Gurugram-based Sheffertz Technologies wants to secure Indian schools

April 3, 2022 0 Comments

In the 90’s, going to school was as much a matter of education as it was a social issue. Who doesn’t remember wandering down unexpected corridors, or pucking to meet friends in that secret grove behind the playground? Ah yes, those were the days; A place called carefree indulgence, innocent adventure and school that was an extension of the house.

Those days are gone now. We live in a society where words like kidnapping, suicide, murder and shooting follow words like school, campus and college in the same sentence. Children are abused every day and they are taken advantage of and before the ink of some such stories dries up, another catastrophe is waiting to be reported.

That’s why when seven-year-old Pradyumna Tagore of Ryan International School was found murdered on school premises in September last year, Sheffartz, an omni-channel enterprise platform, began to think deeply about safety and surveillance in schools.

Siddharth Chandurkar, founder and CEO of ShepHertz, told us: “After the Ryan school incident, we always discussed among ourselves how we could solve it or at least reduce the risk of recurrence through technology. At the same time we were working on launching some new AI services like Prediction Analytics and Face Recognition. One of the vertical applications we created as part of this initiative is Visitor and Attendance Management. The problems were similar to allowing only acquaintances access, identifying intruders, presence and visitor tracking, and predicting the future. ”

Based on their experience in creating meaningful products for enterprises, processing nearly 115+ billion API calls and six years focusing on AI, Gurugram-based Sheffertz Technologies has developed a software solution. SchoolProtect.

SchoolProtect is a facial recognition solution that can be deployed to schools using existing surveillance infrastructure. The software solution is designed to make Indian schools safer and more modern.

“The beauty of our solution is that it works with all types of cameras, from basic commodity webcams to advance surveillance cameras. If schools have already installed surveillance cameras, our solution could bring feeds from them and provide face recognition and recognition, “Sheffertz CEO Chandurkar told Digit.

The solution works by identifying not only students, teachers and other staff and matching their faces with a registered database of photographs. It can get details like names of students or faculty members, the grade they are studying in, their age, when they first entered the school premises, their last seen location and many more. An alarm system alerts school authorities if unknown or unwanted visitors are flagged by the software. It can even use machine learning to detect gestures and emotions in real time so that any intimidation or physical violence can be alerted to the school.

“Sheffartz AI Solutions has been trained to understand facial expressions. It can detect a person’s mood – happy, unhappy, neutral, etc. The machine is fed with different sample images, so that there are pictures of different emotions. Based on these, the machine learns by applying various algorithms and then making predictions, ”Chandurkar explained.

In addition to its security features, SchoolProtect can also assist in the attendance management of students, teachers and staff. Companies tell us that their software comes with an intuitive dashboard that provides comprehensive descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analysis.

When asked if a solution like SchoolProtect could invade a child’s sense of freedom and privacy that comes with going to school away from parental verification, Chandurkar agreed, saying “there will always be a tradeoff of security and privacy”. He believes that before adopting technology one has to be sensitive to the threat situation and the context of the people as well as the region. He even dismisses facial recognition as a foolish solution, but feels it has put a leg up on other biometric options, such as fingerprinting, especially in the context of schools.

“Each security system has its own advantages and disadvantages Fingerprint works best for presence when the same people go to a protected area and you need to authenticate them before you can enter that particular protected area. But it has various flaws. In this case –

  • Every morning, this will increase the queuing, especially when hundreds of students are coming to school and need to be in the classroom on time.

  • Where playgrounds, bathrooms, parking lots, etc. should not be located, fingerprint identification of people / intruders will not be possible unless there are gates with biometric devices everywhere.

  • Fingerprints do not identify behavioral aspects that may be trained in future AI applications. “

Since the solution is fairly new, it has not yet been implemented in any Indian school, but ShepHertz hopes that its simple business model will help schools get onboard. “SchoolProtect is charged on a‘ pay as you go ’basis i.e. SaaS model and currently there is no installation cost. So it does not require much investment. The solution runs in the cloud, so infrastructure costs are low and expensive cameras are not required. If necessary, SchoolProtect can be installed on-premises or purchased as a one-time license cost, ”said Chandurkar. “Anyone can start small, such as adding facial recognition to an out-of-school area to identify an intruder that solves a major problem in itself and is not intruder because cameras have already been installed in several schools,” he added.

The use of facial recognition in schools has increased significantly in the United States since the recent school shootings in the country. Some image recognition systems employed in American schools are now able to detect weapons such as rifles and pistols through well-trained object detection modules.

Although Indian schools have been much safer than their American counterparts in terms of gun violence, they have not been able to stem the tide of bullying, sexual harassment, indecency and other forms of physical abuse. A total of 917 cases of ragging were registered in India in 2017, compared to 515 in the previous year, and this does not include incidents which are not reported daily. According to the latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), one student commits suicide every hour in India every day. These alarming numbers certainly make a strong case for the use of facial and behavioral identification systems in Indian schools … now much higher than before. Do you agree

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