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Monitor Computer Systems and Facewatch partner in delivering facial recognition to Sentinel

09 July 2020

WHAT IS described as a ground-breaking new technology partnership between two of the leading businesses in security monitoring and facial recognition, namely Sentinel and Facewatch, has enabled them to offer the security industry an integrated solution focused on improving workplace security.

Sentinel supplies alarm monitoring systems to the UK market, with circa 600,000 signalling systems live at the present time. These are monitored to the relevant British, European and US standards with software provided by Monitor Computer System. For its part, Facewatch is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)-compliant facial recognition system for the retail business and hospitality sectors.

The partnership between the two creates a “seamless integration” allowing monitoring stations to receive alerts from the Facewatch system and activate a series of responses including automatic audio announcements in order to alert any ‘subjects of interest’ that they’ve been detected and remotely manage the incident through dedicated video links to customer premises.

Loss reduction

Michael Askew, CEO at Monitor Computer Systems, said: “Profit margins in retail are so tight that any losses from theft can undermine the viability of stores. The Facewatch facial recognition system provides a means of preventing shoplifting before it happens, resulting in significant loss reduction. By immediately alerting store managers and security officers that a suspicious person has entered a given premises, a low-key response can then deter would-be thieves.”

Askew continued: “Where staff are unable to respond to potential theft or acts of anti-social behaviour, the Facewatch system can transmit notifications to a Sentinel Alarm Receiving Centre where the operators can respond by issuing audible warnings over the store’s PA system. Certain stores can gain particular benefit from this remote protection service during those hours when managers are not present and staff are particularly vulnerable. We believe that this combination of Facewatch and Sentinel’s technologies will be a big step forward in the fight against crime.”

Nick Fisher, CEO at Facewatch, responded: “Facial recognition is fast becoming the ‘go to’ crime deterrent for the retail sector and, as we emerge from lockdown and enter a tough period of high unemployment and likely a long-lasting recession, crime and anti-social behaviour, which is already showing a huge spike, will only worsen. It’s therefore incredibly timely that we’ve been able to partner with Michael and his team to deliver the integration upgrade now.”

Monitoring station link

The Facewatch-Sentinel integration can be installed at a customer’s premises in less than a day by any Facewatch-accredited partner and automatically links to the customer’s designated monitoring station.

Facewatch has been providing crime prevention solutions to the retail industry for over a decade. The company launched the first-ever online crime reporting system including CCTV footage back in 2012 and this eventually led to last year’s introduction of the inaugural GDPR-compliant facial recognition solution for the retail sector.

The system enables stores to deter habitual criminals who shoplift, abuse workers or cause criminal damage. Managers are alerted instantly by an app on their mobile phones, and from automatic facial recognition cameras positioned at store entrances, the moment a subject of interest enters the premises.

The Facewatch system is scalable for use by large retail groups due to its cloud-based servers and edge Intel NUC mini PCs. All data is managed securely by Facewatch. Facewatch doesn’t store information about the general public, just those for whom its retailer subscribers have uploaded confirmed evidence of reasonably suspected criminal activity. If a facial image is not matched to a relevant Watch List then the algorithmic data is instantly deleted.