Omnilert’s Comprehensive AI Visual Gun Detection Platform Protects Campuses from Gun Violence

Omnilert Gun Detect delivers reliable, 24/7 monitoring of gun threats using existing security cameras.
Published: June 24, 2024

Omnilert’s mission to protect people has been the guidepost to it growth and development. The company began in 2004 by developing a campus emergency communications system. Since then, it has evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers. In 2020, it introduced the Omnilert Instant App and the first visual gun detection solution.

In this interview with Campus Safety, Omnilert Vice President of Marketing Mark Franken discusses his company’s latest offering: AI (artificial intelligence) visual gun detection.

Campus Safety: What is the top weapons detection product or offering from your company, and what makes it special? How does it apply to healthcare facilities, schools and/or higher education security, public safety and/or emergency management?

Mark Franken:  Omnilert Gun Detect is the most effective solution for early gun detection and rapid response that can help save lives from gun violence. As the only AI visual gun detection product on the market with a unique combination of visual detection, human verification, mass communication, and automated response, Omnilert Gun Detect delivers reliable, 24/7 monitoring of gun threats using existing security cameras.

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Once a gun is detected, it sends an alert to Omnilert Monitoring or another designated person or team, and once a threat is confirmed, the system automatically initiates a full pre-planned response that could include dispatching police, locking doors, sounding alarms and sending alerts to those in harm’s way. This solution gives emergency response teams advance warning before shots are fired and delivers precise information on the location of the shooter with a photo, short video and location meta data. It also provides situational intelligence on the shooter throughout the event that can assist law enforcement and identify safe evacuation routes for those in the building.

CS: What other products or offerings would you like to highlight, and what are some of their qualities and benefits?

Franken: Omnilert has already announced two significant product developments in 2024 designed to ensure its AI visual gun detection remains the most effective solution on the market.

  • In February 2024, Omnilert released the third generation of Omnilert Gun Detect, which featured significant advancements in hardware efficiency, enterprise management and gun detection accuracy to better save lives in an active shooter situation and gun violence. With this new release, the system’s architecture was optimized to boost performance 10X for any given GPU over its original architecture, enabling more camera streams to be processed per server. New clustering enhancements were also made to ensure enterprise deployment to tens of thousands of cameras across thousands of sites and servers manageable from a central console. Accuracy was also significantly improved through continual learning and refinements from curated organic video through real world customer deployments over its five years of development and fine tuning. Rather than simply compare objects to a database of known gun images, Omnilert’s data centric model uses raw video footage captured directly from security cameras in various real-life settings to reflect the complexities and nuances of everyday environments.
  • In April 2024, Omnilert unveiled the Omnilert Gun Detect Appliance – a fully integrated AI visual gun detection system that combines the hardware, software and services required to turn existing security cameras into an active shooter protection system for schools and universities. This one compact appliance not only replaces large, complex and costly server equipment, but it is also configured to be easy to install and maintain whether a facility has 10 cameras or 10,000 across hundreds of locations. With the Omnilert Gun Detect Appliance, a new market of customers can now take advantage of life-saving AI visual gun detection technology.

CS: How do your company and its offerings address the needs of hospitals, schools and/or universities?

Franken: Omnilert Gun Detect is currently protecting hundreds of schools, universities, hospitals, retail and commercial buildings, and other organization facilities and campuses around the country.  The software works with existing cameras already in place, turning them into 24/7 monitors for weapons combined with an automatic and robust response designed to save lives.

Related Article: Maryland’s Charles County Public Schools Select Omnilert AI Visual Gun Detection Technology to Keep Students and Staff Safe

Omnilert technology offers protection that expands beyond just the walls of a facility. For example:

  • Outdoor cameras– When monitoring cameras outside a school or healthcare facility, AI visual gun detection can identify weapons before the shooter has entered a building. This means that doors can be automatically locked to block the entrance to the shooter and police and onsite security can be summoned to stop the threat from doing harm either in the parking lot, parking garage or another area of the facility. Considering that 80 percent of school shootings happen outdoors in locations such as parking lots, this is a critical part of securing a campus from an active shooter.
  • Indoor cameras– If a gunman gains access to a facility, history has shown that they often brandish their weapon while walking through a hallway or stairwell. Omnilert works with customers to strategically integrate its software with cameras in high-traffic, central locations such as lobbies, entrances, exits, stairwells and hallways. As soon as a shooter shows their weapon in any of these areas where a camera is equipped with AI visual gun detection technology, the system sends an immediate alert to a designated security team. One critical feature of Omnilert’s gun detection solution is that this alert comes with both an image and video clip of the potential shooter to provide more clarity and context for first responders. Once the threat has been verified, all it takes is a click of a button to initiate an immediate response to stop the shooter before they make their way further in the school or healthcare facility.

The Omnilert platform was also designed with privacy concerns in mind as there is no use of facial recognition on subjects being monitored and the video feeds never leave the premises.

CS: What else is new or noteworthy about your company for 2024?

Franken: As noted previously, Omnilert has already announced two significant product developments in 2024 designed to ensure its AI visual gun detection is the most effective solution on the market.

In addition, efforts Omnilert has focused on over the last year will bring continued R&D innovations and awareness of the technology to K-12, higher education, healthcare, state and local government, retail and commercial, finance and banking, hospitality and life sciences. These include:

  • Extended Omnilert business via IP licensing, including a partnership with Evolv Technology. As part of this relationship, Evolv integrated Omnilert Gun Detect visual gun detection AI into its new Evolv Visual Gun Detection™ product to detect brandished guns. Leveraging Omnilert’s open platform and flexible monitoring capabilities, this integration enables Evolv to provide another layer of protection beyond entry points with Evolv Express® systems, empowering onsite security operators to take immediate action to help prevent potentially catastrophic active shooter incidents.
  • Doubled off-the-shelf integrations covering video management, emergency mass notification, access control, control room and real-time crime center platforms and other communication systems. This increase in software integrations underscores Omnilert’s commitment to being an open platform, allowing innovations by partners through open APIs and dedicated integration support.
  • Doubled channel partner network to provide customers with local, customized sales and support including evaluation, installation, testing and deployment

CS: What is your company’s overall value proposition to schools, universities and/or hospitals? Why should they do business with you?

Franken: It is well documented that gun violence is a growing problem in the U.S. Most of today’s security systems are reactive or forensic, like video cameras, and can’t help prevent these acts of violence. Omnilert Gun Detect can monitor these cameras 24×7 and turn them into a proactive tool against gun violence and active shooters. Furthermore, the system can automate the other safety systems companies and partners have invested in, such as access controls to lock doors and other alarms, sirens and notification tools to warn those in harm’s way.

Related Article: Weapons Detection Survey Finds Many Campuses Turning to Technology to Stop Gun Violence

What sets Omnilert Gun Detect apart from other AI visual gun detection technologies is that it is the most effective active shooter solution that can save lives through the unique combination of visual detection, human verification, mass communication and automated response. This ability to quickly detect, notify and manage an active shooter crisis is critical for ensuring a successful outcome that prevents loss of life.

Another major advantage to the Omnilert Gun Detect system is its accuracy. Unlike many other solutions, Omnilert trains its models using 100 percent organic video footage from actual live settings, both indoors and outdoors, from sources around the world. This means better results versus training models with green screens or using synthetic data. And once the software detects a weapon, Omnilert takes ‘accuracy’ to another level, providing both still images and a video clip with the alert to provide as much context as possible to the person who needs to review the alerts and decide whether there is a credible threat.

CS: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Franken: Omnilert has one clear, life-saving advantage over all others in the industry which is the ability to automatically orchestrate a building-wide lockdown and emergency response at the confirmation of a firearm detection. With the rising rate of gun violence across the country, the need for effective, accurate and easy to use AI visual gun detection has ever been greater. As a critical layer of technology that schools, universities and healthcare facilities can add to their existing security infrastructures, it is a game changer for saving lives in the event an active shooter comes on campus.

To help stop this alarming trend, Omnilert’s goal is to make AI visual gun detection as ubiquitous as having fire alarms installed throughout a facility. That is why the company is making it easy, affordable and accessible for any campus to add this much needed layer of protection.

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Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series