Video analytics attracts crowds at TechSec

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

DALLAS--Here at TechSec Solutions, a conference dedicated to how IP technology affects all aspects of the security industry, no topic drew crowds like that of video analytics.
In a session Wednesday morning, for example, Alan Lipton, chief technical officer at ObjectVideo, and Doug Marman, chief technical officer at VideoIQ, packed a room with talk of video analytics in the real world.
"It's changed from a lab curiosity to something that can be applied in the real world," Lipton assured us. Essentially, he said, the best analytics companies are allowing end users to turn imagery into information, extracting meaningful data from reams of video coming into their operations. However, that data is useless, he said, without a plan for how to use that data. "The role you decide for it," he said, "will dictate the features, functions, and futures of the analytics. You have to look for vendors that can keep up with your needs for analytics, understand what you're trying to do with it, then seamlessly integrate those analytics with your people and infrastructure."
One such real-world application was outlined by Marman, whose company has created a remote guarding alliance of central stations and integrators using video analytics to provide end users, such as car lots, with a much cheaper solution for guarding property.
If you're looking to press analytics on a marketplace, he argued, "why not start with something that gives you outrageous return on investment?" The solution he outlined essentially replaced guards in a number of situations, using video analytics to trigger alarms at a central monitoring station, which then used two-way audio to alert an intruder of impending police arrival. "It turns out that having an IP audio connection is better than a guard in many cases," Marman. "The guard isn't going to challenge people in many cases, possibly, but on a loudspeaker, you can say, 'Leave, the cops are on the way.' Surprisingly, that provides a stronger presence at the site than a guard."
Further, he said this application can both save end users money and create revenue streams for monitoring stations. He said the typical pricing was about $100 a month, per camera. "For the people doing the monitoring," he argued, "without analytics, they can maybe do 10 sites per operator. With analytics, they're doing 50 sites per operator, and we hope to get that to 100 sites per operator. It makes video monitoring practical."
Later in the day, Carolyn Ramsey, director of program management at Honeywell, who came over in the ActivEye acquisition, outlined with Waste Management's director of its life safety control center Doug Crawford the way in which the national disposal and recycling company used video analytics as part of a system that funnels information back from 1,100 locations to a central control center.
Crawford said he saved $7.5 million in 2007 thanks to an IP system with analytics embedded.