The Business Case for Video Analytics

Instead of only capturing incidents of crime, surveillance systems that incorporate video analytics can also enhance the overall success of campus operations.

Although mitigating threats to people and property has traditionally been the initial driving force behind the deployment of surveillance cameras on campus, administrators are finding that the convergence of information technology and network surveillance can do much more. Video analytics is one such area where this holds true.

Technology savvy institutions are brainstorming creative ways to apply video analytics to not only enhance security, but also gather business intelligence. I sat down with Itsik Kattan, CEO of Agent Video Intelligence, and Tony Hackett, Aimetis territory manager for the Eastern United States, to discuss why video analytics is gaining momentum on campuses and to share some of the more conventional—and unconventional—ways  they’re being used.

Q: Nilsson: Schools, universities and hospitals are notoriously under-funded, and private institutions are certainly cautious with their budgets. How do you help justify the added expense of analytics technology to their surveillance budgets?

Kattan: It’s important to note that when looking at the implementation of an entire surveillance system, the analytics component is only a fraction of the cost—the analytics part is a one-time investment of a few thousand dollars, depending on the size of the installation—but in fact, provides substantial ongoing benefit. We can clearly show campus administrators how video analytics can augment the effectiveness of their security staff to protect assets, enhance the safety of the environment for their students, patients, visitors and staff, as well as cover liability issues. We can also demonstrate how the benefits outweigh the costs. Investment in video analytics is a one-time investment that may save on personnel costs, which is an ongoing operating expense.

Hackett: That’s a good point. As further justification, a lot of elementary and high school institutions we work with serve as community centers during the evening, offering adult enrichment classes, concerts, lecture series, and so forth.

So while there’s a public perception that the building is really only being used from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., it’s really more like a 16-hour cycle. I’ve seen school administrators use the statistics gleaned from video analytics—such as people counting applications—to prove how many people are attending after-hours programs. This has helped them successfully advocate increasing budget allocations for building personnel to cover a growing number of after-school activities.

Q: Nilsson: Has the ability to put analytics inside the network camera had any impact on the adoption of video content analysis?

Hackett: Certainly having advanced algorithms reside in-camera provides an economic advantage. Running preliminary analytics on the camera itself means less video needs to be sent across the network for a video management system to decode. This reduces bandwidth consumption and needless back-end analysis of object movement that falls within normal thresholds. Computing time on the centralized server is reserved for more complex data correlation, such as recognition of events to trigger real-time alerts and post-incident decision support for security operators.

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