Published on 19 December, 2012
|Wavestore manager states that IP cameras have teh potential to be able to perform all the standard functions
Recent advances in technology have helped overcome many of the problems previously associated with video analytics and 2013 will therefore see the powerful software tool increasingly being specified as part of video surveillance projects.
This prediction is made by Phil Ewers who can claim to know a thing or two about the value that video analytics can bring to a business. His extensive experience includes playing a key role in a successful bid to supply and deliver Westfield London shopping centre with Europe’s largest people counting solution.
Phil Ewers, Business Development Manager for Wavestore, predicts that 2013 will see video analytics increasingly being specified as part of video surveillance projects.
Phil can claim to know a thing or two about the value that video analytics can bring to a business. His extensive experience includes playing a key role in a successful bid to supply and deliver Westfield London shopping centre with Europe’s largest people counting solution. He has also worked for APT Headcount Systems Ltd and Footfall Ltd where he was involved in managing complex video analytics projects throughout the UK, mainland Europe and the Middle & Far East.
In this interview we ask Phil, why he is so confident that video analytics will in the future be more often than not requested in the list of features when video management systems are being designed.
Q: Phil, video analytics has been around for some time and so what has happened recently to make you suggest that the demand for it is about to dramatically increase?
...a tough economic environment, which is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, is inevitably encouraging end-users to demand a higher return on their investment in a video surveillance system solution
A: Firstly, recent advances in technology have helped overcome many of the problems previously associated with video analytics. In particular, there are a number of manufacturers who have increased the processing power of the DSP chipsets incorporated into their video surveillance cameras. These cameras therefore have the potential to be able to perform all their standard functions whilst at the same time being able to efficiently handle video analytics software.
Secondly, a tough economic environment, which is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, is inevitably encouraging end-users to demand a higher return on their investment in a video surveillance system solution. Indeed, with lower staffing levels, businesses have to understandably make maximum use of the resources available to them and this means working smarter. There are many different ways over and above helping them deter and detect criminal activity where video analytics can help them do so.
Last, but by no means the least important is the fact that forward thinking video recording solution providers such as Wavestore have incorporated into their video management software the facility for leading technologies, such as video analytics in all its various forms, as well as other component parts of a video surveillance system, to work in harmony and interact with each other using a metadata engine. This enables us to be able to offer customers an effective single source solution.
Q: What market sectors do you think can benefit from deploying video analytics?
A: Video analytics is proving to be extremely valuable to the retail sector but there are many opportunities in virtually every market sector and certainly so in environments such as sports stadia, airports, train stations, etc. In fact any area where there is people movement can be considered.
Q: Can you give some examples of how video analytics can be applied in a retail environment?
Video analytics is proving to be extremely valuable to the retail sector but there are many opportunities in virtually every market sector
A: In addition to identifying would be shoplifters, facial recognition can also provide statistics on age, gender, ethnicity, etc. The people counting feature of video analytics can provide analysis of when a store is busy, as well as how long customers have to queue to pay. This information can assist store management in deciding how many members of staff need to be on duty at any particular time and how many check-outs should be open. Link this with the store’s EPOS and it can form part of a solution which shows a store’s key performance indicators including the conversion ratio of sales volume/number of store visitors. The collected data can be especially useful for monitoring sales activities by also mapping and comparing historical data to today’s information.
Q: What are the various ‘leading technologies’ which you refer to?
A: Well, for example:
A: People counting software deserves to be near or at the top of the list as it can provide highly valuable data to allow a business to become more efficient, increase sales or just simply make their premises a safe place to visit or work in. This particular form of video analytics may be used, for example, in a retail environment, but it can also be highly effective in wide open spaces for crowd control & high streets. A ‘hot spot’ identified by the use of video analytics could perhaps generate an alert that there overcrowding and therefore the risk of people being crushed, whilst a ‘cold’ spot’ might identify an area of concern in that there might not be as many people in an area as could be expected. This could, for example, be because a fight has broken out and people have therefore moved away from the area. Most public events are given licenses to take place based on a number of conditions, including the maximum number of people who are allowed to attend. In these situations video analytics can provide a highly effective method of ensuing that these numbers are not exceeded.
ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) has obvious benefits to those involved in traffic management and parking enforcement as well as verifying that a driver/vehicle is authorised to enter a restricted area.
new developments are seeing face recognition analytics providing invaluable statistics for the retailer as to who is visiting a store
Biometrics in the form of facial recognition deserves a mention, as it can be a very powerful tool to identify specific individuals. When analysing what may have been thousands of hours of pre-recorded video, facial recognition offers the possibility of matching against what could be a large database of undesirable visitors. Furthermore new developments are seeing face recognition analytics providing invaluable statistics for the retailer as to who is visiting a store or a defined area with in a store or shopping centre.
Q: You have mentioned that you can offer customers a single source solution. Can you expand on this?
A: We have established a worldwide reputation of providing robust, reliable and innovative video recording solutions. One of the key reasons for our success is the open architecture of our video management software and the “open” ability to integrate with third party solutions. This has allowed us to cooperate with various video analytics solution providers whose software has been built for a specific purpose and who are the best in their respective fields. We have chosen these technology partners very carefully and we have then set about working very closely with them to ensure that regardless of the size or scope of a project, we are able to deliver to customers a solution which matches their specific requirements.