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The Newcastle-based Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) firm Ocucon has appointed Northumbria University PhD student, Tom Lawrence. Ocucon offers cloud-based storage and retrieval, combining intelligent data analytics with the facility to store, analyse and retrieve unlimited amounts of HD video surveillance footage from within the Ocucon portal.

Tom will help support the further development of Ocucon’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning – specifically looking at potential new uses for AI in tackling fraudulent claims for slips, trips and falls, which in the US, are estimated to cost $70 billion a year.

Tom joins on a research project funded by ERDF, worth over £130,000 over three years. He recently achieved a first-class degree in Computer Science from Northumbria.

Tom, pictured, said: “My appointment by Ocucon represents a fantastic opportunity to be on the very cutting edge of new technological developments, such as computer vision. Ocucon’s services are breaking new ground, both in AI and machine learning and I’m looking forward to helping to develop the product further in order to enable the company to reach new markets.”

The firm launched Ocucon Pixelate recently. Developed with Google, the new product harnesses AI and machine learning to deliver a video redaction tool that can be used with all forms of camera footage.

Gary Trotter, co-founder of Ocucon said: “For technology start-ups like us, finding and fostering talent is hugely important. Tom recently achieved a First-class degree in Computer Science, primarily focused on machine learning and, having someone of his calibre come into the team to help develop our product offering makes a great addition to our already strong development team. But it’s not just fantastic for us as a business – as proud Northerners, we think it’s vital to foster talent in the region too.”

Associate Professor (Reader) and PhD supervisor, Li Zhang from Northumbria University added: “Partnerships with technology start-ups in the region such as Ocucon are integral to the work of Northumbria University and the development of our students. The North East already possesses a strong technology sector, and partnerships like this allow us to increase the talent pool available whilst giving students like Tom a challenge away from the lecture theatre.”


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