Using Video Analytics at Industrial Sites

How changing threats, compliance issues and intrinsic site challenges are furthering the need for automatic video solutions

Additionally, intelligent video's core value lies in the fact that security guards cannot be everywhere at once. All too often, they discover a problem only after the damage is done and after the thieves have already fled with valuables. With automatic intelligent video monitoring, security officers are tipped-off rather than having to discover events for themselves during scheduled patrols. Because everything is being watched with nonstop vigilance and accelerated detection, it relieves the burden of roving patrols and allows for efficient use of personnel with a system that's easy to operate. For example, technology today enables security guards to use portable monitors, such as PDAs, that provide alarm video and camera control from the field thus adding mobility and reducing unwatched monitoring.

In the past, improving security at industrial facilities often meant adding more cameras and the correlated monitors and watch staff needed for the additional surveillance. With complicated sites requiring a high number of cameras, the personnel costs for real-time monitoring could grow beyond the security director's budget. Thanks to intelligent video and its ability to automatically detect someone entering a perimeter, security guards only need to view and respond to actual alarm events rather than watching hours of motionless video. Because intelligent video applications are designed as stand-alone solutions, even if no one sees the video, deterrent actions can automatically be initiated, such as playing audible warnings to vacate.

For multi-site locations, the network capabilities of intelligent video appliances allows a centralized dispatcher to handled thousands of cameras from a remote location rather than stationing persons at each location. This includes two-way communication, commanding dry contacts and controlling cameras. Also, pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras with intelligent video can provide hands-free tracking that releases guards from manually operating joystick controls.

Analytics and Security Automation

Consider some common analytics that can be applied to an industrial security setting: Intelligent video detection can distinguish between vehicles and people and even limit detection to a specific direction, so when a scrap-metal thief climbs over a fence it will be detected, but an employee car leaving the facility would be ignored. Automatic detection of object removal can be used to limit detection to items that are of interest, whether it is the taking of a warehouse computer or a pallet of copper piping from a storage yard. Automatic detection of unattended objects can reveal when a box of product is tossed over the fence by an employee for post-work retrieval or alarm when a suspicious package is placed next to liquid propane tanks. Automatic detection of stopped cars can notify security when a vehicle stops for too long of a period in a prohibited area. Autonomous pan-tilt-zoom tracking, unlike stationary cameras, can provide automatic close-ups of a moving target for better recognition or real-time tracking of a camouflaged intruder's whereabouts.

Many of today's industrial facilities have seen more automation. The valve that was once turned by hand is now an electric valve that is remotely controlled from the operations center. It's part of a process that requires less labor for hazardous locations at industrial sites, as safety and insurance concerns have dictated the operations landscape. At the same time, integrated electronic systems are creating the same automation possibilities for security systems.

There is considerable flexibility in intelligent video security solution, for example, with intelligent video interfacing and event engines, lights can be turned on, barriers raised, doors locked, and warnings announced automatically on an alarm event. Additionally, intelligent video supports scheduling of different detection types, such as for late night or shift change scenarios. PTZ camera tours offer a different detection mode on each preset scene and the advanced synchronized handoff of moving intruders from stationary camera detection to autonomous PTZ cameras provides autonomous robot-like tracking.

Finding More Benefits

Beyond cutting labor costs and providing cost-saving security alternatives, intelligent video offers significant returns that make deployment more than worthwhile.

It makes security personnel accountable for all alarms, offers notification, recording and deterrent messages/actions for prohibited entry into controlled or hazardous areas and helps meet security conformance, avoiding non-compliance citations and negative publicity. Intelligent video solutions also can increases scene safety for responders, providing remote analysis capabilities and PTZ tracking for informed response and constant visuals on intruders.