Managing Video Intelligence, Servers and Analytics

Expectations face harsh reality

The discussion of video analytics can be enough to send anyone’s mind into a complete tailspin: mixed reviews on the pros versus cons; suggestions that video analytics caused a major over-hype causing such mixed reviews; that the disadvantages outshine the benefits. All of these ideas carry some truth, yet the question still remains. Is video analytics really all that it is cracked up to be? Majority vote points to yes, however, there’s tons of information for the integrator to sift through to find out what best fits the customer and the application.

This is not meant to stray from the fact that the overall video surveillance market has seen major improvements in the past few years. DSP technology motivated the use of video content analysis to be embedded on such devices as DVRs and cameras. Developers of encoders and decoders continue to focus on the speed of data transfer over wireless links in addressing video distribution. Megapixel security cameras have seen major growth and advancement in resolution technology, including H.264. IMS Research recently issued a report predicting that the remote video monitoring and surveillance market could grow as large as three times the estimated $158 million 2008 revenue by 2013. One thing is clear–video analytics carries a multiplex of unknowns that developers and manufacturers of these solutions today need to address in order for widespread adoption to occur.

Facing the misconceptions
Misconceptions of video analytics today lead back to its early presence 10 years ago. The overall idea of its progression is that not many major developments have occurred in comparison to the changes in expectations of video analytics. Right now, defining what video analytics is and accomplishes adds to its overall slow growth in the market, also due in fact to the economic strain of the past few years. In a statement about the forecast for 2008, IMS Research reported that the market got off to a slow start in 2008 and claimed it unlikely that the market would grow as fast as it did the year before.

“The market has been very slow to evolve,” said Jack Cabasso, managing director, Aventura Technologies, Hauppauge, N.Y. “The word ‘video analytics’ is an issue. Customers will sometimes stress that they are looking for video analytics but don’t necessarily know what it is they want it to do.”

Part of the struggle in the market is due largely to the fact that expectations were not set properly on what analytics could accomplish.

“Going back three or four years ago, there was a lot of hype around the technology and its capabilities,” explained Peter Wilenius, vice president of Global Marketing, March Networks, Ottawa. “Certainly the promise was far in excess of the actual capabilities so there was a bit of an overpromise on the part of the industry, which has probably slowed things down and has created skepticism as well as reluctance in adoption by both end-users and integrators.”

Still other misconceptions revolve around the technologies that it does apply to.

“Motion detection is mistaken for being video analytics and it creates quite a few false alarms,” said John Whiteman, vice president and general manager, ioimage, Denton, Texas. “People think that they’re getting analytics when in reality they’re getting motion detection and they set it up only to receive all these alarms on inanimate objects that they didn’t want to detect.”

When video analytics first became available, it started out as advanced research and development initiatives meant to protect critical infrastructure initiated by the government, according to Nick Gagvani Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Cernium Corp., Reston, Va.

Targeting what video analytics provides is the differentiating factor among the increasing number of these providers in the security market.

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