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Global security firm Horus Security Consultancy partners with Essex on AI project

  • Date

    Tue 30 Nov 21

Horus Security Consultancy has successfully applied to partner with the University of Essex on a ground-breaking Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) worth over £200,000, which will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to deliver safety and security advice to clients around the world.

With the support of Essex, the leading global security consultancy has successfully won funding for the KTP from Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency which is part of UK Research and Innovation. The project with Horus will see the security firm working with the University for up to two and a half years.

The Essex KTP programme is part of a UK-wide initiative that helps businesses innovate by linking them with an academic or research organisation to inject new skills and thinking into their services or products.

Horus, based in Oxford, will work with the University’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (CSEE) to build pioneering capabilities in two forms of AI – Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. The idea is to use these to develop an automated system capable of making real-time, dynamic recommendations to Horus clients based on hundreds of sources of data.

Horus, which provides security analysis and intelligence, specialist investigations, and travel security to clients operating in a range of sectors around the world, believes the project with Essex will be highly innovative and break new ground in the security sector.

This will be the first time AI has been used in this way, according to Horus, who plan to use it to provide information for the company’s ‘Horus-i’ travel app, which delivers safety and security support to travellers all over the world by sending them alerts and other information. The development of the app is particularly important as Horus is expecting the travel sector to return strongly following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Horus Chief Technology Officer and lead on the project, Richard Kirkby, said: “This is a very exciting development for our team and for the wider company. Developing machine learning capability at Horus will have long-term benefits as the capability will be deployed within other products and services beyond the Knowledge Transfer Partnership. I very much look forward to working with Essex to deliver transformational results in the sector”.

Robert Walker, Head of Business Engagement at the University of Essex, said: “Information retrieval and applications of AI within the intelligence and security space offer Essex researchers access to incredibly unique and niche datasets which would otherwise be unobtainable. As a result, the latest methods in these research domains can be applied to ‘real world’ data to develop automated commercial solutions which benefit both the economy and wider society. I look forward to seeing how this exciting partnership develops.”

Dr Shoaib Jameel, Academic Supervisor on the project and Lecturer in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, at the University of Essex, said: “In this project, we will develop novel state-of-the-art machine learning methods to perform predictive analysis on very short pieces of text with very little human intervention. The key challenge lies in modelling this kind of data on a much larger scale, using incoming streams of unstructured text.”

Jonathan Whiteley, Horus Founder and CEO, said: “The University of Essex has an exceptional track record in working with industry in these areas of technology and we anticipate that this will be the start of a very fruitful partnership. It will be vital for us to maintain links with academia beyond this partnership to ensure our investment in technology remains leading edge within our sector.”

If you are looking to develop a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, or any other kind of funded collaboration with Essex contact the Business Engagement team today via business@essex.ac.uk or visit www.essex.ac.uk/business

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