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IFSEC Insider, formerly IFSEC Global, is the leading online community and news platform for security and fire safety professionals.
January 20, 2023


Lithium-Ion batteries. A guide to the fire risk that isn’t going away but can be managed

Video analytics

The ever-evolving world of video content analytics

Liam Galin, CEO of BriefCam, discusses video content analytics, and their increasing innovation and adaptability for securing and monitoring high traffic sites.

The world of video analytics has come a long way in the past few years.

What started as a complementary security surveillance technology, has evolved into a critical decision-making solution for stakeholders beyond law enforcement and public safety. Powered by AI and deep learning, today’s sophisticated video analytics have far-reaching and impactful applications, from accelerating investigations for criminal or commercial claims to increasing operational productivity across industries and end users, delivering cost efficiency, enhanced safety, and elevated experiences. These applications only continue to gain strength, and in this article, I’ll walk you through some examples of diverse industries innovatively supporting operational and business decision making with the power of data-driven intelligence derived from video analytics.

Seagate-SurveillanceDataControlRoom-21But first, a quick word on how it works: Video intelligence software detects and extracts objects in video, identifies each object based on trained Deep Neural Networks, and classifies each object to enable intelligent video analysis through search and filtering, alerting, data aggregation, and visualisation capabilities. While straightforward, that answer doesn’t answer the true questions of “How does video analytics work for you?” Video analytics helps you maximise your video surveillance assets by bringing three key values to the table, each of which flexibly delivers for the unique needs of the environment in which they are deployed.

  • Increased situational awareness empowers you to react to events as they unfold. From proactively protecting people and property to driving better visitor or customer engagement as opportunities arise.
  • Accelerated investigations enable you to accelerate your time to target by reviewing hours of video in minutes and pinpointing objects and events of interest with speed and precision.
  • Data-backed intelligence helps you uncover patterns, drive strategic decision making, and optimize operational and business practices by aggregating video data in a fully integrated, highly customizable business intelligence platform

As you can see, video analytics is an innovative technology that translates video into tangible impact in different ways. With these values in mind, let’s dig deeper into the evolving world of video analytics.

Further reading: An overview of video analytics in security

Reinforcing retail with invaluable insights

Retail is an excellent example of applying the full value of video analytics to diverse and evolving industry needs. For example, many businesses are leveraging their current video surveillance investment with video analytics technology to impact asset protection and loss prevention, an area with significant security overlap because of the major uptick in theft and Organised Retail Crime (ORC) over the past few years. With video analytics, retail management attains situational awareness by configuring real-time, rule-based alerts to notify operators of pre-defined suspicious behaviors, such as loitering near high value items or staff-only areas. Upon receiving the alert, an action plan can be determined to resolve the incident quickly and safely.

While prevention is always the ideal, in situations when theft does occur, video content analytics can speed investigations by uncovering crucial details lying latent in video surveillance footage. Sophisticated searching and filtering make it easy to scan hours of post-event video in minutes based on criteria filters like appearance, clothing, colour, size, speed, path, direction, and dwell time. Empowering retailers and supporting security or law enforcement with the ability to accelerate investigations means more closed cases which hopefully act as a deterrent to future crime as well.

Perhaps most broadly valuable to the retail space is the data-driven operational and business intelligence that can be derived from video content. For example, retailers can plan and deploy effective and efficient maintenance schedules based on actual facility usage – in this way the retail businesses can focus maintenance efforts and staff most effectively and as needed. Furthermore, retailers can also use video analytics to support intelligent product and ad placement, as well as campaign and advertising strategies, by measuring the time visitors spend in different areas of stores or tracking unique, total, or bounced visits (factoring out the sales associates). This business intelligence is critical whether they are being leveraged in an individual store, malls, or an expansive lifestyle shopping centre.

Enabling law enforcement efficiency

Law enforcement is a classic video analytics technology adopter and user and a great demonstration of the evolution of video analytics solutions and their impact on efficiencies in different industries. For police officers, this mission critical tool accelerates time-to-target, reduces the manpower needed to effectively review video evidence, and increases policing productivity by seamlessly processing and breaking down video to increase speed, efficiency, and insights. Streamlining this process requires fewer officers be assigned to a case and empowers the efficient distribution of manpower.

Video analytics also helps optimize productive policing by leverage existing video to derive actionable and quantifiable insights about an environment. Deeper understanding of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, for example, promotes strategic public safety planning. Video analytics solutions offer intelligence that law enforcement needs to productively drive safe city transformations and proactively respond to public safety threats.

Recently, there has been a strong emphasis on the integration of video analytics technology in Real Time Crime Centres, as law enforcement agencies are implementing Community Policing and proactive policing strategies. Video analytics helps policing organisations transform their vast video input into searchable, actionable, and quantifiable data, effectively increasing their ability to utilize surveillance investments for the betterment of the community. Additionally, RTCCs increase policing impact and capabilities while reducing the financial burden it would require to hire officers for the same level of impact.

Protecting property & driving productivity

While video analytics has become a solution giant in major industries like retail and law enforcement, the discovery of its multifaceted capabilities has seen video analytics being implemented in campus environments from universities to hospitals and commercial buildings to airports and transit hubs, and even data centres.

Airport-SurveillanceCCTVAI-21For instance, while video analytics is a make-sense solution for increasing campus safety at universities, it can also support growth planning for expanding the grounds and facilities. For instance, video analytics can help campus security understand behavioural trends across their campus’s buildings, facilities, and dormitories – as well as the outdoor areas between them – and alerts can be set to call attention to abnormal behaviour. Similarly, understanding behaviour patterns can support planning committees as the make decisions about the location of future parking lots, crosswalks, and retail facilities to optimize function and flow of a busy campus (much like it can for a smart city!).

Public transportation hubs like airports, bus terminals, and train stations serve high volumes of visitors every day. With better long-term intelligence and real-time situational awareness, managers can leverage video analytics to direct staffing and services to accommodate known trends, prevent crowding, and plan for contingencies and peak travel days. In short, intelligent video analytics empowers the predictive hiring and proactive deployment of additional staff to increase the operational efficiency of travel hubs.

We don’t like to think of hospitals and crime in the same sentence, but according to the IAHSS Foundation 2022 Crime Survey, the rate of hospital violent crime hit a record 2.5 incidents per 100 beds in 2021. Insurance fraud and medical theft are also serious issues that regularly impact healthcare organisations. Video surveillance alerting and forensic search capabilities provide healthcare facilities the situational awareness and trend analysis tools to protect patients, staff, and visitors, but also to help make sense of criminal events, identify suspects, clear false claims, and even reduce litigation.

And these are just a few examples of the breadth of solutions enabled by evolving video analytics software! Whether the use case is traditional or cutting-edge and creative, this technology has far-reaching applications across departments, organisational roles, business types and use cases, and can significantly impact business intelligence, operational efficiency, and profitability. Video analytics is data driven impact at your fingertips and an investment in a smarter, safer future.


Free Download: The Video Surveillance Report 2023

Discover the latest developments in the rapidly-evolving video surveillance sector by downloading the 2023 Video Surveillance Report. Over 500 responses to our survey, which come from integrators to consultants and heads of security, inform our analysis of the latest trends including AI, the state of the video surveillance market, uptake of the cloud, and the wider economic and geopolitical events impacting the sector!

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