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

Directory Of 92 Video Analytics Suppliers on Jan 04, 2018
This directory provides a list of video analytics providers to help you see and research what options are available. Video...
2018 Top Sales Interest For Integrators on Dec 20, 2017
130+ integrators answered: This is a key question, especially for manufacturers, as it impacts what areas to focus more on and what...
Failed Retail Video Analytics Startup Analyzed on Dec 19, 2017
Most manufacturers in this industry try hard to cover up failure. But an industry startup backed by Silicon Valley's most prestigious accelerator...
Axis Network Radar Tested (D2050-VE) on Dec 19, 2017
Axis is expanding into a new market - radar. The company has released their D2050-VE Network Radar Detector, claiming to minimize false alarms, in...
2018 Video Surveillance Cameras Overview on Dec 11, 2017
This report concisely explains the developments for surveillance cameras offered in 2017 and the state of offerings going into 2018, including...
ASIS Dumps 'ASIS' For Show on Dec 06, 2017
After 60+ years, ASIS is dumping its eponymous show name and replacing it with 'GSX'. This is a classic marketing mistake. For a show struggling...
The Race To The Bottom Is Over on Nov 28, 2017
The race to the bottom in video surveillance is over. After 3 years of aggressive price cuts and heavy sales and marketing expenditures, the...
Panasonic Unified Surveillance Strategy Analyzed on Nov 17, 2017
Panasonic is now a "Unified Surveillance" offering, as their ASIS 2017 booth proclaimed: Looking to make a comeback in the security industry,...
Top 2017 Trends - Cyber and Analytics on Nov 09, 2017
The 2 clear top 2017 trends, according to IPVM integrator statistics are: Cyber Security Video Analytics This is a change from 2016...
Deep Learning Tutorial For Video Surveillance on Oct 17, 2017
Deep learning is a growing buzzword within physical security and video surveillance. But what is 'deep learning'? In this tutorial, we explain...

Most Recent Industry Reports

This High Schooler Is Excited About His Future Security Career on Jan 15, 2018
A common lament is that smart, young people have little interest in surveillance systems. In fact, discussions like Should Talented Young People...
"First Of Its Kind" Stove Knob Alarm Sensor (2GIG) on Jan 15, 2018
At CES 2018, 2Gig/Nortek announced the Stove & Grill Guard, a "first of its kind" sensor in the security industry, allowing users to be...
Amazon Deep Learning Partnership With AgentVi on Jan 15, 2018
Amazon is aiming to grow its Kinesis Video Streams offering that "enables you to quickly build computer vision and ML applications" in the cloud....
Winter 2018 Camera Course Registration on Jan 14, 2018
Learn video surveillance and get certified. Save $50 on the course, ending this Thursday the 18th, plus get access to 2 class times - 'day' and...
Hikvision Removed From US Army Base, Congressional Hearing Called on Jan 12, 2018
Hikvision has been removed from a US Army Base and a US congressional committee is planning a hearing on cybersecurity risks and specifically,...
CES 2018 Show Final Report on Jan 12, 2018
This is IPVM's final edition of our 2018 CES show report. Below are already numerous images and commentary, with more coming tomorrow.   CES is...
Hanwha ExtraLux Camera Tested on Jan 11, 2018
Hanwha has released the latest in their Wisenet X line, the "extraLUX" series, claiming to "capture crystal clear, true-color images in low-light...
Security Integrator Project Management Certifications on Jan 10, 2018
Certifications are a common option for technology professionals looking to improve skills and gain validation. But how about for project...
Canon Launches World's Most Expensive IP Camera (ME20F-SHN) on Jan 09, 2018
Canon has launched the ME20F-SHN , likely the world's most expensive single imager, non-thermal, IP camera at ~$20,000. And Canon subsidiary...
Hikvision Declares 'Never Click On Links In Emails' on Jan 09, 2018
Hikvision is stepping up its cybersecurity efforts with a clear recommendation - to never click on links in emails: It is a surprising change...

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