Amazon releases Panorama hardware and software that can analyze CCTV with AI

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Amazon has released a device that allows companies to analyze normal camera images with AI. The AWS Panorama Appliance and Service includes hardware that can be connected to existing cameras and is aimed at industrial use.

The Panorama Appliance and Panorama Service are part of Amazon Web Services and can also be integrated into that service, Amazon writes. The service was already available in beta, but is now generally available. The package consists of both hardware and software. The device itself has USB and HDMI connections, has two Ethernet ports and is half a rack unit in size. In addition, there is a web interface with which companies can directly load and view their existing camera feeds. Companies can also transfer the camera images to their own equipment via MQTT.

The service can be linked to SageMaker, AWS’ software to create your own machine learning models. In this way, Panorama Appliance users can analyze video feeds and build their own ML model around them. This can be, for example, your own model to analyze foot traffic in a factory or the way in which containers are transported in a port.

Privacy advocates fear the tool could be used to spy on employees. That criticism has been going on since Amazon first presented the tools and software last year. Amazon itself provides examples in its marketing materials of how Panorama can be used to monitor individual employee productivity. Even then, experts warned about the negative effects on employees.