Bosch Building Solutions took to the road in July, hosting an event that promoted its latest products and the direction the company will be taking in the future, which is focused on releasing predictive solutions based on sustainability and trust.
Bosch’s Quintin Van Den Berg launched the conference and introduced the speakers, the first of which was Pieter Geldenhuys, director of the Institute for Technology Strategy & Innovation. As a futurist, Geldenhuys had some concerning news, but ended on a positive note as the future, while not all it was supposed to be as we reach peak consumption, will have opportunities for the prepared. In particular, good news applies to Africa, which is the only continent that has positive demographic expectations for the next decades.
The changes will be in the global economic realm, but will also be boosted by technology, specifically artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). Just as we have seen the smartphone replacing many previously independent things – from phones to cameras, diaries to contact lists, to-do lists and shopping, and an alarming number of other things – the edge will have a similar impact in future.
Cameras will form a significant part of the edge future (in this case, surveillance cameras), as they will expand their operations far beyond security. We are already seeing the initial phases of this change with cameras doing crowd control, parking management and even temperature reading – among other functions.
Right now, we are seeing the edge being populated with an ever-increasing number of devices, from intelligent devices like cameras, to dumb devices that only send simple data home (such as temperature, humidity or water levels). With AI, more intelligence at the edge can be built into cameras, which can run multiple AI apps at the same time to implement these features in one device that has internal processing capacity, internal storage as well as the ability to connect to networks of all types.
Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT)
Nico Broodryk from Bosch was up next, and he spoke about the three pillars Bosch is building its security and building management future on.
Trust: End users must be able to trust the quality of their cameras and the analytics running on those cameras. Broodryk says Bosch’s 5-year warranty is proof of the confidence the company has in its cameras, and he states that current cameras from Bosch include “the best analytics available.”
Sustainability: In terms of being ‘green’ and helping to lower CO2 emissions. Bosch is working to make its cameras simple to manage, even remotely, which will save installers from travelling every time there is a problem and even, in certain circumstances, to configure new cameras.
The power to predict: Predictability is key to the future. Whether it’s the number of people in a retail store, or the length of queues, or traffic control on highways, AI is changing and will change the way cameras are used and the value they provide to users.
The company is focused on doing more development on edge processing to reduce the bandwidth and backend computing resources companies need, making cameras intelligent sensors (as Geldenhuys mentioned).
Surveillance services from Bosch
A big announcement at the event was the VSaaS solution from Bosch (Video Surveillance-as-a-Service), which will allow companies to have only the camera on site, with everything else hosted in Bosch’s cloud. The cost benefits are that the traditional infrastructure required for servers, storage, video management platforms, switches and software licences will be removed and replaced by a monthly fee for the same services in the cloud.
Additionally, all upgrades to management platforms, or even firmware on cameras, will be done remotely, and integrators will even be able to configure their clients’ Bosch cameras remotely via the cloud (for certain camera models). The system is ONVIF conformant and will also allow companies to manage their conformant third-party cameras via the cloud service.
Remote monitoring and management will be via a web browser, a smartphone or a PC-based application. In addition, while not a new feature, leading lines of Bosch cameras will automatically include 16 video analytics functions in every camera in the future. Bosch cameras used with the VSaaS solution will also have the flexibility to store up to 7 days of video footage on the camera and/or transfer it to the cloud, or transfer footage which the analytics identify as suspicious to the cloud-based control room.
AIoT in new cameras
Moving into the AIoT world, edge analytics applications will also be developed further to improve the efficiency of building operations and security, as well as smart cities and other environments. These cameras will simply connect to the VSaaS server with no configuration needed on site.
Three applications will be available at first (probably later this year). These include the building management camera mentioned, which requires no calibration but provides precise detection of objects (human or otherwise) with real-time analytics available. Perimeter cameras will soon offer longer detection distances, automatic calibration and even the ability to distinctly identify crawling people.
A camera focused on road and traffic intelligence is also on the way. This camera will offer analytics with better than 95% accuracy in a variety of functions, such as speed measurement, direction, and people and vehicle identification and classification.
This article is a summary of the announcements on the day. AIoT has been touted for some time as ‘the next big thing’ in our industry, with some companies putting their toes in the water. Bosch has committed to the idea and will be releasing products to back up its commitment in the coming months.
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