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Going the distance

Video analytics tools innovate to meet social distancing and other COVID-19 criteria


June 26, 2020
By Alanna Fairey
Ottawa-based Senstar’s app can be used to enforce social distancing rules (PHOTO: Senstar)

The coronavirus pandemic has given rise to the term “social distancing” in more ways than one.

As the world begins to slowly reopen, how we go about our daily routines will change, primarily based on the social distancing practices and regulations that have been set in place.

To aid in physical distancing regulations, a number of security vendors have adapted their analytics offerings to these new parameters by introducing new technology or adjusting already existing technologies.

According to Vivotek’s marketing manager Meng Chhun, the company has two new features in their analytics: non-facial mask detection and social distancing.

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Chhun explained that Vivotek has face detection in their Smart VCA package, which allows their cameras to detect coordinates of the human face.

Chhun shared that the company has a human tracking technology that is optimized by their 12-megapixel fisheye cameras because of the wide coverage it provides.

“In order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we enhanced our technology to not only detect the human face but also detect if a person is wearing a mask or not,” Chhun said in a recent interview with SP&T News. “If it detects a person not wearing a mask, then our camera can trigger an alarm, informing the security guard for further actions.”

Based on Vivotek’s current tracking technol-ogy, Chhun said that their technology can also calculate the distance between two people.

“In the setting parameters, the owner of the business can set the social distancing he wants,” Chhun explained. “If the customers are too close to each other, our camera can also trigger an alarm.”

While Vivotek’s non-facial mask detection and social distancing technology are still under development, Chhun said that given the strong demand under the current heightened conditions, Vivotek hopes to launch the technology soon.

“When we have these new solutions avail-able, we foresee that they will be utilized everywhere, including education, health care and many others,” Chhun said.

Germany-headquartered Security and Safety Things (S&ST) provides an IoT platform for smart security cameras that allows them to run a variety of AI-enabled applications directly on the camera.

According to S&ST’s software engineering manager Adam Wynne, these applications have been created by third-party developers, and include several options for social distancing detection analytics, along with other applications that can assist organizations with other COVID-19 response measures.

“The third-party developers on our platform adapted existing capabilities to meet this new demand,” Wynne said. “In some situations, existing apps could be modified slightly to fit the new use case while in others new detection algorithms and models were retrained with minimal effort.”

Wynne shared that one of the applications that is most helpful in helping companies to mon-itor social distancing is S&ST’s CVEDIA Talos Crowd Detector.

According to Wynne, Crowd Detector offers visual analytics that can help to enforce physical distance and analyze the movement of people in the workplace by determining popular paths, in both indoor and outdoor scenarios, as well as in daylight or low light conditions.

“The app is also effective for individually detecting persons in groups, busy areas and crowds,” Wynne added.

The Crowd Detector is suited for a few key segments that are in immediate need of measures to reopen such as retailers, transportation venues and manufacturing operations that have an array of differing social distancing, queue management and face mask detection requirements.

Ottawa-based Senstar announced that the company has been able to quickly get its social distancing software up and running, thanks to a pre-existing Windows-based Symphony VMS platform and Senstar Safe Spaces that can be used for organizations of all sizes.

“Our existing crowd detection analytics was adapted for social distancing while a new analytic for basic face mask detection was rapidly developed,” COO Jeremy Weese said. “These analytics run on standard PC hard-ware while our new analytics, including enhanced facemask detection and physical distancing lever-age advances in deep-learning and make use of purpose-built GPU hardware.”

The Symphony VMS has been on the market for many years and is used in multiple industries, including education, airports, retail, logistics and utilities.

“The Symphony VMS-based analytics provide a level of performance that enables them to be used with existing systems without consuming massive amounts of computing capacity,” Weese said.

Weese said that trial versions of the new Senstar Safe Spaces video analytics are currently available for download, with new updates and capabilities to be added in the coming weeks.

“Senstar Safe Spaces can benefit a wide range of organizations, from small businesses that have one IP or network camera to large organizations with comprehensive video management systems,” he said.