Can Video Analytics Be Justified?

Intelligent video might make more financial sense than you think.

• What are the odds of your detecting it? This, of course, is where video analytics really shines. “We have a retail shopping mall customer that found a clip of an alleged assault with less than a minute of searching. It would have taken days to search the DVR for that video, if they could have found it at all,” said Chambers.
For some situations, such as protection of artwork, statues, mobile objects such as aircraft on the tarmac, or detecting a stalled car on a bridge, there is no other effective and flexible approach. “Most often, the payback is not so much gains in efficiency as it is effectiveness of what you are already doing, as well as doing things that you simply can’t do any other way,” said Szczygiel.

Let’s face it; staring at a monitor for hours on end is not very valuable. The odds of detecting one of the rules you decided to look for goes up dramatically when a computer is doing the monitoring.

• Is there a real risk? The other piece to the justification equation is simple. If an incident does occur, what are the losses likely to be? Do they justify the investment? “We are looking for any tools we can add to the toolbox that lower our risks. We purchased a video analytics system because it will help us do things we simply could never do before,” said Tim Bohr, surveillance director of the Foxwoods Casino Resort in Mashantucket, CT.

Beyond the Finances
As the algorithms get better and hardware gets more powerful, video analytics will continue to become less expensive and easier to justify. That’s good news, because the real story here is a technology that dramatically improves our ability to provide effective security. Rather than question how to justify video analytics capability, the limited capacity of a human to watch 10 monitors at once makes me wonder how you could justify installing a system without it.

Rich Anderson is the president of Phare Consulting, a firm providing technology and growth strategies for the security industry. A 25-year veteran of high tech electronics, Mr. Anderson previously served as the VP of Marketing for GE Security and the VP of Engineering for CASI-RUSCO. He can be reached at