings from participating in hackathons and conferences. They raised their first seed round of $120,000 from Indian venture capital fund 100X.VC that invests in early-stage startups.
Challenges and the road ahead
Challenges are perhaps par for the course for founders of early-stage startups. It’s no different for Sourav and the other co-founders.
“The difficulties have been massive,” says Sourav. “From product management and development to sales, especially to enterprises, it’s been difficult for us as 20-year-olds. It is a big learning curve. However, the product has been able to speak for itself to most clients, and as founders we are learning every day.”
OurEye’s business model is subscription-based or software as a service (SaaS), with revenues earned on a per-camera-per-month module for each client and charges anywhere from Rs 750 to Rs 4,000 monthly for each camera. The startup has just started earning revenues and expects to close the next fiscal (FY22) with Rs 9 crore.
The founders plan to sign up international clients in the next 18 months, with a target of getting 500,000 AI-enabled cameras on OurEye’s network. OurEye competes with, Ring Labs, and Envy Vision. According to Gartner, SaaS will be a $110 billion industry in 2021. Clearly, OurEye’s founders have hit the right keys to go global.
(Edited by Lena Saha)