Boosting Officer Effectiveness with Video Analytics
Integrating video analytics into security officer response tool-sets enables hospitals, schools and universities to improve security and officer efficiency.
More hospitals, schools and universities committed to ensuring their campuses and communities are safe are looking to align with contract security partners who can provide efficient and effective security solutions while reducing overall labor costs.
How can these institutions ensure maximum priority for safety and security while managing restrictive budgets? The answer might be video analytics. Integrating this technology into the security officers’ response tool-sets enables healthcare and educational institutions to be more proactive, preventive and strategic.
“In the era where the ‘Internet’ is king, video analytics have become a topic of excitement, confusion and deliberation,” says Ty Richmond, president, national accounts and integrated systems technology for Allied Universal. What is video analytics and what impact can it have on your security program?
Video Analytics Offers Real-time Perimeter Detection
“Real video analytics focuses on analysis and classification of a live video stream,” says Richmond. “A security camera is designed to act like a human eye, and it captures images in real time as a data stream. Video analytics examines the new information and compares it to pre-classified objects based on a variety of metrics that are contingent on the sophistication of the analytics. Good video analytics allows for a custom-tailored approach to creating protocols for when, why and how to be notified.”
True video analytics are not merely simple motion detection cameras. They are more intelligent and operate in a manner that also analyzes information as opposed to simply detecting motion or pixel change. This permits a higher level of customization and a more significant reduction of false alarms than previous technologies. The value is largely focused on receiving real-time alerts when the analytics are triggered and eliminating as many false alarms and false positives as possible through proper setup.
Technology Allows Hospitals to Save Money
Video analytics in hospital settings can result in capturing video that mitigates the expenses associated with prescription drug theft, fraudulent accident or injury claims. Drug diversion can occur in the pharmacy as well as many other areas of a hospital. Video analytics can be set up to immediately take notice if someone lingers continuously in one spot, returns to the pharmacy repeatedly, or conceals drugs in a pocket or coat, for example.
Healthcare facilities use patient observers or “patient sitters” that are assigned to monitor at-risk patients, who may be suicidal, mentally confused or agitated. The sitter’s primary role is to notify staff when patients engage in behavior that could result in injury such as pulling out their lines or getting out of their beds. With video monitoring and analytics, trained security personnel can observe multiple patients and alert staff when intervention is needed, thereby eliminating the need for a costly patient sitter
In one case, a bleeding passenger was dumped out of a car and put outside of a hospital, and surveillance served as evidence. The man was found dead. The attorney for the dead man sued the hospital as it maintained video monitoring showing that the man was left unattended for over 30 minutes. However, while that hospital had video monitoring, there was no video analytics program in place. With video analytics, a motionless body would have resulted in an event alert after someone was not moving over a 30-second time period. That alert would have signaled security to go into the parking lot to investigate, thereby getting that passenger quickly admitted to the hospital.
Security Cameras Act as Force Multipliers
In Campus Safety’s 2016 Video Surveillance Survey, nine out of 10 participants said their hospital, school or university had installed some type of video surveillance equipment. Implementing a platform to effectively analyze video in real time may include the use of linger and dwell settings to help identify the difference between someone who is having trouble finding his car in the parking lot from a thief who is surveying vehicles for items to steal.
A large, prestigious university in North Carolina desired the ability to lock down classrooms in the event of an active shooter on campus. The administration also wanted to be able to control access to classrooms when not in use and requested an integrated video analytics security system that would automate access control and building processes to enable better campus security and protection of students and faculty.
“We were engaged to design and install a system that would meet this challenge,” says Richmond. “If an active shooter situation ever arose, the integrated solution we installed provides the ability to detect a dangerous situation and would lock down classroom doors so no access badge would work to enter a room, therein preventing the shooter from easy access. Only select senior level officials and campus police have the ability to override system emergency protocols.
“As a result of the system we installed at this university, students feel their safety and security is valued with these safeguards in place to mitigate injury and loss of life,” he adds. “Automated access control on classroom doors also results in a more efficient use of manpower and cost savings as opposed to manual operation by personnel during normal operations. Theft and vandalism are deterred as well.”
The effective use of video analytics on campus acts as a force multiplier of the onsite security force. One security professional could be stationed in each residence hall while another officer sits in a remote monitoring center with perimeter and parking lot oversight and the ability to detect behavior anomalies and aberrant actions.
Combining Technology with Manpower Adds Scale
Campus and hospital administrators are able to compare the costs of manned live monitoring versus the ability to leverage video analytics to eliminate or repurpose the stationed dispatcher altogether. Increasing coverage and monitoring is much more scalable and cost effective than simply using manpower alone. Many end users are realizing significant cost savings by applying hybrid solutions (security professionals in conjunction with real-time monitoring using analytics) across their regional and national footprints.
While still an emerging technology, autonomous data machines (ADMs or robots) are finding their way on campuses and in hospitals. The use of ADM technology, which relies on sophisticated video analytics and other technologies, augments security personnel by providing “smart eyes and ears” that enable security professionals to manage information and communicate quickly and effectively.
Video analytics reduces human error and improves incident and response resolution time with enhanced information sharing and reporting capabilities. Security personnel need to be comprehensively trained to ensure that video analytics and remote monitoring applications are both time-sensitive and comprehensive.
Campuses Can Use Data for Decision-making
Video analytics enables an organization to effectively utilize trend analysis to manage its security decisions. The data may demonstrate, for example, that from 8 a.m. to noon, there are 30 percent more people in the hospital waiting room every Sunday, which could be the catalyst for ensuring that a security officer is stationed there during this time period. Analytics might demonstrate that the campus parking lot sustains peak activity every evening from 5 to 6 p.m., which could trigger increased patrols during that timeframe.
When determining how to best integrate video analytics into your security program, it’s valuable to consider where technology can impact or augment security labor. It’s important to maximize your understanding of the core technologies: video surveillance, access control, intrusion and fire and life safety, smoke alarms, incident management, situational and risk awareness tools and managed remote monitoring.
Imagine a hospital complex that staffs several dedicated security officers — one of whom is fully devoted to oversight of video and access control monitoring. Through integrating cameras with video analytics and access control together with a remote security operations center and deploying the remaining onsite security officers with smartphones, the organization can increase situational intelligence and responsiveness to incidents while also yielding annual cost savings.
Security decisions are no longer being made solely by the security division. Corporate departments are collaborating about security decisions — and may include facilities, procurement, human resources, legal and operations.
With so many more cooks in the kitchen and so much money at stake, it is imperative to eliminate duplicate services to maximize efficiency. Integrated security is summarized with two key points: increasing capabilities and improving the return on investment (ROI).
The optimal value of video analytics is applied through real-time monitoring. End-to-end solutions that pair remote video monitoring combining analytics with other traditional services such as access control, intrusion alarm monitoring, and conventional security services are solutions that are defining the future of physical security. The right utilization of security solutions can maximize capabilities, increase response time and improve cost control.
Kenneth Bukowski is vice president of vertical markets for Allied Universal, the largest provider of security services in North America.