License Plate Recognition: '5 Minutes With' Video Interview with Jim Craige from Leonardo
SourceSecurity.com (SSc): Why is license plate recognition a technology that the security industry can be excited about?
Jim Craige (JC): Well there are two things merging in the market that are really exciting right now. One is automation and the other is integration. Automation allows you to take a lot of the labour-intensive processes, like staffing gates or recording vehicle information, and turn that to a mechanised process so the license plate reader will do all that work for you.
It'll take the license plate data and integrate it into other systems, so you may have a security application and this becomes then the key to unlocking a gate or blocking a vehicle from access. And, even further, we can take that to perhaps a geo-fencing situation where you'll have a particular zone that vehicles are allowed or not allowed to go into, and they can be classified based off their license plate number.
SSc: What does Leonardo’s Video Plate Hunter 900 bring to the table?
JC: Well Video Plate Hunter is a revolutionary application. It allows us to bring the extremely high standards used for law enforcement license plate systems and apply them to lower cost cameras and systems. It gives us that real accurate license plate recognition capability at a price point that's attainable to a broader audience, so for people who need to accurately use license plate information, the video play hunter allows them to be able to afford these systems and use systems that they might already have in place.
It gives them that affordability and business enhancing model, and it also applies great in the security industry where video cameras are already prevalent, so we can take advantage of that technology and add license plate reading as an accessory on top of that.
SSc: Are there any real-world examples that you can share?
JC: Absolutely. Law enforcement systems have been Used across the country and around the world to catch bad guys, with stolen cars, missing people, things like that. But breaking into more of a security market, we have a large shopping centre that has every entrance and exit covered by license plate reader cameras.
Typically in a shoplifting case the person may be observed within the store but the vehicle information is unknown, and this allows them to have a perimeter security that gives them that information that allows them to track down the suspects involved and things like that.
SSc: Is license plate recognition a technology with relatively untapped potential?
JC: oh yes, there's a great potential here especially with the newer technologies that are coming out. There are low-cost cameras with great quality capture, we are able to bring in better optical character recognition, add these to artificial intelligence systems. The integration is a huge untapped potential right now, where we're taking that license plate data and using it, whether it's in a security model where you have lists of allowed or unallowed vehicles or a business model where you're trying to enhance the customer experience through the use of license plate recognition.
You might be doing something where a recognised customer enters the property, and you know that they always order a particular coffee drink from your establishment, so you might start getting that coffee ready before they get to the door. Those kinds of things are the types of potentials that we're not even tapping yet over the broad market.
SSc: Can you share any interesting facts about LPR systems?
JC: One stat that we know of is that approximately 70 percent of all crime involves a vehicle of some sort. So we know that when we're dealing with security, shoplifting, protection of assets, that statistic is going to translate over to this industry as well.
The people who intend to do harm or steal from a business are going to be using a vehicle to get to and from that location. The vehicle is something that we need to know about in order to properly protect assets, buildings and people, so the license plate is that key to knowing that, and license plate recognition is the way that we can sort of unlock the unknown and get to that information.