Video surveillance plays an important role in deterring and helping solve crime by live or remote monitoring. The ability to analyse the data it captures is what makes this a valuable asset as opposed to another cost to your business. According to Jan Keyser, product manager of wireless IP convergence company MiRO, there are three questions users need to answer before selecting a video analytics system:
- What purpose are you using video analytics for?
- How will you capture and process the intelligence?
- What will you do with the information?
Video analytics can be used for a number of purposes including cross line detection, people counting, motion detection, number plate recognition, loitering detection, tailgating detection, smoke detection, health and safety, and productivity.
The ongoing debate between server based (centralised) and on the edge (on camera) video analytics continues and while both have distinct advantages, currently on the edge processing has limitations due to the processing power of the cameras used. It is acknowledged that different brands and models have different processing power and this will ultimately be the deciding factor in what extent of on the edge analytics can be undertaken.
The alternative is intelligent analytics through video management systems (VMS). Video surveillance management software also makes it easier to search stored video and export evidence to internet-connected devices.
Many IP video management solutions include the ability to direct alerts to specific people or devices. Such alert capabilities enable a faster response to incidents. The ability to access cameras through the software is also important for enabling more intelligent response.
Keyser cautions users to avoid proprietary installations since scalability and future-proofing will be severely limited. Another important issue to consider is the integration with other security systems and equipment. It is advisable to select flexible open platform products that are able to readily work together with a number of brands and models.
He cites Milestone Systems XProtect® products as the ideal central VMS solution. Milestone provides a flexible platform supporting a wide variety of IP cameras and video servers. Value-added integration with other systems via application programming interfaces (APIs) provides the ability to share data from other systems, devices and components for a very powerful solution.
AllGoVision, a server based solution, plugs into Milestone and provides superior performance in terms of accuracy and robustness and is able to work with all cameras. It offers video based smoke detection, video stitching up to eight cameras, and smart auto PTZ control.
AllGoVision is an enterprise grade advanced video analytics software product that integrates with open platform VMS solutions such as Milestone, Genetec and Mirasys. The combined solution offers significant advantages for automated surveillance. The main applications for AllGoVision are city, traffic and building surveillance, border security and business intelligence. AllGoVision works directly with the video feed from any camera supported by the VMS and makes intelligent decisions which will alert operators in real-time and are stored for later review/analysis.
The list of what one can do with a raw video image is endless, but how users will utilise the gathered data needs to be carefully considered and decided on before implementation begins in order to gain maximum benefit.
Keyser points out that new-age analytics are widely used for retail intelligence and to extrapolate data on how many people are present in an area per hour or per area, for example. Analytics can also provide management with insight into the most popular spots in a shopping mall. Video smoke detection is able to identify a malicious or accidental fire before it becomes a serious hazard and can notify management or authorities in several different alarm structures.
Number plate recognition is increasing in popularity but requires a large amount of processing power due to the bandwidth used when viewing a picture, analysing colours and contrasts and then comparing that data to memory. There is no doubt that is has a large role to play in securing facilities but it is important to ensure that the right equipment is selected and that its deployment is optimised.
The key to successful video analytics is using the right equipment and making sure all components are compatible with each other. MiRO offers a complete solution based on Vivotek and Sunell cameras, Milestone as the central VMS and AllGoVison intelligent video analytics.