Keeping Campuses Safe with Video Content Analytics

VCA fills in the gaps where humans have blind spots and can facilitate more rapid and accurate video footage analysis than manual inspection.

Keeping Campuses Safe with Video Content Analytics

Photo via Adobe, by elnariz

Educational institutions from K-12 through grad school are increasingly taking a more proactive approach to safety and security. One key technology that is making a difference is video content analytics (VCA), which enables schools to make their security footage searchable, actionable, and quantifiable.

VCA fills in the gaps where humans have blind spots and can facilitate more rapid and accurate video footage analysis than manual inspection. Not only can the technology identify and classify all the objects in the frame, including people, vehicles and other items of interest, but it can also effectively file and index the objects, enabling campus security officers to filter video content based on these and additional criteria like clothes color, gender, walking speed and direction. It then aggregates this data, so it can be displayed and easily interpreted through graphs, heatmaps, and histograms.

By harnessing video intelligence, VCA can empower operators to both keep the campus safe and ensure that it is running efficiently. It enables campuses of all sizes to leverage their video data in order to understand and analyze on-site incidents and traffic patterns. By unlocking the power of video, schools can optimize emergency response and investigations and improve security performance across campus by:

  • Accelerating Investigations: Enabling security officers to rapidly and effectively review video to understand threats and investigate incidents.
  • Providing Situational Awareness: Giving context on the entire situation and enabling proactive response to emergencies through real-time alerts.
  • Driving Operational Intelligence: Facilitating operational efficiency for both the school and on-campus businesses with access to actionable intelligence based on video metadata.

These capabilities enable schools to employ VCA for multiple use cases, including:

  • Traffic Flow and Logistics: VCA can provide important insights on pedestrian traffic patterns, both within campus buildings and between them. Schools can use this data to facilitate smooth operation, relieve any crowding on stairs and elevators, and minimize the number of students walking in the street rather than on sidewalks and safe pathways.
  • Event Planning: Planning large-scale campus events can be extremely challenging and stressful, so management teams are increasingly using comprehensive data from VCA software to guide their actions and decision-making. Situational awareness regarding foot and vehicle traffic, crowding, and building occupancy increases the effectiveness of service, maintenance, and operations staff. Planners can proactively prepare for expected traffic volumes by increasing signage, parking, and staffing, ensuring that all events are streamlined and safe for the attendees.
  • Public Health and COVID-19: Unfortunately, the pandemic will be part of our reality for at least the immediate future. Campuses can use VCA’s people counting capabilities to alert personnel when room and building capacity limits are exceeded. VCA can also identify when people are violating mask mandates and putting other students at risk.
  • General Campus Security: VCA can enhance campus security by detecting intrusions and suspicious behavior. The system can be configured to detect and notify campus personnel if lights are turned on during irregular hours – an event, which may require further inspection to validate that there is no risk to campus dwellers or property. Similarly, if students or visitors are lingering for an exceptionally long time in a certain area, indicating possible suspicious behavior or even a medical emergency, the system can send an alert to security staff so they can assess the situation.
  • Crime: No campus is immune to petty theft and other minor crimes. From pickpocketing and bike theft to graffiti, vandalism and even fist fighting, VCA technology can help security staff investigate and solve cases quickly.

One leading university is leveraging VCA on a 3,000-camera video surveillance installation to secure the school’s 2,000-acre campus, which features more than 900 buildings and hosts 65,000 students per day. Shortly after the VCA implementation, the school began experiencing a scourge of thefts, so campus security and local law enforcement were soon heavily involved in investigations. Through the use of VCA, they were able to significantly reduce the security video review time and solve the crimes quickly. Law enforcement praised the high-tech system, stating that “what would normally take several days can be investigated in an hour or two.”

VCA Can Help Students, Parents Feel Safer

When choosing an educational institution, most students and parents are as concerned about safety as they are about school reputation, classes offered, location, cost and other considerations. By implementing VCA security, schools are making their students and faculty safer by helping campus security not only solve issues that occur on campus but prevent them from happening altogether.

Stephanie Weagle is CMO of BriefCam.

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