The balance between public surveillance and privacy rights is difficult to strike. Sydney is now ranked 15th on the list of most surveilled metropolitan cities in the world. The Australian government plans to use driver licence details and facial recognition for CCTV analytics.
There is one place where CCTV surveillance is almost always necessary — in businesses. CCTV cameras can discourage crimes and help keep your employees safe. But CCTV cameras can now do a lot more than record crimes happening.
CCTV analytics is no longer restricted for private use due to expensive equipment and software. Analytics is now available for every business and home.
Your business and livelihood are valuable. If you aren't utilising CCTV analytics, you're wasting productivity and jeopardising security. CCTV analytics turns your standard capture, store, view process into something more powerful.
CCTV analytics uses algorithms to detect people, objects, vehicles, and more. Your cameras will be able to detect objects moved, taken, or left behind. They can also track movement and direction and trigger actions.
Learn more by diving into our guide below.
What Is Video Analytics in CCTV?
Video analytics makes use of the hundreds of hours of footage that no one will watch. We would all love to have the time to review CCTV footage, not only to prevent crime but to improve business efficiency.
However, business owners are busy running a business, and many companies can't employ someone full time to monitor CCTV. Even if a business can afford that, a security guard can only discern so much from CCTV footage.
That's where video analytics comes in. CCTV analytics uses software to analyse and review hours of CCTV footage. Before CCTV analytics, there were three modes of CCTV surveillance:
- Active monitoring by personnel
- Passive monitoring by personnel (they also undertake other duties)
- Recording for archives
CCTV analytics software helps you identify important incidents. CCTV analytics systems use facial recognition, licence plate recognition, area and movement tracking. Without monitoring by personnel, cameras can identify incidents as they happen.
You can use CCTV analytics with passive monitoring, or have the software notify you only during an incident. Email or text notifications can help you make a prompt response to crimes or accidents.
How Can CCTV Analytics Keep My Business Safe?
So far, we can see that CCTV analytics helps you monitor your business without human input. This enables you to free up security employees for patrols, and other employees to perform their primary tasks. The autonomous natures of CCTV analytics are especially useful for small businesses with valuable stock.
We've also briefly introduced capabilities like facial recognition, movement tracking, and license plate recognition. But how do these capabilities work in practice? And more importantly, how do they keep your business safe?
Improved Alarm Systems
Alarm systems are one of the best ways to prevent crime. However, most alarm events are due to faulty wiring, animals, or other irrelevant events. This is especially true if you rely on motion detectors.
CCTV analytics can identify what triggers the alarm. In doing so, it can reduce the number of nuisance alarms. Technology, like motion detection, is now more elaborate with CCTV analytics software.
False triggers like wind, rain, snow, hail, and reflections in water can start alarms. These interferences can also make the video more challenging to analyse by humans. Once you've chosen the best alarm system, CCTV analytics is a worthy partner.
The software can set lines or boundaries within its detection area, notifying you when those lines are crossed. The software can also detect loitering. The technology can send warnings simultaneously while recording for post-incident review.
That means any notifications or alarms during an event won't interfere with your ability to review it after the fact.
Business owners are responsible for their stores, shops, and offices. But they are also responsible for providing a safe environment for their employees.
While we tend to think of employee safety as an issue during crimes, it has other applications. For example, many factories contain hazardous areas with chemicals or dangerous machinery. An analytical CCTV camera can use software to detect and warn employees that venture into a dangerous section.
Cameras can even be programmed to detect employees in hazard zones without the right equipment. The software can warn employees that are missing helmets, masks, or visors. Health and safety regulations are especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social distancing regulations request that stores map out routes for customers and workers. Analytics software can detect whether or not employees follow these rules and determine their effectiveness. It may be that the paths you have laid out cause too many interactions while shopping, for instance.
Analytics software is also powerful enough to detect objects left or taken. For example, the software can identify objects left in the way of fire escapes. It can also ensure that dedicated emergency escapes are not used for everyday purposes.
Productivity and Operations
Production lines or warehouses are not only ripe for accidents, but also inefficiencies. Using CCTV analytics, you can create heat maps that show popular routes. With that knowledge, you can make adjustments to the warehouse layout to improve efficiency.
You may notice that most workers have to pass through the same intersection. Moving sections of equipment or storage areas can help decongest traffic.
You may also discover that certain products or equipment is used more often than first thought. Purchasing more of that equipment may speed up production lines.
CCTV cameras can find trends, patterns, and critical data. To find this kind of data without analytics would take too much manpower or sensor installations.
Analysis of CCTV footage enables queue tracking. Using analytics, employers can make sure waiting times for customers aren't too long. The software can also trigger requests for employees to assist customers.
Alternatively, due to COVID-19 restrictions, congestion detection can help promote social distancing.
CCTV analytics can also track people, vehicles, and faces. This data may be important to record who accesses secure locations.
Cameras can track licence plates to keep tabs on which vehicles have entered or left the premises. There are obvious benefits to fighting crime here. Cameras can identify the license plates of suspicious vehicles or suspected criminals.
There are other benefits, too. License plate tracking can help you keep tabs on distribution. Autonomous analytics can detect when freight has arrived at or left your business. Cars left blocking roads or entrances will also pop up on detection software.
Facial recognition is another useful application. Again, criminal activity is easier to investigate with facial recognition software. Beyond criminals, facial recognition can help restrict sections or zones to certain personnel even if those sections are not barricaded.
Facial recognition software can also track the use of masks. This is a great way to send warnings to employees for not wearing masks due to recent regulations. This can also help identify and log interactions, should a worker report a case of COVID-19.
Speaking of COVID-19, people-tracking capabilities can be applied to capacity restrictions. Keeping certain areas limited to 10 or 30 people is more manageable with CCTV analytics. This also helps you stay compliant with regulations and prove that compliance.
For example, according to Australian law in Victoria, employers must take reasonable steps to ensure workers wear masks. CCTV tracking helps you comply without checking yourself. The law also requires employers to keep track of the identity of anyone on the premises for longer than 15 minutes.
Motion detection is another great way that CCTV cameras can help prevent crimes and accidents. Motion detection outside of working hours can help spot a crime as its happening. It can also detect accidents.
For example, falling equipment, leaks, or fires can happen outside of opening hours.
CCTV analytics is a great way to detect those events before they cause major damage.
Motion detection can capture changes in speed, aspect ratio, or shape. That way, cameras can detect people running, crouching, or falling. They can also pick out objects that move differently to other items around them.
That means analytics can warn against vehicles travelling in the wrong direction in parking lots or warehouses. This can prevent accidents and traffic jams.
Motion detection can also detect stationary objects or certain custom situations. For example, in a car park, cameras can detect cars that are stuck in the entrances for too long.
Your business and livelihood are valuable—edge technology means your camera itself can process data. If one camera fails, all other cameras continue to work as normal.
This also negates the need for a centralised server for analytics. Edge computing is a recent innovation in the area of cloud computing. Edge computing is the processing of data in the device before distribution.
Besides reducing vulnerability, edge computing reduces stress on central systems. Central systems are also a vulnerable point for criminals to attack.
Beyond criminal activity, CCTV analytics systems provide insights into how your customers' shop. You can gain actionable intelligence on how customers interact with products and placements.
Excellent customer service can help stores stand out beyond e-commerce options. Besides tracking customers, you can also monitor staffing during events or peak hours. Using this data, you can make sure your employees attend to your customers appropriately.
Insights aren't only limited to post-review. You can program your cameras to trigger a warning or request based on what they see. CCTV can take on the role of a security partner, not just a recording device.
CCTV analytics software can detect long queues and trigger a request for more employees.
Smart Phone Capability
You can pair cameras with any smartphone so that you can keep an eye on your business from afar. This even allows you to control the orientation of your camera using your phone.
Normally, we review CCTV footage on the computer where it stores its data. CCTV analytics systems help you view your cameras from your computer or tablet at home.
CCTV analytics systems don't stop there. Machine learning capabilities allow you to use software to teach your cameras to detect (or not detect) certain events. Your business may have specific concerns or needs compared to the average store.
Machine learning enables your security system to adapt to your specific needs. Uses will vary depending on where you install your camera in your business. Certain areas may be more secure than others.
You can teach cameras to be more suspicious of still objects or fast movement in one area over another. In areas full of traffic, cameras can ignore lots of activity but focus on stationary objects.
The use of machine learning in physical business locations represents a significant leap forward in security technology.
AI and machine learning are already used in cybersecurity. As IoT (internet of things) and edge computing grow in popularity, physical security systems will see the same progression.
If you're not ready to invest in analytics software or HD cameras, we also have rent or lease options. Businesses can try out our camera systems first.
It is also possible to divide the purchase cost into more manageable, monthly payments. For more on CCTV installation costs, please refer to our article on the topic.
Without CCTV analytics, much of your security footage is redundant or even useless. Without analytics, crimes and critical events are still detected by humans. The footage only records what happened so you can review its cause.
CCTV analytics puts your eyes in every corner of your business, so you can get better insights on your customers, keep employees safe, and prevent crime or damages.
CCTV analytics is the next step to improving efficiency, security, and safety in your business. If you'd like to learn more about CCTV analytics for your business, please contact us.