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Video Surveillance: Making Video Cameras Intelligent Through Video Analytics

The capabilities of video surveillance has progressed exponentially since their first deployment. Once the exclusive tool of the military or only the largest of companies, the technology cost versus the benefits now make it affordable and essential.

As the technology progressed from film to videotape to digital media, and the equipment became less expensive, deploying video surveillance systems made sense for even small companies or organizations.

One of the weaknesses of the system was adequate resources to monitor and react to information. Human monitoring of the systems is inherently weak and flawed. Reviewing significant amounts of recordings is impractical. The advantage of real time monitoring of camera systems overwhelmed the ability of people to monitor the data. Video surveillance became efficient at recording everything but lacked a method to contend with the sheer volume.

The technology aspect of video surveillance went through a similar progression. First-generation monitoring technology focused on changes to the monitored image, i.e. motion detection, change in pixel contrast. Second-generation provided improved tools for searching through the recorded medium based on certain criteria, but this was limited to post-event situations.

Enter the latest, or third-generation, iteration of camera based video surveillance technology, infrared, low light and heat source detection. All effective, all generating new and extensive amounts of data, yet still vulnerable to poor monitoring resources.

Video Analytics was the solution. Video analytics provides tools to pre-configure systems to look for specific things. Not just movement, but specific types of movement. The technology allows a user to define those risks or threats most specific to their environment and look for them in real-time.

Video analytics combines the instantaneous detection of change, with the power of the human brain to look for specific patterns, and combine it in real-time. It also enhanced the ability to search through enormous amounts of video data with similar precision.

As an example, a company with multiple cameras can define specific things to look for such as over-sized vehicles as opposed to cars, or movements of more than a specified number of individuals and create alerts for further analysis. These can be refined down to very specific, or very general, criteria depending on the specific need.

Sophisticated video analytics exponentially improved the capabilities of the camera systems and the effectiveness of video surveillance.

This combination of third-generation video analytics, vastly improved data storage media with reduced costs, and camera systems with enhanced functionality such as low light, infrared, and heat source detection make the use of these systems a wise choice for just about every business or corporation.

As the adage goes, a picture of worth a thousand words. Having a tool available for preventing situations, documenting those that cannot be prevented, and the ability to search for information when it becomes necessary is invaluable to protecting people, assets, and as a defense in litigation.

Companies and organizations of all sizes need to consider the benefits of camera systems and video surveillance coupled with effective video analytics as a real asset to their protection and success.