The Key Challenge for Video Analytics

Author: John Honovich, Published on May 06, 2008

It's all about false positives. Catching the bad guy is pretty easy for today's perimeter violation and abandoned object detection. Not catching anything else -- the sun, the moon, the wind, the birds, the rain, the trees -- that's the challenge.

This should not be that much of a secret. A little bit of experience with any of the dozens of video analytics vendors in today's market demonstrates this.

So it shocked me that Bosch has decided to turn the easy part into the 'challenge'. Here's Dr. Bob explaining what Bosch did at ISC West:

"For the IVA (Intelligent Video Analysis) challenge we had people lining up from 10am when the doors opened till the end – over 2,300 people took the challenge, which was to steal a Bosch power drill from under the nose of our IP camera without the alarm going off.

Dr. Bob exults: "Yes, I think we can safely say we got our message across – our products are smarter than the average bear, and bringing intelligent video analytics to the masses is a good example."

This is cunning marketing but, at best, it is wildly misleading and, at worst, it is a scam.

Now, I am not judging the quality of Bosch's product nor is Bosch the first or last company who will frame the issue as such.

That being said, this challenge is worthless in judging the quality of an analytic because:

  1. Any decent prototype can accurately generate correct matches in a controlled environment.
  2. Economically, minimizing false alerts is critical to establishing the business case.

Reducing False Positives

Making sure you only trigger when someone is violating is hard because there are so many factors that might set off the analytic besides a valid adversary. To a computer, rain, dust and snow can all generate a similar form to a human being. Quick changes in light or the movement of water (waves) can also generate such forms. A camera that shakes because of the wind or issues with the mounting or installation also can trigger such alerts.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

The hard part in such analytics is to make sure that these alerts can be eliminated. This is a key metric in testing and differentiating between analytics.

The Economics of False Positives

False positives drive up the cost of systems. Many (most?) organizations do not have a centralized monitoring system in place to respond and assess video analytic alerts. This places the burden on individual security managers to respond to alerts. Over the last 5 years, getting dozens (hundreds) of false alerts per day (especially if you deploy numerous cameras with video analytics) has been common. This can become an emotional and operational dealbreaker (even if it passed the Bosch challenge).

While it is better operationally to centrally manage alerts, if the system generates dozens or hundreds of false alerts per day, the costs can become prohibitive. Let's say an 'intelligent' camera generates 5 false alerts a day at the cost of $1 per alert (the unit cost to pay a monitor to assess). That's $5 per day, over $1,800 per year and about $10,000 for a projected 5 year lifecycle. If you have dozens or hundreds of cameras, this hidden operational cost can be in the millions.

And this is not theoretical. This is the feedback you will hear time and again from real world deployments. It's widely accepted that this is improving but it is still the major factor in assessing the quality of analytics.

Bosch may think that these tricks are making people more excited and more accepting of analytics. Most security managers have been excited about analytics for a long time. They see the obvious potential to mitigate risks and reduce losses.

Security managers are justifiably not as accepting because they are afraid of the cost and performance of analytics. Bosch is not helping this key consideration. It's baiting integrators and security managers into dangerous territory. We need more clarity and honesty about what analytics can do and how well they can do it. Start with testing false positives under the real conditions of your security operations.

1 report cite this report:

Do Video Analytics Work? on Sep 01, 2008
Manufacturers say video analytics work.  Customers and integrators often say they do not.  Are manufacturers simply lying? Are customers simply...

Related Reports on Video Analytics

Axis CTO: Deep Learning 'Exciting Space' But Urges Caution on Dec 27, 2016
Deep learning interest is rising in video surveillance. 2016 saw: Hikvision's partnership with Nvidia Movidius launch a neural networks chip...
2017 Video Surveillance Predictions on Dec 15, 2016
2017 should be an active, if not rocky, year for the security industry, according to predictions from IPVM integrators. We surveyed integrators,...
Axis Partner Elder Care Video Analytics (Smartervision) on Dec 07, 2016
Can video analytics be used to improve the care of the elderly? Axis and a video analytics startup, Smartervision, are working together to do so....
Top Surprises in the Video Surveillance Industry 2016 on Nov 29, 2016
  The top 3 surprises of 2016 for integrators surveyed by IPVM were: The race to bottom, repeating 2015's Top Surprise Result New -...
Hikvision's ImageNet Win Analyzed on Nov 28, 2016
Hikvision is pushing hard to move up market and win at video analytics. One notable sign is Hikvision touting their #1 ranking for an ImageNet...
China Hot For Intelligent Video on Oct 27, 2016
The clear top theme at the 2016 Security China show has been intelligent video. This is a big shift from past years, and China's historical focus...
Hikvision Partners With Intel Movidius For Artificial intelligence Cameras on Oct 25, 2016
The world's largest camera manufacturer is partnering with the worlds largest semiconductor company to create a series of intelligent...
Camio Natural Language Processing Tested on Sep 27, 2016
The ex-Googler led team from Camio has advanced its video monitoring offering to include natural language processing. Camio ingests video,...
Nest Cam Outdoor Tested - Analytics Strong, Installation Weak on Sep 23, 2016
After years of claiming an outdoor model was "coming", addressing their biggest user demand, Nest has finally released their Outdoor Camera, an...
History of Video Surveillance on Sep 22, 2016
This is a concise history of video surveillance covering the past decade.  The goal is to help professionals newer to the industry understand...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Top ISC West 2017 Booth Trends on Jan 16, 2017
There are significant moves among many major manufacturers on the ISC West show floor, and very few prime spaces left unoccupied. In this report we...
Genetec Favorability Results on Jan 16, 2017
In the race to the bottom and flight to 'solutions', Genetec has taken a contrary path. The company remains independent, focusing up market,...
Free VMS Software Directory on Jan 13, 2017
Many Video Management Software (VMS) providers offer free versions, either open source, for a limited number of cameras or for a limited amount of...
Milestone Essential Subscription Removed on Jan 12, 2017
Subscriptions may be the future for Milestone and VMSes but not right now. Responding to negative feedback, Milestone has removed subscriptions...
Alarm Reporting Formats Overview on Jan 12, 2017
Alarm reporting formats are methods for communicating complicated information quickly, using plain old telephone service. It is still the main...
Amazon Sales of Hikvision China Cameras on Jan 12, 2017
Hikvision has become widely available in the US, including on popular retail outlets like Amazon, with over 2,600 results: 4MP Hikvision outdoor...
Last Day IP Networking Course January 2017 on Jan 12, 2017
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals plus it includes live training, personal help and...
ONVIF Favorability Results on Jan 11, 2017
ONVIF has been one of the most debated aspects of the video surveillance industry. On the one hand, its aim to increase interoperability has been...
Honeywell Ademco Vista Intrusion System Tested on Jan 11, 2017
One of the biggest brands in security holds one of the most common intrusion lines. We bought and tested a Honeywell Vista 15P intrusion...
ADI Battles Manufacturer Partners on Jan 11, 2017
ADI is battling their manufacturer partners, building up their own competitive house brand W-Box, while manufacturers still fund ADI's business...

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