surveillance camera (Vasin Lee/Shutterstock.com)

Cameras monitor masks, social distancing in Peachtree Corners’ city hall

Peachtree Corners, Ga., is using artificial intelligence-powered surveillance camera technology at city hall to monitor for people not wearing masks or observing social distancing protocols.

The technology from Cawamo enables existing cameras to detect people’s positions and whether they’re wearing masks, and then alert city personnel through a web-based dashboard to those violating the guidelines -- without identifying them.

The video analysis solution combines AI with synchronized edge and cloud computing technology. The edge unit is installed on-site and runs the AI-based detection software, which synchronizes with the Cawamo cloud neural AI network. It can be installed on any camera and generates high-quality alerts with very few false positives, the company said.

The technology will be installed on two cameras in the lobby of city hall -- at no cost to the city --  to test its ability to detect people entering the building not wearing a mask and those standing too close to one another. Alerts sent to a dashboard will only be used to validate “whether the technology is accurately identifying the social distancing and mask wearing protocols it was designed to identify,” city officials said in a statement. Officials said they have no plans to deploy the solution outside city hall.

“We believe this technology will help us maintain important public safety protocols as we work to slow the spread of the virus,” said Brandon Branham, Peachtree Corners’ CTO and assistant city manager. “Allowing us to instantly convert existing cameras into smart cameras also shows promise for wider deployment across the city, in addition to within workplaces in the near future.”

Peachtree Corners, located in suburban Atlanta, is home to the Curiosity Lab, an economic development initiative that features real-world connected infrastructure that government and industry can use to test smart city technologies.

The city deployed the world’s first fleet of teleoperated e-scooters and runs a fully autonomous shuttle for residents. The Ray, an 18-mile stretch of I-85 in southwest Georgia dedicated to smart highway solutions, worked with the city to build 1.5-mile autonomous vehicle test track that features a 52-foot long strip made of thin, skid-resistant solar panels that generates clean energy from the sun when not obscured by cars, and feeds that energy into the grid.

In 2020, Peachtree Corners took advantage of Georgia Power’s no-cost offer to install SiteView, a high-definition solar-powered camera and license plate reader system, which was mounted on outdoor lighting poles at strategic entry points to the city. The equipment is owned, installed and maintained by Georgia Power with no upfront cost to the city, and the video is provided directly to the city’s on-site video recorder or third-party cloud-based storage.

Cawamo is offering municipalities the free COVID-19 monitoring service with purchase of onsite equipment.

“As the first cloud-edge video analytics company to develop mask and social distancing detection technology that connects with any existing security camera, we are thrilled to be helping the City of Peachtree Corners keep its citizens safe using the already-installed security cameras around the city,” Cawamo CEO David Yakov said.

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA and MA from West Chester University and did Ph.D. work in English at the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at [email protected] or @sjaymiller.

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