Top 3 Problems Limiting the Use and Growth of Video Analyticsby John Honovich, IPVM posted on Jun 18, 2008 About John Contact John
While video analytics holds great promise, people are still asking about the viability of using analytics in the real world. Indeed, as stories of video analytic problems have spread, concerns about the risks of video analytics now seem higher than a few years ago when the novelty of the technology spurred wide excitement.
This article surveys the main problems limiting the use and growth of video analytics. It is meant to help security managers and integrators gain a better sense of the core issues involved.
Top 3 Problems:
- Eliminating False Alerts
- System Maintenance Too Difficult
- Cost of System Too High
Eliminating False Alerts
Since the goal of video analytics is to eliminate human involvement, eliminating false alerts is necessary to accomplish this. Each false alerts not only requires a human assessment, it increases emotional and organizational frustration with the system.
Most are familiar with burglar alarm false alarms and the frustration these causes. On average, burglar alarm false alarm per house or business are fairly rare. If you have 1 or 2 per month, that is fairly high. Many people do not experience false alarms of their burglar system for months.
By contrast, many video analytic systems can generate dozens of false alarms per day. This creates a far greater issue than anything one is accustomed to with burglar alarms. Plus, with such alarms happening many times throughout the day, it can become an operational burden.
Now, not all video analytics systems generate lots of false alarms but many do. These issues have been the number one issue limitation of the integrators and end-users that I know using and trying video analytics.
System Maintenance Too Difficult
System maintenance is a often overlooked and somewhat hidden issue in video analytics.
Over a period of weeks or months, a video analytic system's false alerts can start rising considerably due to changes in the environment, weather and the position of the sun. This can suddenly and surprisingly cause major problems with the system.
Not only is the increase in false alerts a problem, the risk now that the system could unexpectedly break in the future creates a significant problem in trust. If your perimeter surveillance one day stops functioning properly, you now have a serious flaw in your overall security plan.
This has been a cause of a number of video analytic system failures. The systems, already purchased, simply get put to the side becoming a very expensive testament to not buying or referring one's colleagues to video analytics.
This being said, not all video analytic systems exhibit this behavior but you would be prudent to carefully check references to verify that existing systems have been operating for a long period of time without any major degradation.
Cost of System Too High
While you can find inexpensive video analytic systems today, these system tend to exhibit problems 1 and 2, high false alerts and poor system maintenance. Indeed, in my experience, video analytic systems that are either free or only cost $100-$200 more generally have significant operational problems.
One common feature of systems that work is that the complete price for hardware and software is usually $500 or more per channel for the analytics. Now just because a video analytic systems is expensive obviously does not mean it is good. However, there are necessary costs in building a systems that is robust and works well in the real world.
The cost of video analytic systems comes in making them robust to real world conditions that we all take for granted. The developer needs to make the video analytic system “intelligent” enough to handle differences in lighting, depth, position of the sun, weather, etc. Doing this involves building more complex or sophisticated programs. Such programs almost always require significantly more computing hardware to execute and significant more capital investment in writing, testing and optimizing the program. All of these clearly increase costs.
The challenge is that it is basically impossible to see this from marketing demonstrations because from a demo all systems invariably look exactly alike. This of course has the vicious effect of encouraging people to choose cheaper systems that are more likely to generate high false alerts and be unmaintainable.
If you select a system that works, the cost per camera can make it difficult to justify the expense. Indeed, so much of the first generation video analytic deployments, came from government grant money, essentially making the cost secondary or not relevant. Nevertheless, for video analytics to grow in the private sector, they will not only need to work they will need to generate financial return.
When video analytics allow for guard reduction or reduce high value frequent losses, it is easy to justify and you see companies having success here (in terms of publicly documented cases, IoImage is the leader here). For other cases, where humans are not being eliminated, the individual loss is small or the occurrence of loss is low, the cost can be a major barrier.
Though I anticipate video analytics successes to increase, I believe such success will be constrained to applications where the loss characteristics and/or the human reduction costs are high. While analytics will certainly become cheaper, such cost decreases will take time and in the interim, it is these high value applications where analytics can gain a foothold of success.
Most Recent Industry Reports
Testing Axis' Top Low Light Camera Q1635 on Nov 23, 2015
Low light performance continues to improve, first driven by advances in image processing and now increasing number of 1/2" imagers in 1080p HD cameras. IPVM has recently tested new super low light...
Audio Analytics Aggression Tested on Nov 20, 2015
What if you could use your IP cameras to detect fights before they start? That is the goal of Louroe / Sound Intelligence with their recently released Aggression Detector audio analytics. Cl...
Pelco Optera 12MP Multi-Imager Tested on Nov 09, 2015
This summer, Pelco came out firing against Arecont, touting the superior performance of its new multi-imager line vs Arecont's. But is this really the case? We bought a Pelco Optera 180° multi...
IP Camera Bootup Shootout 2015 on Nov 04, 2015
IP cameras, like PCs, take some time to boot up. And just like PCs, the amount of time can vary greatly. Many people do not care but some people find it annoying. Perhaps more importantly, in surve...
Live From China on Nov 02, 2015
China's growing influence, if not dominance, of the global video surveillance market is unquestionable. To better understand this, IPVM has gone to China. Our first stop is CPSE, which claims ~100...
Network Cabling for Video Surveillance Guide on Oct 30, 2015
In this 14 page guide, we teach the fundamentals of network cabling for video surveillance networks, how they should be installed, and the differences in testing them for production networks. Spec...
Large Video Surveillance Systems Guide on Oct 29, 2015
This 14 page guide explains the key uses, design factors, and players in the large system surveillance market. A global group of 80 integrators responded, each offering insig...
Sony 20MP / 4K Camera Tested on Oct 26, 2015
For 18 month, Sony has been hyping 4K cameras, a year before they even announced a 4K network camera. Now, amidst intense competition and price pressure, Sony has released their long awaited 2...
ONVIF Screen Capture Tested on Oct 23, 2015
Recording a PC's screen to a VMS has several uses, but historically has required expensive dedicated encoders or specialized software for each VMS. Now, a new offering called Screen ONVIF has...
Milestone Arcus VMS Tested on Oct 21, 2015
For more than a decade, Milestone was a Windows only VMS. With the Internet shifting power away from Windows OSes, Milestone launched a new VMS, called Arcus, which can be embedded onto Linux ...