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The Role Of Video In Your IT Clients' Business Intelligence

September 25, 2015 | Coverage

By 3VR

According to Cisco's recent Visual Networking Index Report, video is now the fastest growing type of data in the world.  The report estimates by 2019, nearly one million minutes of video content will cross the network every second. Of course, video generated by security and surveillance systems is included in these numbers. This represents an enormous amount of unstructured data – or Big Data – that can potentially be mined for business intelligence.  However, generating any kind of actionable information from endless amounts of video content can seem overwhelming, which is why surveillance video is often overlooked when it comes to Big Data and generating business intelligence. 

The enormous appetite for business intelligence means big sales opportunities. One research report by Accenture, Big Success with Big Data, found that 89 percent of business leaders believe Big Data will revolutionize business operations in the same way the Internet did.  The C-suite has seen the nearly unlimited potential in “doing more” with all of the unstructured data being collected every day; so IT professionals who can incorporate surveillance video into business intelligence offerings will likely find that they have a competitive edge.   

Unlocking Video’s Potential

The key for turning surveillance video into a fountain of business intelligence is video analytics.  Analytics put structure around vast amounts of unstructured video data, making it manageable and making it possible to reveal the patterns and trends that matter. 

In general, video analytics are algorithms that take video feeds from surveillance cameras and turn them into structured data that is tagged with metadata. This now-structured data is stored in a database that can be easily searched in seconds by a video management system (VMS) in order to pull up relevant events, people, locations, times, colors and keywords.  Analytics can turn literally millions of hours of video footage into structured, searchable data that can provide meaningful insights to decision-makers in loss prevention, marketing, operations, and customer service.

IT professionals often think of video analytics for security and business applications as two separate systems. However, many types of analytics can be used for both. Combining these efforts onto one platform for security and business intelligence saves money and simplifies installation and maintenance.

For example, analytics that monitor “dwell time” or loitering activity can be used to identify possible security threats around locations like ATM machines or pay stations. The same analytic can also be a valuable business intelligence tool for retailers, helping them determine whether customers are lingering long enough to interact with important promotional displays, or if they are waiting too long in a checkout line.

Another example is people counting. From a security perspective, it’s a useful analytic that alerts staff if restaurants, clubs, bars — or other locations with capacity restrictions — reach their limits. However, it can also be used by retailers to help measure conversion rates, or by fitness studios to track class attendance as an indication of instructor performance. 

Facial recognition and license plate recognition are additional video analytics with dual purposes. Of course, they are useful in helping determine whether an unwanted person or vehicle has entered the premises, but they can also help businesses identify the presence of a VIP. 

These are just a few examples. Video analytics for security and for business intelligence are often more similar than most people realize, and making the shift to using video analytics for dual applications will be well worth the effort.