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With safety and surveillance under its belt, video tackles insight

Whether in airports or bank vaults, warehouses or showrooms, most organizations strive to safeguard their people and property by monitoring with video cameras. Approximately 60% of Fortune 250 companies use video as part of their corporate security strategy.

In the early days, video meant closed-circuit television (CCTV): a static camera visibly mounted in the corner of a room, recording on eight-hour VHS or Betamax magnetic tapes that offered poor resolution quality and had to be vigilantly monitored by a security officer in a distant room.

As in so many areas of 21st century life, connectivity has completely transformed that late-20th century scenario. In today’s world, IoT and digital technologies are taking the applications for video well beyond safety. Sophisticated high-definition cameras and digital sensors are improving video security and monitoring environments by orders of magnitude. They increase operational efficiencies, deliver high resolution and are much less obtrusive, while paving the way for organizations to capitalize on the holy grail of digitalization: advanced analytics. To tap the full potential of your video assets, however, you need the right combination of advanced video management capabilities.

New applications for big video data can be found in every industry

All kinds of enterprises can benefit from the use of video assets, whether it’s to make their operations more efficient, minimize risks, support regulatory compliance or learn more about their customers.

In a multi-store retail operation, a unified video management platform would allow a distributed system of thousands of cameras to act as one. Such a system could capitalize on low-cost hardware for recording in every store. Then the IT department could put more resources into software that would analyze the timing of heaviest customer traffic or how well various types of displays are received, providing valuable insights to inform staffing, marketing and even procurement.

Another type of enterprise with a lot at stake in gaining valuable insights about customers are casinos, though for different reasons. Tracking the sleights of hand that might constitute cheating requires high-quality images that would generate an intense amount of data. Video management software (VMS) for such a business could take advantage of algorithms to presort the data and offer for further analysis only those clips that show an anomaly, thus making most efficient use of storage capacity.

Prioritization and sorting algorithms would also be essential for manufacturers and transportation organizations. Formulas could be devised to send periodic equipment maintenance or malfunction alerts to security personnel, detect when intruders entered facilities like warehouses or tunnels, or to coordinate deliveries and shared infrastructure.

In any regulated industry, such as transportation, organizations need to retain data longer for compliance, litigation or business analytics — here, storage is the major bottleneck. Effective tiering of video data could allow it to be stored more cost-effectively, while still making retrieval swift and easy. In environments like airports, where carriers and regulatory bodies typically use different legacy systems, an open video management platform would allow them to communicate in a common format.

Multidimensional insights

With a robust VMS, security managers get more versatile front-end operations and an unprecedented range of back-end services. Video analytics software can transform the vast amounts of new video data generated into usable information. And a unified video management platform can organize, manage and store data — even from older, outmoded systems — synthesizing information from different vendors and preserving the investment that enterprises have made in previous waves of technology. Such a platform can scale up to thousands of cameras in a national retail operation, or down to 20 or so miniaturized sensors providing data within a single automobile.

The amount of video data being generated in the average enterprise organization is already enormous and likely to grow: Research firm IHS reports that 71% of security managers planned to increase spending on video surveillance in 2016. In addition to legacy machines, they’ll be able to take advantage of higher resolution HD, panoramic and 4K cameras, body-cams and drones, with geospatial metadata as they devise new applications for video data.

With this proliferation of cameras, enterprise leaders can expect that many people will rightly be concerned about privacy. Advanced features like privacy masking address this concern. In applications where an individual’s identity is not relevant, this feature automatically pixelates all or certain aspects of that person into an unrecognizable blur. Privacy masking is available in all reputable video management platforms and can be used to gather insights about customer or employee behavior in aggregate patterns rather than specific instances.

Just as our binary vision provides us with a 3D view of the world, data from multiple realms provides us with more reliable information. Video gives us eyes and ears, while next generation video analytics will give us intelligent insights to act on.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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