In Your Line of Sight

Protection, prevention and automatic license plate recognition

Terrorist attacks have forever changed the way we think about security. They revealed a need for intelligence and federal agencies to work together, creating the genesis for the Department of Homeland Security. They sparked a discussion about not only defending our country, but also preventing these dangerous situations before they happen. John Chigos was one of the many people who realized that America will continue to face terrorist attacks and will only be equipped to face these challenges if serious advancements are made in security.

“As it did with so many other Americans, 9/11 destroyed my sense of the United States being shielded from violent attacks,” Chigos said. “I could no longer look at events like this around the world and say, ‘That’s just over there.’ After having witnessed the devastation of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and 9/11 in 2001, I wanted to find a way to prevent attacks like those from happening again.

“More than that, I wanted to deter everyday crime. It seemed as though I was constantly seeing news stories about a police officer dead on the side of the road following a routine traffic stop or about a missing child. I had to do something.”

One day, after having been run off the road and unable to capture the perpetrator’s license plate, Chigos had an epiphany.

“I realized that the one technology that can enhance counter-terrorism efforts, law officer safety and child protection is automatic license plate recognition, commonly known as ALPR,” Chigos said. “My vision was to start a company whose mission was to fight crime and save lives by providing the most advanced ALPR solutions in the industry.”

According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), 70 percent of serious crimes are tied to a vehicle, so Chigos knew he was headed in the right direction. He went on to found Cyclops Technologies Inc., the parent company of what would become PlateSmart. After gathering research from around the world, he made a key discovery: ALPR systems worldwide were camera-specific rather than camera-agnostic.

Under Chigos’ leadership, company software engineers developed the world’s first software-only ALPR and video analytic solution. This groundbreaking, hardware agnostic functionality distinguishes PlateSmart from all other ALPR companies. It also makes PlateSmart’s solutions the most versatile and affordable products in ALPR.

PlateSmart’s image capture and object recognition technologies are unparalleled in today’s marketplace. The company’s software can read any plate in the United States and differentiate between all state jurisdictions as well as any international plate in the world. The software also makes it easy to share aggregated data, creating better collaboration between security and law enforcement.

The signature product is Analytic Recognition Enterprise Solutions (ARES) technology. It is offered both as a fixed ALPR operation platform and as a mobile solution that can be integrated into vehicles. There also is a cloud-based, ALPR subscription for end users.

Time and time again, PlateSmart’s solutions have been the premier integration choice for video market trailblazers like Samsung and Pelco. Leading organizations such as the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) have also deployed ARES to increase security, regulate visitor entry, and generate leads for wanted or missing persons.

PlateSmart’s technology has received industrywide recognition. In 2013, Frost & Sullivan bestowed the North American Technology Innovation Award in License Plate Recognition Software Technology to PlateSmart.

“When I think about all that PlateSmart has been able to accomplish over these last few years—all the lives that have been positively impacted, all the police that feel safer and empowered to do their job, and all the criminals that have been captured because of the information that ARES has delivered—I feel extremely proud,” affirmed Chigos.

Chigos also has a vested interest in the success of the ALPR industry and has been committed to addressing the current challenges that have impeded its advancement. One of the recent issues the ALPR sector has faced is the misperception about ALPR and privacy.

Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union view ALPR as a technology that invades privacy and excessively collects civilian information through Big Brother-like surveillance.

In response to these claims, Chigos has become a leading spokesperson on the topic.

“If we want to truly and effectively address the public’s concerns and create greater trust among the people, we need to show them that the data ALPR systems gather is protected. I believe the best way to do this is to adopt a standard audit feature for all ALPR solutions across the industry,” Chigos stated.

PlateSmart continues to be on the cutting edge of video surveillance technology, exploring the integration of facial capture, audit trail, gunshotspotting technology, and many others into its solutions. Chigos’ forward thinking and passion keep PlateSmart consistently one step ahead of the curve and drive it to play an increasingly influential role in the security industry.

This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of Security Today.


Featured Cybersecurity


New Products

  • LiftMaster Garage Door Opener

    LiftMaster Garage Door Opener

    LiftMaster Transforms the Garage Door Opener Into a Sleek Smart Home Device That Does More Than Open and Close the Garage Door 3

  • QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC)

    QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC)

    The latest Qualcomm® Vision Intelligence Platform offers next-generation smart camera IoT solutions to improve safety and security across enterprises, cities and spaces. The Vision Intelligence Platform was expanded in March 2022 with the introduction of the QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC), which delivers superior artificial intelligence (AI) inferencing at the edge. 3

  • Unique Oversized ID Card Printer

    Unique Oversized ID Card Printer

    Idesco Corp. is announcing its card printer – the XCR100 2.0 printer- that allows customers to personalize oversized ID cards on demand. The printer is ideal for assisting healthcare organizations find the right badging solution. As healthcare facilities continue to combat the spread of COVID-19, issuing oversized ID cards has helped identify staff clearly while adding an extra layer of security. The XCR100 2.0 printer is the only dye-sublimation printer on the market that can personalize CR100 cards (3.88" x 2.63"). The cards that are 42% larger than the standard credit card size. The printer can produce up to 180 full cards per hour in color, and up to 1,400 cards per hour in monochrome. An optional flipper is available to print dual-sided badges in one pass. Contactless encoding comes as an option to help healthcare facilities produce secure access badges on demand and the card printer features a 2-year warranty. 3