Facial Surveillance Deployment Complexity Examined

By John Honovich, Published on Oct 11, 2009

Appreciating the key factors in deploying video analytics and facial surveillance are critical for setting the right expectations and achieving successful projects -- a key theme from our recent survey and recommendations on video analytic performance

Over the past few months, we have had an ongoing discussion about 3VR's facial recongition performance based on a field test of real-time facial alerts. In this dialogue, manufacturers, integrators and consultants asked various questions and exchanged ideas on deployment issues. Most notably, the manufacturer itself posted a variety of details. I recommend reading the thread.

Summary of Facial Recognition Deployment Complexity

The following list of items are important factors discussed in our thread about making facial recognition work for real time alerting:

  • Maximum width the camera can cover
  • Restrictions on where cameras can be placed
  • Impact of different levels of lighting
  • Ensuring faces are actually detected
  • Issues with obscured faces
  • Changes in appearance over time
  • Total cost of systems

3VR offers both facial alerting and searching.  Alerting is the use of a facial image of a person to generate a real-time notice when the person enters an area. Searching is the use of an image of a person's face to find when that person has previously been in an area (over days or weeks, etc.).

Searching is generally considered more tolerant to false matches because a searcher can quickly scan and discard the false matches. By contrast, for alerting, the monitor needs to individually review each alert whenever it arrives (usually immediately).

These considerations reviewed are extracted from the use of facial surveillance to generate real-time alerts.

Maximum width the camera can cover

While video surveillance users are accustomed to wide Field of Views (20 to 40 feet are common), the details needed for facial recognition require a much tighter field of view (FoV).

In the example cited in the Korean study, the FoV was approximately 12 feet wide (3.5 Meters) using a high definition 2MP camera. If a standard definition or analog camera was used, the maximum FoV would be half that (about 6 feet wide).

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

This, of course, limits what cameras can be reused given that most existing cameras are designed to capture much wider FoVs.

Also, given that most hallways and entrances with multiple doorways are greater than 6 feet wide, either multiple SD cameras or an HD camera would need to be used.

Restrictions on where cameras can be placed

The camera needs to be positioned fairly level to the faces being scanned (as shown in the sample photos).

Designers need to keep this in mind as surveillance cameras are commonly placed as significant downtilts (30 to 45 angles are common and produce top of head views). This positioning is often the easiest and least disruptive manner to deploy cameras.

Positioning cameras at angles optimized for facial recognition could incur additional cost, deployment complexity and potential aesthetic concerns.

Impact of different levels of lighting

As mentioned in the discussion, even lighting is important for real-time alerting. Even lighting produces the most consistent images improving for maximizing accuracy.

Many common issues in video surveillance can undermine even lighting. The most frequent challenge is sunlight either coming through windows or as external doors are opened. While external doorways are ideal for capturing faces as a person enters the facility (a natural chokepoint and early detection), many extneral doorways suffer from strong shadows due to sunlight surging into the building.

Ensuring faces are actually detected

3VR mentions that, "When cameras are properly and cleverly positioned, detection rates end up being ~80% for each single chokepoint camera."

To help rectify this, 3VR recommends "staging multiple choke points after another, and using 2 cameras per chokepoint."

This approach should definitely improve performance and bring detection close to 100% by increasing the chances for achieving a well lit shot with a clear view of the subject.

The most important consideration is the pure cost and complexity of deploying a series of cameras with optimized field of view, width, angle and lighting. Such a design strategy increases cost by thousands of dollars including the cost of cameras, installation and software licenses.

Accommodating Wider Areas / Entrances

Given the FoV and angle limitations, the width of areas to be covered are critical. A facility with narrow hallways and limited egresses is much simpler (and less expensive) to cover than a facility with large lobbies and numerous entrances.

As a practical example, a bank branch would be simpler to deploy than a big box retailer. Bank branches usually only have 1 or 2 entrances (though lighting could be an important issue) and a queue line. By contrast, big box retailers can have 20 - 30 foot wide entrances and very high ceilings. The combination of these two elements could require numerous cameras and special installation to obtain the minimal angles for facial surveillance.

Total cost of systems

For the Korean system, 3VR cited the cost for 4 facial recognition cameras and management as less than $50,000 USD: "1 x 3VR ServerClass IVMS and 4 3VR 2MP SmartCams, as well as the software upgrades needed, has a combined MSRP of less than $50,000"

3VR also offers an entry level appliance, the S-series, that supports up to 4 channels of facial recognition. The MSRP of the appliance with 2 channel licenses for facial recognition is $6,800 USD; cameras sold separately. Depending on traffic load and watchlist size, a more powerful appliance may be required. Also, if multiple choke points with 2 cameras per chokepoint design is used, this appliance would only cover one entry.

The cost of real-time facial alerting is certainly significantly higher than your standard IP video surveillance deployment. Now, if it catch thieves in the act, it can justify its cost. However, it does require a notable investment.

General Performance Constraints

These are important minimum elements for facial surveillance system and do not guarantee success. Performance may be impacted by attempts of individuals to avoid looking at cameras or obscure their faces. Furthermore, the quality of the facial recognition matching can vary by vendor.

Conclusion

These factors are important primary considerations in deploying facial recognition systems.

Related Reports

U.S. Government Accountability Office Urges Facial Recognition Regulation on Aug 27, 2020
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) is urging facial recognition...
IPVM Camera Calculator User Manual / Guide on Sep 23, 2020
Learn how to use the IPVM Camera Calculator (updated for Version 3.1). The...
Surveillance Storage 101 on Mar 23, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals of video surveillance...
VSaaS 101 on Mar 25, 2020
Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) is the common industry term for cloud...
Milestone XProtect 2019 R3 'Centralized Search' Tested on Oct 30, 2019
Milestone has had problems over the last few years releasing significant new...
Facial Recognition 101 on Mar 18, 2020
Facial recognition interest, use and fear is increasing. This guide aims to...
SAFR Presents AI Facial Recognition on May 18, 2020
SAFR presented its AI facial recognition at the April 2020 IPVM New Products...
VMS 101 on Mar 03, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals about video management...
Genetec Presents Security Center for Airports on Apr 28, 2020
Genetec presented its Security Center for Airports at the April 2020 IPVM New...
Milestone Has Problems on Oct 01, 2019
Milestone has problems. While the company previously excelled in the shift to...
Axxon Presents VMS 4.4 and AI Behavior Analytics on May 20, 2020
AxxonSoft presented its VMS 4.4 and AI behavior analytics at the April 2020...
Biggest Low Light Problems 2019 on Nov 08, 2019
Over 150 integrators responded to our survey question: "What are the biggest...
Idemia Presents AI Facial Recognition Access Reader on May 18, 2020
Idemia presented its VisionPass AI Facial Recognition Access Reader at the...
Vintra Presents FulcrumAI on Jul 02, 2020
Vintra presented its FulcrumAI object recognition and mask detection offering...
Use Access Control Logs To Constrain Coronavirus on Apr 09, 2020
Access control users have included capabilities that are not commonly used...

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...