The technology of smart video surveillance is developing rapidly due to innovations in computer vision, machine learning, neural networks, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things. However, the demand of business for such solutions still depends on the viability of investment in each particular case.
What sectors need video surveillance technology
Smart video surveillance is not just a camera that transmits video, or an operator who analyzes the image and makes decisions. Depending on the goals set, the video analytics system can automatically identify objects or events in the image using preprogrammed criteria and send signals according to certain rules in real time.
The biggest demand for video analytics is in sectors where it can bring a guaranteed economic advantage – such as in retail, which is directly connected to meeting the needs of customers. In this sector, video surveillance is used not only to prevent and investigate incidents and thefts, but also to conduct business analysis and improve the quality of service. Smart systems help estimate store traffic and analyze sales conversion.
Video cameras can provide analytical data to eliminate the causes of customers’ dissatisfaction, optimize the arrangement of goods on shelves, and reduce lines. Video surveillance is currently used in marketing: stores play advertising that is relevant to the gender or age of the customer that enters.
Online shopping is getting increasingly popular, and numerous problems faced by marketplaces related to storing and logistics can be solved by smart surveillance systems. It is especially relevant for large companies that regularly face shortage and missed items in their numerous storage facilities.
The solution to the problem of finding items on the shelves can be an inventory system that includes a camera for barcode scanning. For instance, the device can be installed at a forklift and automatically send barcode data to the inventory system.
Video surveillance for logistics warehouses is a useful service that deals with many problems in the sector. Thus, according to traditional rules, an employee must personally check the arrival of boxes. Many storage operators do not plan to abandon this rule even though with the smart video surveillance system, which is free of human errors, the process of accepting and distributing goods can be completely automated.
For a video surveillance system, the image of a person or an object is a combination of pixels and symbols that it compares with the one stored in the database. With its help, it is possible to compile black and white lists of visitors and employees that can access the office or other premises. During the identification, the system compares people’s faces with photos or information from the organization’s database.
The success of smart video surveillance in the sector of technological or production security is notable. Thus, smart systems can send a distress signal in the case of an incident without an operator. False alarms, such as when a cat or a dog crosses the secured perimeter, almost never happen.
In public transit, video surveillance systems help to ensure safety by identifying criminals listed on the law enforcement agencies’ databases. In addition, a contemporary smart camera can prevent a false alarm when seeing items left on vehicles and can distinguish between a stationary object and the shoes of a sitting passenger. Contemporary self-learning video surveillance systems do not make such mistakes.
Another function of smart surveillance is predictive video analytics. It detects potential incidents that are specific for each place and situation. Among such potential hallmark of an incident is, for instance, a crowd in a public space.
Smart video surveillance systems are also successfully used to prevent fires or to turn on fire extinguishing systems while a flame is still in its beginning stage. Thus, thermal cameras can send an alarm signal when there is a rapid increase in heat, in addition to the smoke detector. It is also possible to connect camera to the local fire extinguishing systems so that they operate in conjunction with each other.
Personnel performance analytics
Video surveillance in offices of commercial organizations allows for greater labor efficiency. A company’s management can use a video surveillance system to analyze the personnel workload and estimate the time spent at the workplace or for smoking breaks. Many effective algorithms have been developed to analyze employee productivity.
Advanced interconnected video cameras can also track a person’s movement across the territory, transmitting required video feed about a recognized person in the target area. Such monitoring and statistics of movements during the working day will help assess the employee’s actual contribution to the company.
Today, relevant applications of video analytics can be found in the industry, manufacturing, and most other sectors. With the current demand, a key issue is whether business is willing to invest in such technologies.
How smart video surveillance works
One of the sector’s fastest growing technologies is computer vision. This technology enables computers to interpret and analyze video camera footage to recognize human faces and license plates, classify objects, and perform other tasks.
Machine learning technologies allow video surveillance systems to learn from experience and improve their algorithms every time. The system can recognize new objects and improve recognition accuracy.
Deep learning based computer vision can use neural networks to analyze and recognize images with greater accuracy and speed.
The big data analysis technology is utilized for analyzing large chunks of video surveillance footage. It helps detect essential information that goes unnoticed by an expert, and offers reports on security violations at other facilities.
And finally, there is the IoT, a technology that ensures a variety of devices through mutual communication and can be used to connect video surveillance systems with other devices, motion sensors and security systems in a residential building, office, or an enterprise.
As regards its organizational infrastructure, a video surveillance system can include both traditional cameras that transmit video to a server for further analysis as well as smart video cameras that have their own processing power for initial analysis, such as for recognizing license plates or scanning QR codes.
Surveillance system architecture uses both company’s own server capacities for local video storage and processing as well as cloud capacities offered by relevant service providers, as well as hybrid solutions based on these technologies. Anyways, the architecture characteristics basically depend on financial feasibility issues and prospects for their further scale-up.
Operational reliability depends on the quality of equipment components and parts, while durability or operating time is directly related to applicability of equipment that has relevant operational characteristics. These factors impact equipment and maintenance costs. Relatively speaking, a broken camera in retail or logistics can be promptly and easily replaced by a field technician – while it is a completely different matter when it is about finding a solution for those working in the Arctic, a hot workshop or a nuclear power plant, where customers are willing to pay for extra reliability.
Smart video surveillance market evolution
Advanced smart video surveillance has long been not solely about security like it was prior to mid-2010s. Automated video surveillance solves daily routine tasks, while also helping companies save resources and focus their efforts on more substantial issues. Applying video analytics during the transformation of the company’s current operational scheme allows for improved or optimized business processes, including through efforts to reduce the human factor.
Intelligent video analytics can be used both for ensuring occupational safety and monitoring labor protection and efforts to increase security. This technology ultimately helps boost labor productivity and, accordingly, improve the company profitability.
By Lyubov Glazova, Video Solutions Product Manager, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Russia