December 20, 2021

Article
3 min

3 Valuable Use Cases for Video Analytics

Effective use of surveillance platforms can improve security and business performance.

Mike Sherwood

Many organizations have cameras deployed throughout their facilities, but in numerous cases, they’re not making use of the video that those cameras capture. They don’t have the time to manually review videos, and they’re just not sure how to use automation to gain value from this potentially valuable data. Fortunately, modern video analytics platforms provide powerful artificial intelligence tools that allow organizations to improve their physical security and boost their business performance in three ways: by improving situational awareness, speeding up forensic searches and using specialized analytics to gain business insight.

Improve Situational Awareness

Video has the potential to provide physical security teams with unparalleled situational awareness. By streaming continuous video feeds from all corners of a facility, cameras can act as the organization’s virtual eyes and ears. However, many organizations share a common complaint: They simply don’t have the staffing required to constantly monitor all of those video feeds for security and safety issues. Analytics platforms can fill that gap by replacing the need to review video with the ability to simply monitor and respond to alerts generated by the video platform.

For example, I recently worked with a lumber mill that was experiencing significant safety issues at one of its facilities. The mill was located near an apartment complex, and children playing on the complex’s nearby playground would occasionally wander into the facility, creating a dangerous situation. We worked with the mill to set up virtual fence lines, where cameras monitored the entrances to the facility and automatically sent security teams an alert if someone unexpectedly entered a dangerous area. Security personnel could quickly review the video clip on their phones and then trigger a shutdown if the situation warranted it.

Speed Up Forensic Searches

Organizations also often use video to perform forensic searches when they need to investigate an incident triggered by other evidence. This often requires tedious analysis of countless hours of video, consuming resources and delaying important investigations. Forensic analysis platforms can power through such searches by leveraging machine learning to identify relevant footage.

The lumber mill also used this capability. It wanted to know how often children entered the area, so it performed a search through several weeks of footage, looking for fence line violations. The analytics platform the mill used allowed it to narrow down the search area significantly by looking for objects crossing the boundary that were between 3 and 5 feet tall — the typical height of a child. This eliminated false positives that would have occurred when small animals or authorized adults entered the facility.

Gain Business Insight

I also enjoy helping customers use video analytics in ways that aren’t related to security at all, but that simply allow them to gain a business advantage. For example, I commonly work with retail stores that want to analyze the flow of foot traffic through their sales floors. We can use analytics platforms to produce heat maps to determine what displays are interesting to shoppers and how long they remain at each endcap. We can even determine whether they pick up a product and add it to their shopping cart.

The potential value added by video analytics is virtually limitless. This powerful technology can help organizations improve their physical security by providing enhanced situational awareness and faster forensic searches. Specialized analytics techniques can also drive business insights, improving the bottom line.

Story by Mike Sherwood, a senior field solutions architect for CDW’s Enhanced Physical Security Practice. With over 20 year of experience in various technical, sales and leadership positions within the security market, Mike employs a customer-centric approach that focuses on business outcomes to assist customers in evaluating relevant options to settle on the best technologies to enable their business.

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