AgentVi Says They Can Prevent Airport Terminal Shutdowns

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jan 06, 2010

In an aggressive move, AgentVi claims that their analytics could have prevented the airport terminal shutdown in Newark on Jan 3, 2010. They claim that a "simple upgrade to the airport's surveillance system" of Agent Vi's products "would have brought about a very different outcome."

This claim is questionable:

  • The upgrade would not be simple. Not only would they need to install many new servers, the airport would almost certainly have to install new cameras or reposition existing cameras. Depending on what the airport's current security systems, it may also be necessary to perform custom integration of AgentVi's analytics with those systems.
  • Second, the airport's video surveillance system was not even recording. If the airport cannot keep their cameras recording, it is doubtful that they can keep a much more complex video analytics system running.
  • Third, the airport disclosed they had logistical issues even getting access to the video between various organizations involved (the airline, the TSA, the airport, etc.). These operational/workflow processes need to be addressed before the video analytics could even be considered.
  • Presuming that these three issues can be resolved, a very real question arises about the likelihood of tracking the suspect across the airport. Airport terminals are large making search across dozens of cameras difficult. AgentVi claims, "A quick and simple query using Vi-Search could scan the recorded video and identify the suspect instantly, allowing the security team to quickly apprehend him." Maybe but likely to be much more difficult if the suspects moves significantly far from the original camera he is spotted on.

While this is basically ambulance chasing, it makes sense as a marketing move for video analytics companies like AgentVi as terrorism or suspected terrorist events are prime drivers of revenue for security companies.
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