Do Video Analytics Work?

Author: John Honovich, Published on Sep 01, 2008

Manufacturers say video analytics work.  Customers and integrators often say they do not.  Are manufacturers simply lying? Are customers simply uninformed? Who is right and why does this gap exist?

Key Points

  • What works is always relative to what one wants to do
  • For some applications, some video analytics work well
  • In general, most manufacturers overestimate how well analytics work relative to what customers require
  • This results in low customer referrals and repeat business
  • Market projections and expectations fail to be met

At the heart of this matter lies a deep truth that underlines and impacts the introduction of new technologies.

Manufacturers generally have a significantly lower standard for determining what works than customers or integrators.  This is not an accident yet it is generally not an issue of malice.  Most manufactures, especially at the senior management level, possess little domain knowledge, resulting in routine underestimation of the needs of their customers.

So when the question of "Does it work?" arise, manufacturers are generally willing to answer affirmitively if a product can withstand basic demonstrations and tests.  To the contrary, a security manager, with very detailed and specific circumstances to address, generally demands far higher and more particular standards.

Take for example, perimeter violation.  A manufacturer might assess the analytic to work if a person crosses the perimeter and an alarm is generated.  However, a security manager may demand that the analytic generate no more than 3 false alarms per day even if 10 cameras are being used.  The security manager may also demand if face a variety of weather and lighting conditions.

This contrast struck me as I interviewed more than 100 industry professionals over the last 3 months, including a dozen video analytic manufacturers.  The consistent theme I heard from the manufacturers were that their analytics did work (many went so far as to say their analytics required no configuration - a claim that rarely is achievable in the field).  The question then arose to me, "Am I being lied to or do these people truly believe this?"

I believe that most truly believed what they were saying but that their positions reflect a lack of experience in real world security operations.  The average manufacturer comes from a background in promotion (i.e., marketing) or development (i.e., CS or EE).  I rarely talked to individuals with any experience in security integration or security management.  Most companies do have people with security background but they are usually in field sales or services roles and have minor influence in product design decisions.

ASIS is soon and we will inevitably be faced with the question of "What video analytics do work?"  Bosch has already announced that it will again run its misleading video analytics demo that I critiqued a few months ago (true challenge for video analytics). Unfortunately, it seems that the show will encourage shallow and risky portrayals of what makes video analytics work.

Nonetheless, I am encouraged by an increasing number of public case studies of video analytics (including Phoenix IVS for public schools and ioimage's for the Israel legislature). If your analytics work, prove it with public case studies that security managers can verify.  This is a far healthier and better way for the industry to evolve than to continue to rely on shallow demos. Feel free to reference other case studies available online in the comments.

1 report cite this report:

City Wide Mesh Wireless and Analytic Claims Examined on Nov 02, 2009
At a recent ISC West panel discussion, presenters discussed the strength of video analytics technology being able to mimic the self forming, self...

Related Reports

ASIS GSX 2018 Show Report Day 1 on Sep 25, 2018
In the first major US show since the US government ban of Dahua and Hikvision was passed into law, the mega Chinese companies were in retreat and...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...
VMS Export Shootout - Avigilon, Dahua, Exacq, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone on Sep 13, 2018
When crimes, accidents or problems occur, exporting video from one's video surveillance system is critical to proving incidents. But who does it...
US DARPA Investing $2 Billion In AI on Sep 11, 2018
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is granting more than $2 Billion to companies developing new AI technologies. The money...
Luxriot VMS Profile on Aug 23, 2018
Luxriot is more popular than Hikvision and Milestone products according to ASMAG which was probably even surprising to Luxriot. The company has...
Video Analytics Integration Guide on Aug 16, 2018
Video analytics is hot again (at least conceptually) but integrating video analytics with VMSes can be challenging. This is especially significant...
ISS VMS / Video Analytics Company Profile on Aug 16, 2018
Who is ISS? In the past few months, they had one of the craziest ISC West promo items in years. Then, they hired industry veteran and ex-Dahua...
Dahua Ban Response: NOT Chinese Government Owned on Aug 08, 2018
Dahua has responded to the US Congress passing a US government ban on Dahua and Hikvision's products. While Dahua offered the now standard...
Hikvision Admits Ban To Become Law on Aug 03, 2018
Hikvision has admitted they expect the US government ban to become law as soon as this month. In a new 'Special Bulletin' to dealers, Hikvision...
Hikvision Drops ASIS / GSX, Ex-Dahua ISS CMO Takes Advantage on Aug 02, 2018
The fallout of the Ban Bill has begun and it is hurting the already beleaguered ASIS GSX show next month. Mega-exhibitor Hikvision has now...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Ladders For Installers Guide on Sep 25, 2018
Ladders are one of the most important pieces of worksite equipment for the surveillance technician. Too often, however, even highly experienced...
Favorite Access Control Reader Manufacturer 2018 on Sep 25, 2018
Favorite reader votes are in, and it is not close. A global access giant ran away with the votes in a one-sided contest. But for many, the...
Genetec Takes Aim At 'Untrustworthy' 'Foreign Government-Owned Vendors' on Sep 24, 2018
Genetec is taking aim at 'untrustworthy' 'foreign government-owned vendors'. This is not a new theme for Genetec as nearly 2 years ago, Genetec...
4MP Camera Shootout - Axis, Dahua, DW, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Sep 24, 2018
4MP usage continues to climb, especially for low cost fixed lens models. To see who was best, we bought and tested seven 4MP models from Axis,...
Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
SIA Plays Dumb On OEMs And Hikua Ban on Sep 20, 2018
OEMs widely pretend to be 'manufacturers', deceiving their customers and putting them at risk for cybersecurity attacks and, soon, violation of US...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact