What a Freak Believes

We believe in video. We believe video – done right – is simple, flexible and transparent. We believe video is the safest, most efficient way to manage intersections and highways while owning valuable data. My name is Bill Malkes. I am a founder and CEO of GRIDSMART®. These beliefs and the ones that follow I know to be true.

GRIDSMART is built upon values of Simplicity, Flexibility and Transparency. We work every day delivering these values to you in our product, in our support, in the way we sell, and in the way we communicate with you. Our job is to make your job easy so you can move to the next important place your smarts are needed. We believe video is a vital tool. We believe technology is only truly great when accessible to all in all ways: cost, ease of use, simplicity of maintenance and the ability to bend to your needs. We believe.

We are citizens. We want communities with the best possible products, not products forced on them. Sometimes, non-GRIDSMART answers are better. When true, please use them. You should have the best products for the job AND still use GRIDSMART solutions where they work best (we think that is in >90% of installations). The key to life and traffic is realizing it is not locked. We believe.

We strive for GRIDSMART to play well with others, with its open API being one example. We deliver flexible solutions. We want you to access the best, so we never lock down that capacity. A virtual pan-tilt-zoom DVR lives in every GRIDSMART unit. You should see how your detection and data collection products work any time you like. Simply gained knowledge and flexibility empower great decisions.

It is 2015, and I cannot comprehend why we continue to put non-renewable resources – which are known to fail – in the ground. I can’t understand starting a game with the certain knowledge of looming failure. I empathize that many choose this path because, despite the many benefits, video historically has not fulfilled the promise of being easier. I am sorry for that – and that’s why GRIDSMART was born. The major video companies work hard to achieve that promise. Every major video company gets better each year, and they do outperform underground products.


I grasp that our friends in the video business are not fairly evaluated when compared to loops, pucks and other odd things buried in the ground. If loops are nearly 100% accurate but only function 75% of the time, they are really only a 75% solution.

Eye Crossed OutWe realize that “correctly installed” loops (such as when the concrete is initially poured) can be reliable over time. However, if this were the norm, no one would talk about a 25% failure rate. Consistent to standard or not, you cannot see the people and vehicles you’re protecting from below the pavement.

Because video offers understandable benefits, some video companies mix other technologies with their video to ease performance concerns. GRIDSMART does not. Two sharp knives, a screw and nut do not make better scissors. We play nicely with other technologies, but we don’t depend on them to do our job. Truly great solutions benefit the users, not the sellers. Great technology should be easy. We believe in video done right.

Some people advocate for cheap “throw way” cameras or low-cost loop installations to avoid making difficult decisions. What happens? Performance suffers and life-cycle costs increase. It is kicking the can down the road. It does not make a better tomorrow.

We believe in video done right.

We see people trying to improve traffic by mitigating detection woes with adaptive products that use inaccurate detection. This is Rip Off the Band-Aidnothing more than an expensive patch in the GRIDSMART way of thinking. You cannot understand the “why”, or plan for the “what-if”, without rich data.  Even when you do adjust flow with inference-based demand. This is a band-aid, not a strategy. Absent accurate long-term data, this is not a solution; it’s a workaround. Workarounds are neither simple nor flexible nor transparent.

We understand that through the years even GRIDSMART has triggered unplanned workarounds. This is why we invested over $1 million in 2014 to understand how real people, in real places around the world, use our products. We continue to invest more instead of moving on. Users sometimes work around things we did not consider. Our new GS2 processor aggressively attacks workarounds. We will never stop learning and attacking the need for workarounds. We believe in simple, flexible and transparent. We believe in looking in the mirror. We believe in video done right.

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications are huge parts of the future. They are solution inputs, a means, not an end. These points plead for context. They demand simplicity. This technology deserves to be more than just automating something we already do. V2I data will change the world, but like all technology, it can only be great if it is accessible. We believe this is a data point and, like others, has a binding need for context. Users benefit from simple, flexible and transparent. We are freak-enough to believe that video is a non-negotiable part of this. We believe in video done right.

We are Traffic Control Freaks. This statement has multiple connotations. We control everything in our design and implementation to make it simple, flexible and transparent. We make hardware tough. We make it GRIDSMART tough. Our job is to make your job easier.

This is how you do more. This is how you maximize your smarts. This is how transportation gets better.

We believe in video done right. We are Traffic Control Freaks.

See it here:  http://bit.ly/traffic_control_freaks



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