Episode 30

Published on:

8th Aug 2022

The Power of Video Surveillance in Manufacturing Using AI with Rish Gupta

Connect with Rish Gupta: rish@spotai.co

LInkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/profilerish/overlay/contact-info/

Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Rish Gupta. Rish is co-founder and head of product at Spot AI, a groundbreaking video intelligent company built to answer a simple question, "Why is it so difficult for people at work to access video off their cameras?"

Rish, welcome to the show. 

Rish Gupta: Thanks, Lisa. Excited to be here. Thanks for having me. 

Lisa Ryan: So share a little about your background and what led you to focus on video. 

Rish Gupta: Yeah, it's been a circuitous route to videos that always want to build technologies. So when I graduated college at about 22, 23. I started a company that was a pure software company. I knew nothing about running a business. I ran it for five years, grew to a few million users, and sold it. Again, though, I didn't know anything about running a business. The thing that helped the timing was it was just a couple of years after the event of smartphones.

So the new behaviors and the influx of new people coming onto the internet because of smartphones led to that growth as a business for us. So as I was looking through new ideas and things to think about, one of the things that became constant was the number of mobile phones in the world.

91% of the people already have mobile phones, and the number of PCs has stayed constant at 2 billion for the last decade and sells approximately 300 million units a year. So it's okay. These computing devices are not growing. They're everywhere, but they're already there.

But everywhere around us, if you see, look at your home, small internet chips are being inserted into your fridges, cars, and these Alexa, the baby cams, and the pet cams. And that seemed like a computing paradigm is changing where everything around us will get digitized.

And the same thing was happening in, in the business arena. And then, when you double click on the business arena, you see that 80% if you're trying to get visibility into your physical operations. So basically, through the internet of things or any of these new technologies, 80% of how we consume the world is through our eyes.

And 85% of the data on the internet is videos. So we thought, wow, would it be any different in the business arena? And that's why video seems like a really exciting place to focus on concerning enterprises. And then, as we dove into it, we realized that the existing state of videos is people had sold them IP cameras over the last 15 years. So every business, from a gas station to a manufacturing house to any part of an industrial chain, has a security camera.

But then they're not able to access it. So they still use a USB thumb drive. It's an old-school VHS-like recorder somewhere in the back room. One person may be in the organization who knows where the video is and knows how to access it. And so, all these pain points in getting this data into the hands of users.

And so that, that's what kind of drives us towards solving this problem. 

Lisa Ryan: That's interesting because I think about what you just said about computers, that that, that hasn't grown and that, but the mobile technology has, and it's that's probably because five-year-olds don't have laptops yet, but they do have iPhones. So, why are they so far behind with so much mobile technology in the security camera industry? 

Rish Gupta: Yeah, that's a good question. When we started building this technology, what baffled us the most was how far behind these cameras were.

And the reason for that is if you think about what most people would remember is as children, we used Panasonic, Sony, neon, Canon one of these cameras to capture our memories, our holidays with our family. And today, these brands don't exist, right? Like they exist, or they exist in a much-diminished capacity than they did 15 years ago. And today, if I ask you on your iPhone, what camera do you have? You don't know it's so the software has completely disrupted the hardware experience. So what we saw in the consumer world is the hardware companies, which are building the actual camera, lenses, and technologies.

They were not software companies, and they didn't build Instagram. They didn't make a way to share these photos. They didn't build a way to create beautiful videos out of these photos to share with your friends or software companies. And something similar is happening in the enterprise space. The traditional camera vendors who built the cameras sell tens of billions of dollars yearly to these two American companies.

They are hardware companies with little to no software experience. So they have focused on making the cameras have more resolution. Have a beautiful-looking chassis. So it looks good on a brochure, but they haven't looked at what happens once the videos are recorded. They don't have the expertise for that.

So you end up with this old-school software. If you went online and searched just some of this software on this, it's like windows 95 and in today's world. Wow. You still, if you need to share a video. Like a cube clip. You can just send it to me right now with a link. You'll just paste it on this in the email, and I'll have it in a second.

But with videos in businesses, they have to use a USB thumb drive, do a specific V video recorder somewhere in the back room, transfer it to their desktop, put it on a Dropbox folder, secure that link, and then send it on email. So there are six steps to get to that video. Wow. So that's the state of the industry, and it's purely because you have competence in hardware without competence in software.

And one thing that we are all learning about technologies is software is eating the world, and we have to think about how consumers consume the end product. And now, as you know, the data is being built. 

Lisa Ryan: You just brought me back to this vision. When I first started dating my husband. He was one with a television-sized video camera. My dad had one that he never left home without.

And what a pain that was between the full-size VHS tapes and then the micro tapes and all of that kind of stuff, which are now just sitting in boxes somewhere versus the, I don't know, 800 videos that I have on my phone that are higher quality than that. 

Rish Gupta: That's so funny. Yeah. One, one of my funniest memes on how the world has changed in the last 15 years from a hardware perspective is you, somebody showed a kid a floppy disc, and the person's oh, you treaty printed the save icon because they had never seen a floppy disc in their life.

Lisa Ryan: Wow. That's yeah, it's we've come a long way. So what are some of the solutions? To begin with, we think of the video in business and manufacturing that we know that we are on camera most of our lives anyway. It seems a bit big brotherish, but if we were bringing that into technology, that would be in manufacturing and empowering employees. What does that look like? 

Rish Gupta: Yeah, the first thing, when you speak about a video being a big brother and a lot of this comes with the China surveillance kind of news we have fed, okay. If the cameras are there, somebody's watching us; somebody's recording us.

Somebody has oversight on us. Then there's a piece of vast information, symmetry asymmetry in that kind of thing where. Yes, the camera's everywhere, but only a few select people control the access. And the difference is in traditional systems. It's tough to give access to multiple people.

They have to individually set port forwarding and VPNs and complicate technology so that your computer sitting at home can access this remote VHS. Recorder sitting on a different computer network in a factory, somewhere in another state. And even though you might be the owner of this company, you have to be given special permissions.

And if your vice president of operations needs this access, they need to be given special permission. So it's really difficult to set up these users. So what we have allowed doing is we integrate with your, Whatever email system that you use, whether it's Microsoft or Google or whatever else, and give access to every employee in the company.

So video, it's not just the videos everywhere. The videos were available to everyone. So what is being recorded, you have access to it. You know how it is impacting. So your day-to-day operations. So if you want to know, did this shipping vehicle come yesterday or not? Was there a delay?

You have access to that data yourself. You're not like somebody above me, or just the C-suite has access to it. And they're watching me. This is for people to improve. So one of the things we work closely with our customers is onboarding many of their different departments and users onto the platform.

And then we hold training in the first couple of weeks with those people to ensure they know they have logins to this. So they have access to the cameras that need to do their work. And this video is more of a productivity enhancement tool than somebody trying to watch them do their job.

So it's the question they're trying to answer in the day-to-day business. So if you are FA manager for a specific facility, rather than having to walk across to every part of the facility during the day to figure out what's happening in every different conveyor belt and different manufacturing area, are you able to sit at your desk and pull up videos and see, okay, quickly what's happening and then go to the area where you feel there's something, going amiss and you can help those.

Lisa Ryan: Wow. Yeah, I think about the security cameras. People only needed access to them when something went wrong. And if you watch enough crime shows, when the people tried to get to the security camera, they were either broken, or there was no film in there.

It sounds like a much more proactive approach. And like you said, just being able to keep an eye on things, not in a big brother way, but a more productive way because you know exactly what's going on in those particular areas in the plant and making it much more helpful daily instead of just when something got broke, broken into or stolen or anything else that we the traditional. 

Rish Gupta: Yeah. And think of it as, if you're browsing the internet and on Facebook or Instagram, you always have this sense of how much data these companies are taking from me.

Versus if you had your own ACC and access to what exactly data was going through your laptop to these remote servers, you have more visibility. It'll not feel that big brother. You might then decide on certain activities you don't or specific activities you do because you know precisely the access, what is being seen, and what is not.

You can push back on management. I believe giving access to the end users is the key. If you keep the access limited to a few people in the security team or the C-suite, that's not the solution to empower your people to make better decisions. 

Lisa Ryan: But what about when it comes to like privacy issues?

Rish Gupta: Yeah, because when you're talking about physical and data security and all of that, getting into the wrong hands, what are you seeing that owners and operators are doing to ensure that they keep the video data secure? Yeah. There, there are a few. Things that we think about deeply over there.

One is as a company. We take a stand. There is what we call it a personal identifiable information of PII. We don't store that. So, even though we have other artificial intelligence in our product, we don't do facial recognition, and that's by design. Okay. Which is saying that the idea is not to track specific people.

The idea is to understand what's happening as trends in your factories and manufacturing facilities and your businesses and physical operations. So as a technology tool, don't surface a lot of PII. Don't. Individual data on people. So that means nobody should feel that tomorrow they can just search video footage of just me.

No, they're looking at what's happening at a shipping bay or manufacturing floor. Nobody's tracking a specific person. The second thing we do interestingly is we don't take the video to the cloud, and there are a couple of other reasons. But that fundamentally allows the video to be on the premise behind the company's firewall. So the company's not taking these videos and storing them on some remote cloud server, somewhere outside their network. It's within their network on their premises. And we have just built a technology where we can securely punch in a hole in our appliance, stream that particular video, and authenticate user requests for it.

The third aspect is that we go through third-party audits, like HIPAA for healthcare businesses and stuff, to ensure that our security standards are meeting the best in class. We have engineers from top companies like Microsoft SKU, Meraki, and others who have dealt with these problems at scale.

And so we are making sure at all three levels, don't take private data about people. Don't store that at all. Don't build technologies that allow for that second. Let's keep the video with the people who own the video, which are our customers. And then third is from a technology perspective - since that's the part we understand the best is build an infrastructure, which is highly secure - is audited by third parties with top certifications, to make sure that our customers feel very secure, that this data is not leaking.

And the last bit, we are returning to the non-big brother stuff. We provide an audit log in the dashboard to our customers. This means our customers can pull and see who was looking at what video at what time. So if there's any misuse happening, they can track it.

Like they have a complete audit log of every click on their videos, which traditional systems don't provide. So that's another thing. It's about surfacing the data with the users and letting them see how these videos are consumed. Who's watching? What is somebody sharing a video externally to a third-party stakeholder you shouldn't want to? You can see all of that and then take control of that and build policies or restrict controls as you see fit for your business.

Lisa Ryan: So take us to the very beginning. You're just about to start working with a company, and you need to train the employees. Yeah. And you need to get them back, through that fear of technology, the fear of big brother, and also share with them the benefits and why you're doing that. So what does that first meeting do with the leaders and employees? How does that sound? What does that look like?

Rish Gupta: Yeah, the good thing has been the concern about being big-Brotherly. It doesn't come much from our customers because most customers come with insight into their journey where they've realized that the existing video system is not up to demand.

Like they're not able to access it. They have people asking for access because there was a manufacturing delay, and somebody wants to know why it is. Can I go and see the video of when the manufacturing line stopped? And they were like, oh, we don't know if it's easy to access, et cetera. So typically, there is an internal operational plan for these videos in the organization, which brings customers to say, " Okay, we need a more modern solution. And that's when they start talking to us. So often, they're like, Hey, we want to give access to our people. So they begin at that point, and they're like, can your system take care of that?

Will you charge us more for more users? And we're like, no, we have unlimited users added at no extra cost. So you want to add your entire organization. You want to add some external stakeholders. So feel free to use it. This is your video, your security, like footage. You do it with it. So that's one premise that they come with.

So that's helpful. The second thing they ask is, okay, there are three kinds of use cases they typically want to understand. One is, can I have multiple locations? So usually, most of our customers have more than one location because that's when remote viewing and being able to. So seeing something without being there really starts being helpful.

So they'll be like, can I get all these locations in one dashboard? And that's a nontrivial problem because the way most and your customers might resonate with this might resonate with them. The way they bought these security cameras is in piecemeal 2007. They're like, oh, let us build these facilities. So we purchased ten cameras there, and then, in 2012, we added this other part. And so we all bought five cameras. And they end up smattering six, seven different camera brands across three or four other locations. And they're like, how do I even access these different camera brands in one platform?

And we make that easy. We work with every brand of camera out there in the enterprise segment. So can I access it? Can my people watch all the videos without jumping from one system to another? Can it be all in one system second? Do you have good filters for me to find something quickly?

If something happened yesterday, I don't want to spend hours looking for it. Can you make it happen in a minute? So that's the second thing we get them on. The third part is. They talk about either the artificial intelligence part of it or the collaboration. Can I comment on the videos? Can I annotate on top of videos?

Can I share this internally? Can I get insights? How many what was the first time a person showed up during this day in this room? When was the last time a person left, and again, not a specific person? These are just. What is the total number of people counted? So then they can understand when the shifts are starting, when the shifts are ending, what is the maximum number of people in, at any point, sometimes they use it for OSHA guidelines saying these things should not be blocked.

These entry pathways or exit pathways should be empty. So then they're like, wow, this system can not only help me find something which happened in the past or help me look into my business as it's operating now. But it's also generating some data, which helps me understand overall trends in my industry - days, weeks, months, and so forth. So those are the three pillars we will generally talk about. And then, some customers will talk about security to us, and we'll talk about the certifications we have and how we have the right people, but that's typically a customer journey. So they're coming in with some internal need for a modern system.

And then they're checking boxes and realizing a few more things. Okay. So now that makes sense and that they have videos already. So it's not like you're suddenly coming in and putting in cameras, but because the videos are so piecemealed all over the place, there's no access from location to location.

What you're doing is taking everything they have, putting a nice little package with a bow on it so that they can access it as needed from wherever. They want customers. So yeah, exactly what you said most. If you look at most...

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About your host

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Lisa Ryan

As a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), an award-winning speaker and author of ten books, Lisa Ryan, CSP, works with her clients to develop employee and client engagement initiatives and strategies that keep their top talent and best clients from becoming someone else’s.
Lisa’s expertise includes: strengthening workplace culture, improving employee engagement, increasing customer retention, and initiating gratitude strategies (“Grategies”) for personal and professional benefit. Lisa’s participants enjoy her high energy, enthusiastic delivery and quick wit and they leave the session with ideas they are committed to acting on immediately to make positive workplace culture changes.
Lisa costars in two films with other experts including Jack Canfield of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” She is the Past-President of the National Speakers Association, Ohio Chapter and holds an MBA from Cleveland State University.

Relevant Experience

• Keynote, breakout or workshop speaker at more than 100 national and international conferences
• Thirteen years of industrial marketing and sales experience, including seven years in the welding industry – and yes, she does weld
• Host of “Elevate Your Engagement Levels: What You Need to Know” on the Elite Expert Network and the C-Suite Network
• Creator of “The Seven Mistakes Managers Make to Crush Company Culture” video series
• Best-selling author of ten books, including “Manufacturing Engagement: 98 Proven Strategies to Attract and Retain Your Industry’s Top Talent”
• Award-winning speaker