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Video surveillance—there's more than meets the eye

January 21, 2019

We're just beginning to unleash the opportunities afforded to us by video surveillance. Thanks to advances in camera technology, infrastructure and analytics software, video surveillance is helping people maintain situational awareness and solve more problems than ever before.
 
In today’s world, video surveillance offers much more than deterrence based on the visible presence of a tangible camera. A surveillance system’s value is greater than the sum of its component costs. Value is becoming a function of the system’s effectiveness in distilling useful information from mountains of video data. This actionable data can help generate revenue, improve operational efficiencies and even enable real-time actions to prevent or mitigate some of the worst kinds of crimes. Opportunities for solution providers then move well beyond selling cameras to the innumerable possibilities that lie in aggregating and selling actionable data.
 

Here are 4 interesting trends in modern video surveillance:

  1. Adding video surveillance is enabled by the network—Video surveillance is enabled by a shared and ubiquitous structure—i.e., the IT infrastructure. This means that if you’re an IT solution provider, you very much play a role in bringing this security solution to your customers. And, with the infrastructure already in place, adding video surveillance or expanding upon a preexisting setup is less cost-prohibitive.
We live in a time where there’s a thirst for situational awareness and an expectation of 24/7 security. This natural interest, paired with improvements in camera performance and declining costs of cameras and electronic components, makes video surveillance a must-have.
 
  1. Data distillation makes mole hills of out mountains—In the past, video surveillance was monitored by a real human, in real time. The person watching the video feed could then act in case of a robbery, break-in, etc. But what if they missed something? That meant you just missed that data and potentially rendered yourself vulnerable to a threat. We no longer rely on humans manually sifting through mounds of data. Cameras are more comprehensive observers and, as sensors, have capabilities that extend beyond the restrictions of the naked human eye.
  Furthermore, we can now apply distillation criteria to data retroactively. This means that we can sift through the cache of recorded data (at a machine-capable level) based on new and emerging threats or trends rather than having to anticipate specific things you might want to detect in future data.
 
  1. Analytics are revolutionizing video surveillance—We can now synthesize and apply video data in meaningful ways that can bolster security and assist in achieving business goals. Here are a few capabilities afforded to us by video surveillance:
  • Ability to identify and verify specific behaviors and automatically initiate a response
  • Ability to limit bandwidth strain of video surveillance by identifying critical information and discarding the rest
  • Ability to identify anomalies retroactively

With data analysis, video surveillance is a proactive tool. Improved sensors (like video cameras) help us collect more information, but analytics let us leverage and apply this data.

  1. Surveillance is not just about video—As versatile sensors, cameras can be set to monitor more than just the visible spectrum and synthesize data based on heat signature, infrared detection, movement and more. But cameras are far from being the only sensors that contribute to situational awareness. There are numerous business and security applications that monitor the presence of specific captured information like water, sound, smoke, chemicals and more. And, in the age of compute power, the applications of this aggregated data are innumerable and significant.