Intelligent Video has a Bright Future

The costs of video analytics are coming down, and the benefits are expanding far beyond security

Video analytics has been in the high end market of security projects for several years now. Airports, prisons, military bases, and other large scale facilities have deployed intelligent video with some success over the years. However, as with any new technology, it is taking a while for video analytics to really make its way down to the small and mid-sized projects. It's not “mainstream” yet, which of course begs the question: “How long will it be before video analytics becomes a staple technology?”

Your answer largely depends on who you ask. Some industry insiders will tell you that video analytics is already mainstream because it's already popping up in everyday places such as banks and grocery stores. Others argue that the technology still needs to mature and prices have to come way down before it can turn a profit for most security dealers.

So where is the happy medium? The truth is that the video analytics game is changing at an accelerating pace. Manufacturers are entering the mainstream market with simplified solutions tailored to fit what the small or mid-sized customer needs. No, the mainstream market isn't anywhere close to being saturated; and yes, security dealers should still be cautious about implementing intelligent video solutions as data still comes in regarding the returns on investment. But the trend is undeniable: The solutions are becoming better, the prices are coming down, and video analytics is beginning its move into the mainstream.

“We're really at the very beginning of the crest of the wave,” says Mariann McDonagh, VP of global marketing, Verint. “It's probably going to take the next 3 years or so before video analytics becomes a widely accepted, mainstream video application.”
So what will this “wave” look like? How will video analytics be priced for the mainstream market and what real-world problems will it aim to solve? These are the questions addressed in this article.


When looking at the critical i nfrastructure market of video analytics, an important function is “intrusion detection.” Large facilities, such as airports, have such expansive perimeters that it's not feasible for a person (or even many people) to monitor the entire perimeter. This is where a camera with video analytics can do a good job of alerting security personnel when a vehicle or person is exiting or entering an area at a time or place that could be suspicious.

However, this is not what video analytics will look like for the mainstream market. In fact, physical security will be just one of many video analytics applications.
”If you look at the mainstream markets in video, the number one and number two purchasers of CCTV equipment are retailers and banking,” says Alan J. Lipton, chief technology officer, ObjectVideo.

In order to provide a variety of useful solutions for retail stores and banks, video analytics will have to be integrated with other systems. For instance, banks could be very interested in knowing when somebody walks up to an ATM but doesn't start a transaction. The camera (with analytics) can tell that a person has walked up to the ATM, but it can't know whether or not a real transaction is taking place unless it has data from the ATM.

“One of the hot applications for us in the retail space is something called return fraud analysis,” says Vidient's McDonagh. “85% of the employee fraud that occurs within the big box retail chain is actually perpetuated by this one type of fraud: Returns that are rung up when there is no customer present in the aisle. So what our particular analytics solution does through its integration with the point of sales system is it knows when there is a return transaction that is logged and there is no customer physically in the aisle.”

In grocery stores, a video analytic that could be handy is “slip and fall.” If the camera sees a person slip and fall in the store, the proper personnel could be alerted immediately to check out the situation.

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