A Beginners Guide to Video Analytics by Gary Mercer of VideoIQ
There have been many significant technological advances in the security industry over the years, most of which we now take for granted.The transition from VCR’s to DVR’s and NVR’s, the introduction of the first colour/mono cameras and more recently the arrival of IP and Mega Pixel technologies.
In their own way each of these has been a significant breakthrough that has led to an improvement to the systems installed, either in terms of quality, price, or both. But in the most part none of these developments has altered the modus operandi of a CCTV surveillance system.
The majority of new installations are still designed on the basis of continual recording, storage for 31 days and reactive responses to alarms or incidents. The advances in technology have now enabled us to have higher quality images, faster playback and intelligent searches with enormous levels of recorded data stored on hard drives with mind boggling capacities of terabytes and petabytes.
• Do we still have a high level of false alarms?•
Are we still reliant upon the diligence and alertness of an operator to spot an infringement?•
Do we still record thousands of hours of completely useless footage?•
Are installers and end users still locked into a 31 day recording cycle, originally written around the 24 hour time lapse VCR that was first introduced into our industry over 20years ago?
The answer to all of the above is yes!
So the $64 question is why are we using technologically advanced equipment to provide us with the same information (albeit in better quality) we used over 20 years ago?
The lack of change may in some cases be driven by end users who are locked into procedures based on the 31 day cycle and some of it by the manufacturers of the recording and transmission equipment, who do of course have a vested interest in maintaining the current methodology. And the marked reluctance of installers to change what they perceive as a winning formula, utilising PIR’s, PTZ’s and video transmission.
So should we be looking at alternatives?
Video analytics seem the natural choice but is it reliable? Is it difficult to install? Obvious questions, but as always it depends on which equipment you select and this choice is somewhat blurred by many manufacturers now claiming to have “on board analytics”.
Because of the lack of maturity of the video analytics market, many installers, who instinctively know a good DVR from a poor one, will be bemused at the diversity of VA products available. This is further clouded by a lack of clarity from the manufacturer as to the capabilities and limitations of their equipment.
Here at VideoIQ, we often spend as much time explaining to our customers what analytics won’t do rather that what it will do, in order to establish which of our many feature sets will be applicable to the installation in question.
In the second part of this guide I will deal with the fundamentals of Video Analytics and the questions installers and end users should ask their supplier in order to avoid specifying the wrong equipment. I will also simplify the various technologies utilised in video analytics and explain the limitations and pitfalls of some of the more basic forms.
Gary Mercer Sales Director VideoIQ UK