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CVC Spin Off

CVC Spin Off

CARE RESPITE: Intelligent tech for elderly care

Longevity is at its highest in Human History. Despite the differences between countries, life expectancy has registered spectacular advances in general terms. According to the World Health Organisation, life expectancy has increased by 5 years since 2000, surpassing the average of 80 years in many countries. On the contrary, fertility rates are at their lowest point. Both situations bring us to a fast ageing population within developed countries.

The percentage of older people is rising steadily and is predicted to increase further during the following decades. Elderliness implies not being able to carry out daily life activities by oneself, which takes developed countries face to face with a high percentage of care-dependent people with mobility difficulties, physical or mental disorders. In fact, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance only in the U.S, 34.2 million people were providing unpaid care to an adult aged 50 or older in 2016.

Every caregiver needs respite

Being a caregiver is not a simple task by any means. Most of these figures are relatives or friends of the dependent person which normally have to combine this task with a full time job.

CVC’s spin off Care Respite was born with the aim of improving these situations. With the latest computer vision technology, Care Respite provides an intelligent device which monitors dependent people at home and in institutions in a totally anonymous way, registering and interpreting the different situations a dependent person can come across. As its name clearly points out, it was thought by the founders as a solution to provide some time for the caregivers to take a breath: “This device is not thought to work 24 hours a day but only the moment that the caregiver is having a respite”, as explained by Dr. Sergio Escalera, co-founder of Care Respite and UB-CVC researcher.  

Care Respite was created as a project within Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona UAB’s Research Park idea marathons where both technology and health sector professionals networked in order to look for effective solutions in the healthcare industry. In 2016, Care Respite was selected by the CaixaImpulse programme, a grant which aims to create biotech companies, promoting the transformation of scientific knowledge while creating societal value.

How does it work?

Care Respite is a small sized portable device consisting of a camera, a small computer and a microphone. The camera monitors the dependent person in RGB-depth (a laser sensor calculating objects in depth, even in night scenes), and then sends the information into the Cloud, where the images are processed and the different situations detected. If the camera detects a specific situation, the device sends a prompt alert to the caregiver’s phone.

The different eventualities are detected by the movement of the care-dependent person. Caregivers can determine which ones they want to be alerted of. According to Dr. Jordi Gonzàlez, co-founder of Care Respite and UAB-CVC researcher, “at first users would tell us the kind of events they were interested to be alerted of. Initially, we found out that they wanted to be aware of falls but, as they realised the technology’s potential, they started asking us to include other type of situations”. These other cases were, for instance, entering or leaving a room, getting up and sitting down on a bed or chair. To make it even more interesting, Care Respite’s tech allow the detection of certain gesticulations even when the patient is sleeping.

Caregivers can receive alerts of all these situations on their smartphone, with the image depth video and some statistics. There is a limitation though, this being only possible when the caregiver is the patient’s relative. When Care Respite is used in a nursing home or in an institution, images are not provided due to privacy purposes. In all cases, caregivers have the possibility of communicating with the dependent person by microphone and so check if everything is fine.

Care Respite

Care Respite also has the ability to recognise long term events. Elderly people tend to have strict habits and routine patterns which they usually repeat frequently. The majority of cases, these habits are almost undetectable and they seem irrelevant in the short term. However, the camera can observe micro expressions to detect little variations in a dependent person’s behaviour. This function is essential as it can provide valuable information and so detect the possible development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer.

The importance of Care Respite

Care Respite was installed through the Barcelona City Council in PAMEM (Primary Care Centres) and IMMS (Municipal Institute of Social Services) entities in order to be evaluated. In this way, pilots were tested in public nursing homes and private homes. In both cases, results were clearly satisfying: “All users had positive experiences and favourable opinions. There were a few complaints, focused on its design and usability. Suggestions were to simplify the switch mechanism, but nobody complained about the technology and the movement detection”, as claimed by Dr. Xavier Baró, co-founder of Care Respite and UOC-CVC researcher.

In an increasingly aged society like ours, a technology like Care Respite is becoming more and more necessary, not only in terms of security for the increasing population of elderly people but also for the caregiver’s quality of life. “After all”, as Dr. Gonzàlez stated, “all of us have plenty of chances of becoming a caregiver at some point in our lives”.

Computer Vision has the ability of giving us intelligent devices to help us on our day to day lives and start-ups just like Care Respite are rapidly changing the future of medicine and wellbeing at this very moment.

For more information, visit their website here: http://www.care-respite.com/

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CVC Spin Off

DAVANTIS: a 24-hour security guard

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112.925, a number that might seem high or low depending of its context. If anyone told us that it’s the number of residential burglaries by force that took place in Spain during 2016, we’d be shocked. Well it is, at least according to crime statistics carried out by the Spanish Government. But this number doesn’t include those that happened without violence or the number of robberies in warehouses, factories, shops, airports, or any other non-residential building. The exact figure of robberies is impossible to know, but we do know it is one of the most frequent crimes, only behind traffic infractions and injuries on humans.

Surveillance cameras are used more and more in order to help ensure security among citizens. They help cut down vandalism and theft, speeding up the process of identifying criminals. For this reason, many business and home owners decide to install static cameras outside their buildings and so monitor the perimeter. Still, an issue maintains: these cameras only record providing a proof of the crime but without giving owners the possibility of avoiding it.

Davantis started up as a solution to this problem. This CVC spin-off detects and alerts on robberies and so prevent them: “Davantis is like having a security guard 24 hours a day. It avoids having to watch the entire video to detect a crime as it makes a selection of the specific fragments in which something important is taking place”, as Davantis’ technical Director, Jordi Lluís, explains.

Crime detection on image information extraction

Davantis is a computer vision software that can be installed in any surveillance camera. It processes images and extracts information in the same way a human-being would do. Along these lines, it detects live time if a thief is trying to break into a building and automatically sends a message to an alarm center. Within the center, an operator watches the fragments and thus validates the information: “The last decision is always taken by a human once the alert is analysed. If there is a thief, the security personnel will activate the protocol”, Jordi Lluís states.

Person detcted in a Solar Plant. Credits: Davantis

False alarms occur constantly. Surroundings are impossible to control and there are, elements, such as light, camera quality, distance or weather conditions that will alter the proper functioning of the software. “Our software is applied to cameras and within conditions that we will never see, therefore, our intention has always been to develop something general enough to be applied in any situation”, the Technical Director states.  That’s why the last step of human validation is crucial in this technology.

Davantis is installed in many high-end residences, airports, prisons and nuclear power plants. However, its most common application is in industrial facilities. It is because of this, that they developed a range of products specifically for factories and plants, in tune with the customer’s needs.

Catching thieves: the major purpose

Davantis was founded in 2005 as a CVC spin-off by three entrepreneurs. In that moment, there weren’t many companies dedicated to theft detection so they were pioneers within the sector: “There was only one company in the United States that was actually doing it and we wanted to be the benchmark in Europe”, admitted Jordi. Nowadays, Davantis is a team of 26 (still increasing) and is fully consolidated at a national level.

In 2010 Davantis received the iLIDS, a UK Home Office certification confirming that a technology is validated by the British Government, being the first non-British technology to obtain it. Since then, they’ve started selling their software in the UK and expanded towards other countries: “This award authorized Davantis to be installed in many government buildings, such as prisons or military installations. It is a kind of evidence that comes to show our technology is efficient, works and is in line with the customer’s needs. At that moment, it was a landmark and it allowed us gain presence in the international market”, exposed Jordi.

In the end, as Jordi Lluis reiterates, the most important fact is that their technology is actually capable of stopping robberies. It is in that moment when the customer realises that it is the owner of a worthwhile technology. In its twelve years of existence, Davantis’ technology has helped detect many thefts and to alert them beforehand: “Curiously, the bigger we are, the less information we receive. In the past, when we could have a close contact with each client, they’d send us the recordings that showed the thieves had been detected. In fact, we already have more than 50 videos that show attempted robbery”, explained Jordi.

Security vs. privacy and further challenges

Despite improvements in security, installing cameras is also a controversial fact. Critics of video surveillance claim that they invade our private lives due to constant monitoring.  In fact, there are around 6 million surveillance cameras in the UK, a ratio of 1 camera per 11 citizens, being one of the most guarded countries in the world. This large number of video cameras within cities make citizens reluctant towards this kind of technology. The idea of George Orwell’s “Big “Brother is becoming ingrained: with the perception of video cameras as private life controllers.

A thin line separates risks and benefits within the surveillance industry. “We find great differences between countries. While in countries like the UK there is a great tolerance towards cameras and surveillance, in other countries, such as Germany, privacy prevails over security”, stated Jordi. The German market is a hard nut to crack for Davantis, suggesting the implementation of thermal cameras: lowering intrusion and respectful in privacy terms.

Davantis has two more important challenges ahead. Firstly, to increase its presence within the international markets and so reach a number of international clients that exceeds national ones. The other challenge is to improve the software and so decrease significantly false alarms. As Jordi Lluis puts it, “Davantis is at its best moment but also at its toughest. The bigger you are, the bigger your challenges are. Therefore, today is as difficult as in our beginnings”, admitted Jordi.

For more information:www.davantis.com

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CVC Spin OffNews

Mitek systems acquires ICAR, a CVC spin off focused in digital identity verification

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Mitek, a global leader in mobile capture and digital identity verification software solutions, today announced that it has acquired ICAR, a leading provider of consumer identity verification solutions in Spain, for an aggregate purchase price of up to €12.75 million (~US$15.0 million) paid in a combination of cash and shares of Mitek common stock.

The acquisition of ICAR strengthens Mitek’s position as a global digital identity verification powerhouse in the Consumer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solutions market, which the April 2017 MarketsandMarkets report, Consumer IAM Market – Global Forecast,  estimates will reach US$16.6 billion by 2022.

Headquartered in Barcelona with offices in Madrid, São Paulo, and Mexico City, ICAR was founded in 2002 as a spin-off of the Computer Vision Center of the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona. Today, ICAR is a digital consumer identification leader in Spain and Latin America. ICAR’s channel distribution partners include Accenture, Informática El Corte Inglés, and other top technology solutions providers. Its customers are premier banks including Caixa Bank, Banco Neon, and Bancoppel, as well as companies in the telecom, insurance, travel, and energy sectors.

“The technical and cultural fit between ICAR and Mitek is a tremendous opportunity to maximize value for shareholders, while expanding our mission to bring the highest quality user experience and digital identity verification solutions to our customers globally,” said James B. DeBello, Chief Executive Officer of Mitek and Chairman of the Mitek Board of Directors.

Xavier Codó, Chief Executive Officer of ICAR added, “This combination provides a major growth opportunity and allows us to extend cloud services to our partners and customers in Spain and Latin America. It gives us the ability to offer our customers comprehensive identity document coverage throughout the U.S. and Europe. Mitek’s financial stability and commitment to research and development will also enable us to develop the industry’s most comprehensive, versatile, and advanced digital identity verification platform.”

“We have integrated ICAR’s automated identity identification solution. We view Mitek as a strong, established identity verification solutions provider and believe the combination will deliver additional capabilities to our platform giving us a competitive edge,” said Joan Manuel Tabero, CIO of Consumer Finance at Caixa Bank.

Following the acquisition, Mitek will offer extensive identity document coverage in North America, Europe, and Latin America. ICAR will increase Mitek’s digital identity verification capabilities with several new factors of authentication. The acquisition also further enhances Mitek’s desktop capture capabilities, which will enable customer on-boarding and authentication using computers in addition to mobile devices.

ICAR’s computer vision experts are tightly aligned with the Computer Vision Center of the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona and dedicated to ongoing research and development. The merging of these experts with the Mitek Labs’ machine learning and computer vision scientists will create one of the most powerful research and development teams in the digital identity verification industry.

About ICAR 
The Spanish company, headquartered in Barcelona and with offices in Madrid, São Paulo, and Mexico City, was founded in 2002 as a spin-off of the Computer Vision Center of the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB). ICAR provides cutting-edge technology solutions for customer identity verification, document forgery prevention, and fraud risk mitigation. ICAR’s fully automated verification solutions (desktop app, mobile and cloud-based tools) provide maximum security and an optimized user experience. ICAR’s technology is currently facilitating more than 20 million identity validations per year.

About Mitek
Mitek  is a global leader in mobile capture and identity verification software solutions built on the latest advancements in AI and machine learning. Mitek’s identity verification solutions allow an enterprise to verify a user’s identity during a digital transaction. This enables financial institutions, payments companies and other businesses operating in highly regulated markets to mitigate financial risk and meet regulatory requirements while increasing revenue from digital channels. Mitek also reduces the friction in the users’ experience with advanced data prefill and automation of the onboarding processes. Mitek’s innovative solutions are embedded into the apps of more than 5,800 organizations and used by more than 80 million consumers. For more information, visit www.miteksystems.com or www.miteksystems.co.uk.

 

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CVC Spin OffNews

Payment terminals: chronicle of a death foretold

Orain – mobile payment method

Post Author: Orain Team. Originally published in Spanish here.

Nowadays, in a highly connected, sensorised and technological world, it is surprising to see how certain technologies of past times are still in vogue. Traditional payment terminals are one of them. Mantaining these old systems within the market is sign of an immobile and non-agile economy, anchored to older times and incapable of catching up with innovation. A system that has turned into a problem, more than a solution, such as an answer to a question nobody is asking anymore.

The future travels fast, and faster each time, and most of the population has access to a technology we weren’t able to imagine just a few years ago. However, intelligent payment terminals -or smartphones- and the networks they’re connected to, are both platforms that haven’t showed all of their potential yet. These systems’ possibilities are fascinating in some areas, and at the same time, disappointing in unprepared environments. Let’s set an example: we can ask for and obtain, nearly instantly, a 3000€ loan by solely using our mobile phone, but we can’t pay a small amount at the bakery or have a 1.20€ coffee, but have to search for coins within our pocket.

When talking of payment methods, mobile technologies are sufficiently mature to substitute any payment modality in a feasible and secure way. Historical payment terminals, which imply duplicated costs, constant maintenance and associated problems have stopped representing an aid to payment and have begun to be a problem in sales.

Orain is born to change this paradigm. A transversal platform from which we can make small or big purchases in any selling point, which allows to extend payments or micropayments to all elements around us only through a Smartphone, revitalizing any type of business. Orain has a system adjusted to the times we’re living in. It offers a witty and intuitive interaction with any machine without it being connected to a network, adding multiple services for the user and digital marketing tools for the business owner.

Intelligence, interaction, innovation, benefits’ maximization… concepts that don’t need a big investment in order to be applied to a business. Let’s bring out the opportunities that a connected world is offering us, and in which new payment methods and the client-business relationship needs no more intermediaries. Welcome to Orain.

No business oriented to the big public can still be distracted from this: it is a new payment method and interaction tool that puts us all, small and big, at the same starting point.

Orain Technologies is a CVC Spin Off. Visit their website here: http://www.oraintechnologies.com/

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