19 August 2009

Video analytics growth ignores recession


Despite constraints on most sectors as a result of the worldwide recession, the global video surveillance market posted a 10 percent growth rate in 2008 and 2009 and is on track to accelerate when the economy starts to recover, according to ABI Research.


In fact, the prognosis for the growth of this new technology is so good that ABI Research predicts the total market will be worth more than $41 billion in 2014, a figure not to be sneezed at, says Jack Edery, CEO of Elvey Security Technologies.


As one of South Africa’s leading suppliers of cutting-edge surveillance technology, Edery says the growing popularity and utilisation of video analytics (also called intelligent video or video content analysis) comes, at least in part, on the back of recession-based crime.


Edery, who describes video analytics as the computerised identification of events and objects, says its strength lies in its ability to automatically identify items of interest without human assistance.


The arrival of video analytics, intended to improve on the surveillance capabilities of closed circuit television (CCTV), has not been without controversy, though.  Over-promised and under-delivered in numerous instances, the technology in its infancy proved a big disappointment to many end-user pioneers.   However, in its new, refined form, Edery says it is starting to transform the way security, safety and marketing images are monitored and reviewed.


Discernable move

There is a discernable move from analogue to IP (Internet Protocol) surveillance, says Elvey’s Marketing Manager Kenny Chiu.  He explains why:  “Initially, set-ups were complex and confusing, which resulted in operating errors, poor performance and unacceptably high levels of down time.  Coupled with the high cost of implementation - sometimes as much as R9 000 per camera - and one can see why video analytics started off on the wrong foot.”


However, says Chiu, after going back to the drawing board, the technology has reached a point where it is successfully combining advanced features and capabilities with affordability and easy installation and operation. 


Great need

That there is a great need for video analytics is indisputable, he maintains.  “Research shows that the efficiency level of the operator drops dramatically over a period of time and that after little more than 20 minutes, the average operator takes in only about 5% of the information presented.”


He continues: “A typical CCTV control room comprises banks of monitors that are only effective for as long as the operator is concentrating enough to be able to spot anything out of the ordinary.   While the use of Video Motion Detection (VMD) has become a standard in all CCTV installations, potentially providing operators with more information and accordingly more scope to deal with false alarms, it remains very limited in its application and vulnerable to outside conditions and camera positioning.”


Which is where video analytics comes in.


Says Chiu: “Through the combined use of algorithms, intelligent software and IP-based video surveillance technology, video analytics is able to analyze video for specific data, behaviour and objects. 


He continues: “Video analytics, as its name suggests, enables video to be accurately and quickly analysed for specific data such as behaviour patterns, movement tracking, perimeter violation, people counting and license plate recognition.  Another reason for the growing take-up of this technology is that it allows digitized audiovisual streams to be sent to and viewed from anywhere in the world.  In addition, video analytics adjust automatically to lighting and discriminatory conditions.  And it reduces data storage requirements and costs.   Small wonder then that government, retail, business, industry and manufacturing sectors the world over are increasingly keen on the use of this technology.”


The future of video analytics

Far from their original set-up complexity, Chiu says today’s best video analytic systems are easy to install.  They are also cost-effective and simply integrated into good legacy and CCTV systems, hence his prediction that the technology will become indispensable to the retail, industrial, manufacturing, processing and banking sectors in the near future.  “Not only will video analytics curb or contain crime such as shrinkage, burglary and robbery, it also has a significant role to play in terms of reducing workplace bullying and violence.”


Further, he predicts its increasing utilisation on high-risk sites, owing to its ability to provide accurate, real-time event footage in a wide range of applications.


Elvey Marketing