May 19, 2020

Bridging the gaps: joining human and artificial intelligence

Technology
AI
Artificial Intelligence
Kevin Waterhouse, MD, VCA Tech...
3 min
Bridging the gaps: joining human and artificial intelligence

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, transforming every business sector. 

The security industry is no different, as emerging technologies are leveraged to enhance operations. 

Much has been made of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential, with companies of all kinds scrambling to implement it. Whilst the hype may presently outweigh the current benefits, AI in the security sector can be truly beneficial. 

The buzz surrounding facial recognition, in particular, has dominated the public perception of AI in the security space. However, there are many applications of this tool which are already delivering benefits to businesses. Deep Learning (DL) is a subcategory of AI, which can empower surveillance technology to achieve unparalleled levels of accuracy. This, in turn, can make security professionals’ lives easier as they can focus on more pressing tasks, with full reassurance that DL is working in the background, improving protection and efficiency. 

Deep Learning precision

In the past, surveillance applications that used video analytics to generate alerts often struggled to differentiate between a human intruder and other objects or wildlife, creating time-consuming false alarms. 

However, DL can help overcome this hurdle by enabling users to pre-calibrate the system to detect real threats and ignore false ones. In the context of video analytics, the ‘learning’ aspect of DL refers to the way that a developer can train an algorithm to only pick up on specific objects and features, much in the same way that a human would visually disseminate a scene and distinguish between objects.

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In a security application, the algorithm can be trained to recognise a person or a vehicle that could pose a threat. This level of sophistication in security tools means that the issue of false alerts is mitigated, and monitoring staff can focus their efforts on less tedious tasks, increasing their productivity and attention span, improving overall performance. 

Ultimately, improved alert accuracy leads to a more secure perimeter. By detecting suspicious events in real-time, the technology enables staff to address incidents as they occur, reducing the need to analyse video footage in the wake of a security breach, when very little can be done. 

Combining human and artificial intelligence

It’s true that AI and automation stand to revolutionise every sector. However, this is not to say that they are always a viable replacement for human intelligence. 

AI and DL really excel in the automation of manual tasks and making improvements to operations, but the value of human input cannot be underestimated.

The DL component of security analytics is invaluable for overworked and understaffed monitoring teams – it can filter through hundreds of potential alerts and block those that aren’t useful. Staff are then left with only a handful of unusual situations to evaluate, which they are responsible for resolving. This is where human intelligence is still light years ahead of AI. The most successful businesses across the board are the ones who are able to combine the latest technologies with human intuition. 

By Kevin Waterhouse, Managing Director at VCA Technology

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May 15, 2021

M&A activity key lever for future tech sector growth

Technology
dealmaking
EY
M&Aactivity
Kate Birch
2 min
With M&A activity in the technology sector soaring, dealmaking is likely to be the key lever for growth as businesses look to recover post-pandemic

Despite the continuing uncertainty of the pandemic, the tech sector has witnessed soaring dealmaking activity over the past year, rocketing in the second half of 2020, with the last quarter of 2020 a record one for M&A activity, and momentum continuing into 2021.

Dealmaking in tech sector soars in past year

And the latest figures bear this out with the number of technology M&A deals totalling US$208.44bn globally in Q1 2021, according to GlobalData. While the US holds top spot both in volume of deals (1034) and total value (US$140.61bn), Europe ranked next with 649 deals (US$44.49bn) with the UK continuing its reign as Europe’s biggest M&A market with 204 deals.

In particular, megadeals – those valued at US$5bn or more – soared in 2020 representing 59% of all global technology sector deal value in 2020, up from 47% in 2019, according to the latest edition of the EY Technology Global Capital Confidence Barometer.

This tech sector trend towards megadeals is backed up by EY’s CCB data, with 16% of tech sector respondents planning to pursue transformative deals valued at US$5bn or more in the near-term.

While technology deal activity “all but stopped at the beginning of 2020 after fluctuating between historic highs and lows, companies pivoted quickly and tech M&A exploded in the second half of the year”, says Barak Ravid, EY Global TMT Leader for Strategy and Transactions. 

M&A activity level for tech sector growth

Looking ahead to the future, technology executives are optimistic, with nearly half (47%) expecting profitability to fully rebound this year, according to CCB data, compared to 23% across all sectors, and with more than half (51%) planning to pursue M&A in the next year in order to sustain growth.

According to Ravid, M&A activity is increasingly becoming a key lever for growth as businesses look to recover.

“To position themselves for future revenue growth, tech companies are now adjusting their M&A strategy to focus more on a target’s business resilience, digital technology alignment and to gain market share through consolidation,” says Ravid.

However, with an increasingly competitive deal market and ongoing geopolitical tensions, the majority of tech execs expect to see more competition in the bidding process for assets over the next year, primarily from private capital.

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