Mount Royal University first anywhere in Canada to adopt iCetana black screen, artificial intelligence security monitoring

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(Calgary) —Mount Royal University’s network of security cameras has been replaced with high-resolution cameras integrated with artificial intelligence technology that makes it easier to see problems in real time and better protect students, faculty, staff and visitors.

The iCetana technology is also known as black screen monitoring and Mount Royal is the first to adopt it anywhere in Canada. Using artificial intelligence (AI), the system ‘learns’ the normal movement patterns of people, equipment and vehicles across campus. It learns and recognizes shapes, sizes and movement – not people or specific objects.

“Study after study shows that a single operator can basically only look at two cameras,” says Peter Davison, director of Security Services at MRU. “Now, the dispatcher sitting at the console is no longer looking at 300 images at a time. This has allowed them to concentrate on just the certain things that pop up.”

The system learns what’s normal when students are on campus and when they’re not, weekday versus weekend, day and night. When it detects an anomaly it switches immediately from a black screen to a live feed of the situation for the dispatcher to see.

New, high-resolution, 360-degree cameras that have been installed across campus catch details the old cameras would have missed, in high resolution and for a much greater range. It’s impossible now for someone to come onto campus without at some point entering the view of at least one of the cameras.

The system doesn’t actually monitor people, notes Grant Sommerfeld, associate vice-president of Facilities Management. “It converts all of us into pixels. In a hallway, for example, there’s a group of pixels always in motion. Suddenly if there’s a group of pixels that doesn’t move, the system notices.”

iCetana learns and recognizes shapes, sizes and movement — not people or specific objects. If an active assailant walked down Main Street with a weapon, for example, the system would immediately notice the sudden, hurried movement of all the people around that person.

Developed in Australia, the iCetana system is popular in the U.S., but Mount Royal is the first organization in Canada to use it — and others are taking interest. Several large organizations in Calgary are coming to campus to see it in action.

The new system was partially funded as a capital project through the provincial government’s Infrastructure Maintenance Program. Read more about the new security system here.

For further information, and to arrange interviews and video/photos opportunities, please contact:

Peter Glenn, Senior Media Relations Officer

Mount Royal University

Media cell: 403.463.6930


About Mount Royal

Mount Royal University is one of Canada’s top destinations for undergraduate studies. It offers small class sizes and personalized student services within a scholarly community renowned for academic excellence and a focus on teaching and learning. Founded in 1910, Mount Royal remains dedicated to the success of its students. Today, over 14,000 students choose from 12 bachelor degrees and 33 majors. More than 100,000 Mount Royal alumni are contributing to their communities worldwide.