Analysing an Opportunity
Paul Tennent is Managing Director of Tavcom which in 2014 is celebrating 20 years as the leading international provider of accredited security systems training. Paul passionately believes that formal training programmes leading to accredited and recognised qualifications, as well as CPD structured points through vocational assessment and project work, is a winning formula to ensure that people of all skill levels can be effective and successful in their workplace. In this article, Paul Tennent, provides an educated overview on the opportunities presented by Video Analytics.
You may see it referred to as Video Analytics or VCA (Video Content Analysis) or simply Intelligent Video Surveillance, but by however it is called, this innovative technology is destined to have a key influence over the future success of the video monitoring industry.
For the purpose of this article I will use ‘Video Analytics’ as the generic. It should however be acknowledged that all three phrases can apply to different attributes or feature sets of a technology that is providing installers and system integrators with a brilliant opportunity to generate new revenue streams by offering customers all important ‘added-value’.
I recently came across some market research which predicts dramatic growth in the deployment of Video Analytics during 2013 with global sales reaching a staggering $39 billion by 2020. This is good news for all of us involved in some way with the sales of video surveillance equipment, although I fear that the adoption of Video Analytics in the UK may be slower than in other parts of the world. This is partly because Video Analytics got off to such a bad start some years back when its capabilities at the time proved to be overhyped. Some of the companies promoting what was an emerging technology had oversold its capabilities and in the process had understandably attracted scathing criticism from disgruntled users whose expectations had been raised far too high.
Slowly but surely, Video Analytics is establishing its credibility as a reliable and robust method of obtaining valuable management information. In addition to offering security personnel a very powerful tool to detect and combat theft and other criminal activity, the business advantage which cameras equipped with Video Analytics can provide, is compelling. Video Analytics is capable of multi-tasking and so, depending on the field of view, a camera equipped with the technology should be able to simultaneously generate reports with supporting video to provide merchandising, human resources, security and other operational departments, with the information they need to achieve their objectives.
It may not be a security application, but installers and system integrators traditionally working within the electronic security industry have a great opportunity to take advantage of this valuable new business opportunity. The system needs to be professionally designed, and the correct cameras for the application specified, installed, commissioned and maintained. Who better to provide this service than one of the many thousands of professional installation companies that we have in the UK.
The good news is that there are no shortage of Video Analytics software manufacturers offering high performance detection, facial recognition, people counting and tracking, licence plate recognition, dwell time, and traffic monitoring solutions.
Consultants, installers, system integrators and specifiers who are evaluating where to source video analytics, may wish as a starting point to look at manufacturers that have some government or industry accreditation. i-LIDS (Imagery Library for Intelligent Detection Systems, for example, is the UK’s Home Office benchmark for video analytics systems. It is made up of a library of scenarios with the CCTV video footage accurately representing real operating conditions and potential threats. Many of the video analytic manufacturers may be able to comply with the sterile zone criteria, but it is worth asking if they have been independently tested for the other i-LIDS event detection scenarios, i.e. parked vehicle, abandoned baggage, doorway surveillance, multiple camera tracking and new technologies such as thermal and near infrared.
Who will evolve as the market leader(s)? We will know pretty soon, but surely it will be those companies who can prove that their solutions not only say what they do on the tin but also truly deliver ‘user friendliness’. It is essential that the software is simple, easy to apply and operate if installers are to have the confidence to promote Video Analytics to their customers.