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Video content analysis technology is emerging as a key factor in effective surveillance deployments.

Security Systems News Europe analyzes intelligent use of video.


A relatively exotic security industry technology just a few years ago, video content analysis (VCA), also known as video analytics or intelligent video, has made significant strides towards going mainstream in recent years.  VCA today is becoming an increasingly important part of a wider range of security installations, and with the proper planning and decisions, a real driver for business in the industry.

According to Jo Stark, global director of digital video surveillance at IBM, VCA is “becoming pretty much a part of all the conversations for significant video surveillance projects today.” VCA is no longer just an afterthought for an installation but rather it is very often “the core of what’s being discussed as giving particular value for the particular client situation,” Stark said.

In fact in Stark’s experience, VCA is now not only a crucial element of surveillance projects, but often a determining element for both who might win the project and how the whole solution architecture should be put together.

Going forward, one area ripe for expansion, according to Stark, is taking analytics beyond its commonly used real-time alert functions for things like tripwire, intrusion or abandoned object detection, and applying it to the analysis of metadata, or information about information, that has been collected. “More and more there is a need for doing data mining on huge metadata repositories, doing forensic searches,” said Stark.

The ability to do so allows for combining different parameters in a different fashion in order to model new types of alerts that have not been hardcoded in an algorithm by software developers when the software was actually developed and written, he explained.

Two other trends Stark sees are VCA moving beyond the single camera metric and also moving beyond single-vendor solutions. In the vast majority of cases today, something happens in view of one camera, with analytics deployed to assess what’s going on in that particular camera view, explained Stark.

“What we see is a need for having more sophisticated decision support” for those responding to an alert, allowing for “cross-correlation of analytics happening on different, multiple camera views.”

As VCA goes increasingly mainstream, more and more end users will likely want to be able to combine various analytics applications from various vendors in a video management system (VMS). Stark pointed to products like Milestone’s XProtect framework as an example of a company asking “how can we provide hooks into our video management products such that different algorithms from different vendors can be run almost as a plug-in into that software?”
Many VMS companies are working in this direction, and that, combined with all the other standardization work that’s going on via organizations like ONVIF or PSIA will mean significant support for VCA as well.

In the end, integrators, as the link between manufacturers and end users, in many ways hold the key to the future success of VCA. If they do their homework, listen carefully to what customers are looking for, know their products’ capabilities and benefits well, and plan for the future, integrators can use VCA to substantially bolster their business opportunities both today and in the future.

This text is excerpted from an article by Steven Sachoff, editor of Security Systems News Europe. Read the full article here:

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