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Joe Levy is the CEO and Co-founder of AiLert, a company focused on weapon detection using surveillance cameras and AI. He is a diverse professional with a background ranging from Oscar nominee for motion picture editing, to image processing expert at Apple and developer of the first-ever VR simulations for the military with IBM Research. AiLert has received a research grant from the European Research Council for the deployment of their AI technology for weapons detection in smart cities.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [2:43] How AI systems are changing the nature of security jobs
  • [6:09] AiLert’s commitment to data privacy
  • [16:11] The story of the Nashville shooting and how AiLert could have aided the response
  • [18:59] The Paris airport shooting in 2015 and the benefits AiLert could have brought
  • [25:06] The real-life implications of security breaches and the importance of proactive measures
  • [29:16] The pioneering moment of using AI to alert authorities during a robbery
  • [44:52] The unique challenges of developing a cutting-edge AI weapon detector
  • [48:45] A revolutionary approach to implementing AI systems in schools
  • [56:32] Why data privacy compliance is so crucial in AI development
  • [58:10] Hear about AiLert’s journey, the team’s hard work and their relentless drive

In this episode…

AI can be useful in a plethora of industries, including safety and surveillance. Joe Levy of AiLert aims to make communities safer by detecting weapons using surveillance cameras. The company, which has received a significant grant from the European Research Council, is making significant strides in the weapon detection space.

Joe delves into the operational and ethical aspects involving the use of AI in security. Taking us through the complexities of accepting AI’s role in security job spheres, he provides essential insights into the fear, acceptance, and need for AI. Asserting the essential role of human involvement in AI-generated anomalies, Joe provides insights into the changing landscape of the AI safety and security industry.

In this episode of Inspired Insider Podcast, join host Dr. Jeremy Weisz and Joe Levy, CEO and Co-founder of AiLert, in sharing the deeply personal motivations that drive the AiLert team, demonstrating their commitment to their cause. Combined with their involvement with GDPR and the AI Act, AiLert’s innovative AI technology is poised to play a significant role in the safety and security of cities worldwide.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mention(s):

Related episode(s):

Quotable Moments:

  • “I’m saying this to always give a chance to people that are really hungry.”
  • “When you have big decisions… remember where you were five years ago.”
  • “When you have those people surrounding yourself so that you can start to succeed, you’re unstoppable.”
  • “When you install an artificial intelligence, it needs to be extremely precise.”
  • “We need your help to make our communities and our schools safer.”

Sponsor for this episode

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We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work.

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We make distribution easy. We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.

Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPOEOLending TreeFreshdesk, and many more.

The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.

Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:01

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.

Jeremy Weisz 0:22

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, Founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different. Joe Levy of AiLert that is Joe before I formally introduce you, I always like to point out other episodes people should check out of the podcast and this is part of the Top Leaders Series, the Top Israeli Leaders Series, and some of the other ones in that realm. I had Rabbi Mois Navone of Mobileye, one of the founding engineers there, Uriah Dhoni was in Jerusalem Venture Partners for many years, Yossi Vardi, John Medved, bring miner, you know, people over bring Joe and many more ways to vote actually told the story of Mobileye. And, you know, if you don’t know the story of Mobileye, they were acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion. But what struck me in the conversation was, you know, the sacrifice.

You know, at one point, he had to go back to his wife and kids and tell them, Listen, we are pulling you out of all extracurricular activities, there’s no more eating out, because there’s ups and downs with startups. And it’s not always up when we don’t always see the challenges behind the scenes. So it was just amazing to hear more, we shared the story, that many more on and this episode is brought to you by Rise25, at Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their Dream 100 relationships, how do we do that? We actually help you on your podcast or an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast. We do strategy, accountability in the full execution. You know, Joe, we call ourselves the magic elves that run in the background and make sure it looks easy for the host and the company.

You know, for me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking for ways to give to my best relationships. And I found no better way over the past decade to profile the people and companies I most admire on this planet and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you have questions, you can go to To learn more, and you can email us at [email protected]. And without further ado, I’m excited to introduce Joe Levy. Talking about inspiring this company will inspire you. He went from being an Oscar nominee for motion picture editing, to working at Apple as an image processing expert to help him make the first ever VR simulations for the military together with IBM Research. Now, he has turned his talents to weapon detection.

Joe Levy 2:39

Thank God.

Jeremy Weisz 2:42

Joe, you’ve done that. So AiLert which is is helping keep communities safer. How are they doing that? You know, there’s a rise in mass shootings, school shootings, shootings, whatever. It could be a jewelry store, it could be somewhere in the middle of town. And it can destroy lives and destroy communities. So what AiLert does is they help detect weapons using surveillance cameras and AI. They received a research grant from the European Research Council to deploy the latest AI technologies that were to detect weapons, even open spaces for smart cities. Joe, Thanks for joining me.

Joe Levy 3:18

Thank you for having me. Really glad. Thrilled to be here. Jeremy. Should I call you Dr. Jeremy?

Jeremy Weisz 3:28

You say it so nicely. But Jeremy is good. Just talk about you. I mentioned the European Research Council and the grant. Just gonna start off yeah, just talking about AiLert. Yeah, yeah. So

Joe Levy 3:42

the grand first because it happened before AiLert. We were born out of a towel venture by the Aviv University accelerator in 2019. And this is where we got our first chance. And we had at that time, the amazing opportunity to meet with a guy called Xavier Obree from czas ventures in Zurich and France. He’s like one of the best grant writers in the world, for innovation for the EIC accelerator as a success, I think of 90% of his submissions. They accepted. And we spoke and then he told me, hop on the plane, come to Zurich, I went to Zurich, we met at Starbucks. He told me I got something for you. It’s weapon detection. Actually what you’re doing for the city of Oslo and the city of Padova? And we say yes, sure, of course. The partners we work with on this project included many universities as well as phallus defense, which is a large and Prime Minister defense company in Europe.

And we were able to deploy Samsung, the name of our weapon detector. There you go. See some images that’s in Oslo that’s in Italy, wine Oslo, they had a crazy guy dressed up as a fake cop. One day, he decided to blow up a building in the center of Oslo then went on a shooting spree kidding 67 Kids, two teachers, two policemen, policemen and wandering 200 people. And that was enough in Europe for them to say we need weapon detection. And so project impetus really allowed us to work with the big boys. And when you do AI, and video security, you’re changing three things. This, put the AI in the tech on the side for a sec, you have operations, and you have ethics. So on the operation side, it’s the same thing. You know, if you got a guy working at an alarm center for let’s say, 20 years, right? And one day, you got some AI’s chiming in, the guy is going to be pretty scared and pissed. So this is what we learned with impetus like to really work with the cops,

Jeremy Weisz 6:05

It challenges job security, or the exam.

Joe Levy 6:09

Well, they’re afraid of losing their job, which is absolutely not that they don’t have the time to watch all of the streams of the security cameras. And so it allowed us to really dig deep fried us in, why can I say like, the cord of the big boys. And after that we really properly launched, we branded the company as AiLert. And there you go scene edit, that’s when we started on the bottom left, while the logos are changing right there. But those are the partners that you see. And after that we’ve managed to raise our first few $100,000, then another million dollars last year. And what AiLert does today, it’s artificial intelligence. It’s a SAS that sits on the edge, we connect your security cameras. And if someone pulls out and he’s engaged with a gun, then we send a JPEG.

We send a video file and the GPS coordinates of the anomaly. We’re super keen about data privacy. In Europe, data privacy is backed by GDPR. And also the AI Act which is stealing legislation. Now, there’s something happening right now in Europe with the AI act. If you have an AI company, there you go. Some images of Oslo right there. If you have an AI company, it doesn’t matter what you do. Security med tech FinTech, if your AI generates an anomaly or an alert, it has to be validated by a human. That’s number one. Now, if you do too many false alerts, you’re out. If you do too many false negatives, like you don’t detect the anomaly, you’re also out.

So there’s a huge cleanup happening right now in Europe with that, which is great for us, which forced us to be the best at what we can do and why we’re the best. We have passion. My former boss, Mr. Edmund J. Safar, the banker, I was working for his security team II got murdered in his panic room in Monaco. Li Iran or head of AI II was in the synagogue a few kilometers away from here, where there was a stabbing attack a few years ago. Some are 3d Guys, one guy here, this dad shot to death in front of him when he was good to everyone is related to this murder thing. And shooting things. In our company. That’s our team.

If you go up, you have Nimrod who was one of my best buddies. He’s the first believer. He is like a machine. The mod is a senior partner and one of the best law firms in Israel, CEO at Consilien, airy, one of the top five in Israel. Just three weeks ago, he told me I would just close the deal for $200 million, you know, for an investment. And so he’s really out there in the trenches with me on the right, it’s scaring Levy, that’s my wife. She’s on our board, and she is also an initial founder of the company. But it tends to be such a man’s world that she’s like, You guys do your thing. And I’m just going to be here when you need me. Now, of course, Adam, I’ve known Adam for 12 years from Wistia.

Jeremy Weisz 9:48

So how’d you meet Adam? So Adam, you know, that’s originally actually how we met, which is I’ve been a big fan of Wistia for many, many years, and I knew Adam from the Wistia days and I had the founder, one of the founders of Wistia on The podcasts a long time ago.

Joe Levy 10:01

We met Adam like, I was using this. Yeah, I thought he was so cool. So nice. I just pinged him on LinkedIn. And since then it’s been 12 years, so we became friends and he saw us grow from nothing to dream to wherever we are today, with paying customers. And I asked him, Adam, would you like to join Salesforce, I’d love to join. And the rest is some of our team Leon is on our big AI guy and bottom left. And I want to say one thing, you know, a lot of people, so you need the top AI guy, and you need like the PhD guys. And that’s all bullshit for me. Because when neon started, he was just a web designer. And he was so hungry, and so thirsty to learn AI. So I took the best AI guy from Motorola. And he taught him everything like Obi Wan. And now only Iranians have become Jedi. And in Israel, a lot of top AI guys, they tell us he’s one of the best at what he does.

So we’re very fortunate. And I’m saying this to always give a chance to people that are really hungry. It’s much, much better than hiring people that have this knowledge and giving you a crap attitude. You see, this interview is going a little bit in the way that I want to say the truth tonight, I want to be honest. I’m not going to talk about it’s all sunshine and rainbows. At tailored, it’s a startup, we had to fight very hard in Israel for what we do. Haven’t done the military in Israel. Originally, I’m Swiss, but I paid my duties. You know, I was beaten up when I was nine years old by an old Maxi in Switzerland, because my name was Levy and it sold around nine. So I had my share of being a Jew, you know what it means. And so today, we’re very fortunate to have launched AiLert or a weapon detector.

Jeremy Weisz 12:10

Talk about some of the features, Joe, because you mentioned, you know, a couple of things there I think are important to highlight that it gives certain features. And you know, I watched a couple of videos on your product and online. And if you look at the school shootings, you know, sometimes the law enforcement doesn’t know what they’re walking into.

Joe Levy 12:39

Right. And so talk about some of the features of what’s in AiLert, that actually helps the features are pretty you’re not able to share my screen, I’m gonna be sharing like a short video of actually just shooting you see how we detect guns. So I’m just gonna share like, the whole screen, just have a look. It’s like 30 seconds.

So if I play just one or two things back right here, that’s a gun being detected in a smart city. That’s an amazing feature. You see, you get that if you part of the law enforcement team, you get a little clip like this, that provides you the biometric data, what kind of weapon is carried, and who’s being threatened so that when you’re cold, and you’re being as a responder, you’re being deployed. If the guy has a little value, like you know, I’m going with my buddy, it’s okay. But if the guy doesn’t have a gun, but he has an assault rifle like you see here, you’re not going to go there and respond alone. So what we provide the unique feature we provide is instant situational awareness, and it’s blazing fast. Another thing that we’ve played with that was the last shooting in Nashville a few months ago, we got our hands on the footage, we processed it, and right away we were able to detect the rifle.

And when we process that what happens is, if I may show it right there. You get the alert. And then I could go on my phone, let’s say if I’m the first responder There you go. I’m a First Responder and I get all the pertinent data regarding the shooting. I get the GPS data, I get the JPEG like right here. And the other very cool thing that we have. We provide our responders where it’s happening using Google Street View. Even had the timer since the alert. So when you implement that, add an alarm center that changes the operation. It used to be in Oslo, when they had the shooting that happened in 2011. People would call the police and say I heard shooting right there. Take the Uvalde. Shooting. When they happened, people were calling the cops using a phone. The closest police station is located 1.4 miles away from the school.

And the shooter was walking outside the school for about three minutes, seen by the cameras carrying an assault rifle entering the school, seen by the camera wandering around the hallway, going inside a classroom. And he emptied his magazine for about a minute. When the first responders arrived on site, they heard yeah, there’s a shooting. Let’s go. So they entered but they were outgunned. They had their nine millimeters gun. And then they heard my Papa Papa Papa from the AR 15. And they had to come back and take 374 policemen to neutralize this guy. Because they didn’t have what we provide instant situational awareness. Which leads me to a little thing I’d like to share, to show you pretty much what this whole story is about for us. I just want to take you back for a few minutes to three minutes to an extreme event. The place is Paris airport. And the date was March 17 2015. A man as you can see on this security camera had stolen the gun from a security agent.

And after a struggle of 3040 seconds. The shooter was neutralized and shot. And that’s it. However, when you shoot inside the terminal out of an airport, they become super loud. And he created a lot of echo. And people started to panic. And that panic effect quickly spread out throughout the entire airport. As you can see on the tarmac here are people running because they saw people running. And at the alarm center, the control center which is located a few miles away from the airport, they started to see people running on all of their screens, and the head of security entered them to see what’s going on at Paris airport. And at that moment any human has that they develop this, their brain triggers this physical emotion of fight or flight. And he created what we call tunnel vision. And he makes it even harder for the security video engineer to scan through all the screens. What happened was complete chaos. People even left the airports using open freeways.

And it was a huge embarrassment for the airport management of Paris. To the eyes of the French people. They had lost their prestige. Now, it also cost them $150 million. The closure of an airport of this size, the economic impact is $300 million for each 24 hours. And those are old numbers. So that number went up. Now, if they had used Samsung, our weapon detector, in an instant they would have been able to detect the alert and have their security team contain the anomaly at the airport. So using security cameras, we provide real time alerts Through AI for gun detection and firearm detection. In a nutshell, this is what we do. And we’re very proud to have our r&d in Israel and our headquarter in the US.

Jeremy Weisz 20:11

Thanks for sharing that. And I want to get into r&d, right? Yes. But you know, if anyone’s listening, you know, someone’s listening, they’re thinking, Okay, who do we have to talk to? Who should we get this in their hands today? And I know, I mean, when you were talking about the pricing, it varies across organizations, but you can kind of give a ballpark of what we’re talking about a little bit.

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