Leveraging big data for security

Technology trend in spotlight at NICE Interactions 2013

Although the concept of big data analytics, which involves sifting through large amounts of data streams to provide actionable intelligence, is nothing new in the IT world, many are still trying to figure out how the technology can be applied in the realm of physical security. As last week’s investigation into the bombing at the Boston Marathon proved, however, being able to efficiently comb through mountains of data enables authorities to quickly hone in on vital clues and identify potential suspects.

NICE Systems, a provider of VMS, PSIM and video analytic solutions, believes that big data and being able to mine critical information from the myriad of sensors (cameras, intrusion alarms, etc.) deployed by government entities and private organizations will play a pivotal role in the future of security technology.

“We believe that the security market as we know it is really at an inflection point. The reason we believe that it is at an inflection point is that some trends, all of them combined – technologies, operational aspects, behavioral aspects, the need for clear ROI, the business cases – what we see is that people are not interested in more sensors,” Yaron Tchwella, president of NICE Systems’ Security Group told SIW in an interview at the NICE Interactions conference in Orlando on Tuesday. “People add more sensors, but this is not the essence. The essence is how do extract meaningful insight out of them.”

Essentially, Tchwella said that organizations are more focused on getting the “right information” to the “right people” that enables them to make mission critical decisions in a timely manner. “The ability to solve a case in a short period of time means that you can save the lives of additional people,” Tchwella said referring to last week’s terror attack. “You can do that only through technology.”

Tchwella believes that the value of video surveillance and video analytics will only grow in the coming years. “In order to accelerate and expedite the resolution, you need analytics, you need the ability to manage the situation and you need the ability, post-event, to investigate, to learn and to make sure you’re better prepared for the next time,” he said. “We call it owning the decisive moment in security meaning that you need to make sure that you own it before the event, during the event and post-event.”

According to Tchwella, there has been a huge demand for big data outside physical security, but that figures to change as he said he’s seen an ever increasing need for thousands of cameras to be deployed at one time for large projects such as municipal surveillance integrations. Given the greater of number of cameras that will be coming online over the next several years, users will be clamoring for analytic capabilities to derive intelligence from this mass amount of data being gathered.

“A retail chain will record more than one million hours a year worth of video. For me, this is a huge big data problem,” he said. “If you want to use (video) recording for postmortem investigation, then this is not a big data problem. But if you would like to construct meaningful insight from this information that you invested millions or tens of millions of dollars in, then it requires sophisticated solutions and not just post-event investigation. And even for post-event investigation, how can you accelerate or shorten the time it takes to analyze the data? Video on its own is huge, but there are other systems sometimes related to the operations of a customer and they need to correlate information. What we mean when we say physical security big data problem is the ability to analyze, to filter, to raise flags to make sure the right people will be alerted and getting the right information when it is critical. ”  

Eric Hines, vice president of NICE’s security division in the Americas, said that the company sees big data as a “huge opportunity/challenge” in the security industry.

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