IBM Corp. hopes to capitalize on the enormous growth in video surveillance by selling technology from its research labs that performs real-time analysis on footage captured by security cameras in stores and sensitive locales.
Several companies already offer systems that can alert security guards if something unusual appears to be going on - such as someone entering an off-limits room or a jewelry store employee leaving a key in a display case.
But IBM contends that it is the first to add advanced search functions that make use of computers' improving ability to recognize video content. For example, the IBM system would let a user search for all instances of a green car passing by a store on a certain day.
The so-called S3 - Smart Surveillance System - also can incorporate data gathered from audio or chemical sensors. And IBM said S3 includes important privacy enhancements, such as the ability to automatically obscure faces of customers or passers-by.
Joseph LaRocca, vice president for loss prevention at the National Retail Federation, said that while he had not seen IBM's technology, the entry of such a large company into the market figured to help lower the prices and improve the capabilities of video analytics products.