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.

ai video surveillance goes mainstream in 2020

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.

Register Education Series

Starting this Wednesday, for the month of September, we will have an educational series to help you better understand what goes into 'AI' / deep learning and how it will impact the industry. Join now.

Deep Learning Educational Series

Questions / Thoughts

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

5 reports cite this report:

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 (25) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Video Surveillance History on May 06, 2020
The video surveillance market has changed significantly since 2000, going...
Cisco Video Surveillance Is Dead, Long Live Cisco Meraki Video Surveillance on Feb 11, 2020
A dozen years ago much of the industry thought that Cisco was destined to...
Video Analytics 101 on Mar 16, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals of video surveillance...
YOLOv5 Released Amidst Controversy on Jul 27, 2020
YOLO has gained significant attention within video surveillance for its...
The US Fight Over Facial Recognition Explained on Jul 08, 2020
The controversy around facial recognition has grown significantly in 2020,...
Directory of 95 Video Surveillance Startups on May 20, 2020
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see...
IR Surveillance Camera Guide on Feb 06, 2020
Integrated infrared (IR) cameras are everywhere in 2020, but not all IR is...
Favorite Video Analytic Manufacturers 2020 on Feb 25, 2020
Video analytics is now as hot as ever, driven by the excitement of advancing...
Integrated IR Camera Shootout 2020 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Uniview, Vivotek on Jan 30, 2020
The best and worst cameras tested in this IPVM shootout showed major...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Jul 27, 2020
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2020, with more and more...
AI/Smart Camera Tutorial on Feb 20, 2020
Cameras with video analytics, sometimes called 'Smart' camera or 'AI'...
Integrators Hard Hit By Coronavirus on Mar 18, 2020
Integrators are already being hard hit by Coronavirus as brand new IPVM...
Faked Coronavirus Fever Detection, Athena Used Hikvision; Responds - Selling NDAA Compliant Cameras, Pledging 50% Of Profits to Victims on Mar 24, 2020
US company, Athena Security, faked its coronavirus fever detection marketing,...
The Booming Multi-Billion Coronavirus Fever Camera Market on Apr 21, 2020
The market for elevated body temperature detection cameras, aka 'coronavirus...
Video Surveillance 101 Book Released on Jul 07, 2020
IPVM's unique introduction to video surveillance series is now available as a...

Recent Reports

Dangerous Hikvision Fever Camera Showcased by Chilean City on Aug 07, 2020
Deploying a fever camera outdoors, in the rain, with no black body, is...
"Grand Slam" For Pelco's PE Firm, A Risk For Motorola on Aug 07, 2020
The word "Pelco" and "grand slam" have not been said together for many years....
FLIR Stock Falls, Admits 'Decelerating' Demand For Temperature Screening on Aug 07, 2020
Is the boom going to bust for temperature screening? FLIR disappointed...
VSaaS Will Hurt Integrators on Aug 06, 2020
VSaaS will hurt integrators, there is no question about that. How much...
Dogs For Coronavirus Screening Examined on Aug 06, 2020
While thermal temperature screening is the surveillance industry's most...
ADT Slides Back, Disappointing Results, Poor Commercial Performance on Aug 06, 2020
While ADT had an incredible start to the week, driven by the Google...
AHJ / Authority Having Jurisdiction Tutorial on Aug 06, 2020
One of the most powerful yet often underappreciated characters in all of the...
SIA Coaches Sellers on NDAA 889B Blacklist Workarounds on Aug 05, 2020
Last month SIA demanded that NDAA 899B "must be delayed". Now that they have...
ADI Returns To Growth, Back To 'Pre-COVID Levels' on Aug 05, 2020
While ADI was hit hard in April, with revenue declining 21%, the company's...
Exposing Fever Tablet Suppliers and 40+ Relabelers on Aug 05, 2020
IPVM has found 40+ USA and EU companies relabeling fever tablets designed,...
Indian Government Restricts PRC Manufacturers From Public Projects on Aug 04, 2020
In a move that mirrors the U.S. government’s ban on Dahua and Hikvision...
Directory of 201 "Fever" Camera Suppliers on Aug 04, 2020
This directory provides a list of "Fever" scanning thermal camera providers...
Face Masks Increase Face Recognition Errors Says NIST on Aug 04, 2020
COVID-19 has led to widespread facemask use, which as IPVM testing has shown...
Dahua Loses Australian Medical Device Approval on Aug 04, 2020
Dahua has cancelled its medical device registration after "discussions" with...
Google Invests in ADT, ADT Stock Soars on Aug 03, 2020
Google has announced a $450 million investment in the Florida-based security...