Analysing video analytics
By Steve Bocking
With more access to information than ever before, both integrators and end-users are seeking out and tracking the most recent progressions in CCTV technology. In light of this, it is not uncommon for trend-savvy end users to ask their integrator for information about a technology that may be fairly new to both parties.
By Steve Bocking
One such technology that seems often introduced is video analytics. It
started as a buzz word in the security industry around 2007 and today,
it sometimes seems that video analytics is on every end user’s wish
list. The underlying problem is that end users don’t often have
specific security goals in mind for this new technology, nor do they
realize the true cost of materials, software and most importantly,
labour required setup time.
I have witnessed several video analytics projects take a turn for the
worst by costing the integrator unforeseen time and money. The mishaps
were made right at the beginning as the expectations of the end user
were not properly set and the technology involved took more time for
initial commissioning than expected with several visits back to the
site to optimize the system.
The term video analytics is loosely used, but it is basically software
algorithms to analyse the content of an image for a specific change to
a specific scene. The software can either be located on a computer
server, or as the recent trend, embedded in the IP camera. Some of the
most common analytics features in the security industry are advanced
motion detection (e.g., filter out rain and snow, etc.), trip-wire
detection (e.g., determine if someone has entered a restricted zone)
and object added or removed from a scene.
So if an end user states that he would like analytics, the first
question back should be to clarify their security goal. This can help
integrators to see if their customer’s expectations are unrealistic and
can also help integrators guide them to something attainable. How do
you know what is a realistic goal is? I would recommend involving an
analytics manufacturer to help determine this right from the start.
More so, if the analytic goal is realistic, make sure to schedule the
required amount of hours per camera (depending on complexity of the
analytics or variations of analytics per camera), above and beyond
normal installation and commissioning.
Also, if not mandatory by the analytics manufacturer themselves, it
might be worthwhile to have an engineer from the manufacturer onsite
for the first install. A manufacturer’s expertise should help ensure a
proper install and avoid repeat trips back to ‘tweak’ the analytic
Finally, another important consideration is the management of the
analytic events. So if using a stand-alone analytic software or
embedded hardware, make sure it is fully compatible with the CCTV
management system in place. This way, the end user will be able
leverage the combined strength of the video platform and integrated
analytics through automatic alarms and archive queries.
Analytics can help end users gain security efficiency as well as help
integrators gain new skill sets, ultimately offering their customers
more cutting-edge solutions. As long as expectations are set, both
parties can win.