cloud-based services, with analytics hardware and software rented out
of a data center.
Cameras and their increasingly prolific SD storage cards have become small, powerful computers and are often used as motion sensors
to trigger analytics. The most popular types of analytics include object
detection/classification, license plate recognition, loitering/crowd detection, and wrong direction/speed threshold.
This greater processing power and enhanced stability is opening new
areas of specification for installing contractors. Now, small and medium
businesses (SMBs), as well as enterprise customers, can deploy analytics and harvest data for security and other uses. The retail market
is one of the emerging, primary users of video analytics technologies,
driving more widespread use. Retail and other SMBs are now deploying
analytics for customer behavior insights, employee training, identifying
key performance metrics, leveraging real-time business intelligence, and
assessing store compliance and safety.
One area in particular taking off in the retail market is activity heat
mapping and dwell times. Video analytics can create visual reports and
dashboards that provide a snapshot of patron density. They can provide
information on where people in a store or location are going on an accumulated basis as well as their behavior in those areas. Heat-mapping
shows aggregated periods of time and activity around certain end-caps
or different areas where people congregate, along with a path analysis
of where they traveled.
Another trending area in video analytics applications is license plate
recognition (LPR) technology. Retailers with drive-up windows are using
LPR to get orders ready. Typically, the retailer has a mobile application
to place orders and cameras capture the license plate on the first entry
so that, by the time the customer enters the drive-through facility, their
order is ready to go.
Facial recognition used indoors and with a fixed population may also
represent an untapped opportunity—for example, finding children lost
in a mall. Facial images are captured with a high-resolution camera at
the entrance or exit in the event children wander off.
Moving to business intelligence
Rick Spillane, senior vice president of global sales for 3VR, San Francisco,
said both the retail and banking industries are hot markets for video analytics. While loss prevention and marketing already have a traditional vested
interested in the data from cameras, he said that operations departments
are also looking at analytics to promote greater in-store efficiencies.
“Using heat maps, operations can tell what times of day a store or
location may be most active and in which areas,” he said. “They can use
this to determine when they may need additional cashiers, for example.
With that information on traffic, they can study other anomalies on what’s
actually happening in the store environment. So in addition to installing
product to protect against loss or theft, they can use the same money spent
on cameras and analytics to extract even more data and intelligence—
sharing these tools and the budget for deployment across the organization.”
Spillane said analytics have become much easier to use from the installer’s perspective, with the ability for the user to determine, through
the software, what’s important to them or the specific data that needs to
be extracted from the environment.
“Programming used to be much more labor-intensive,” he said. “We’ve
“Today’s software is no more complicated than controlling lights; it’s
provided sophisticated algorithms that are extremely easy to use. 3VR
satisfies the end-user with the robust way analytics perform and also the
integrator by making the product less labor intensive.”
He added that video analytics is a great opportunity for electrical
very accessible and extremely easy,” Olson said.
He added that being able to share the data gleaned from analytics
by different parts of an organization for various purposes provides lower
total cost of ownership and a sales advantage to the installing company.
Electrical contractors installing networked video cameras can generate additional profitability by deploying video analytics beyond security
and reaching into areas like business intelligence and operational data.
Being able to offer more services beyond security only strengthens the
contractor’s value proposition with the customer.
O’MARA is the managing director of DLO Communications
and a veteran of the systems integration industry. She can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773.414.3573.
Video analytics can create visual reports
and dashboards that provide a snapshot
of patron density. They can provide
information on where people in a store or
location are going on an accumulated basis
as well as their behavior in those areas.
Get greater profitability with video analytics