Regent Power, LLC
Laura Jones, MS, MLA - Washington University
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President and CEO, Regent Power, LLC
An interview with Laura Jones, President & CEO, Regent Power, LLC
Our in-depth interview with Smart Energy Leader LAURA JONES, strategic visionary and Founder & CEO of Regent Power, LLC, highlights how an innovative company can contribute to sustainability, crime reduction, and improved quality of life through Smart City solutions. Regent integrates crime prevention, renewable energy storage, and other Smart City components across various products. Executive Global gained an exclusive look at Regent’s work, spearheading safer cities, renewable energy, and electrifying technologies. We get the latest on technologies being combined to power governments, institutions, and businesses.
Laura Jones CV
2015 Regent Power, LLC, Founder & CEO
2011 Global Marketing & Strategic Sales Director, Sovema Global
2005 Sales & Marketing Director, Bitrode Corporation - Turn-around situation and sale to Sovema S.p.A., Italy
2004 Chapter Chair, Women Presidents’ Organisation
2001 President, ECHO Media, LLC
1998 Defiance Innovations, President & CEO - My PhD. in Turnaround M&A, and .com boom failure
1997 TEC (now Vistage) & Women Presidents’ Organization member
Smart Energy Leader
EG: What are the challenges associated with building an effective, self-powered mobile gunshot detection system that works well in any environment?
Laura Jones: Educating clients and the public about the solutions we provide is the most challenging point. Our engineers determine the best-of-class technologies, and then we integrate them into one solution. Some of the concerns we have encountered are residents afraid of having conversations recorded, or that we might use facial recognition, or that being in one of our “hot spot” zones may decrease their home values and others that welcome the additional sense of safety. The fact is smartphones are more invasive than our systems, and they are at a height that most would not even notice their presence. We provide the police with reliable, immediate real-time gunshot location and HD camera footage of the crime area (when HD cameras are utilised as a part of an overall system).
EG: What are some ways Regent Power implements gunshot prevention
technology that stands out from competitors in this field?
LJ: We look at gunshot detection from a strategic and scalable Smart City approach. Smart City solutions incorporate various innovations in IoT (better known as the Internet of Things) into a network of physical objects (lights, cameras, sensors, software, and controls) to connect a more extensive infrastructure, which improves the synchronicity of life. Intelligent traffic lights communicating with traffic monitoring data, controllable streetlights that can react to real-time situations (such as Amber Alerts, accidents, gunshot detection, etc.). Our systems Artificial Intelligence rests on the system “Edge AI” for real-time alerts of gunshot activity.
We tailor our installations to meet the needs of our clients, whether it be a police department, city, or corporate installation. They all have requirements and nuances that are different. Because we are a Smart City integrator, we take all clients’ concerns and wishes into consideration. Most gunshot detection clients want us to incorporate camera surveillance and license plate recognition into their solution. Others may want to upgrade old streetlights to energy-efficient LED Smart City lights with controls that give police and stakeholders the ability to brighten the lights around an entire area when events occur. One client wanted to brighten lights at the closing time of bars, which, statistically, is the time of day when crime seems to increase and peak. Our largest competitor has a dated “legacy technology” with a one-size-fits-all solution determined by a human interface (which takes precious time and threatens objectivity) with notoriously high false-positive rates. False positives cost first responders time and money. We have real-time alerts that are ~97% accurate
vs. others that are lucky to get 80% accuracy.
EG: An Active Shooter Technology played a part in improving safety in local communities?
LJ: Our solutions with camera surveillance and license plate recognition are solving crimes and providing hard evidence. Often, law enforcement officers are searching for ever-evolving technologies to combat crime. License Plate Recognition (LPR) offers real-time alerts for license plates of interest. Car-jackings, stolen vehicles, suspects of criminal or terrorist activities, persons with outstanding warrants for arrest, or any number of factors will benefit from LPR. These systems capture the vehicle’s license plate image, convert, compare them to various databases, and send the police an alert within seconds, with camera footage, GPS, and vehicle direction.
EG: Can there be a downside? How would you mitigate against risks
associated with increased surveillance?
LJ: There are always potential downsides to new technology. First and foremost is data security. Cybersecurity and cyber threats are the biggest threats to Smart Cities and IoT. Indeed, the police must effectively manage and strictly monitor the information gathered to prevent security breaches. V5 Systems products have integrated proprietary V5 encryption for data storage and communication, which uses 2K RSA keys (2048 bits) with overall encryption using AES 256 (256-bit keys). In addition, the UI access is protected by SSL encryption.
We work with our clients to plan, implement, and develop training programs for deployment, use, and management of information provided. Of course, the potential of community pushback from the threat of “big brother” can also hinder potential positive gains in intelligence and streamlining. This tool has many applications beyond law enforcement that a Smart City plan may adapt and incorporate. The data could, for example, be integrated to work with the department of transportation to monitor travel time, recognise and mitigate congestion, and when folded into the Smart City foundation plan, can save drivers time, fuel and reduce pollution.
Protecting Communities, Reducing Pollution
EG: Why may gunshot detection technology be particularly appealing to smaller cities?
LJ: Because they likely have very small, but targeted crime hot spots. Our main competition requires at least one “literal square” mile. We can custom tailor systems for ¼, ½, and mile increments in unusual shapes. We are also self-powered, which eliminates prohibitive trenching and electrician costs to run AC power. We are also mobile, so if the small city has a special event, fair, or show, we can quickly relocate the system. They will have a custom-tailored high precision system, that is still flexible enough to change with circumstances and crime trends.
EG: What would be the consequences if this Active Shooter Technology is not implemented and rolled out?
LJ: The increasing gunshot violence and homicide numbers speak for themselves: Depending on how you calculate it, the gun homicide rate in US cities is likely to have increased by 35 to 40 percent from 2019 to 2020, which would be the biggest single-year increase on record. This was staggering, but it wasn’t getting widespread attention outside of the communities most directly affected, predominantly people of colour, who have suffered most during Covid-19. Resources and attention are critical because we have an excellent toolbox of interventions for curbing gun violence.
Part of why action on violence prevention matters so much right now, is that even as some stressors resolve themselves, violence has self-perpetuating characteristics. Disputes between groups and individuals that escalated during Covid will not necessarily go away, even as underlying conditions slowly improve. It will take a combination of large-scale policies, like direct relief payments, along with community-based interventions, to curb the gun violence epidemic in US cities.
EG: Reducing violent crime is always going to be a benefit to society. How may individuals, corporations, and municipalities assist your vision of improving safety?
LJ: I would commend my research and engineering team (Garland and Pouya) for helping me stay on top of the latest technology and trends in cybersecurity, technology, and energy solutions. I also depend on my strategic partners, Herb Sih of Think BIG Partners and Daniel Hartman of V5 Systems (and the fantastic engineering team at V5), for their partnership and teamwork envisioning what the future holds and how we can scale and expand solutions accordingly.
EG: How did your rigorous academic and entrepreneurial training prepare you to succeed as a pioneer at the forefront of the renewable energy and technology sector?
LJ: By chance. I studied to be a Clinical & Industrial Psychologist (before Simon Sinek and Daniel pink made Industrial Psychology cool). In graduate school, when I was working with training patients, I realised that this was a job that would consume my soul. I didn’t know that my young patients would have experienced such tragic life events, I began to take on their pain. I did, however, learn how to listen to others keenly. These skills have been an enormous advantage for my career in Sales and Marketing. Sometimes my clients would call to simply chat. I also learned to be quite self-aware, which fuelled my determination to be an entrepreneur. I’m a natural risk-taker, and this has been critical to my business success. So, I suppose I used my degree, just not quite as I intended. The sales cycles are quite long, so patience has been invaluable as well.
EG: With greater innovation in artificial intelligence and machine learning, do you think that your Active Shooter Technology could revolutionise the face of law enforcement within the next
5 to 10 years?
LJ: Yes, I believe this with my heart and soul. As shootings and violence have escalated disproportionately over the last four years, it will be even more important to focus on homeland security. While solutions vary, AI coupled with surveillance cameras and license plate recognition, delivers affordable solutions that dramatically increase law enforcement intelligence.
Our AI continues to learn and perfect its understanding of the environment over time.
EG: How have you been able to remain such a resilient entrepreneur in the face of adversity?
LJ: I have always been one to thrive against all odds. My life is an exciting string of wild stories and experiences. I take action when someone says: YOU CAN’T.
For whatever reason, if I’m challenged by adversity or the attitude that I aim too high, it is like an adrenalin rush to my system. I must prove them wrong. It has served me well (there are many complex issues in the wake of this drive), but it has served me well for the most part. EG
Do what you love and hire diverse complementary team members
to tackle the rest.
Know Your “Why” and Have the End in Mind always.
Always strive to exceed clients’ expectations. Also, I am a strong proponent of Peer Advisory Boards such as the Women Presidents’ Organization and Vistage; your peers are invaluable resources for wisdom, insight, and accountability.
» Leading Innovator in Gunshot Prevention & Detection Technology (2020)
» Enterprising WOMEN,
Enterprising Woman of the Year (2019)
» Public Broadcasting System (PBS) “Smart Cities” episode (2019)
» Smart Cities Smart 50 Global Innovation Award (2018)
» CIO Top 10 Energy Storage Provider (2018)
» GM Global, Magna Global,
ATL $MM Account Sales (2009-2014)
Laura Jones is Founder & CEO of Regent Power. The company integrates best-in-class IoT solutions into smart streetlights with camera surveillance & gunshot detection, energy storage, DC microgrids and DC ultra-fast charging EV stations. Laura sits on the Board for St. Louis Regional Clean Cities as Treasurer and is a member of The Sustainable Electrified Transportation (SELECT) Research Center. For further information about Regent Power, please visit: http://www.regent-power.com