Rapid and robust technological advances have transformed the video surveillance market in recent years.
But perhaps none more so than 2023. Artificial intelligence (AI) came of age with the debut and rapid adoption of ChatGPT, which started a worldwide debate around the need for regulation. It was also the year we finally put the COVID pandemic behind us, resulting in projects being revived, a resurgence in sales, and like other AI technology, the adoption of video equipped with AI surged in the U.S. across a wide variety of sectors.
From enhancing security measures to improving operational efficiency, video surveillance has become indispensable for businesses, organizations, and public spaces.
No one has a crystal ball, and even though we’re living in uncertain geopolitical times and heading into an election year, surveillance in the U.S. is still set to shape the future of security and safety in 2024 and will likely also come of age in tackling other operational challenges.
1a) Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Security and Safety
The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into cameras, software and other devices has revolutionized the use of surveillance cameras.
Today, AI-powered video analytics algorithms can analyze huge amounts of video data in real-time, enabling proactive and much quicker threat detection and response compared to conventional video analytics.
Through inherent neural network developed functions, such as object detection and usual behavior analysis, AI-based video surveillance systems can identify suspicious activities and generate alerts for immediate action. This technology has proven invaluable in preventing crimes, optimizing operations, and enhancing overall security.
Looking ahead to 2024, we predict AI will be adopted even by smaller organizations, as it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. There is now a much wider choice beyond specialist software or VMS-based AI; an array of edge AI camera models can target specific high-risk areas, as well as powerful PTZs with auto-tracking for perimeters. Smaller businesses can also opt for AI plug-in devices with essential security analytics such as line crossing, intrusion, face, and object detection.
1b) AI for Business Intelligence
Today’s brick-and-mortar retailers can leverage AI to keep their competitive edge and enhance their return on investment and return on experience (ROX). Using high- performance video technology, behavior analysis can be applied to a physical retail environment to understand what potential customers look at, for how long, and what buying decisions they ultimately make.
AI-powered video can present data to store managers via intuitive dashboards, including people counting, heap maps and zones, which empowers them with actionable intelligence to change store layouts, promotions, and merchandise displays to increase sales and profitability.
Integrated into wider POS and ERP systems, headquarters staff can analyze video data correlated with sales transactions, branch-by-branch, to boost store performance by optimizing staffing levels by day, week, or month and ensure optimal stock levels.
Instead of a ‘one size fits all’ approach, marketing departments can conduct A/B testing to tailor their messaging, promotions, and customer services to improve return on investment and the customer experience of individual or regional groups of stores.
AI video also spells good news for mall operators looking to attract viable retail brands by arming them with the ammunition they need to demonstrate precisely where their shopping center has the right customer footprint and profile.
2) Advancing Camera Technology
The quality and capabilities of surveillance cameras continue to improve. 5MP cameras are rapidly becoming the standard in many sectors, providing clearer images that can be useful for identification purposes and forensic analysis.
Moreover, cameras with advanced features such as panoramic views and low-light capabilities are becoming more accessible. Fisheyes and multi-imager cameras provide 180-to-360-degree coverage, often enabling the same coverage of three to four fixed-lens cameras.
These advancements allow for more comprehensive surveillance coverage and better performance in a variety of environmental conditions including providing full color in darkness. And its higher definition cameras that will enable customers to adopt AI-powered video analytics with the assurance they’ll get accurate results for security or business intelligence purposes.
3) Mobile Surveillance
Cloud and mobile applications have extended the capabilities of video surveillance systems. Mobile surveillance allows users to access live or recorded video footage and configure cameras and devices directly from devices remotely, providing real-time monitoring and management capabilities on the move.
This trend has proven to be particularly useful for businesses with multiple locations or for individuals who want to keep an eye on their property while on the go. Mobile surveillance not only enhances security but also provides smaller organizations without 24/7 guarding or control rooms with peace of mind that no matter the time of day or their location, they’ll be alerted to threats and can oversee activities such as stock deliveries.
4) Cybersecurity and Privacy
Many surveillance systems can be vulnerable to hacking and cyber-attacks. End-users and their integration partners are focusing on securing their devices and networks and implementing stronger encryption, regular software updates, and other cybersecurity best practices to protect against unauthorized access to prevent tampering with video evidence and the potential of spoofing.
Ethical or white-hat penetration testing is becoming more prevalent as organizations seek to test the robustness of their surveillance systems to identify cyber vulnerabilities.
Increasingly, more companies, as well as tradeshows, are using authorizing ethical hackers to carry out a range of cyber-attacks to uncover threats before hackers discover and exploit them. Penetration testing helps organizations achieve several information security goals, from risk assessment to incident response.
As video surveillance becomes more prevalent, privacy concerns have also come to the forefront. To address these concerns, there’s been more emphasis on implementing privacy protection measures in video surveillance systems.
These include anonymization of personal data, encryption of transmitted and stored footage, and compliance with data protection regulations. By prioritizing privacy protection, organizations can ensure that their video surveillance systems not only enhance security but also respect individuals' rights.
In the future, we’ll likely see a trend toward implementing regulations that govern the use of video surveillance. For instance, some jurisdictions require clear signage indicating the presence of surveillance cameras, while others have strict guidelines about how long footage can be stored. Like GDPR in the EU, compliance with U.S. regulations will likely become an integral part of video surveillance operations.
5) Third-Party Integration
For larger organizations, video surveillance is commonly integrated with other security systems such as access control, intruder, and fire detection systems. These integrations allow for a more comprehensive and proactive approach to security management. For example, when an alarm is triggered, video surveillance can automatically focus on the corresponding area and provide real-time visual verification.
Organizations can create a more robust and efficient security infrastructure by combining multiple security systems.
Video intercoms linked to door controls also enable end-users to better secure their facilities affordably such as schools, places of worship, medical clinics, etc.
Video surveillance trends in the U.S. reflect a broader move towards smarter, more integrated security solutions. From AI to cloud and cybersecurity, these advancements transform how we approach safety, security and other operational challenges across various sectors. While these technologies offer numerous benefits, balancing them with ethical considerations and privacy regulations is important.
As we continue to witness rapid changes and the evolution of AI, staying informed and up to date with the latest technology will become essential for integration.
For organizations looking to upgrade or implement new video surveillance systems, it's important to consider these trends and how they align with specific security, safety, operational needs, and objectives. By embracing these innovations responsibly, we can enhance security and safety while respecting individual privacy rights.
About the Author: Jason Burrows is IDIS America’s regional sales director, Western U.S., in charge of all sales operations in the western half of North America. With over twenty-eight years of security industry experience, Burrows has held key positions with the largest brands in video surveillance manufacturing and distribution. Throughout his career, he has worked closely with integration firms and large-scale end-users including military, education, cruise lines, theme parks, shipping ports, metro transit, and major municipalities.