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How Video Analytics is Changing the World of Security

Jul 1, 2008
Security professionals draw upon decades of training and experience when developing plans to protect sites and people. Systems they design can cover a wide range of requirements, from preventing accidental deaths in residential swimming pools, to catching thieves in retail stores, to defending high-risk facilities from attack or intrusion. However, the underlying principles for security and safety are basically the same in all applications:

- Situational Awareness: Knowing what is happening at the site, along with the expected activities and potential dangers.

- Early Warning: Providing alerts and notification before serious problems occur. The sooner you can identify potential breaches or risks, the stronger your protection will be.

- Controlling Access: Limiting those who are allowed to enter and when.

- Recording Activity: Capturing information to identify and prosecute offenders creates a significant deterrent against crime, and provides evidence for prosecuting criminals.

- Responsiveness: Preparation, training and tools to respond rapidly and appropriately when an alarm occurs.

It is rare to find a single technology that can improve every one of these five basic security functions at the same time. Video analytics are producing exactly such an impact. More importantly, systems that can extract information from video promise to bring us closer to how ideal security systems should operate:

- Unobtrusive for those who live and work on the premises.

- Automated, so they require minimal human effort when everything is normal.

- Responsive to threats early enough to prevent problems before they occur.

Advancements in all these areas created by video analytics explain why this new technology might be the most significant breakthrough for safety and protection in the last forty years. Video Analytics promises to bring us closer to this ideal solution than any prior technology. Advanced content analysis systems today already have the ability to:

- Automatically extract information from camera feeds and warn you when something might be going wrong. It is exactly like having your own digital guard.

- Alert people anywhere in the world, providing them video evidence of the detected event.

- Allow for live real-time remote viewing to track and stay in touch with what is happening.

- Open up audio loudspeaker communication with the site, so that intruders can be warned away immediately, before it is too late.

One remote guard using video analytics can now provide protection for 50 sites or more, making protection far more affordable than ever before. As importantly, all 500 to 1000 analytics managed cameras across those sites are continuously monitoring every scene, providing superior protection. Guard tour services, where guards physically walk through the premises on a cyclical basis, can see only a small percent of what is happening. This is no match for the lower cost and constant surveillance gained through video analytics.

Studies show that after 22 minutes, guards watching a video scene will miss up to 95% of all activity. The human brain is simply not designed for long periods of constant watching and waiting for something to happen. Video analytics, on the other hand, is tireless. It never blinks or is distracted.

The most advanced technologies get smarter the longer they study a scene. This is exactly what analytics do best.

Interested in learning more? A more in-depth version of this story can be found at http://www.videoiq.net/products/resources
About the Author
Doug Marman is CTO and VP of Products at VideoIQ, a leader in video analytics and intelligent video surveillance.
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