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.

2 reports cite this report:

Is Bosch Over-Selling Video Analytics? on Mar 25, 2009
Analysts and pundits agree that video analytics has been significantly over-sold in the last few years. Bosch certainly did its part with its IVA...
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

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...
IP Camera Analytics Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview on Jul 30, 2018
Video analytics are hot again. But whose analytics really work? IPVM bought and tested Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha and Hikvision cameras,...
Eagle Eye Networks Cloud VMS Tested on Jul 26, 2018
Eagle Eye has become one of the most significant players in the industry in the past few years: Eagle Eye's Owner Acquired Brivo Eagle Eye...
Avigilon "Self-Learning" Analytics And VMD Tested on Jul 23, 2018
Avigilon is a popular choice for video analytics, offering "self-learning" analytics built into their cameras as well as appliances. We tested...
Directory of Video Surveillance Startups on Jul 18, 2018
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known entity...

Most Recent Industry Reports

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...
Favorite Request-to-Exit (RTE) Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 19, 2018
Request To Exit devices like motion sensors and lock releasing push-buttons are a part of almost every access install, but who makes the equipment...
25% China Tariffs Finalized For 2019, 10% Start Now, Includes Select Video Surveillance on Sep 18, 2018
A surprise move: In July, when the most recent tariff round was first announced, the tariffs were only scheduled for 10%. However, now, the US...
Central Stations Face Off Against NFPA On Fire Monitoring on Sep 18, 2018
Central stations are facing off against the NFPA over what they call anti-competitive language in NFPA 72, the standard that covers fire alarms....
Chinese Government Praises Hikvision Following Xi Jinping on Sep 17, 2018
The Chinese government council responsible for managing China's state-owned companies praised Hikvision’s obedience to China’s authoritarian leader...
Amazon Ring Spotlight Cam Tested on Sep 17, 2018
Amazon's Ring has released their latest camera entry, the Spotlight Cam, which we bought and tested in our Consumer IP Camera Analytics...
European Mega Security Firm Verisure Pushing Security Fog on Sep 17, 2018
The European mega security firm Verisure (Securitas Direct), with a reported 2 million customers, is pushing security fog, as shown in this BBC...
IP Camera Cable Labeling Guide on Sep 14, 2018
Labeling cables can save a lot of money and headaches. While it is easy to overlook, taking time to label runs during installation significantly...
Favorite Intercom Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 14, 2018
Intercoms are certainly increasing in popularity, driven by the integration of video and IP networking. But who is the favorite? On the one side,...

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