Artificial intelligence solutions for large-scale surveillance networks

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icetana Limited (ASX:ICE) CEO and Managing Director Matt Macfarlane discusses recent contracts and the company's new surveillance software. sds

Peter Milios: Today we're talking to icetana (ASX:ICE). Market cap of around $10m. icetana is a global SaaS company that caters to large-scale surveillance networks. The company's software uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to filter out routine motion, showing only unusual behaviour. We have with us CEO Matthew MacFarlane. Matt, welcome back to the network.

Matthew MacFarlane: Great to be here, Pete.

Peter Milios: First up, there's been a lot of buzz around artificial intelligence lately, including machine-generated images and programs like ChatGPT. I was just wondering if you could talk through your own self-learning AI solution, how it was developed and how it works?

Matthew MacFarlane: Sure. So, at icetana, we use many of these cutting-edge AI algorithms to be able to determine what's happening in front of surveillance networks. We use cutting-edge technology. There's a system called "YOLO", which stands for "You Only Look Once", and that helps you identify people, cars, objects, whatever you like in front of a camera. We've integrated this into our new product and shifted away from our old approach of just tracking pixels. We now also can identify objects, people, cars, all kinds of things that are going on in front of our camera networks. In addition to that, we've built algorithms that sit behind that to compare what's happening in front of these cameras with what has happened in the past. So, we train on an individual-camera basis to understand what's going on, and then we report unusual activity, interesting stuff, into the control rooms of these large surveillance networks in real time. We capture their attention so they can respond as things happen. We love the giant burst of AI that's coming from ChatGPT and, you know, this is a world we've been living in for 14-odd years, and it's wonderful to see the huge adoption that's taking place around the world, and the surprise and delight that people are seeing with AI systems, which we are very heavily leveraging in our own development efforts.

Peter Milios: You've just recently returned from an international security conference in Las Vegas called "ISC West". How was the trip?

Matthew MacFarlane: Oh, it was awesome. I got back two days ago. It was three days last week. 36,000 people attended this conference from all over the world. I mean, I met people from Perth who had gone to Las Vegas to attend this conference, so it was pretty awesome. We got fantastic feedback on the new product. We've got about 70-odd really strong high-level leads who are keen to progress with us, so, you know, it's foot down onto the… pedal to the metal in terms of making sales in the next few months and closing those leads out. It was great to be back in the conference circuit. It's an area which historically icetana has received a lot of sales opportunities from, and of course during the COVID years it was extremely hard, since all of these conferences shut down, people just didn't attend, and the crowd this year was just phenomenal. It was great.

Peter Milios: So, you mentioned your new product. Could you comment more generally on your new product and how it's being received by customers?

Matthew MacFarlane: Yeah, so it's been really positively received. We appeared at this conference side by side really with a whole bunch of competitors in this space, and it's a very exciting space. I mean, there are over a billion surveillance networks globally, so lots and lots of companies are looking to use AI to leverage real-time opportunities in surveilling, you know, these networks and selling into customers. And the customers who came to our booth and spoke to us reasserted that we are going about this in a very different manner to most of our competitors. They really liked what we had to show, and that was a great endorsement on the hard work of the team over the last two or three years in rebuilding our product from the ground up. Part of the building of that product, I might quickly mention, is our use of the most recent AI technologies. So, the version of YOLO that I mentioned a little bit earlier is very, very much the most recent version. In addition to that, we're leveraging things like DALL-E 2, which is from the same people who made ChatGPT, to generate images to help train our neural network engines for detecting things like fire and smoke, and, you know, people who have fallen over — trip and fall detection, as they call it. All of these things are being built into our new product now in a very positive manner.

Peter Milios: Okay, moving on to other recent news, you received three new orders from two of your biggest customers in the Middle East. Can you talk us through these?

Matthew MacFarlane: Sure, absolutely. So, the first one that we announced was the renewal for a three-year term of our largest customer, which is Majid al Futtaim or MAF Property Group. That covers about 16 shopping malls dotted around the Middle East. In total, about 8,000 cameras under coverage within that contract. Now, this client has been with us for six or seven years, and they have agreed to migrate from our older version onto the new V2 version that we've recently released, and we're very excited to be able to deploy on such a massive scale over there with that particular client. In addition to that, we received two new orders from Tandeem Mall Management, who are based in Kuwait, two new malls that have opened. They are very happy with our product as it's been running to date. And, again, they have also signed up for the new product. So, we love this positive product endorsement. It's a really good sign from our existing customers that they're migrating in large camera numbers over to what we've built over so many years.

Peter Milios: Thanks, Matt. Last question. What sorts of milestones can investors look for over the rest of the year?

Matthew MacFarlane: Look, I think, the coming quarter, we are going to look for a lot of announcements about early sales of V2. So, I'm hoping that, over the next three months, we'll follow up from this conference and the leads that we've got from that and sign some, you know, relatively big names in the security industry, because the level of engagement we got while we were in Las Vegas was very positive. So, look, on the revenue front, revenue tends to lag behind the orders, but certainly we're hoping for more order announcements over the coming three months.

Peter Milios: Matt MacFarlane, thank you for your time.

Matthew MacFarlane: Thanks very much, Pete. Great to be with you.

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