When it comes to information gathering, one constant remains: video is central to the goal of assembling and disseminating intelligence across the globe. Every size business — from large, multinational corporations to small, local stores — rely on video to not only protect their assets but provide valuable insight into how their businesses function on a day-to-day basis. But to achieve intelligent results, three things have to be in play: centralized video data management, analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Video Data Management
There’s an old saying in the technology industry when it comes to handling data: “garbage in, garbage out,” and the same is true in video surveillance. Collecting video data in a large multi-national organization is no different from collecting data in a rural village shop: it needs to be high-quality, crystal clear, reliable, and deliver as much coverage as possible without sacrificing any of the aforementioned traits.
Physical security strategies are also far more comprehensive than they were 10, or even, 5 years ago, and should be designed with the best tools for the job in mind. However, one common attribute among all successful surveillance systems is their simplicity in integrating with other security products to make that comprehensive strategy coherent. There isn’t a security director out there that wants to spend their time puzzling out complex integrations processes between uncooperative technologies.
The foundation for this comprehensive security strategy is the secure, centralized management of the video cameras and video data, especially in the heterogeneous physical security environments that exist in today’s security infrastructure. Having the ability to seamlessly integrate with a variety of VMS vendors and other IoT sensors ensures that organizations can focus on protecting their assets; but more importantly in this data-driven world, gain actionable intelligence that can be used to improve the business through video and business analytics.
Video analytics has undergone a resurgence in the last few years, given the continual improvements in video resolution, image quality and storage practices. The ability to drive complex video processing through low-cost GPUs has also made video analytics a necessity in almost all security-conscious operations.
The previous “garbage in, garbage out” statement still applies since it is very difficult to analyze poor quality video. And in the value-driven market that we exist in, being able to analyze data for business intelligence purposes enables organizations, especially in retail, to understand better how to lay out their stores, hone product placement and identify customer hotspots. The greater the volume of high-quality video data you have, the more accurate your analysis becomes.
Choosing the right analytic tool for the information you are aiming to gather is as important as deploying the right type of camera to capture the data. Video analytics isn’t just about facial recognition; it can be vital to examine a scene at the macro-level to understand the genesis of an event and, under the right conditions, give you a greater response window to an escalating situation.
One of the trends that I’ve noticed over the last 5 years is the increase in demand to cover large, open areas that were traditionally left unmonitored. Organizations are seeking end-to-end video coverage for compliance or regulatory reasons, especially when valuable or sensitive goods are moving around an industrial or manufacturing site. These operations deliver plenty of complications when it comes to live monitoring the video generated in those areas. Using video analytics here, either on motion or on specific object detection, goes a long way to solving the problem as part of an intelligent solution. Covering that area with fewer, wide-angle cameras stretches the budget far enough to make this a reality, without sacrificing video quality.
I’m sure that you’ve all heard, read, watched videos or consumed information on the IoT in recent months, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it is just autonomous vehicles, smart fridges, clever lightbulbs and home automation. An IoT sensor is simply a device that captures data, that may be analyzed in the future to give actionable intelligence – no different from an intelligent video surveillance camera.
If you start imagining your surveillance cameras as IoT devices, it is only a short mental step to using other IoT sensors to augment that video to add further value to the information you’re getting in video form. This enhancement of the video can deliver the intelligence to simplify investigations, operations, and make your security personnel safer in their roles. While technology has a large role to play in physical security, the human aspect is currently still dominant and central to the successful implementation of your security position.
Yet, when you bring all of these pieces into play, high-quality video, open and integrated systems, and the ability to augment that video with additional IoT sensors, you are taking the strong first steps to building a comprehensive, coherent and capable physical security posture, no matter how large or small you are.
After all, as James C. Collins said, “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”