Figure A: Review time turns from nearly two hours to minutes with Video Synopsis technology.
Figure B: The time-stamped occurrences.
Figure C: Original video can also be accessed immediately.
Photo credit: Screenshots courtesy BriefCam
Having hundreds or even thousands of cameras deployed in municipalities, school campuses, healthcare and other vertical markets is not uncommon. In fact, it's becoming the norm and most people have become accustomed to having cameras in a host of public places.
But the reality of it, whether streams are coming into a central monitoring station or command center, is that little of the video recorded or live is ever viewed. And we all know about operator fatigue when it comes to watching banks of video monitors 24/7.
Everyone agrees there is an urgent need for technologies that can assist operators browsing massive quantities of video. Over the past few years, a number of solutions have launched to varying degrees of success. Analytics are useful in areas where rules can be defined but problems arise in those situations where rule-based technologies cannot be applied.
A unique and unprecedented enabling technology by BriefCam uses a software-based algorithm called Video Synopsis (VS) to allow users to "browse hours in minutes" by creating a summary of the original video to enable rapid review of the surveillance activities.
For the systems integrator, the technology allows them to offer a differentiator in the way of the software, which can be marketed to both existing and new customers. It also adds value to every surveillance deployment, with real results users can see. And when you have a solution that your competition doesn't have, that provides even more value all around.
Video Synopsis technology discards all non-moving events and presents all moving events simultaneously, even if they occurred at different times. Operators watch the short synopsis and, using a few easy-to-learn tools, sort through the information rapidly. On average, one hour of footage is reduced to one minute of viewing time.
These illustrations (below) provide an example of what a one-hour and 51 minute-long video looks like after VS software processing. Review time becomes two minutes and 37 seconds (Figure A). The operator can still identify individual elements and, by using the "Time Stamp" tool (Figure B), know what time each event occurred. If an event seems suspicious, the operator can click on it to immediately access the original video (Figure C).
All this couldn't work without keeping the human "in the loop" and this is where the solution differs from others that attempt to automate the review process. BriefCam doesn't filter out a single event; all events are presented on the screen. It relies on human instinct, intelligence and experience to make the judgment call. It works because the human brain is still faster than any computer in determining what appears unusual and what does not.
Real world use cases for VS
There are many potential use cases-scenarios where the technology can be implemented, such as entrance gates, perimeter fences and parking lots-which are heavily monitored by CCTV. These areas can be monitored for suspicious activity in near real-time. Using VS Forensics, post-event investigation (for example, of car-break-ins) can be conducted in minutes, rather than the usual hours.
Another real-world example: customers using ATM cash machines are vulnerable to theft and strong-armed robbery. Video surveillance of these machines is commonplace. Rapid review of video footage can assist in identifying perpetrators and allow security personnel to take action before the thieves take flight. At one corporate campus, BriefCam helped security officers successfully locate a person who had taken cash left mistakenly at a machine. The complaint was filed several hours after the cash was forgotten; using Video Synopsis the incident was identified within 1.5 minutes of review.
Here are other potential use cases for the technology:
- Routine review: Total Video Review (TVR) can process all footage at the beginning and/or end of each shift.
- Security breaches: Live or recorded, the technology can be used to monitor suspicious activity in near real-time or post-event investigation that can be conducted in minutes, rather than hours.
- Suspicious behavior: Routine daily review of CCTV footage engages human operators and leverages their intelligence, instinct and experience in identifying suspicious behavior patterns and individuals.
- Dead zones: Cameras monitoring these areas are seldom watched (research has shown that operators tend to monitor busy areas only), yet it is these quiet, out-of-the-way places where crimes often occur. Regular monitoring of such quiet or "Dead Zones" using Video Synopsis can result in the discovery of activities that had, up until that point, evaded exposure.
- Quick lockdown: Security breaches or children gone missing often result in lockdown situation in which no one is allowed entry or exit to the premises. BriefCam Video Synopsis can speed up the process by allowing rapid review from relevant cameras in minutes, rather than hours, enabling effective localized real-time action.
- Warehouse monitoring: CCTV is standard for warehouse monitoring. However, watching the vast amounts of video footage generated daily is an almost insurmountable task, and most events are investigated only after the fact. Routine use of Video Synopsis on each shift enables previously unknown events to be revealed. In case of a real-time event, on-the-spot review enables informed decisions to be made and acted upon.
- Slip and fall claims: Accidents resulting from persons slipping and falling can result in lawsuits costing millions. If aid is provided within the first few minutes of the accident, clients will often not press charges, resulting in a clear savings and ROI.
BriefCam's vision for the future is to make TVR part of the daily security routine, so all events can be reviewed in full at the beginning or end of each shift-and that means all of them, not just the unusual ones.
Partnering with leading video management software manufacturers, an integrated version called VS Online allows users to review recorded video on the spot. It also markets an offline version, called VS Forensics, for post-event investigation. A new enterprise-class version near release will give users the best of both worlds: constant Video Synopsis availability for immediate inquiry plus on-demand functionality for in-depth investigation.
Marketed through channel partners, the technology can add great value to an integrator's arsenal of value-add propositions to the customer, especially but not limited to cities and municipalities, transportation and other high-traffic, camera- saturated locations.
Dror Irani, CEO of BriefCam, has 25 years of business and management experience gained in leading positions in the Israeli high-tech industry.