Video Analytics Points to Industry Maturity

February 1, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+


Video content analysis (VCA) has garnered a tremendous amount of attention in the past few months and, if all is to be believed, the technology is near the point where it is a “buy” rather than a “sell.” And while this is good news in our beleaguered economy, there still remains some question as to where the VCA should be located – on the edge device (camera) or on the head end – or on both?

Before addressing the options however, a definition of VCA is in order. Video analytics is a process that extracts useful information, in the form of data, from live or recorded video images. Applications include the capability to identify loiterers, detect vandalism or monitor crowds for abandoned baggage. The capacity to accomplish this, however, depends on where the VCA is located.


The Case for Edge-Based Analytics

In a recent report on the market for VCA, IMS Research forecasts that its penetration into network surveillance cameras will exceed 40 percent by 2012 and it goes on to predict that network cameras will be the main hardware platform for embedded analytics. The advantage of edge-based embedded analytics is bandwidth preservation and reduction of storage requirements because the need to transmit all captured video for analysis is eliminated. In addition, content analysis on the video of interest can be performed when the video is in its highest quality and before it is compressed for transmission over the network to a recording/storage device.

Improvements in imaging technology, including digital signal processing (DSP), megapixel technology and increased sensitivity to low light have also contributed to the increased adoption of camera-based analytics. DSP chips deliver more processing capacity, which enables more edge processing; and megapixel sensors offer greater resolution and detail, which are necessary for analytic products to perform complex operations. Intelligent cameras can be programmed to transmit at low-resolution rates until a pre-defined event of interest occurs, at which point transmission switches to a higher frame rate and resolution. Improvements in compression technologies such as H.264 have also enabled transmission of higher definition resolution over a lower bandwidth.

Cost is another factor influencing the move to camera-based analytics because it is a more effective way of implementing VCA. Single unit cameras featuring built-in analytics can be installed where and when required, or the number added to as required. And when more processing is done at the edge, it can help to reduce the cost of analytic processing by eliminating or downsizing server requirements.


Efficiencies at the Head End

Due to the large installed base of analog cameras, however, IMS Research predicts that in the short term the biggest penetration of VCA will occur within network video recorders (NVRs), digital video recorders (DVRs) and video encoders, which convert analog signals to network compatible signals. It is argued that relying solely on camera-embedded analytics is not as efficient when analytics must be performed or metadata correlated on enterprise-wide systems such as casino or educational installations, where hundreds of cameras are deployed. Additionally, forensic searches (i.e. facial recognition, object identification, etc.), which are usually performed on recorded video, are still beyond the capabilities of most on-camera solutions at this time.

In these instances, the greater processing power and central management capabilities of a server-based or head end solution is generally a better solution. Centralized analytics allows for the configuration of different application sets on different cameras and at differing times. For instance, in a car dealership lot, the parameters for motion detection would generally be programmed differently for nighttime recording versus daytime and this is done more conveniently through centralized management. In another example, VCA may be used to calculate periods of peak activity or for counting numbers of people passing through an entrance and this function can more easily be achieved with a head end solution.

Whether it’s camera-based or server-based, VCA provides benefits to the user in terms of data mining and retrieval speed. Data mining of POS transactions for instance has been used extensively in the retail industry for creating marketing promotions, identifying buying trends and developing new product. On the security side, exception reports that include surveillance video and accompanying POS data can be generated, and as an example if the POS cash drawer is open longer than two minutes, the system will create an exception report with the time, date, employee, cash register, and revenue center along with the video of the event.


VCA’s Future

So, back to the original question: Is it better for the VCA software to be located on the edge device, the head end (i.e. server), or on both? Or is there yet another answer, such as imaging processing over IP (IPoIP) technology, which distributes the image processing responsibilities between the camera and the server?

Whatever the choice, VCA is another maturation point of our industry and one from which much of the future of the industry will developed.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Security Magazine. 

Recent Articles by Cynthia Freschi

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

ASIS 2013 Product Preview

ASIS International 59th Annual Seminar and Exhibits, September 24-27 in Chicago, Illinois, will include an exhibit hall packed with innovative security solutions. Here are some of the products that will be shown at ASIS this year.

Podcasts

Virtualization and Data Center Security: What You Need to Know for 2014

Data centers are increasingly becoming the center of the enterprise, and data center and cyber security is following the same path for security departments. According to Justin Flynn, a consultant at the Burwood Group, the virtualization of data centers allows enterprises to scale more easily and faster, with a smaller footprint.

However, hosting enterprise data in the cloud can make intrusion detection more difficult – how can enterprise security leaders team up with other departments to keep aware of cyber risks and traffic, and physical and data compliance during the virtual transition? How can CISOs and CSOs discuss cyber threats with the C-Suite to get the resources they need? And how can the proper infrastructure test and verify possible malicious attacks? 

More Podcasts

Security Magazine

September 2014

2014 September

In the September issue of Security Magazine, find out who this year's most influential people are in the security industry are. Also, take a peek at the technology products that ASIS 2014 will be showcasing at the upcoming event. Read about the lessons learned from security at the World Cup, find out why tactical medical training is a must for your enterprise and how Atlanta increased security by sharing surveillance.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Adopting New Technology

How long do you wait before adopting a new technology?
View Results Poll Archive

THE SECURITY STORE

comptiahighriseproductphoto
CompTIA Security+ Certification Study Guide
CompTIA's Security+ certification is a globally-recognized, vendor neutral exam that has helped over 60,000 IT professionals reach further and higher in their careers. The current Security+ exam (SY0-201) focuses more on being able to deal with security issues rather than just identifying them.
More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Vertical Sector Focus: Critical Infrastructures

criticalhomepagethumbFrom terrorism to vandalism, it’s preparedness, response, training and partnerships. Learn about some of the critical security issues facing this sector.

Visit the Critical Infrastructure page to read more.  

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook 40px 2-12-13 Twitter logo 40px 2-12-13  YouTube  LinkedIn logo 40px 2-12-13Google+