‘A Look in the Labs’ is an Information Age series profiling the high-growth startups based in our labs – what they do, their ambitions, and the advantages they’ve gained being based at the ACS Innovation Labs.
This week, we speak with Hanno Blankenstein, CEO of Unleash Live.
Business Unleash Live
CEO Hanno Blankenstein
Based at Harbour City Labs, Sydney
What does your business/product do and how does it help people/other businesses?
Unleash live is an AI video analytics enterprise solution provider. We take vision from any camera and combine it with computer vision to deliver actionable data in real-time.
We help other businesses by providing them with immediate insights to drive down costs, improve productivity, increase accuracy, and improve safety. For example, a sector that we help a lot is government and city councils.
We have a wide range of AI apps built for cities and districts to gain insights that otherwise are challenging and expensive to gather on a near-real-time basis including, curbside monitoring, micro mobility transport monitoring, social distance monitoring, commuter monitoring, public transport utilisation, congestion, parking and incident monitoring/reporting, construction planning, and safety operational maintenance.
Data is extracted from the camera scenes and shared back to the city for analysis and action.
How did the idea for your business come about?
My co-founder, Jason and I started this journey some 5 years ago. He came from a sports coaching background where you are constantly conducting visual inspections, monitoring performance.
Capturing this data in a structured way for analysis proved incredibly time-consuming and challenging.
I, on the other hand, am an aviation and robotics buff, and spent many years working with companies such as BMW and Toyota in Silicon Valley solving problems around autonomous driving, very much experiencing the power of visual data first hand.
Together, we felt that the future of visual inspections will be automated, and visual sensors – such as thermal, HD video and drones – will provide structured data and analysis in real time, whether it’s a coach on a rugby field, drones conducting inspections on mine sites, or CCTV cameras on rail platforms.
Inherently, they all have the same ingredients: there is a visual capture device, there is some form of powerful processing, and then there is data extraction and visualisation with action required as a result of the insights generated.
And so, we built Unleash Live, a video analytics platform built to ingest live video from any camera, and provide users the ability to collaborate over live video, for AI to conduct analysis on the live video, and to connect into enterprise data workflows.
Was being an entrepreneur always one of your life’s goals and what have you learned about being an entrepreneur?
The startup, scaleup and tech space moves at lightning speed.
During these times of constant change, the team is everything.
Finding the best people to build an awesome business is challenging and takes time and patience.
This includes permanent employees and also advisors, mentors with relevant experience as well as support with business development.
In my experience, coming up with loads of ideas is the easy bit, the real challenge is being persistent and agile during the strategic executions.
Additionally, I have learned that completing endless administrative tasks in the early days is crucial to keep things moving.
What has been the biggest challenge and the biggest milestone for your business so far?
The advent of COVID pandemic and how we quickly adjusted our data analytics focus to include transport agencies and cities to assist during a time of crisis has been our biggest challenge.
As a result, Unleash Live emerged stronger and with fantastic stories to tell about how we helped communities stay in control of the pandemic, obtaining real-time safety and operational data to enable a confident and fast response to uncertainty.
Where would you like your business to be in two years?
Working in partnership with leading Australian and US Enterprises to deploy AI across their business operations.
We’re always striving for the highest ethical standards in doing so and always lead the discussion on what is possible for safer, and more insightful business outcomes.
What is the best business or life advice you’ve ever been given?
“Feel empowered to shape the principles of how humans live together in the future, which I learned when working with Prof Klaus Schwab at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
What made you decide to move into the ACS Innovation Labs and how has it assisted your business?
We moved into the ACS Innovation Labs because it’s a great place to build a product, as well as to collaborate and connect with like-minded people.
Additionally, I really like how ACS sets the agenda with the federal government on important topics such as digitisation and AI ethics.
For more information on the ACS Innovation Labs, visit the websites of Harbour City Labs in Sydney, River City Labs in Brisbane, and Bay City Labs in Melbourne. If you're interested in joining successful Australian businesses in the ACS Innovation Labs, email firstname.lastname@example.org