Video Surveillance: Analytics Hits its Stride

This year, we’ve seen a lot of growth in analytics in the retail sector,” said Steve Gorski, general manager, Americas, Mobotix. “We attribute that to the significant benefits and return on investment that an IP surveillance solution can provide. Also, retailers are finding that they can leverage IP cameras for uses beyond security and surveillance. With the incorporation of video analytics, video becomes a management tool to optimize business operations. For example, analytics are valuable to gauge staffing levels and measure the number of customers in the store at a given time, dwell times, traffic flow patterns and more. This intelligence enables the cost of a video surveillance system to be spread across multiple departments with a retail organization because now marketing and human resources can tap into the value of video.”

 

Analytics processing tool

Mobotix announced at its late-year 2012 Partner Conference that the Q24M-Sec hemispheric camera would feature analytics with an integrated MxAnalytics video analysis. MxAnalytics is a processing tool that allows small retail stores as well as public buildings such as museums or airports to receive important information that goes beyond traditional security. The video analytics tools are designed to enhance data processing inside the camera, offering new information sources for process optimization and even marketing purposes. For example, MxAnalytics makes it possible to monitor people and objects and collect statistical data. Specifically, heat maps provide an analysis made of contour lines in the image, with the camera showing how often each line is passed over within a specified period. The most frequented areas are highlighted in color on a heat map, the results are saved in the camera and can be exported via various interfaces. Video motion analysis can be saved as daily, weekly or monthly reports in a table and exported via various interfaces. This can take place fully automatically and individually for any number of addressees.

 

More than security

Which shelves in the shop are attracting the most customers? Which products at the exhibition booth hold the attention of the visitors most? Which waiting areas in the departure hall are preferred on Mondays between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m.? Software such as this makes it possible to reliably capture and evaluate the movement of people or objects in the live image.

Using counting lines to count people and objects and generate observation data is another valuable tool. How many people pass by a specific entrance in an hour or a day? And what direction were they coming from?

“The retail market is relying more on video analytic applications than they have in the past,” Gorski said. “Hospitality is another vertical that also finds significant value through the use of video analytics. Casinos, hotels and restaurants can monitor customer traffic efficiently through the use of this technology.”

 

Intelligence at the edge

The addition of video analytics on surveillance cameras is a growing trend in the market and many manufacturers, including Mobotix, are looking to embed intelligence within their cameras. There are many benefits to incorporating analytics at the edge but most importantly this approach dramatically reduces bandwidth and storage requirements by eliminating the need to send video data across the network to a centralized server.

“With analytics, video becomes a management tool to optimize business operations. For example, analytics can be used to gauge staffing levels and measure the number of customers in the store at a given time, monitor dwell times and traffic flow patterns, and enhance customer service. Adding video analytics turns video data into business intelligence and therefore, this enables departments beyond security and loss prevention to benefit from a surveillance system. Taking that into account, the cost of a video surveillance system can then be divided across multiple departments within an organization because multiple stakeholders, such as marketing and human resources, for example, can tap into the value of video.”

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