LIBERTY HILL, Texas – A video of a gunman being captured was shown during a demonstration that took place on Wednesday near Florence. The man was captured after an artificial intelligence computer system identified him as a threat.
The demonstration was hosted by Sparkcognition, an Austin technology company. Marketing Director Steven Gold led a discussion at the company’s test facility near Florence for a group of school administrators and security analysts.
“I don’t think there’s a single silver bullet, but I think this is one of the key instruments in the toolbox,” Gold said.
The artificial intelligence system integrates with existing school security cameras. It learns to recognize different vehicles arriving at the campus. It can identify students and staff. Alerts are sent for disturbances, people in distress, and when doors are left open. It can also recognize weapons, all in real time.
“What’s changed now, this paradigm shift, is being able to act in the moment with that data in hand, and knowing what to do with it,” Gold said.
During the demonstration, the system tracked a man with a suspicious bag walking into a building. When the computer determined he had a weapon it triggered an alarm. But Gold pointed out that it can do more than that.
“So if you have access control to all the doors, they can be locked at the same time, electronically, the AI can actually go ahead and trigger that without waiting for the human to press a button,” Gold said.
Travis Motal, Director of Secondary Education at Liberty Hill ISD, was a featured speaker at the demonstration
“Our Superintendent challenged us, after Uvalde happened in May, what we do for school safety,” Motal said.
FOX 7 was told Liberty Hill ISD recently spent about $3 million on several security upgrades. That includes being the first in Texas to purchase the AI system.
“It’s one of those futuristic things where when they first brought it to you, wow, AI can really do this,” Motal said.
All schools in Liberty Hill ISD should be online with AI by February.
“I can’t have someone at every location, every time watching everything. I can’t have someone watching every video camera, constantly 24 hours a day. This complements all the other things we have,” said Motal.
This smart Computer System comes with its own air force. These are storage containers and launch pads for drones. They are placed around the campuses. The drones fly preset flight plans and transmit live video images. School districts pay a monthly fee for this system.
“For a standard security package, you start at about $5,000 a month,” Gold said.
Larger school districts can expect to pay 3 to 5 times more. Setup and training can take less than a month.