By Jason House, Regional Security Specialist for Accu-Tech Corporation
Video analytics have been around for years in various forms. The first products on the market were big add-on boxes that analog video feeds would run through, to process the video, and run the analytics. These boxes were expensive and underperforming. Many of them did simple alarm notification by putting a red box around a person that was not supposed to be in a defined area. Most of the capabilities in newer or more recent analytic systems (object left behind, object detection, loitering, opposite direction alarms, people-counting, etc.) were not included in these initial or older systems. Many integrators and end-users did not see the value that these systems provided. In fact, many considered them to be fancy video motion detection systems. Since video motion detection is a standard feature on virtually all DVRs, it was hard for them to justify the added cost of these systems.
Wow…….how times have changed!
Some analytic companies are ditching the expensive box at the head end, and pushing the analytics out to the edge, and into the IP camera or encoder. There are many advantages to this solution, in particular… reduced cost and flexibility. The customer can spend less money by deploying these “ smart cameras” only to areas that really do need the analytical capability of the device.
Many of the leading analytic companies have integrated their cameras and encoders with VMS solutions from Exacq, ONSSI, and Milestone. This allows you to use a mix of analytic and standard IP cameras. Also, with analytics now built into the IP camera, we can use megapixel and HD resolutions. This increases the performance of the camera, and also makes the camera a more active, rather than passive device. It allows you to have guard level security, at the price of a passive CCTV system.
VideoIQ (Bedford, MA) has created an innovative way to deploy analytics. They have developed a decentralized solution that allows recording capability right at the IP camera. By putting a hard drive in the camera, they have eliminated the need to have multiple servers, dedicated networks, and management software. By storing the video at the camera, the system needs less that 10% of the bandwidth used by high definition or standard IP cameras. This would allow the customer to use existing networks. Analytics “ at the camera” also allows for recording resolutions of 1080P at 30FPS, using no bandwidth at all. Video will stream through the network only when an alarm is detected by the analytics.
There are many applications for a VideoIQ solution. A construction site is one of them. Typically, existing infrastructure is hard to come by on a temporary job site. In this case, power is all you would need. The camera(s) could be mounted at the site and a laptop can be connected directly to it to download all alarm events over a defined period of time.
Automobile dealerships can easily leverage this technology by installing a limited number of cameras that would track suspicious persons on their lot when they are closed. The analytical capability of the camera would then “ trip” a recorded message asking the customer to come back during normal business hours.
There have been many advances in video analytics over the last several years. It is no longer simple video motion detection, but rather a way to maximize your video security system. The cost of these systems are decreasing, but the features and benefits are increasing.
(The author, Jason House, is a Regional Security Specialist for Accu-Tech Corporation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)