As more cities look to transform their infrastructure to make them smart and connected, security cameras are often at the forefront of this transformation. And for good reason. The application of smart security cameras can be expanded beyond security surveillance with intelligent analytics, to bring value across organizations and municipal governments.    

In this blog, we address the technology that manufacturers of smart cameras can incorporate into the product offering in order to meaningfully extend their product’s value offering. We then address the multiple use cases that video content analytics technology provides smart cities and government departments, beyond security surveillance.

The technology that upscales your product offering

First of all, before we launch into the multiple benefits of digitizing security cameras and incorporating data analytics, the importance of cybersecurity can not be overstated. For all the benefits that can be gained, none of it should be used against you in a cyber attack. In the case of a breach, data can be exfiltrated and sent to the wrong people, footage can be exposed, and control over cameras can be usurped. All of this technology is only worthwhile and safe to use with a cybersecurity agent embedded into the device that works in real-time to prevent attacks.

Okay with that said, let’s jump in.

Video footage contains a wealth of information, the problem is that there is often too much footage, which makes it difficult to manually review if it’s ever reviewed at all. Requiring prolonged attention, it’s difficult for human analysts to analyze all the data, and then come to accurate assessments. In contrast, smart cameras that use video analytics are able to solve this problem by processing video data by identifying, classifying, and indexing objects that appear in the footage, such as people, children, animals, cars, motorcycles, etc.

Enabled by deep learning, an advanced form of artificial intelligence (AI), video analytics software makes all the footage that is collected more searchable and actionable. Instead of playing hours of recorded footage, operators can just review footage that meets their distinct criteria, for example using search items such as “Adult man” “hooded sweater”, “revolver”.

Powerful search filters are deployed that scan indexed video metadata, this makes it possible for operators to quickly and accurately search through enormous volumes of video footage, from a number of different cameras, in a matter of minutes, instead of days. 

Providing value where it’s needed

This technology has value to numerous stakeholders; be it police departments, law enforcement, public health, urban planning, and transportation operators. Let’s explore how. 

In the process of conducting a forensic review, police investigators used IndigoVision to conduct a search based on the appearance characteristics of a missing person or the suspect criminal. If trying to locate a hub of criminal activity they can use a pedestrian heat map to determine a property that is getting a lot of foot traffic at unusual times. 

Ahead of a demonstration or parade, police can use the footage to build their situational awareness, where they can alert on the high pedestrian count and disperse congested areas. By proactively anticipating the formation of crowds they can respond a lot faster to preserve order and public safety, potentially averting incidents before they occur. 

Video analytics provides value to law enforcement officers who can set up facial recognition and license plate identifiers that can monitor passing traffic that matches up with images on a digital watchlist. 

Public transportation operators have used BriefCam to make optimal decisions with video data that shows them the demographics of their riders and peak usage times. With this information, they can develop schedules that ease congestion and improve traffic flows. Similarly, urban planners are already using video footage analytics to monitor traffic flows over time, and the type of traffic, be they cars, trucks, scooters, pedestrians, etc. By quantifying and classifying the data urban planners can discover movement patterns, and identify traffic hotspots to direct their planning in a way that optimizes traffic flows.

City property managers can monitor building occupancy by using analytics sourced from video footage, in addition, they used Johnson Controls’ cloud cameras to measure foot traffic in public buildings such as schools, hospitals, community centers, and offices. 

During the course of Covid-19 related lockdowns, public health departments were gathering anonymous data on whether citizens in public spaces were complying with health safety mandates, such as social distancing and wearing face masks, in the attempt to try and bring down infection rates.

It’s incredible to think that these numerous benefits are enabled by taking the ubiquitous security camera, connecting it to the internet, and then integrating the footage with a few AI algorithms. But the greater the benefit to your customers, the greater its appeal to unwanted third parties. With this information, hackers can cause enormous damage and civil disruption to the areas under observation. It’s crucial to deploy an IoT security solution on your camera to make sure that all the valuable data it provides stays in the right hands.

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