Witnessing leaps and bounds in technological progress brings forth optimism and a sense of security about the future. Having witnessed the profound effects that wireless communications, the Internet, enterprise applications and various other technologies have recently had on different industry verticals, technology will be the source of continued disruption to markets and industries in the coming decade.
One such industry that is going to witness a tremendous upsurge in innovative new technology is the Video Surveillance Industry. In the light of recent horrific events, there is a critical need for people to feel secure – whether at work or at play, at home or while travelling. Hence, the CCTV market has enjoyed a healthy growth for many years due to the threats we continue to face both in our personal lives and our business activities.
The Governments and critical infrastructure facilities too need to feel secure. This has led to escalating business at both ends of the spectrum: from mega surveillance systems to small-scale surveillance installations.
Cities have now installed thousands of surveillance cameras within their limits, and retailers have installed hundreds of cameras in their stores and this trend will continue to grow. The Governments and research companies are spending time, money and efforts to provide security measures to mitigate terror and crime threats. According to a research report by ASIS (American Society for Industrial Security), the USA spends nearly $300 billion a year on security or two percent of its gross domestic product (GDP). The vast majority of those funds, however, till date, are earmarked for human resources such as security guards, police and others.
Only a small fraction is spent on cameras and other security equipment. And this should change with new technologies entering the post video analysis market.
Despite tremendous leaps since the birth of the CCTV camera 21 years ago, video intelligence has not yet reached fruition. The rather slow growth in this vertical so far has stemmed from the general immaturity of the technology in post surveillance video analytics. This, however, should make giant strides, in fact, quite immediately within a year or so, with an innovative new thought process and a consequent breakthrough advancement in real time as well as post-analysis of CCTV camera feeds.
When surveillance cameras first entered the market, their job was to simply provide an extra pair of eyes. But now we harness their processing power as well, giving them both brains and a memory, but under the watchful supervision of actual human eyes.
In a contest between man and machine, it becomes evident that intelligent network video alone will not work; from visual perception to attention span, from memory capacity to situational analysis, surveillance technology supervised and superseded by the human brain will continue to raise the bar for the CCTV industry as a whole.
Living in an increasingly explosive and dangerous world, the key to prevention and solving terror and crime will largely depend on what the cameras are ‘seeing’, and how the data unleashed thereby is ‘seen’, and ‘interpreted’, a key thought process which until now has been completely overlooked, despite great strides in cameras and some amount of artificial intelligence trying to find its place in video analytics.
A Need For Change
This leads us to think as to why is the rate of crime increasing proportionally with the increase in the number of cameras when in fact inverse should be the case. The trouble lies in the fact that despite research taking great strides in the quality of the cameras, and large funds being invested in artificial intelligence (AI) for post-video surveillance, there are plenty of BASIC pain points which are being completely overlooked.
The current catch points of the CCTV video-surveillance industry:
• CCTVs are installed on the ‘fit and forget’ theory
• Actual footage from the CCTV is NEVER audited on daily basis
• Humongous data storage and band width requirements
• False alerts, video blindness, poor situational awareness
• No easy way to search through hours of video
• No standardised reporting system of the same
• Diverse, expensive, and complicated software, especially for small establishments and home users
• No back up of video footage and easy retrieval thereof
• No global standard of auditing of the data accumulated
• No ease of sharing of such data
What should be the outcomes or pay offs from CCTV?
• Crime, loss, and fraud prevention
• Solving crime faster
• Enhancement of compliance, processes, and safety
• Gaining better situational awareness
• Obtaining actionable intelligence
• Improvement of operational efficiency
• Improvement of staff performance, customer satisfaction, and sales
Why do we continue to see acts of terrorism, violence, child abuse, theft, other crimes, and process violations?
This is because we fail to ‘see’ what the cameras ‘saw’. So we now realise that despite huge research, a basic and major flow has been overlooked. The last and the biggest missing piece of the post-video analysis is daily audit. Hence, there is a pressing need for a smart back-up, daily auditing and standardised reporting system for CCTV cameras.
Such a system should be created which can eventually benefit the user, viz., government, law enforcement agencies, etc. in many ways:
• Preventing and resolving crimes faster
• Remote storage that will not require additional bandwidth (savings)
• Effective disaster recovery
• Data would not be overwritten, only relevant data storage
• Ease of sharing footage data with law enforcement agencies
• Audited data should be in a globally acceptable and standardised format
• Due to only relevant storage, huge benefits should accrue to the user
• Analysis of video content should provide an actionable intelligence
• Post video analysis should lead to better situational awareness
• Fraud, loss, crime should be averted
• Safety processes should comply within the institution
• Safety of the people, brand, assets should be assured
• Crimes should be solved faster, with ease of sharing of footage data with law enforcement agencies
• Daily audit reports should deliver patterns that lead to business intelligence
• Undisputed visual evidence
• Investigation / forensics made easy
• Less wastage
Such a system eventually leads a commercial establishment to:
• Customer and employee satisfaction
• Insights into employee performance
Thereby leading to an efficient workplace and increased productivity.
The most effective security systems provide actionable intelligence — bringing together the right combination of new technologies and existing ones, into an integrated solution that connects all critical systems and processes, and delivers the right information.
The Indian scenario
India has emerged as one of the most promising markets for electronic security systems in the last six years. It has increased tremendously in recent years on account of rising security concerns, primarily related to terrorism threats and increasing crime rates.
Additionally, India’s video surveillance market is also driven by increasing information technology (IT) spending coupled with government initiatives. Amongst all electronic security systems, video surveillance systems have captured the key share of the market pie.
The Indian surveillance market is witnessing immense growth from sectors such as government initiatives like city surveillance, airport security, commercial verticals like hospitality, BFSI, retail, BPO, manufacturing, education sector like college campuses and schools, infrastructure companies. About 87% of surveillance needs are for the commercial purpose, whereas 13% are for residential.
Individual consumers are also looking at electronic surveillance as an investment today. The safety and security of one’s home are a prime concern for any individual.
In fact, the government is the biggest segment in terms of volume demand in the Indian surveillance market with its initiatives such as city surveillance, Smart Cities, investments in public infrastructure, increasing crime, terror threats, and increased security awareness. Critical assets require new ways of thinking about their protection due to new emerging threats to their safety and security.
The Government sector is seeing large scale deployments in the Smart City sector. The combination of surveillance with information and communication technologies (ICT) is creating a brand new and smart security infrastructure that not only provides maximum security to the smart cities but can also aid the government as an analytical tool.
One can keep track of criminal zones, traffic flows, climate changes, etc. through this technology, along with tracking agriculture, forests, coastal zones, etc. This greatly helps reduce problems faced by citizens in everyday lives, and the government can now provide warnings in advance, and also provide succour and amenities based on real-time data.
The Government is and will remain the biggest consumer of brand new and exciting innovations in the video surveillance industry, chiefly due to the enormity of its projects. This will be followed by the enterprise segment, and last but not the least, the home segment. This segment cannot be undermined, as housing societies have realised the importance of security and more and more of the CHSs are installing security devices for the safety of their members.
Consumers, whether in the home segment or enterprise are no longer interested in low cost ‘fit and forget’ CCTV cameras. They want simple yet sophisticated solutions for their individual requirements due to an increase in the crime rates and are willing to invest in new technologies that can help them be safer.
Undoubtedly it will be the Government and the law enforcement agencies that will prove to be the growth propeller for the surveillance industry, closely followed by the enterprise and home segment.
By: Ami Goradia, VP – Marketing & Sales, Hayagriva Software Pvt. Ltd.