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What is Video Analytics and how does it work?

Video Analytics, or Video Content Analysis as it is sometimes referred, is the ability to analyse video content in real-time or post-event. Here at NEC New Zealand, our Enhanced Video Analytics (EVA) takes real-time video biometrics capture to the next level. 

Leveraging our market-leading NeoFace Watch system, our facial recognition software can be used to analyse ‘as it happens’ video feeds or for post-event video analysis. Video Analytics has a wide range of practical uses and is utilised by a number of sectors worldwide including public safety and law enforcement, immigration, health and border control agencies. 

Enabling users to analyse video in real-time or post-event through existing video capture systems has huge implications from a safety and security perspective, with wide-scale benefits. For example, the use of Video Analytics in airports can identify passengers while on the move to ease their journey through airport and baggage check-in and during the aircraft on-boarding and off-boarding process. It can also help to identify potential threats such as unrecognised personnel in real-time and allow officers to take action. On the flip side, the misuse of Video Analytics can also be seen as a breach of privacy and one that recently came to light in London, UK

As is always the case with emerging technologies, it’s important that the frameworks and legislation that govern the use of the technology keep pace with the technology itself. This will ensure that Video Analytics is used in order to ensure public safety and security and not as a way of invading people’s privacy. 

How Video Analytics works 

Video Analytics has allowed businesses to operate much more efficiently. In the past, security staff might have to monitor multiple camera feeds from security cameras located both inside and outside a building. Identifying potential issues manually is simply unmanageable and ultimately ineffective. 

The use of Video Analytics has drastically improved the process of monitoring video streams. The software helps to process video streams so that human monitors are no longer overwhelmed, helping companies to monitor their spaces more effectively. 

Video Analytics works by using an algorithm which is linked to a database to help identify individual at high speed. With the ability to capture and process thousands of faces per minute, at real-time video speeds, the technology can, remove the need for manual operator interaction. 

Once a face has been identified the software can then send an alert should anything or anybody that is unexpected or out of the ordinary be detected. 

The benefits of Video Analytics 

At NEC, we have been working with a wide range of sectors, to improve safety and security at border control and large scale events. Our Video Analytics is also used by businesses who, for example, wish to admit the appropriate employees to secure areas or facilities without interrupting their passage or workflow. The technology has a wide range of applications which bring benefits across many sectors.  

Here are some of the benefits of using Video Analytics: 

  • High speed – Video Analytics allows for the processing of thousands of faces per min- ideal for crowd management, people counting, object detection and more. 
  • Identify individuals in real time – Video Analytics in the workplace presents a seamless way of identifying staff members which is completely contactless as people can be Identified as they pass or in a crowd in real time. 
  • Post-Event Analysis – Analyse previously-captured footage for individual identification. This is particularly effective at large events such as sports matches or concerts, where footage can be reviewed after the event in situations where trouble has arisen. 
  • Analysis of less than perfect video footage – Analyse low resolution, poor image quality or video captured at challenging angles. 
  • Easily integrated, unobtrusive with zero operator interaction – No attendant necessary, easy to deploy with web-based thin-client and easily integrated with existing business processes. 
  • Efficiency savings – By using Video Analytics, companies can save huge amounts of man hours by allowing sophisticated algorithms to monitor video footage. Analytics filters can be intelligently tailored to meet specific security or business needs, making them even more efficient for your business. 

Drawbacks of Video Analytics 

Whilst the benefits of Video Analytics are numerous and wide ranging, the use of the technology comes with some drawbacks. These drawbacks are not specific to the technology, but more to do with the way the technology is being deployed. 

We have already touched on a recent incident in London, where a company near Kings Cross Station used Video Analytics to monitor and scan thousands of people passing by their development without notification and without permission. They are currently under investigation by the Information Commissioner about their unsolicited use of the technology. Scanning people without their knowledge or understanding is a potential breach of privacy and there are growing concerns about the use of the technology, both by law enforcement agencies buy also in the private sector. 

The future of Video Analytics 

Whilst it remains clear that video analytics will continue to be rolled out across more and more sectors, with widening applications, there is also a sense that more regulatory control is needed, especially within the private sector. The use of Video Analytics has so many exciting applications, however, the way privacy is maintained and regulated will play a huge role in the future confidence, roll-out and applicability of Video Analytics. 

The future of Video Analytics will also include a wider use of machine learning – an understanding of certain situations, context and learned behaviour by the technology used to help make the process of identifying people and objects much more efficient. Artificial intelligence will change the way Video Analytics is applied, freeing up the operators who are tasked with analysing video footage to focus on the things that really matter rather than spending hours looking at footage where little happens. 

Summary 

As one of the global leaders in Enhanced Video Analytics, we are constantly working on new ways to apply the technology in a way that allows companies to act responsibly when it comes to the privacy of the general public. To talk to us about our current capabilities with Enhanced Video Analytics or to find out more about our world-leading facial recognition software, speak to the team today. 

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