On-camera AI and storage create added benefits

SMART Surveillance 2024 AI & Data Analytics, Surveillance, IoT & Automation

The days of standalone security systems are long past, and the drive is now to educate system integrators, installers, and end users on the return on investment that can be derived from intelligent, integrated BMS, IoT and security systems that provide data for business intelligence and optimise operations and customer satisfaction.

Elvey Group and Pentagon offer various security, operational and management solutions. These systems serve a specific security purpose and can provide additional data that can be used in the open platform, building management systems and video management systems with plugins. This will provide dashboards and business intelligence to many other departments without sharing video or secure information.

An example of where these solutions come into play is the retail sector. Typical surveillance coverage areas in a retail environment include:

• Perimeter.

• Entrances and exits from outside areas.

• Parking lots.

• Guarding aids.

• Building entrances and exits.

• Delivery entrances and exits.

• Inside the building.

• Tenant premises.

• Rooftop.

There is a close relationship between the Bosch and Axis cameras and the Milestone open platform (all supplied by the Elvey Group and Pentagon). The cameras do onboard AI and analytics and generate data, which is then pushed into the Milestone platform. All the data is mined out of the images on the cameras rather than by servers, providing substantial savings on infrastructure.

“This is very helpful for system integrators (SIs), installers and the end users alike, as it is like deploying a business interface package for purposes other than just security. All the data is available immediately, but it is important for the SI or installer to hold discussions with the customer, and possibly a business analyst, before supplying and installing the cameras,” says Haiko Wostmann, Product Manager at the Elvey Group.

“The reason for this is to allow the customer to understand what is possible, in terms of what they would like to see on the dashboard, not just for security, but also the operations and management, so the investment is not just in security but also optimisation of the business. Once they have established what data is important and relevant to the specific departments, it can be mined and utilised effectively. An example in the retail sector could be where the marketing department wishes to know the foot traffic in various areas within a mall. The data can be categorised according to age, gender, or sentiment (are there angry people in the footage?), for instance, or whether weapons are present near jewellery stores or banks.”

Because all data is automatically captured and compiled, there is no need for an operator to constantly view the camera footage since the camera itself can do pop-outs and send alerts to the relevant people. This negates the need for a PSIM, which is expensive, because the system can manage the data in the video if the video management system (VMS) is correctly configured.

When an incident occurs, security cameras provide invaluable evidence that can be used in investigations. High-quality video footage helps to identify suspects and understand the sequence of events and can serve as admissible evidence in court proceedings. Moreover, this capability can speed up the resolution process with law enforcement agencies and insurance companies, providing clarity and support for victims.

Proactive protection and feedback

Here are some areas where smart cameras can assist in both curbing incidents and providing valuable feedback for retail business optimisation:

• On the perimeter, cameras using Smart Dual Light and IR illumination, thermal imaging, audio pick-up, sirens and strobe lights, coupled with AI deep learning algorithms, can be used to detect and deter criminal activities and reduce false alarms on the perimeter.

• Utilising metadata information captured, surveillance systems can determine illegal parking and assist with parking space management. Metadata can be used to efficiently search for targets through attribute analysis. Both the security and privacy of users are protected by powerful AI algorithms and advanced fusion technologies.

• PTZ cameras in a parking lot can automatically track and respond to suspicious behaviour.

• A smart ANPR camera can recognise vehicles, licence plates, vehicle brands and vehicle colours. It can be used in scenarios that require vehicle detection and recognition.

• Cameras equipped with AI chip technology and using deep-learning algorithms can locate human and vehicle targets and capture attributes of vehicles for easy management, quick search and efficient business analysis; all in real-time.

• Monitoring cameras in areas where guards are not positioned or patrolling can be achieved through surveillance systems. Security personnel’s response to an incident can be assessed and tracked as an event occurs.

• High-resolution cameras are critical for identifying details of humans, such as facial features, clothing details, etc.

Besides these intelligent cameras, Elvey also supplies body-worn cameras, which collect digital evidence (such as videos, audio, and photos), which is useful in the law enforcement environment for justice, security inspections, and process control. They support one-press to start high-definition real-time recording and take photos. Information such as GPS and video can be uploaded to a VMS by wireless network – 3G/4G/Wi-Fi. It can also support audio communication between devices in one group.

Business intelligence surveillance

Using AI and deep learning algorithms, the system expands on using surveillance cameras as a traditional security tool, providing further value-add for customers with the ability to use this footage data outside pure security. The mined data can be used to publish statistics and execute automation.

“Further expanding the scenario, when linked to a building management system (BMS) like Tridium, data on, for example, air quality in different areas within a mall can be pushed into the Milestone platform and allow management to view footage to determine areas where air quality is poor. They can then perform further analysis of the issue and institute remedial measures,” says Wostmann.

“Our building management system allows you to streamline operations and optimise resources in your retail space by integrating control and monitoring your security, lighting, HVAC and energy management systems. Together, these components form a robust business intelligence framework, enabling organisations to adapt, innovate, and thrive in dynamic market landscapes.”

The abovementioned areas fit into a retail environment where systems can be integrated with the video and data, pulled into video management, building management, and business intelligence.

An open video management platform rather than NVR-type solutions opens up various system integration capabilities and data and event convergence. Video becomes a verification and management tool rather than just a deterrent and time-consuming video review system.

Metadata from intelligent cameras with AI/analytic capabilities can now be used as IoT sensors for various purposes, not just security. Rules can be set up to create events/triggers for automation, but much data is also recognised and saved in the background to make it easy to search for just about any scenario.

“Furthermore, associating data from any of the sub-systems, be it access control, IoT or any of the systems in the building management system, or independently monitored video covering the areas, now provides additional searchable and event data with video verification. Investigation is instant, everything is logged, and can be reviewed and analysed, so better planning and preventive or corrective action can be taken,” says Wostmann.

Moving into business intelligence, with all the data gathered through the video management and building management systems, this data can now be trended and reported on. Having dashboards of live statistics, foot counts etc., gives managers of various departments critical information at their fingertips to make more enlightened decisions based on relevant information.

Wostmann believes the cloud will not be adopted en masse imminently in Africa. “This is largely because of the issues with adequate connectivity caused by a lack of bandwidth and storage and because of the costs involved. You typically have storage on site, whether on an SD card or storage server, but this can be replicated and sent to a private or secure public cloud.”

Cybersecurity built-in

Cybersecurity is a massive issue as more people drive their data to the cloud. “Fortunately, our Bosch and Axis cameras are of European origin, where stringent cybersecurity protocols and regulations are statutory, allowing us to provide customers with assurance that their data is secure. Unfortunately, many cheaper brands cannot provide this level of assurance for risk mitigation,” Wostmann points out.

“In closing, I would like to emphasise that organisations need to become more aware of the possibilities that surveillance opens for them in terms of return on investment in mining data for other business purposes. One should not view security installations as a grudge purchase, but rather as a value-added system that helps to improve working environments and productivity. SIs and system installers need to use the full capabilities of surveillance systems and convey these benefits to their customers.”


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