Business owners and managers are dealing with information overload and the trend is increasing. One form of data that seems to be trending is camera feeds. The cost outlay for a good camera system with extensive amounts of storage is dropping daily and new technologies that promise to process all this information continue to emerge. The problem with visual information is that, although valuable, it is exceedingly time-consuming for people to sift through all the images. Like the Business Intelligence wave of the last decade, Visual Intelligence promises to revolutionize the way businesses handle visual information.

The Need to Monitor

Cameras are everywhere and growing in number. Although there has been some recent pushback from consumer groups because of privacy concerns, the need to watch over and protect assets outweighs any potential fallout from using visual recording technology.

Cameras are being placed on entranceways, exits, in front of bathrooms, in loading docks, shopping aisles, in ceilings and every other place you can find people walking. Most often camera feeds run to a back-office monitoring area or are fed to an offsite monitoring service. In the monitoring room, people watch over large numbers of screens waiting for anomalous behaviour that can be reported.

The problem with manual monitoring (i.e. people watching video feeds) is that people miss things – they get tired and they make mistakes. The impact to a business of a monitoring mistake can range from minor to catastrophic. Manual monitoring can also create a security gap because people are distractible. A well-timed crisis in one monitor can be used to distract monitoring from activity occurring in a different location.

Some businesses with cameras, don’t do real-time monitoring. Instead, videos that are thought to contain key data are reviewed when an “incident” occurs. There are several problems with this approach: incidents are easily missed, reviewing footage is time-consuming, and manual review can be very expensive.

The alternative to manual monitoring is Visual Intelligence.

Intelligent visual monitoring

Visual Intelligence is an emerging technology that has become incredibly effective in recent years due to advances in Artificial Intelligence, in Machine Learning and in the computing hardware that runs intelligence processes. Some of the applications include face identification, incident recognition, behaviour monitoring, object identification and even face or activity prediction. The obvious advantages over manual processes are that costs can be considerably reduced, recognition can be performed continuously, recognition systems cannot be distracted, and analytical intelligence can be performed in ways that exceed human capacity.

One application of Visual Intelligence is implementing “Do Not Allow” policies. In retail stores, banks, secure buildings and other high-security areas, guards are often used to watch for “known” individuals that should not be allowed entrance. But guards have limited and inefficient memories and they are easily distracted. Face recognition systems have been used effectively in these environments to identify, in real-time, individuals that should be “not allowed” or at least monitored carefully. Shrinkage costs retail businesses in North America over $45 Billion annually and retail stores are looking for ways to reduce that financial burden.

Another illustration of Visual Intelligence is the use of behaviour recognition to detect and predict the actions of users in real-time. For example, in long-term care facilities, patients sometimes fall and are left without supervision. In public areas that are not monitored, vandals and graffiti artists can quickly damage a building requiring costly repairs. Behaviour recognition technology can be used to detect these actions and respond immediately by sending specific messages to appropriate individuals managing these types of situations.

Next Generation

Visual Intelligence is a growing trend within retail, security and health industries. The technology has been proven effective and business owners are finding many more applications daily.

Are you interested to know how Visual Intelligence can benefit your business? Contact us now to talk to one of AiDANT’s experts!

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