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April 14, 2020


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Video analytics

How can video analytics help businesses to reopen after COVID-19 restrictions?

Uri Guterman, Head of Product & Marketing for Hanwha Techwin Europe, highlights some of the ways in which the latest advances in video surveillance may be able to help businesses safely reopen after the restrictions caused by COVID-19 are eased.

Governments around the world who are determined to contain or delay the spreading of the disease, are locking down whole cities or at the very least, demanding that places where people congregate in large numbers, such as retail stores, restaurants shops, pubs and clubs, close.

However, at some point hopefully not too far away in the future, the number of people being tested positive for COVID-19 will begin to reduce and thought will be given as to how many of these types of businesses will be able to safely reopen. Social distancing rules will likely have to remain in place for a period, and this is likely to mean only a specified number of people will be allowed to be in a controlled area at any one time.

Video analytics and AI solutions

There are so many environments where complying with this limitation will be a challenge. Pubs and clubs, for example, will be desperate to reopen at the earliest opportunity, but in order to do so, might have to employ additional door staff just to count the number of people who enter and leave. For companies already struggling to survive, the cost of hiring these extra members of staff could be prohibitive.


Fortunately, there is a simple solution readily available which can be quickly deployed and will prove to be far more cost-effective and accurate than employing someone to do the same job. It comes in the form of video surveillance cameras which are supplied preloaded with people counting video analytics. The analytics are able to provide real-time information on the net number of people on the premises at any particular time, as it is able to simultaneously count both people entering and leaving a premises. The data can be displayed in an easy to understand format on smartphones, laptops and PCs to provide managers with an early warning that permitted numbers are close to the permitted limit.

System integrators will no doubt be able to identify many other social environments where people counting video analytics will help ensure that social distancing rules are implemented and verified. We do not yet know how these rules will evolve when the immediate crisis is over, but shopping centres, art galleries and museums are just a few more examples of where the solution can be effectively deployed.


Although developed to help retailers gain a greater understanding of customer behaviour, video analytics capable of identifying occupancy levels provide a powerful tool to identify if too many people are congregating in specific areas.

READ: Is thermal imaging technology reliable in detecting cases of COVID-19? 

As an example, AI-Crowd video analytics, developed by Hanwha Techwin’s technology partner, A.I Tech, is able to provide an estimation of the number of people present in crowded areas where they might be expected to move slowly or stop, whilst AI-Overcrowd will generate an alert if the occupancy of an area exceeds a specified threshold.

As with people counting analytics, this solution can be quickly deployed and used ‘out-of-the-box’ as it can also run onboard cameras, which have open platform chipsets with sufficient processing power to do so.

Many cameras will support two-way audio and as such, will enable operators to communicate with visitors that they need to move out of the area.

Intelligent video analytics

In addition to these specialist video analytics applications, a large number of IP network cameras from manufacturers include as standard various forms of license-free analytics. The latest generation of Wisenet cameras, for example, are equipped with a suite of Intelligent Video Analytics (IVA), which includes enter/exit direction, tripwire and face detection. Combinations of these various forms of video analytics can be configured to form a cost-effective digital barrier.


With the threat of increased criminal activity, control room operators will need all the help they can get to visually verify any suspicious activity and if necessary, direct security personnel to deal with any incident. The earlier they can do so, the better and in this respect, a new range of Wisenet cameras equipped with deep learning based video analytics will shortly be launched. These will ensure operators are not frustrated by ‘false positive’ alerts which, depending on the environment, might be generated by existing forms of video analytics, as well as the false alarms that are often generated by intruder and perimeter protection sensors.

These cameras will be able to simultaneously detect and classify various object types, including people, vehicles, faces and license plates. Most importantly, it ignores video noise, waving trees, moving clouds and animals, all of which might normally be the cause of false alarms.

The AI algorithms built into these new cameras will also provide greater people counting accuracy.

Innovative solutions for 2020 and beyond

Within the not too distant future, we will see the introduction of AI applications developed by Hanwha Techwin and its technology partners which will enhance video surveillance systems to a level which at this time might not seem possible. Many of the innovations on the horizon will potentially give greater assistance to businesses as they seek to operate in a world where social distancing will remain a very important issue for some time.

Rapidly deployable cameras

These advances in video surveillance technology will certainly also provide security personnel with powerful tools to keep one step ahead of criminals. Indeed, the criminal fraternity are unlikely to restrain themselves at this challenging time. They will most likely seek to take advantage of a situation where many business premises will be unoccupied and therefore offer rich pickings to looters and thieves. There is certainly no shortage of high performance cameras available which will allow control room operators to detect any suspicious activity, but the two and five megapixel models – part of the Wisenet X Plus series – deserve a mention.

The four-part magnetic modular design of Wisenet X Plus cameras enables them to be installed quickly, while the ability to prefigure IP network settings without the need to remove the camera modules from their packaging, also reduces the time an engineer has to spend on site and/or cause disruption. As does the cameras’ motorised PTRZ gimbals which enable installers to remotely pan, tilt, rotate and zoom the lens position in order to set the camera’s field of view.

A positive outlook

Manufacturers such as Hanwha Techwin have for some time been striving to help end-users achieve added value from their video surveillance solutions. COVID-19 has made it even more important that we do. Fortunately, our industry has no shortage of ingenious design and development engineers who will help us rise to the challenge and ensure we contribute to companies getting back to being ‘open for business’.

Wisenet Retail Insight

Hanwha-WisenetRetail-20In other news from the company, Hanwha Techwin has recently introduced a business intelligence application designed to enable retailers to gain a greater understanding of customer behaviour and buying patterns.

Wisenet Retail Insight utilises people counting, heat mapping and queue management applications running on board selected Wisenet Q and Wisenet X fixed lens and fish-eye cameras to display statistical analytics on a centralised dashboard, alongside other practical information such as weather reports.

Accessed from anywhere on the network, Retail Insight is a web based application which consolidates the data captured by the three analytics applications running on up to 500 Wisenet Q or X series cameras and presents it on a customisable dashboard.

Retailers are able to take advantage of the captured data to measure the impact of advertising, online promotions and other marketing activities on the number of people who enter their stores, as well as making best use of human resources in order to manage the peaks and troughs of customer flow at checkouts.

“With revenues and profitability under threat, retailers are understandably looking at ways to improve productivity,” said Uri Guterman, Head of Product & Marketing for Hanwha Techwin Europe. “In terms of the business intelligence which could be made available to operations, marketing, merchandising and store management, the metadata traditionally extracted from Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) systems is unlikely to be sufficient for retailers to identify opportunities to increase productivity or improve the customer experience.”

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