Managing Video Intelligence, Servers and Analytics

Expectations face harsh reality

“There are a lot of people who label things as video analytics and it’s questionable as to whether or not those are really video analytics or they’re some subset of what an analytics system can be,” said John Szczygiel, president, Mate-Intelligent Video, McLean, Va. “Consumers have to be careful and take a hard look at what the company is really offering. I’ve seen a number of manufacturers recently who will make a big splashy advertisement abut their video analytics but if you look a little deeper into it, the analytics that they’re describing are things like detecting video loss, camera tampering or perhaps a simple type of video motion detection. True, those are forms of video analytics, but I believe that when most consumers think about video analytics, they’re envisioning more robust capabilities.”

Identifying the goal
Video analytics applies to a number of applications. Video motion detection, which is the most basic, according to Fredrik Nilsson, general manager, Axis Communications, Chelmsford, Mass., does help to filter out a lot of the activity. Camera tampering and license plate recognition also receive decent commercial traction.

“Today analytics encompasses a lot of things to different people,” said Whiteman. “People count, facial recognition, tailgating. But intrusion detection remains the No. 1 analytic choice for the market and is the No. 1 revenue-generator for analytics globally.”

The main goal of video analytics is to analyze video using software algorithms and it is important to define its realistic expectations.
•           Video analytics is more of an aid then a replacement.
•           Finding applications where false alarms are not a big issue and can be dealt
with reasonably.
•           Providing ease-of-use.
•           To increase operator efficiency and security.
•           Key goals of video analytics are automation and gathering intelligence about
the facilities.

Hardware versus software solutions
Many video analytics providers offer video analytics as a multiple integrated solution with video management software, while other companies follow the embedded-technology approach, offering the video analytics directly on the device.

“We provide hardware and software and tell people, ‘with a hardware-based system you’re going to be limited to these functions-here are the false alarms you’re going to have and why you’re going to have them,’” said Cabasso. In other words, software-based solutions allow for establishing parameters specific to the environment in which it will operate.

“Embedding the video analytics on the camera today means a tradeoff in performance,” said Szczygiel. “If a camera is an IP camera and it does encoding and video analytics, it’s typically either a really good encoder or video analytics platform.”
Other technologies that are improving the use of video analytics is that of encoders and decoders.

“Encoders and decoders are essential in video analytics solutions,” explained Gagvani. “I think it is an incorrect perception today that analytics requires an investment and replacement of the existing infrastructure. You can give existing analog infrastructure a new lead of life by employing analytics-enabled encoders.”

Video analytics takes a new stand
With endless discussions on video analytics, it is vital for present developers of this solution to remember what unmet expectations can mean.

“People have a strong desire for this technology because the promise of video analytics is that it will automate the most mundane part of active surveillance and enable guard-like protection to a much wider portion of the market at lower operating cost,” said Scott Schnell, president and CEO, VideoIQ, Bedford, Mass.

With the many video analytics providers as there are today, it is vital to know your target audience in providing the right solutions for the right end-user.

“The technology has had time to mature,” said Warren Brown, director of Product Management for Access Control and Video Systems (ACVS), Tyco International, Princeton, N.J. “Particularly server-side analytics, leading providers can now credibly state, ‘here is the clear value proposition of how this side of analytics generates return and value for surveillance and security professionals.’”

Today’s expectations of video analytics are definitely more realistic.

“For the video analytics portion, it is still for the most part a niche market although it is growing,” said Richard Caballero, vice president of Channel Sales, Aimetis Corp., Waterloo, Canada. “From a system maintenance standpoint, that is where a lot of our partners need a lot of support and potentially may be a threat if they don’t know what they are doing.”