VIDEO surveillance coverage is vast and growing – not just in terms of scale but in terms of quality. Despite the improvement, many CCTV systems are static beasts – they record at fixed frame rates with fixed fields of view and the footage they generate is stored for investigation.
But there’s a growing trend in which sees end users and integrators squeezing more out of CCTV systems using IVA – some of these lateral applications are not security or safety related but increasingly, many are. It’s not surprising at one level. The underlying technology that generates stock reports for marketing teams is just as capable of delivering reports to security managers informing them in real time of large crowds or heavy vehicles driving where they should not be.
As IVA becomes more stable, reliable and affordable, security managers and risk averse end users are turning to analytics to lever more proactivity security out of their systems. In a very real sense, ROI on CCTV doesn’t just mean facilitating lateral applications – it means increasing the security performance of surveillance systems, too.
IVA applications are diverse but they have a pattern that integrators, consultants and end users will be familiar with – they are all proven by trial and error to be reliable. The most common IVA applications include approaching a secure line and crossing a secure line in perimeter applications and counting people and vehicles. But some end users are interested in being alerted to the presence of items or conditions in a field of view. And as end user interest increases, some integrators are deploying IVA in almost all their CCTV applications.
ANPR – numberplate recognition – is increasingly common in large retail applications today – you can’t drive your car into a mall in a major city without it’s numberplate being recorded. But for some end users, numberplate recognition technology is being considered to assist local police forces to capture the plates of hoons, as well as acting as a deterrent. Police can be further empowered when alerts involving vehicles are sent directly to their mobile devices by the surveillance system.
When it comes to ANPR on the street, the word is not only that it works but that it can be affordable – especially if it’s being delivered as an integrated part of video surveillance solutions, not a highly-engineered bolt-on. It’s worth noting that as prices are forced downwards by competition, engineering teams will find powerful new features with which to distinguish their systems. The notion of an integrated video surveillance systems that incorporates powerful and functional IVA off the shelf is very appealing. It’s a major selling point.
Speaking with end users in the industry recently – including some who did not wish us to discuss the nature of their IVA applications – something they want is IVA that empowers their CCTV solutions with serious operational advantages. This means they want more than line crossing, which is relatively undiscerning. For end users, ROI is important, but imposing security procedures is more important still, and the best and most cost-effective way to alert compact security teams on large sites to indiscretions or incidents occurring in open space is with capable IVA.
When you bring in the high levels of integration that are now taking place between CCTV, access control and intrusion detection systems, the capability of IVA to generate an automated response and an escalate an event to rapid response is considerable. What’s going to be challenging for engineers is building IVA solutions that are more flexible than simple line crossings, yet include metronomic dependability.
IVA has been making the video surveillance industry promises for many years. Can it now deliver on those promises? There’s plenty at stake. Functional IVA is not just a nice idea from the point of view of manufacturers and distributors hungry for a sale. users and consultants are hungry for IVA that works and it seems now we’re now in sight of the Holy Grail. ♦
By John Adams