Wentworth Institute of Technology students Joshua Ramirez (L), SDM Senior Editor Heather Klotz-Young, and Nicholas Gelfman at the Axis Communications’ booth at 2013 ISC West in Las Vegas.


As a member of the press, there are certain expectations you have for booth visits with all the companies at a massive trade show like ISC West in Las Vegas.  1) You assume you will shake hands and catch up with industry acquaintances. 2) You assume you will exchange business cards, get press releases, and determine how to cover the company’s breaking news. 3) Above all else, you assume you will talk about products.

You do not, however, assume you will 1) shake hands and 2) exchange business cards and 3) discuss product (on track so far) with…… college students. Hold up. College students?! That’s exactly what I found myself doing at this year’s ISC West.

At the booth of Axis Communications, Chelmsford, Mass., I was introduced to Joshua Ramirez and Nicholas Gelfman, students from Boston’s Wentworth Institute of Technology accompanied by Wentworth’s associate provost and professor, Chuck Hotchkiss.

Axis had announced a collaborative educational initiative with Wentworth Institute of Technology to provide students with a yearly hands-on training program to accelerate IP video surveillance learning and software application development in the physical security industry.

To kick-off this educational initiative, Axis provided network video equipment accompanied by hands-on training for professors and students in Wentworth’s Department of Computer Science and Networking. The professors then encouraged students to design software applications they believe would solve challenges in the security industry — without any influence from Axis — as well as in other areas where network video technology is prevalent, such as telemedicine, webcasting, distance learning and retail store management.

The ultimate goal of this ongoing collaboration is to advance the future of intelligent analytic development in the video surveillance industry by expanding computer science learning at Wentworth. Specifically, Wentworth students will develop applications using the Axis Camera Application Platform (ACAP), an open platform that enables software developers to create third party applications that can be downloaded to run inside Axis IP cameras and video encoders.

Axis invited Wentworth students Nicholas Gelfman and Joshua Ramirez, with the help of Chuck Hotchkiss, to ISC West to present “Smarter Surveillance” innovations they created over the past semester using Axis’ embedded Linux environment:

  • Gelfman, a computer science major, with the guidance of Professor David Rilett, aimed to create an evolved motion detection application for Axis cameras that can improve a number of tasks, including enabling the camera to detect when an object is moving toward it in order to protect itself from vandalism and damage.
  • Ramirez, a computer information systems major who also manages Wentworth’s Internet radio station, WIRE, created a dynamic object and facial tracking application used for time logging of recognized objects. Referred to as Project Alibi, this application was inspired by the need to efficiently and securely track who enters and exits the expensive studio 24-hours a day.


That conversation was one of the most energetic, memorable moments of the entire show for me. The students were pumped, imaginative, optimistic, and ….ridiculously smart.

No one can explain this partnership and its current and anticipated effects quite like the active participants, so I asked them to each contribute a blog describing the opportunity, and their solutions, in greater detail — from each of their individual perspectives as manufacturer, professor, and student.

They took me up on the offer, and I’m happy to introduce a three-part blog series, “Axis and Wentworth Team Up — Perspectives on Innovation” including blogs contributed by:

It’s great reading. Yes, the blogs would make any college English professor proud (but only Ramirez needs to worry about it). More importantly, the new developments — aimed at solving real-world challenges — should make the security industry proud. Never assume what security equipment is limited to, and, as I learned, never assume you know exactly what is going to happen at a booth visit at ISC West.