“Co-appearance” sounds like a movie credit, but, in this case, you might not have signed up for the role. Also called “correlation analysis,” this new branch of AI-powered biometric surveillance technology can analyze and track who a person has been with over time, measure the frequency of their interactions, and cross-reference this with other data, such as calendar info. The government of China has already put it to use, tracking protestors and political dissidents.
Now, says the Los Angeles Times, Vintra, an AI content analysis firm based in San Jose, is offering co-appearance services to the U.S. market. It has already secured big-name clients, with NFL teams and police departments among its customer base. And while some critics frame co-appearance in dire terms, there are currently no federal laws in place to regulate or restrict co-appearance.
Senator Edward J. Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, compared it to “the Orwellian future come to life—a deeply alarming surveillance state where you’re tracked, marked and categorized for use by public- and private-sector entities that you have no knowledge of.” Markey has plans to reintroduce a bill aimed at stopping the use of facial recognition and biometric solutions by law enforcement at all levels.
Vintra’s website frames its services as a matter of public and workplace safety, and lists the San Francisco 49ers, Moderna and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office as clients. The Times reported speaking to several police departments who worked with Vintra (which previously claimed to have eliminated racial and ethnic bias in AI facial recognition), but none would confirm that they made use of the software’s co-appearance capabilities. Regardless, experts quoted by the Times said they expected the technology to become more widely available, and widely used, in the near future.
AI surging in real time
As AI technology hurtles forward, the market in AI security solutions is booming. In a press release, Taiwan-based global IP surveillance provider Vivotek announced the launch of its AI-powered VAST Security Station (VSS). The system offers facial recognition and vehicle detection in real time through the use of up to 20,000 integrated cameras at a time, supported with a variety of intelligent image analysis tools.
Also in the Asia-Pacific region, South Korean video surveillance firm Hanwha Techwin has re-branded as Hanwha Vision, reflecting a new focus on expanded visioning technology. Real-time solutions, data analytics and AI are all part of the company’s new look, according to Choonghoon (C.H.) Ha, President of Hanwha Vision America. “We need to think differently and flexibly adapt to the changing needs of customers and the industry,” he says in the announcement. “That requires a complete shift in mindset, recognizing that what worked as recently as two years ago may not work today, and certainly not for tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, in California, Ambient.ai announced the rollout of its own new AI-Powered Forensics solution, which promises to bring near real-time entity and event-based search tools to incident investigations. The integrated camera system is capable of processing non-biometric identifiers (such as clothing) with complex event signatures — which, according to CEO Shikhar Shrestha, will increase efficiency. “With the ability to access their entire global network streams almost immediately,” he says in a statement, “enterprises can more quickly conduct investigations and meet regulatory requirements.”
A 2022 Video Surveillance & Analytics Database Report cited by Vivotek estimates the global video surveillance software market to be worth around $1.9 billion and growing.