3VR Demographic Analytics (Gender / Age)

By John Honovich, Published on Oct 11, 2012

What if your recorder could automatically identify people as well as their gender and age? 3VR claims they can do this with their new demographics feature. In this note, we examine how it works, its limitations and cost, comparing it to offerings from Panasonic and Cognitec.

Background

3VR can automatically scan incoming video and immediately categorize people detected by gender and age, as shown in the image below of their client:

demographics 3vr

Additionally, the feature includes search options to let users find people based on their age as demonstrated in the image below:

search age

This can also be done with gender, as shown here:

gender search

Demographic reports can be generated, though this requires a separate interface from their regular client, as shown below:

generate reports

For a given time period, this can show the breakdown of people by age and gender:

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groups

Alternatively, it can show the breakdown over consecutive time periods and how that changed over time:

by time

Technical Requirements

3VR's demographics feature has requirements that limit where and how many channels can be used. Similar to 3VR's facial recognition feature, the maximum FoV is ~5 feet wide for SD and ~10 foot wide for 720p cameras. Additionally, the angle of the camera cannot be too steep. Finally, resource consumption is similar to facial recognition.

The demographic and facial recognition analytics can be run simultaneously on a single camera.

Projected Accuracy

3VR says their age analytic accuracy is ~7 years while a human's accuracy is ~6 years. The company projects their accuracy will improve to human level in the next year at which point, existing systems can be upgraded to the newer version.

We have not tested it so cannot comment on how well or poorly it works.

Cost

The demographics analytic will be licensed on a per channel/camera basis for $800 MSRP. 3VR uses a traditional dealer discount so street price is likely to run in ~$600 range.

Customer Positioning

3VR sees this being used on one camera per store or business to track the demographics of their customer base. Since, it can be run on the same cameras with the same requirement as face, they see it as a natural complement for their existing customers as well.

Competitive Positioning

Since so few providers offer this feature, it will certainly generate a significant amount of interest as a highly differentiated offering, especially among retailers.

Compared to Panasonic and Cognitec, other providers of similar functionality, we see two key advantages:

  • 3VR integrates this into their recorder/VMS, simplifying management and use of the feature, compared to Cognitec which is a stand alone feature.
  • 3VR supports a variety of 3rd party cameras, so unlike Panasonic, one is not restricted to a single camera vendor's line.

Additionally, given 3VR's upcoming release of a software only version (historically their offering was appliances only), this provides an open means of delivering demographic analytics.

However, important issues remain:

  • The camera positioning requirements are quite constraining and will force most users to install a new camera or significantly change an existing one. The cost and logistical impact should be factored in.
  • Given the analytics' non-trivial price ($800 MSRP) plus the potential camera costs, it better work fairly well or customers will likely complain about the cost of deploying this.
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