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Video - Using Cameras in a Retail Application

Intelligent video: Five cool things you can do with video analytics

With network video cameras continuing to replace analog installations, I have seen a growing trend for adding on valuable extra functionality. As the images captured have become more detailed, cameras are also becoming much, much smarter. Video analytics has come a long way since I started in this industry – with applications ranging from motion detection to camera-tampering alarms, people counting, and virtual trip wires.

Some of the most popular applications include:

Perimeter protection

The latest perimeter protection solutions are based on thermal cameras with built-in video analytics software. They can “see” in complete darkness and provide automatic alerts when a person enters a pre-defined area within the camera’s field-of-view. The cameras can be set to detect moving persons or vehicles and warn of possible intruders in real time. Security teams can acknowledge suspect activity, and visually verify what’s going on before taking relevant action. These systems can easily be integrated with other IP cameras, floodlights, or loudspeakers to deter possible intruders.

Facial recognition

Facial recognition not only enhances security, but it can also help organizations create a better customer experience. Cameras with facial recognition software take only milliseconds to match faces from real-time video with a database of previously stored images, which are categorized according to the application – whether for access control, VIP identification, or to pinpoint wanted/unwanted individuals. Systems like these are already in use at airports, bus/train stations and casinos, to name just a few examples.

Sound detection

Smart cameras not only see, they can also hear. Many security incidents are preceded by some kind of noise – this could be loud aggressive shouting, glass breaking or tires screeching. ‘Listening’ cameras with sound detection capabilities can add great value to a security system.

People counting

Popular in the retail industry, video-based counting solutions reliably measure footfall in stores and at checkouts. Understanding how the number of customers fluctuates over time helps retailers improve promotions and adjust staff levels, but people counting is also useful at airports, museums and everywhere where detailed visitor statistics are needed.

License plate recognition

Automated license plate recognition has traditionally been costly – systems were based on proprietary technology, from dedicated, specific hardware to server based software applications. Today, it is possible to use standard IP cameras in combination with video analytics software. This reduces costs and improves scalability, and it makes license plate recognition relevant for a larger number of application areas: automating entry and exit to car parks, collecting parking fees, enabling free traffic flow on toll roads, and access control.

In these and other ways, intelligent video allows users to get much more out of their video surveillance infrastructure. Combined with additional data – including audio, POS and data from IoT sensors such as smoke detectors, environment, parking, water, or metering sensors and smartphones – the possibilities for advanced analytics applications are remarkable.


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