Download PDF version Contact company

Jeremy Kimber, Honeywell's EMEA Marketing Leader, analyses the rising phenomenon of video analytics in the security industry.

Like the pharmaceutical industry, CCTV is always unveiling a new wonder cure.  Given the rapid pace of technology development, it is inevitable that new

 Rapid growth predicted for analytic software market within the next two to three years

solutions are constantly being brought to market.  However, in many cases these new solutions are no better than previous, proven approaches and can even be solutions to problems that do not really exist.

Video analytics is the latest application that is generating huge amounts of interest in the industry.  Respected industry analysts such as IMS are predicting that the market for analytics software alone will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars within the next two to three years.

There is a strong rationale to support the need for such a new solution.  You don't need to be a part of the security industry to be aware of the huge number of surveillance cameras now in use in the UK - it is a fact constantly discussed in the media.  At present, there are over 4.2 million cameras - one for every 14 people in the population - and the number is still growing.  Generally there is still strong acceptance of the value of CCTV cameras in Britain.  However, given the huge numbers, there is inevitably increasing concern from the public over privacy and the potential risks of intrusion into people's private lives.

Currently, the main benefits of CCTV cameras are seen to be an element of deterrence (due to the perception that anyone engaged in illegal activity is being watched so may think twice), and a proven capability to support the identification and prosecution of criminals after the event.  The rapid responses to the 21/7 terrorist plots and the more recent abortive airport and nightclub incidents are good examples of this latter point.  However, there is a growing desire to see if CCTV can be turned into a more proactive tool.  This is typified by the public address systems linked to cameras in Middlesbrough, for example, which allow operators to reprimand individuals via loudspeaker, helping reduce minor misdemeanours and prevent bigger problems.

Video analytics technology:  advantages for end-users

Video analytics to be used to turn CCTV into a proactive tool 
 Video analytics software offers effective way to manage vast amounts of data

Video analytics potentially helps address these concerns and is one reason why the technology is seen as such an exciting new development.  Users of video are looking to find more effective ways to manage the vast mass of undifferentiated data that they are currently receiving from cameras and turn it into useful information.  They are also looking to find ways to turn their cameras into predictive tools that will allow them to spot problems brewing and prevent incidents in a more proactive manner, rather than just filming the events for later investigative use.  By supporting these changes in the use of CCTV, analytics will help address the public concerns over invasion of privacy.  As video becomes increasingly used for targeting real criminal incidents, then in turn, the public should become more willing to accept further increases in the use and number of cameras without a major backlash on privacy grounds.

In broad terms, video analytics uses a variety of rules, which can be specifically tailored both to the scene and the objects being observed, in order to intelligently identify potentially suspicious behaviours.  By using multiple tailored rules and algorithms that will screen out adverse weather, the effects of changing lighting conditions, and non-critical movement activity, analytics systems let security staff focus on real incidents rather than getting bogged down with hundreds of false alarms.  One misconception about analytics is that it is just advanced motion detection.  The intelligence in analytics systems in practice means they are able to offer massive reductions in false alarm generations compared to standard motion detection.

 The intelligence in analytics systems in practice means they are able to offer massive reductions in false alarm generations

Humans have an amazing capacity for decision making but are notoriously poor at maintaining concentration levels. A variety of studies have shown that after 20 minutes of watching, up to 90% of the information being shown on monitors will be missed as observers lose concentration.  In analytics systems, the application does the mind-numbing job of monitoring, using the rules and algorithms to screen out unwarranted alarms.  Only suspicious behaviours then trigger the alarms, allowing the security staff to focus on using their decision-making capabilities to identify if it really is a threat and warrants further action or is still a false alarm - potentially leading to a retuning of the analytics rules to continuously improve the effectiveness of the system.

There are a number of video analytics packages available in the market.  Typical applications include:

Video analytic perimeter protection systems

Perimeter protection systems provide back-up to fences, external pirs, seismic systems etc., allowing the user to identify specific areas where intruders will be identified.  Potentially this includes virtual ‘fence' lines that will trigger when an intruder climbs over it (rather than when a guard patrols along it), tripwires that trigger when crossed in specific directions and alert areas, such as nearby roads, which will trigger if a car sized object dwells in them for too long - i.e. if a car stops on the road or pulls over near the perimeter being monitored.  Combining these rules ensures only suspicious behaviours trigger the alarms and not the local rabbit population.

Dwell time video analytics

Monitored area of interest applications allow parking lots, one way streets, doorways and other specific areas to be monitored to avoid cars being left in no parking bays, to identify vehicles or people moving in the wrong direction (up one way roads, up exit only gangways at airports) and to highlight excessive loitering (via dwell time analytics).

Identification of left luggage through video analytics

Left baggage systems allow the identification of objects that h

Perimeter protection systems provide back-up to fences, external pirs, seismic systems etc., allowing the user to identify specific areas where intruders will be identified 
 Use of analytic software within perimeter protection systems

ave been left behind or left stationary for too long, particularly for transport locations although this may not be fully effective in very crowded environments.  Some analytics systems, however, may even identify when the scene is getting too crowded and that they are no longer able to function effectively and need to transfer monitoring back to the security team.

Use of video analytics for market analysis

A lot of the analytics information may also be valuable for marketing teams in companies as well as the security teams.  Many analytics solutions have marketing packages that provide people counting, car counting and dwell time functions (to identify if customers stop by key displays).  Whilst potentially very useful for the client, a bigger question may be whether you as security installers have the right contacts and capabilities to reach and effectively promote these solutions to end-user marketing teams.

Application of video analytics in forensic science

The power of the new analytics platforms also offers a significant improvement in forensic analysis capability.  Recorded video can be fed through the systems, post incident, using the tailored rules to allow faster and more effective identification of participants or events involved in or related to the incident.

In summary, analytics offers the ability for security teams to become both more effective by proactively addressing suspicious activity prior to incidents occurring, and more efficient through improved monitoring performance and speeding up post event forensic analysis.

Evaluation of architectures supporting video analytics

  Analytics is going to be an increasing part of video solutions over the next three years and will be as ubiquitous as video motion detection within five years

As well as the range of analytics applications, there are also a number of different architectures that support analytics.  There is a lot of debate about the theoretical advantages and disadvantages of analytics at the centre (on servers or DVRs at the on-site control room or central monitoring station), at the ‘edge' (built into cameras or streamers on site) or with hybrid systems.

In practice, the different architectures will be relevant for different clients with different needs.  End user companies with existing infrastructures who want to upgrade by adding analytics onto some of their existing cameras may find that integrating analytics systems in their control rooms is the most cost effective and flexible solution.  Customers with limited bandwidth on their networks may want to put IP cameras with built-in analytics on site so that only information on suspicious incidents is being sent through the network.  Since the data will have been converted into ‘metadata' by the in-camera analytics, it will also be even less of a drain on the network than normal video.  As an installer, your best approach is to keep an open mind and look for manufacturers who can offer a range of analytics architectures allowing you to offer the best solutions for the individual requirements of your different clients.

Analytics is going to be an increasing part of video solutions over the next three years and will be as ubiquitous as video motion detection within five years. Jeremy Kimber, Honeywell's UK Marketing Leader

 

Jeremy Kimber 
EMEA Marketing Leader
Honeywell

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Panasonic AI-driven cameras empower an expanding vision of new uses
Panasonic AI-driven cameras empower an expanding vision of new uses

Imagine a world where video cameras are not just watching and reporting for security, but have an even wider positive impact on our lives. Imagine that cameras control street and building lights, as people come and go, that traffic jams are predicted and vehicles are automatically rerouted, and more tills are opened, just before a queue starts to form. Cameras with AI capabilities Cameras in stores can show us how we might look in the latest outfit as we browse. That’s the vision from Panasonic about current and future uses for their cameras that provide artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities at the edge. Panasonic feels that these types of intelligent camera applications are also the basis for automation and introduction of Industry 4.0, in which processes are automated, monitored and controlled by AI-driven systems. 4K network security cameras The company’s i-PRO AI-capable camera line can install and run up to three AI-driven video analytic applications Panasonic’s 4K network security cameras have built-in AI capabilities suitable for this next generation of intelligent applications in business and society. The company’s i-PRO AI-capable camera line can install and run up to three AI-driven video analytic applications. The AI engine is directly embedded into the camera, thus reducing costs and Panasonic’s image quality ensures the accuracy of the analytics outcome. FacePRO facial recognition technology Panasonic began advancing AI technology on the server side with FacePRO, the in-house facial recognition application, which uses AI deep learning capabilities. Moving ahead, they transitioned their knowledge of AI from the server side to the edge, introducing i-PRO security cameras with built-in AI capabilities last summer, alongside their own in-house analytics. Moreover, in line with the Panasonic approach to focus more on collaboration with specialist AI software developers, a partnership with Italian software company, A.I. Tech followed in September, with a range of intelligent applications, partially based on deep learning. Additional collaborations are already in place with more than 10 other developers, across the European Union, working on more future applications. i-PRO AI-capable security cameras Open systems are an important part of Panasonic’s current approach. The company’s i-PRO AI-capable cameras are an open platform and designed for third-party application development, therefore, applications can be built or tailored to the needs of an individual customer. Panasonic use to be a company that developed everything in-house, including all the analytics and applications. “However, now we have turned around our strategy by making our i-PRO security cameras open to integrate applications and analytics from third-party companies,” says Gerard Figols, Head of Security Solutions at Panasonic Business Europe. Flexible and adapting to specific customer needs This new approach allows the company to be more flexible and adaptable to customers’ needs. “At the same time, we can be quicker and much more tailored to the market trend,” said Gerard Figols. He adds, “For example, in the retail space, enabling retailers to enhance the customer experience, in smart cities for traffic monitoring and smart parking, and by event organisers and transport hubs to monitor and ensure safety.” Edge-based analytics offer multiple benefits over server-based systems Edge-based analytics Edge-based analytics offer multiple benefits over server-based systems. On one hand, there are monetary benefits - a cost reduction results from the decreased amount of more powerful hardware required on the server side to process the data, on top of reduction in the infrastructure costs, as not all the full video stream needs to be sent for analysis, we can work solely with the metadata. On the other hand, there are also advantages of flexibility, as well as reliability. Each camera can have its own individual analytic setup and in case of any issue on the communication or server side, the camera can keep running the analysis at the edge, thereby making sure the CCTV system is still fully operational. Most importantly, systems can keep the same high level of accuracy. Explosion of AI camera applications We can compare the explosion of AI camera applications to the way we experienced it for smartphone applications" “We can compare the explosion of AI camera applications to the way we experienced it for smartphone applications,” said Gerard Figols, adding “However, it doesn’t mean the hardware is not important anymore, as I believe it’s more important than ever. Working with poor picture quality or if the hardware is not reliable, and works 24/7, software cannot run or deliver the outcome it has been designed for.” As hardware specialists, Figols believes that Panasonic seeks to focus on what they do best - Building long-lasting, open network cameras, which are capable of capturing the highest quality images that are required for the latest AI applications, while software developers can concentrate on bringing specialist applications to the market. Same as for smartphones, AI applications will proliferate based on market demand and succeed or fail, based on the value that they deliver. Facial recognition, privacy protection and cross line technologies Panasonic has been in the forefront in developing essential AI applications for CCTV, such as facial recognition, privacy protection and cross line. However, with the market developing so rapidly and the potential applications of AI-driven camera systems being so varied and widespread, Panasonic quickly realised that the future of their network cameras was going to be in open systems, which allow specialist developers and their customers to use their sector expertise to develop their own applications for specific vertical market applications, while using i-PRO hardware. Metadata for detection and recognition Regarding privacy, consider that the use of AI in cameras is about generating metadata for the detection and recognition of patterns, rather than identifying individual identities. “However, there are legitimate privacy concerns, but I firmly believe that attitudes will change quickly when people see the incredible benefits that this technology can deliver,” said Gerard Figols, adding “I hope that we will be able to redefine our view of cameras and AI, not just as insurance, but as life advancing and enhancing.” i-PRO AI Privacy Guard One of the AI applications that Panasonic developed was i-PRO AI Privacy Guard Seeking to understand and appreciate privacy concerns, one of the AI applications that Panasonic developed was i-PRO AI Privacy Guard that generates data without capturing individual identities, following European privacy regulations that are among the strictest in the world. Gerard Fogils said, “The combination of artificial intelligence and the latest generation open camera technology will change the world’s perceptions from Big Brother to Big Benefits. New applications will emerge as the existing generation of cameras is updated to the new open and intelligent next generation devices, and the existing role of the security camera will also continue.” Future scope of AI and cameras He adds, “Not just relying on the security cameras for evidence when things have gone wrong, end users will increasingly be able to use AI and the cameras with much higher accuracy to prevent false alarms and in a proactive way to prevent incidents." Gerard Fogils concludes, “That could be monitoring and alerting when health and safety guidelines are being breached or spotting and flagging patterns of suspicious behaviour before incidents occur.”

What is the best lesson you ever learned from an end user?
What is the best lesson you ever learned from an end user?

Serving customer needs is the goal of most commerce in the physical security market. Understanding those needs requires communication and nuance, and there are sometimes surprises along the way. But in every surprising revelation – and in every customer interaction – there is opportunity to learn something valuable that can help to serve the next customer’s needs more effectively. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: what was the best lesson you ever learned from a security end user customer?

What is the impact of remote working on security?
What is the impact of remote working on security?

During the coronavirus lockdown, employees worked from home in record numbers. But the growing trend came with a new set of security challenges. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the impact of the transition to remote working/home offices on the security market?