AI Video Surveillance (Finally) Goes Mainstream In 2020

By John Honovich, Published on Sep 03, 2019

While video surveillance analytics has been promoted, hyped and lamented for nearly 20 years, next year, 2020, will be the year that it finally goes mainstream, marking a major advance for the industry and security users.

IPVM Image

In this report, we explain why this is important, what will happen, why it will happen and what impact it will have.

Why This Is Important

Alerting and searching is made much harder when systems cannot determine what is a person vs what is leaves, shadows, headlights, birds, etc. Alerting cannot be trusted since so many of the alerts will be obviously false and searching is more difficult since users are forced to wade through so many clearly irrelevant results.

This will solve a long-standing frustration of surveillance systems - that there is so much video but no way to manually 'look' at it all. Instead of doing so, AI will automate that process, making systems significantly more valuable and increasing demand for systems.

What Will Go Mainstream - People, Then Vehicles

"AI" is an immense field. To be specific, what we are confident will go mainstream in 2020 is the ability to reliably detect what is a person vs what is not. Vehicle detection will follow.

Harder Not Mainstream

Harder analytics, like facial recognition, tracking people across cameras, detecting smaller objects (like guns, knives, backpacks, etc.) will not be mainstream in 2020. There will certainly still be many areas where companies can differentiate on harder "AI".

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Mainstream Means Widely Offered

Obviously, some companies have offered "AI" / video analytics that have worked for years, however, this has remained a distinct niche. For example, see the (mostly) terrible results from our 2018 professional video analytic shootout.

The difference in 2020 is that it is going mainstream, meaning that almost all manufacturers will be offering fairly accurate and reliable people detection analytics. And the ones that do not are going to stand out as outliers, the other way.

20 Years In the Making, Nearly

What is wild about this is that for nearly 20 years, companies have been claiming to deliver working video analytics. For example, it has been more than 16 years since Object Video's analytics won 'Best In Show' (one of a series of 'best' failures).

Video analytics has been hyped for so long that that 15 years ago, most industry professionals viewed analytics as being more promising than IP cameras. Of course, the last decade has shown otherwise, with IP / MP surging and analytics dealing with a decade of despair.

Why 2020 Is Different

This time really is different, due to (1) deep learning and (2) it being productized in hardware and software kits that make it easy for this to go mainstream.

The benefit of deep learning is that, in the past, video analytics relied on heuristics (like what is the aspect ratio of the pixels changing and how long has it lasted, etc.). These heuristics were often, literally, shots in the dark and were prone to major errors. With deep learning, systems are trained with examples of what is a person (e.g.) and what is not.

The downside of deep learning is that historically it has been very resource-intensive (think servers filled with GPUs).

What is making deep learning go mainstream for AI video analytics is that it is being productized to fit with video surveillance cameras and recorders. On the hardware side, there is Intel Myriad (Movidius), Ambarella CV chips, Huawei Hisilicon, Qualcom and others providing the chips that make it much turn key to deliver AI on these devices. On the software side, the most notable is XNOR.ai, the inventors of YOLO, who have built a business providing optimized software modules to work even on commodity hardware

How We 'Know'

We 'know' and can be so confident because we run the world's leading video surveillance testing program and are already seeing it. The most stunning example is the $20 Wyze cam (using XNOR.ai) that is delivering viable person detection analytics. Another example is Dahua Analytics+ (tested). While Dahua has been terrible at video analytics for years, new hardware has enabled them to deliver viable person detection analytics.

Beyond that, we have information on development plans of various companies and top of the roadmap for most manufacturers is the very obvious inclusion of chips and/or software modules to make deep learning work on their devices.

Impact Significant

This will be a significant boost to the industry. The previous era, the shift to megapixel, has largely run its course and for the last few years, along with the now-ended race to the bottom, the industry has lacked a clear technological driver.

Now, end-users will legitimately find significant value in AI video analytics that can help them improve alerting and searching. There will be genuine value in buying new cameras, recorders, servers or software to get alerts on potential intruders and speed up the process of conducting searches.

Challenges Remain In Selection

While this will go mainstream, there will still be challenges in the selection, such as:

  • Ensuring that the analytics will be accurate in own's environment. While false alerts will be phenomenally reduced compared to the previous era, evaluating and determining which works best in one's environment will still be important.
  • Evaluating how well these analytics work within one's existing equipment and monitoring software (VMS, NVR, central station, PSIM, etc.) will be important as analytics will vary in how easy to use and deeply integrated they are.
  • Determining what type of advanced analytics one wants will remain an important consideration. While people detection will increasingly be as expected as H.265 or IR, etc., AI can deliver more advanced classification and decision making, which will remain much more of a differentiator.

Questions / Thoughts

What do you think about AI video analytics going mainstream? Agree? Disagree? Specific Questions? Let us know in the comments.

7 reports cite this report:

Top Video Surveillance Service Call Problems 2020 on Oct 23, 2020
3 primary and 4 secondary issues stood out as causing the most problems when...
18 TB Video Surveillance Drives (WD and Seagate) on Oct 19, 2020
Both Seagate and Western Digital recently announced 18TB hard drives...
Video Analytics 101 on Mar 16, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals of video surveillance...
The 2020 Video Surveillance Industry Guide on Dec 20, 2019
The 300-page, 2020 Video Surveillance Industry Guide covers the key events...
Directory Of 150 Video Analytics Suppliers on Dec 17, 2019
This directory provides a list of video analytics providers to help you see...
How Cobalt Robotics May Disrupt Security on Sep 13, 2019
While security robots have largely become a joke over the last few years, one...
Hanwha Announces 32MP Camera + AI Line on Sep 10, 2019
In the first rise in maximum megapixel resolution in 5 years, Hanwha has...
Comments (26) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

YOLOv5 Released Amidst Controversy on Jul 27, 2020
YOLO has gained significant attention within video surveillance for its...
Comparing 2020 Reality To 2010 Expectations on Sep 11, 2020
What can we learn from where the industry was in 2010 and what was believed...
VSaaS Will Hurt Integrators on Aug 06, 2020
VSaaS will hurt integrators, there is no question about that. How much...
The US Fight Over Facial Recognition Explained on Jul 08, 2020
The controversy around facial recognition has grown significantly in 2020,...
Sony 61MP Surveillance Sensor Examined on Sep 04, 2020
For a decade, the highest resolution single-imager surveillance cameras have...
Verkada Access Control Tested on Sep 09, 2020
Verkada raised $80 million earlier in 2020, expanding from video into access...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Jul 27, 2020
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2020, with more and more...
Infinova, March Networks and Swann H1 2020 Financials Examined on Sep 02, 2020
While Dahua and Hikvision, helped by fever camera sales, are recovering from...
Access Control and Video Integration Statistics 2020 on Oct 08, 2020
Video Surveillance and Access Control are two of the most common security...
Beware Rigged China Fever Cameras on Sep 08, 2020
Many China fever camera manufacturers have rigged algorithms dynamically...
Nanchang, China "Sharp Eyes" Video Surveillance Project on Oct 05, 2020
China's Sharp Eyes project mandated 100% surveillance coverage of public...
2020 Mid Year Video Surveillance Industry Guide on Jul 27, 2020
The first half of 2020 has been shocking, for the world generally, and for...
China's SMIC Hit By US Trade Restrictions, Impact On Video Surveillance on Oct 13, 2020
US trade restrictions have hit Semiconductor Manufacturing International...
Uniview Deep Learning Camera Tested on Jul 14, 2020
Uniview's intrusion analytics have performed poorly in our shootouts. Now,...
Verkada Speaks On Disrupting Security Sales Channel on Aug 28, 2020
Verkada's fast growth has taken the industry by storm and their enterprise...

Recent Reports

Bedside Cough and Sneeze Detector (Sound Intelligence and CLB) on Oct 28, 2020
Coronavirus has increased interest in detecting symptoms such as fever and...
Fever Tablet Thermal Sensors Examined (Melexis) on Oct 28, 2020
Fever tablet suppliers heavily rely on the accuracy and specs of...
Verkada Fires 3 on Oct 28, 2020
Verkada has fired three employees over an incident where female colleagues...
Recruiters Online Show LIVE Thursday! on Oct 27, 2020
IPVM's 7th online show resumes Thursday with 12 recruiters presenting...
Eagle Eye Networks Raises $40 Million on Oct 27, 2020
Eagle Eye has raised $40 million aiming to "reinvent video...
Hikvision Q3 2020 Global Revenue Rises, US Revenue Falls on Oct 27, 2020
While Hikvision's global revenue rises driven by domestic recovery, its US...
VICE Investigates Verkada's Harassing "RawVerkadawgz" on Oct 26, 2020
This month, IPVM investigated Verkada's sexism, discrimination, and cultural...
Six Flags' FDA Violating Outdoor Dahua Fever Cameras on Oct 26, 2020
As Six Flags scrambled to reopen parks amid plummeting revenues caused by the...
ISC Brasil Digital Experience 2020 Report on Oct 23, 2020
ISC Brasil 2020 rebranded itself to ISC Digital Experience and, like its...
Top Video Surveillance Service Call Problems 2020 on Oct 23, 2020
3 primary and 4 secondary issues stood out as causing the most problems when...
GDPR Impact On Temperature / Fever Screening Explained on Oct 22, 2020
What impact does GDPR have on temperature screening? Do you risk a GDPR fine...
Security And Safety Things (S&ST) Tested on Oct 22, 2020
S&ST, a Bosch spinout, is spending tens of millions of dollars aiming to...
Nokia Fever Screening Claims To "Advance Fight Against COVID-19" on Oct 22, 2020
First IBM, then briefly Clorox, and now Nokia becomes the latest Fortune 500...
Deceptive Meridian Temperature Tablets Endanger Public Safety on Oct 21, 2020
IPVM's testing of and investigation into Meridian Kiosk's temperature...
Honeywell 30 Series and Vivotek NVRs Tested on Oct 21, 2020
The NDAA ban has driven many users to look for low-cost NVRs not made by...