Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
December 30, 2019


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Future trends

What the future holds for video surveillance

Kevin Waterhouse, Managing Director at VCA Technology, offers an insight into what 2020 holds for the future of video surveillance.

With UK crime rates on the rise, safeguarding premises will continue to be a major challenge for businesses in 2020. Among the range of technologies available to security staff, video surveillance is a common tool, made infinitely more effective with the addition of good video analytics and now refined by artificial intelligence and machine learning. By making clever use of these instruments, organisations can not only enhance protection but also improve the optimisation of their resources and, by applying it to areas beyond security, increase business growth.

With this in mind, let’s look at five key trends we see dominating this industry next year:

  1. Companies will seek to increase their video surveillance ROI

It’s no secret that many organisations originally invested in video surveillance simply to tick a box or qualify for an insurance plan. The cameras feed into monitoring rooms which are often unattended, footage is usually watched retrospectively when an incident has already taken place, and there is little that can be done to contain its consequences. While some businesses believe video surveillance will at least act as a deterrent, thieves and intruders know they can avoid being recognised if they simply disguise their distinctive features, so security cameras won’t put them off their unlawful plans.

In 2020, organisations will no longer settle for this approach and will look to gain real benefit from their security investment. By choosing a video surveillance system with analytics capabilities, businesses can finally put their security cameras to more effective use: video analytics is able to detect unusual behaviour, alert security staff and prevent the incident from going any further. Rather than simply recording a crime taking place at their premises, businesses will leverage video analytics to intercept, manage and prevent intrusions and thefts, gaining real value from their video surveillance systems.

  1. AI and deep learning in security will help reduce false alarms

False alarms are the sworn enemy of effective video monitoring. Working with a video surveillance system that often raises ‘false positives’ means constantly being bombarded with unnecessary alerts. This inevitably clutters the view of security operators, making it difficult to effectively monitor the area in question and leading to the waste of millions of man-hours.

Next year will see a rise in artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning applied to security, enabling video surveillance systems to ‘learn’ what a potential threat may look like – for example, a vehicle or a person. This will increase accuracy, driving more precise detection and avoiding flagging events related to natural conditions like vegetation moved by the wind, or local wildlife. In 2020, deep learning and AI will empower businesses to drive efficiency among their security teams, ensuring resources aren’t wasted and improving security at their premises.

  1. VideoSurveillance-Monitoring-19Security workers will not be replaced by AI

One of the key business topics discussed in 2019 was, without a doubt, the fear that machines, particularly artificial intelligence, will leave millions of workers without jobs. This fear is unfounded in the security sector. What will help business truly succeed thanks to AI is finding the right balance between technology and human touch. Monitoring centres’ staff are currently extremely overworked, often having to endure 12-hour shifts, during which their level of attention is inevitably not at its best. That’s why artificial intelligence applied to video surveillance will support, not replace, security workers. AI and machine learning have seen impressive advancements – according to US research group OpenAI, this technology’s capabilities have doubled every 3.4 months since 2012. However, the input of a human will always be needed – especially in security, where critical decisions have to be made.

Sophisticated, AI-powered video surveillance systems have the ability to accurately identify and flag security threats. But the work of detection and protection doesn’t end here. Human workers are then called to establish whether the incident is worth responding to at once and what action is appropriate.

By augmenting experienced security workers with AI-based video surveillance, businesses can improve staff wellbeing by relieving them of hours of tiresome screen-staring, and hugely improve monitoring efficacy.

  1. Advanced post-event search capabilities will be standard practice

While reacting to incidents in real-time, and preventing them when possible, is crucial to drive robust security, investigating crimes posteriorly can also be extremely beneficial. At the moment, the majority of security systems aren’t equipped with advanced post-event search capabilities and this creates serious challenges for those looking to examine past incidents. Imagine wanting to analyse the suspect activity of a red vehicle across the 20 cameras on a site, for the past month; or, perhaps, looking for a missing hospital patient in a blue dressing gown, reviewing all recent footage from 80 cameras. With traditional CCTV, both tasks would be near impossible, as the image search would not provide the necessary historic or dynamic data.

In 2020, organisations will require more advanced post-event search facilities to better investigate crimes. With the help of artificial intelligence and deep learning, monitoring staff can trawl the data collected with more specific search criteria, generating richer reports that shed light on useful information. When unlawful events happen and real-time reaction isn’t possible, post-event analysis is of the essence. That’s why, next year, companies will look to enhance their security system’s capabilities in this area.

  1. Video surveillance will deliver business insights, not just security

Video surveillance plays a key role in helping security staff protect the premises they were assigned to. With the help of video analytics and artificial intelligence, this tool can prove an exceptional ally for monitoring room operators who no longer have to rely on their own eyes to analyse security footage.

That being said, in 2020, organisations across a variety of sectors will learn that video analytics applied to surveillance can also provide invaluable insight which can help them make more informed business decisions. From analysing customer behaviour in retail stores, to optimising parking spaces, to better managing warehouse operations, companies will expand the applications of video-based technology, thereby maximising the return on this investment.

In today’s multifaceted threat landscape, security should be a key element in any business strategy. The appetite for sophisticated, user-friendly and cost-effective surveillance solutions in undeniable, so the organisations that know how to leverage video analytics, AI and machine learning to boost premise defences are the ones that will thrive in 2020.

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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