The role of video analytics when businesses reopen after lockdown

Chertsey, Surrey (UK)

Much thought is now being given as to how businesses will be able to safely reopen after the coronavirus lockdown rules are gradually being modified and even relaxed. Inevitably, social distancing rules will have to remain in place and this still means that only a specified number of people will be allowed to be in a controlled area at any one time.

Uri Guterman, Head of Product and Marketing at Hanwha Techwin Europe looks at how intelligent analytics and video surveillance can assist when addressing these vital issues.

There are so many environments where complying with this limitation will be a challenge. Pubs and clubs, for example, will be desperate to reopen at the earliest opportunity, but in order to do so, they might have to employ additional door staff just to count the number of people who enter and leave. For companies already struggling to survive, the cost of hiring these extra members of staff could be prohibitive.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution readily available which can be quickly deployed and will prove to be far more cost-effective and accurate than employing someone to do the same job. It comes in the form of video surveillance cameras which are preloaded with people counting video analytics. The analytics are able to provide real-time information on the net number of people on the premises at any particular time, as it is able to simultaneously count both people entering and leaving premises. The data can be displayed in an easy to understand format on smartphones, laptops and PCs to provide managers with an early warning that permitted numbers are close to the permitted limit.

Maintaining social distancing

System integrators will no doubt be able to identify many other social environments where people counting video analytics will help ensure that social distancing rules are implemented and verified. We do not yet know how these rules will evolve when the immediate crisis is over, but shopping centres, art galleries and museums are just a few more examples of where the solution can be effectively deployed.

Although developed to help retailers gain a greater understanding of customer behaviour – as is the case with the people counting functionality available in Retail Insight – video analytics capable of identifying occupancy levels provide a powerful tool to identify if too many people are congregating in specific areas.

As an example, AI-Crowd video analytics, developed by Hanwha Techwin’s technology partner, A.I Tech, is able to provide an estimation of the number of people present in crowded areas where they might be expected to move slowly or stop, whilst AI-Overcrowd will generate an alert if the occupancy of an area exceeds a specified threshold.

As with people counting analytics, this solution can be quickly deployed and used ‘out-of-the-box’ as it can also run onboard cameras, which have open platform chipsets with sufficient processing power to do so.

Many cameras will support two-way audio and as such, will enable operators to communicate with visitors that they need to move out of the area.

Intelligent video analytics

In addition to these specialist video analytics applications, a large number of IP network cameras from manufacturers such as Hanwha Techwin, include as standard various forms of license-free analytics. The latest generation of Wisenet cameras, for example, are equipped with a suite of intelligent video analytics (IVA), which includes enter/exit direction, tripwire and face detection. Combinations of these various forms of video analytics can be configured to form a cost-effective digital barrier.

A new range of Wisenet cameras equipped with deep learning based video analytics will shortly be launched. These will ensure operators are not frustrated by ‘false positive’ alerts as they will be able to simultaneously detect and classify various object types, including people, vehicles, faces and license plates. Most importantly, they are able to ignore video noise, waving trees, moving clouds and animals, all of which might normally be the cause of false alarms. The AI algorithms built into these new cameras will also provide greater people counting accuracy.

Innovative solutions for the future

Within the not too distant future, Uri Guterman says that we will see the introduction of AI applications developed by Hanwha Techwin and its technology partners which will enhance video surveillance systems to a level which at this time might not seem possible. He also confirmed that many of these innovations on the horizon will potentially give greater assistance to businesses as they seek to operate in a world where social distancing will remain a very important issue for some time.


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