Exclusive: Bridging departmental silos with video content analytics

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BriefCam CMO, Stephanie Weagle assesses how video content analytics can help to increase collaboration between departments.

Organisations typically think that their security department is the only beneficiary of video surveillance; however, when organisations pair their surveillance technology with video content analytics, surveillance networks can be used for much more than monitoring situations or investigating incidents. Video content contains valuable data that can be leveraged by multiple stakeholders across an organisation – not just the security team. By helping unlock the intelligence behind that raw footage, video analytics technology makes video searchable, actionable and quantifiable for a variety of business applications.

Powered by AI and Deep Learning, video intelligence software extracts, identifies and classifies objects in video (such as people or vehicles) and their attributes (such as clothing colour, vehicle type, path, speed dwell time and much more). This object metadata is then indexed to drive filtered searching, alerting and data aggregation. While the ability to search, filter and alert based on specific criteria helps accelerate video review and incident response, video analytics’ business intelligence offering transforms video surveillance into insights that can be used across an organisation to drive intelligent decision-making, strategically plan and further enable proactive and preventative responses to developing situations, such as a crowd or queue forming.

Video intelligence can thus bridge the various silos of any organisation, optimising the effectiveness of different departments – from security to marketing, operations, maintenance, customer service and planning departments, across a wide range of industries such as retail, hospitality and entertainment, mass transit, financial services and more.

Accurate traffic and demographic data

One data point that can interest multiple stakeholders is visitor demographics and traffic patterns. For a retail organisation, this can help security stay ahead of crowding; marketing, merchandising and advertising teams understand their target audience and the displays that most interest them; or offer insight into how traffic to different areas of a store compares to actual sales for the items displayed.

Video intelligence platforms with more sophisticated analytic capabilities can even provide unique traffic data so that return and bounced visits or engagements can be measured and data can be generated to exclude employees from these counts.

A video analytics system can deliver not only traffic volume reports, but pathway reports in the form of heatmaps that illustrate not only where people linger, but also how long they typically dwell in an area. In an airport setting such reports inform operations managers for staffing purposes, as well as retail and planning managers to determine optimal building layout and design. In a retail store, marketing and merchandising managers can use heatmaps to discover which aisles, kiosks, entrances or exits are most popular; similarly, they may use people-count reports to know how many customers entered a store, how many stopped at an end-cap display and how many made a purchase from that display.

How long is the average wait time in a service line? Both security and operations managers want to know the answer to that question. How many cars passed through a parking lot entrance gate during a particular time period? Security, marketing, planning and executive teams need to know that information. What is the average time that it takes fleet drivers to pass between point A and point B on a truck route? The human resources manager, as well as the fleet manager, can use that data to justify whether a fleet manager disciplines an employee for speeding, or inefficient driving.

Sharing real-time video data across silos

Video content analytics may be used to improve situational awareness in a variety of scenarios.  For example, just as a security department needs to respond to crowds or queues, so does a customer service or operations team, so that staff can be deployed to reduce the queues and/or redirect customers. Similarly, an operations manager may use the video intelligence system to generate a line-crossing or people-count alert that indicates when a building occupancy limit has been exceeded. The building security team also needs to know about any breach of occupancy limits, so they can help redirect people within the building, or open and close exits or entrances.

Shareable business intelligence

Data insights are good only if they can be easily shared and understood by multiple stakeholders who need it. This is fundamental to bridging silos and enabling collaboration in any organisation. That’s why it is important that video content analytics software can produce dashboard reports that include not only statistics, but also charts, graphs and heatmaps that are easy to understand and easy to share (as needed) across multiple departments.

Most organisations that manage one or more physical spaces are already using video surveillance for safety and security purposes. The opportunity to derive exponential value from this existing CCTV infrastructure is at their fingertips through video content analytics software. By leveraging AI and Deep Learning technologies, video footage from those cameras is transformed into quantitative, qualitative, actionable business intelligence that benefits multiple facets of an organisation, from merchandising and marketing to security, operations and planning.

Stephanie Weagle


This article was originally published in the February 2021 edition of International Security Journal. Pick up your FREE digital copy here

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