AI changing the way we see surveillance

We are surging ahead in an epoch of technological progress, with the market anticipating advancement at every turn of the road to modernisation.

Among other advantages, it has helped us bring out surveillance technologies that are ahead of their time — starting from improved imaging devices, location-tracking systems, communications eavesdropping systems, and new means of data collection. One can say with certainty that the future looks bright in terms of security. Yet, one needs to face the challenges of selecting and implementing the technologies for optimal benefit.

One of the issues is that the market has become saturated with low-cost, low-quality products — from cameras to management software. So, selecting the right solution requires a more sensitised approach, which synchronises multiple systems to build an all-encompassing video surveillance solution. Artificial intelligence (AI) is making a difference here.

With its influence in daily tasks such as banking and shopping, it is pretty evident that AI is transforming how we operate and rely on technology, enabling humans to work more effectively than before. The optimal incorporation of AI in our daily lives makes our jobs simpler and more accurate - often even predicting what we will want next and meeting our demands with deeply personal experiences.

But how is AI, using its predictive analysis parameters, influencing the world of surveillance? The answer is: through a new wave of security solutions, where AI meets traditional surveillance practices. Such surveillance systems collate information from the past and help predict abnormal activities that could pose a threat to an organisation’s security.

The solutions do this by first observing surveillance footage and detecting a potentially threatening situation in a monitored environment. Next, they take operator feedback alongside past references in order to integrate this intelligence into the system itself, thus augmenting its functionality. Such a symbiotic system decreases the chances of human error as the human eye has its limits in terms of visualisation — something a machine can do more powerfully and efficiently.

The demand for intelligent video surveillance solutions is rising steadily. As this technology continues to advance, new features and innovations in cameras are coming up that put analytics at centre stage, improving their utility and value much beyond what traditional video surveillance could offer.

Previously restricted to certain high-tech environments, video analytics are now coming into mainstream usage and for not only the usual functionaries. They aren’t just gathering security-related data while preventing the loss of vital information, but are also making a leeway in providing crucial data, which can be passed forward to end-user customers in detailed reports.

These reports carry business intelligence information that are aimed to improve operational efficiency, while providing insights into customer demographics that inform marketing strategies, leading to business profitability.

At the core of this innovation remains greater image processing power in cameras, leading
to deeper learning, with targeted and easily deployable analytics. Often, advanced video analytics record summation of what the parameters scrutini­sed, such as size, object, speed, trajectory, aspect ratio and so on, while using high definition capabilities to inspect the subject carefully. These complex sections of video analytics applications are known to create a variety of information, known as metadata, for future use.

Camera-based, or edge analytics, are particularly in advantage for inaccessible locations with restricted bandwidth, providing an effective solution without requiring additional servers, thus helping save unnecessary expenditure while delivering the required results.

For the technology solution provider, augmented processing power in the modern-age camera gives them the ability to apply analytics and AI across a well-built, more diverse customer base. Now, providers can offer security cameras not only as a way to provide just the often-tread path of video surveillance and security, but also as a method to extract additional insights related to other operational requirements of the business.

Yet, although technology is empowering surveillance, the incorporation for human insight is taking this sector places. With time, one can see a hyper-converged world where even grasping infinity may be possible, thanks to technology along with the vast expanses of the brilliant human mind.

(The writer is director of AnG India Ltd., an electronic security solutions provider)

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