EXCLUSIVE: Using surveillance for proactive security

Surveillance and proactive security

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Adam Lowenstein, Director of Product Management at i-PRO Americas explains why it is important to keep pace with technology and use new video surveillance technology for proactive security.

Proactive security

A new report from Market Research Future predicts that the market for AI-enabled CCTV will grow more than 15% annually between 2023 and 2032.

That super-fast growth is attributed to a rise in technologically sophisticated surveillance systems matched by increasing concerns about security and safety.

This confluence of trends supports what we see happening worldwide, across industries, as security teams tap into the power of AI-based video surveillance to proactively respond to threats in the moment – not just for investigations after the fact. This is a significant shift.

Video is a proven, effective investigative tool

Video security systems have long been considered a deterrent to crime because of their ability to capture and present evidence of events that have happened.

The forensic work involved continues to be the major use case for video security infrastructure.

However, the act of combing through video footage and looking for actionable evidence can take a great deal of time and resources. If perpetrators aren’t clearly identified, law enforcement can’t get convictions.

Video surveillance has come a long way in the last five years. Advances in AI-based analytics – the ability to recognize objects, humans and vehicles captured on video – have significantly improved and sped up our ability to find persons or vehicles of interest.

Using AI to detect attributes such as color, make, model or objects carried or worn, further reduces search time. However, all of this is still reactive to an event that has happened.

While advances in forensic search have been significant, bad actors continue to hone their skills to evade detection.

They’ve learned to cover their faces or wear hats low to conceal their identities. They make a point of knowing an establishment in advance, carefully noting security camera locations and height.

Advances in AI-enabled surveillance technology are helping organizations better protect themselves as threats evolve and advance proactive security.

AI enables a proactive stance

In a perfect scenario, we’d like to prevent major incidents before they happen. After all, stopping a crime before it happens takes significantly less time and resources than piecing together events after the fact.

While any kind of surveillance cameras can be a good deterrent, AI-based cameras can be an actual tool to early intervention because they do more than simply capture images. They can also look for patterns.

When analyzing events, frequently, there are signals that something bad was either about to happen or was happening in real time.

For example, people might have been loitering near entrances or close to a stockroom door. There are plenty of instances when people or vehicles were in places where they should not have been.

By using AI-assisted analytics, it’s possible to look for patterns such as loitering and to detect when humans and vehicles are in places they should not be.

Once detected, the next step is to push an alert to the security staff that shows where suspicious behavior is occurring so they can intervene if needed and enhance their proactive security.

Use cases where AI can help teams with proactive security

AI can help security teams do what they already do – but faster and with greater accuracy – and it enables them to respond in the moment with proactive security. Here are some examples:

  • Processing hours of video to find an individual carrying a yellow backpack or a particular license plate
  • Automating people counting in retail, airports and enterprises to alert staff to scenarios as needed
  • Detecting traffic backups at stadiums, hospitals and city areas to alert staff to issues and automatically re-route
  • Detecting objects to secure perimeters, detect goods being carried out or in, identify left-behind objects and more
  • Integrating with other data sources to analyze, predict and respond to any number of business-specific situations
  • Automating data processing and workflows while pointing operators to relevant insights. This allows them to quickly respond to disruptions and make better decisions

A proactive security stance is made possible by having more information available to operators as events unfold in real time. It requires the right technology, but it also requires buy-in from leadership and employees.

What to look for in an AI-based camera

Having capable AI-based cameras that can not only detect objects, but also capture useful attributes about those objects (color, glasses, hat or vehicle make/model, etc.), is key to capturing actionable intelligence.

If the community has been plagued by smash and grab crime from a red van on Friday nights, then it would be useful to know when a red van is pulling up during those hours.

The extra eyes an AI-based camera can provide could make the difference for security teams that are stretched thin.

To realize the benefits of AI cameras you must have a video management system (VMS) that can interpret and make full use of the metadata the cameras supply.

It’s important because even if your cameras are processing dozens of different attributes about the objects they detect, without a capable VMS to set up rules and alarms based on these advanced parameters, the solution is incomplete.

The best systems can display the location on a map in red when an event is flagged, making the response time nearly instantaneous.

For example, outside of delivery hours, there shouldn’t be any vehicles pulling up to the loading dock. If there are, it might be worthy of an alert.

Maybe the server room shouldn’t have anyone in it after 9 pm. Security teams can now know if there’s a person in there or if there was just a change in the lighting.

That’s the beauty of AI-based cameras and a good VMS — you won’t get notified if a pigeon walks on the loading dock or if a shadow from a passing cloud goes by the server room window. It makes false alarms a thing of the past.

Getting executives and other teams to buy in

Shifting to a proactive security stance takes agreement and organization from leadership to all employees.

As you shift to a more proactive security stance, it’s important to train and empower staffers in the approved steps and best practices to mitigate potential threats before incidents escalate.

This might be as simple as making the team’s presence clearly felt with cell phones at the ready to document the moment.

It might include automated voice-down messages announcing an alert has been triggered, the police have been dispatched and everything is being monitored.

The choice is ultimately dependent on the unique circumstances of your business. The good news is that with AI-based technology, security organizations have more tools than ever to fight crime and improve proactive security.

This article was originally published in the September edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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