False Alarms are Through the Roof

By: John Honovich, Published on Jan 20, 2010

We repeatedly stress how false alarms are the most important weakness of the video analytics market (and security sensor systems in general). The ongoing failure of a large scale deployment in the New York metropolitan airports demonstrates this.

In a special report on the local New York TV news [link no longer available], deployments at NY airports are severely criticized.

The best quote is from the beginning where the anchor exclaims:

"False alarms are through the roof."

Other key details:

  • 4 years and $100 Million USD
  • System is not up and running properly at none of the airports
  • False alerts during rain, squirrels, etc.
  • All payments stopped to contractor
  • Perimeter protection foot patrols reduced, dependent on system though system is not working
  • Anchor emphasizes that the system is 'untested'
  • The report is not clear on the specific technologies

Watch the video below:

Many within the industry ignore or try to minimize the problems of false alerts. While you can win some projects with heavy false alerts and some organizations can better handle them, the market can never expand beyond limited early adopters until false alerting is practically eliminated. As examples like this show, even many large organizations with critical security needs can be overwhelmed and incapable of withstanding high false alerts.

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