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Automated, Accurate Threat Detection at NorCal Cannabis
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Learn how NorCal Cannabis leverages computer vision intelligence to reduce the burden on staff to monitor hundreds of cameras and vastly streamline investigations
Nolan Necoechea , Director of Product and Content Marketing
In this blog, learn how NorCal Cannabis leverages computer vision intelligence to reduce the burden on staff to monitor hundreds of cameras and vastly streamline investigations.

For cannabis companies, security is a uniquely challenging undertaking. Cannabis products are light and high-value with active black markets and secondary markets, making theft an ever-present risk. At the same time, the industry is highly regulated. In California, for example, cannabis providers are required to maintain at least 90 days of storage on all security cameras – and regulators can request access to footage at any time. On top of that, state and local governments often have completely different sets of requirements.

In addition to the challenging security and regulatory environment, the sheer size of NorCal Cannabis’ operations adds to the complexity. NorCal Cannabis is one of California’s largest indoor flower producers and operates ‘seed to sale’, producing over twelve tons of finished product annually, which gets shipped to a growing network of retail locations.

In the face of this challenging environment, NorCal Cannabis seeks to run as efficiently as possible. All plants are RFID tagged, and the product is weighed – even the clippings – any time the product is moved. On top of that, NorCal Cannabis deploys hundreds of cameras across its facilities and all cameras aim for 1080p, even beyond the 740p required by the state.

Even with the investment in cameras and sensors and meticulous processes, their security operations required that security personnel constantly monitor cameras, and video analysis and forensics took “way too long,” according to Ted Ritchie, Director of Technical Operations, NorCal Cannabis.

With Ambient.ai, Ritchie and NorCal Cannabis reduced the burden on staff to monitor hundreds of cameras and vastly streamlined investigations – all without replacing their existing cameras.

Automated, Accurate Threat Detection

While having hundreds of cameras provides great visibility of NorCal Cannabis’ various facilities, those cameras required significant resources to monitor. And even with a security officer trained on a camera wall, humans are not necessarily great at that sort of continuous monitoring. According to “Buyer beware” a study by T. Ainsworth, after 12 minutes of continuous monitoring an operator may miss up to 45% of screen activity. After 22 minutes, the miss rate may even elevate to 95%.

Now with Ambient.ai, security personnel don’t need to monitor cameras. Ambient.ai automatically detects threat signatures and alerts the security team when there is an incident. As a result, the security team can focus on higher value (and more interesting) activities, including responding to threats, calling-in dispatches, and checking-in visitors. One person receiving alerts from Ambient.ai can effectively cover hundreds of cameras and do so more accurately. Ambient.ai is able to detect threats that are very difficult for someone to catch, particularly if they are watching multiple cameras.

“We were able to detect fence jumping. If you have operators and they are monitoring cameras, a fence jump is going to take 30 seconds – they are not going to catch that. The only thing that can do that is an AI system,” Ritchie said.

Ambient.ai also prioritizes alerts based on the requirements of each location. For example, a door propped open at a warehouse during the day is much less concerning than if a door is propped open in the middle of the night. Ambient.ai treats those situations differently and initiates the proper escalation path, ensuring that there is no confusion about who is responding.

Previously, investing security camera footage and conducting forensics would take hours if not days. “It would take way too long to be able to get the video out,” Ritchie said. With Ambient.ai natural language search, investigation times have been reduced to under an hour.

Improved physical security

With Ambient.ai, NorCal Cannabis has been able to maximize investments in security cameras and sensors to achieve more accurate threat detection while freeing the security team to focus on higher value activities.

To learn more, listen to the full presentation from Ted Ritchie, director of technical operations, NorCal Cannabis, at Computer Vision Intelligence 2022. And if you have questions about Ambient.ai contact us or request a demo.

Nolan Necoechea , Director of Product and Content Marketing