TechRound Q&A with Peter Evans

By Dana Leigh

Tell us about Patriot One

Patriot One Technologies Inc. was founded in October 2016 with research partner McMaster University, a well-respected Canadian centre for radar technology research.

Our initial goal was to commercialise McMaster University’s research into a single threat detection product – the PATSCAN RADAR sensor solution – a system to detect weapons such as concealed guns and knives by utilising a unique approach to microwave radar technology coupled with custom machine learning/AI software.

Market testing of the research work determined a definitive market interest and need.   However, the complexity of the solution required a shift in approach and technology.   We developed a highly effective and high-performing AI platform that can correlate inputs from multiple data sources, through multiple machine-learning engines to provide actionable intelligence in a number of applications. In developing this weapons detection solution, we had a significant collateral benefit with the development of an innovative AI platform, while also delivering the technical outcomes expected for the original business plan.

When the pandemic accelerated, we expanded our ‘threat detection’ mandate and leveraged our AI platform to build an integrated solution to identify COVID risks. Building on Patriot One’s existing systems, the new video object recognition modules can detect elevated body temperatures, facial mask, and social distancing compliance. This can be done in a non-intrusive manner, with a high detection rate and a low false-positive rate, allowing the business to re-establish trust for their customers.

Our superior and advanced technology instantly identifies concealed weapons, related threats such as theft and vandalism, disturbances, or potential health and safety threats for immediate security response via actionable intelligence.

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

The company was founded four years ago with an objective to productize and bring to market innovation from McMaster University. What first attracted me to the company was the ability to provide a scalable, and much-needed solution to a growing problem in society, that of threats from weapons. What most excites me is the AI platform that can address this specific need and provide a foundation to address a number of market needs for security and non-security applications.  

While Patriot One’s founding mission is to deliver innovative threat detection and counter-terrorism solutions for safer communities, our future will expand beyond that original concept. Since its launch, and with the support of leading employees, shareholders and security integration partners, we have assembled a variety of technologies and specialised components to create this layered, multi-sensor approach to threat detection. We have since offered a growing number of solutions and components to deliver the most secure access control environment available; from car parks to building interiors, wherever people and communities gather.

What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

If there was one key piece of advice it would be “Focus. Focus. Focus”. There are a number of great books written about this, most notably Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm” books. Too often start-up tech companies begin with tech innovation and then seek to find the right market need. In this search, too many markets, segments, and applications are explored.

Entrepreneurs need to start by first determining the market-product fit first, before development starts, and then stay focused on delivering that solution before moving into adjacent markets. Each market has unique needs and feature requirements. Trying to pursue too many in the early stages of a business can unnecessarily drain resources and deliver a mediocre product that under-serves the many diverse markets.

What can we hope to see from Patriot One in the future?

COVID has unfortunately delayed deployments of our first core solutions design for weapon detection. Typically, these solutions are deployed where people gather, and COVID has curbed those gatherings.   

However, the customers we have been working with have expressed continued interest to deploy as we see markets and facilities re-open. It is a well-known data point that with the economic downturn, social unrest and crime increases, and therefore the need for our solutions will grow. We are continuing our work with entertainment facilities, stadiums, commercial properties, school systems and other opportunities.  

As well as this, we’ll continue to work to develop and deploy a broader set of solutions based on adapting our platform to detect wider threats. We’ve already had great success with this, with the deployment of our newest Health & Safety solution modules.  

By leveraging AI/ML and computer vision technology, we will address market opportunities in adjacent market segments and applications.