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 High End HD Camera Q1615 on Sep 15, 2014
Axis core focus is the high end of the market. Their newest high end camera is the Q1615, aims to continue that, which they claim offers industry leading image quality and novel features, such as: ...
Testing Avigilon ACC 5 VMS on Sep 10, 2014
In this report, we provide in-depth videos covering Avigilon Control Center 5's operation and configuration with 30+ minutes of screencasts providing clear explanations of ACC features including: ...
License Plate Recognition Axis App Tested on Sep 08, 2014
License plate recognition (LPR) has historically been very expensive, requiring specialized hardware and software. An embedded LPR app from ipConfigure aims to change that, turning compatible Axis...
Testing March MegaPX Domes on Sep 04, 2014
March Networks has been one of the bigger names in video surveillance recorders for a decade, with significant adoption especially in banking and retail. For a number of years, since the Cieffe&nb...
Milestone XProtect 2014 Tested on Sep 03, 2014
In this third entry in our ongoing VMS test series we provide in-depth explanation and analysis of Milestone XProtect Enterprise 2014. Inside this report, we have 40+ minutes of video screenc...
The New Generation of Security Startups on Sep 02, 2014
New entrants to the security market are few and far between. However, there is one area that is clearly driving new security startups - crowdfunding. Crowdfunding has grown from a curiosity ...
IP Camera Firmware Upgrade Directory on Aug 28, 2014
Updating firmware can be one of the most tedious tasks involved in any IP camera system. It is not always clear what version is latest, what has changed or been fixed, and where to even download it...
A Major Flaw in Long Lenses and PTZs Found on Aug 26, 2014
Theoretically, long lenses should let you capture faces and license plates very far away. For example, over 900 feet away from a 1080p camera one should get over 40ppf from a 100mm lens. But how ...
Camera Calculator Adds Personal Scenes on Aug 25, 2014
By popular request, now you can visualize and optimize your own applications with your own images. The IPVM Camera Calculator has added personal scenes to our 6 pre-set ones. You are going to love...