ISC West, the world's largest security industry trade show, is just around the corner. This in-person show gathered more than 1,000 manufacturers and over 30,000 visitors from all over the world in 2019. On top of that, more than 200 brands exhibited at ISC West for the first time. This year's event promises to be just as exciting, if not more so. Let’s overview some leading security trends in video management systems development, and what's worth your time and attention at ISC West 2020.

AI analytics

Emerging two or three years ago, the AI-based video analytics market is experiencing a boom in growth. The prototypes and ideas displayed at ISC West 2019 could This year's event promises to be just as exciting, if not more soalready be part of a functioning system today. There's a lot of hype around this new trend. So, if you're looking for solutions for your needs, it is important to be able to tell the difference between technologies that work and marketing bluster. To do that, you have to understand what today's AI-based analytics (also often referred to as a neural network, deep learning, or machine learning) can and can't do.

Let's start with what AI can't do in video surveillance. It can't analyze the sequence in which events occur or understand the 'logic' of what's happening in the scene. In other words, there's no such thing as a 'suspicious behavior detection tool'. Nevertheless, neural networks are really good at recognizing and classifying objects. For instance, they can distinguish humans from vehicles, vehicles from other moving objects, and cyclists from pedestrians.

Neural network trackers

This technology is primarily used as a neural network tracker or object tracker that can identify and track objects of a specific type. Usually, it's applied to complex scenes with a large amount of non-relevant details where a classic tracker would drown in false alarms. The neural tracker can be used to detect people in dangerous areas at production facilities, cyclists riding on pedestrian lanes, or poachers trying to sneak into a nature preserve.

Neural networks are really good at recognizing and classifying objectsObject identification function can be used for other site-specific tasks, such as detecting people without a helmet or a high-visibility vest at facilities where those are required by safety regulations. It can also be used to detect fire and smoke in open spaces, or at big premises with high ceilings or active air circulation, where common fire alarm systems can't be used or may go off too late.

Behavior analytics 

Behavior analytics is another field of analytics based on artificial neural networks. Even if recognizing suspicious or inappropriate behavior is nearly impossible, it can detect risky situations based on human postures, such as an active shooter pose, raised arms, crouching, or man down. In addition to that, AI has been successfully used to perform facial and license plate recognition for quite some time now. Although these systems aren't new, their recognition quality improves each year.

Looking for solutions? You'll definitely find some interesting and new options from developers specializing in VMS and modular AI analytics at ISC West 2020.

Even if recognizing suspicious or inappropriate behavior is nearly impossible, AI can detect risky situations based on human postures

Smart search

The ability to perform a quick, flexible search in a video archive is one of the most important features of a video surveillance system. In many ways, it's even more AI has been successfully used to perform facial and licence plate recognition for quite some time nowimportant than real-time monitoring itself. Constantly keeping an eye out for what's happening onsite is the security service's job. Medium- to large-sized companies usually have that kind of department. Meanwhile, lots of small businesses and households use video footage to investigate accidents, resolve conflicts, or analyze employee's work. They generally don't need real-time monitoring, but video search is a crucial element.

The most basic search tools offer an interface that enables easy access to recorded video and event-based search (from video analytics, detectors, etc.). Smart systems with forensic search features that allow the user to set criteria enhance the system's search capabilities even more.

How it works 

VMS analyzes the video as it is recorded and saves the resulting metadata to a database. In the most basic case, the metadata contains information about motion in the scene as well as the moving object's coordinates. When searching, you can select an area of interest within the frame and take a quick look at all video segments containing motion in this area. More advanced systems save the parameters of moving objects, such as their size, color, motion speed and direction. TThe ability to perform a quick, flexible search in a video archive is one of the most important features of a video surveillance systemYou'll quickly find what you're looking for by setting more precise criteria.

The first VMS with forensic search features appeared in the early 2010s. Since then, a growing number of users and VMS developers have recognized the importance of these tools. More and more manufacturers enrich their products with forensic search features, starting from basic search by motion detection.

Integrating search functions with AI

Recently, search technologies have gone even further by integrating search functions with AI analytics. Some systems are capable to recognize all faces and number plates captured by cameras and save them to the database. You can quickly find all videos containing an image of a person or a car just by searching a photo or a number plate across multiple camera archives at a time. One usage scenario for these systems can be seen in law enforcement deploying them to find suspects using CCTV cameras around the city.

Another option for integrating smart search and AI is searching by criteria based on a neural network tracker. When you use it, you can set object's size, color, motion speed and direction in the scene, as well as object's type (such as a human or a vehicle). So, if you need to find out when a red car appeared in the surveillance area, the system will show you only red cars while ignoring other objects like people in red clothes. This technology lets you find what you're looking for even faster.

If you or your clients use VMS primarily to record video, be sure to ask the manufacturers you'll talk to at the show what search capabilities they offer.

More advanced systems save the parameters of moving objects, such as their size, color, motion speed and direction

Hardware AI acceleration

High CPU resource consumption is one of the hardest challenges that stem from implementing a neural network–based video analytics system. This significantly decreases the number of cameras that can be connected to a server that hosts AI analytics. It also makes the system much more expensive.

AI technology lets you find what you're looking for even fasterThe solution is to use AI accelerators. GPUs and dedicated accelerator cards are used on servers to provide hardware acceleration for the neural networks' workload. These devices are mostly manufactured by Intel and NVIDIA. Intel also offers the OpenVINO™ toolkit, a software package for developers that helps distribute workload between CPU, GPU, and accelerators as effectively as possible using all available resources.

New solutions

Due to AI's growing popularity, lots of minor microchip manufacturers became interested in developing neural accelerator chips. The healthy competition will work in the market's favor, serving to stimulate tech development and cut prices. New solutions in the field were on display at ISC West 2019; they'll definitely be present at ISC West again in 2020. Developers specializing in VMS and modular AI video analytics should absolutely check these out.

But users should understand that it's impossible to build a cost-effective video surveillance system with significant number (10–20 and more) of AI analytics channels without using neural accelerators. That said, various accelerator models may significantly differ in price and power consumption. So, when you talk to developers specializing in VMS and AI analytics modules, ask what accelerator makes and models they support.

In conclusion

Whether you're an integrator looking for interesting VMS offers for clients or an end-user searching for solutions to your own tasks, check out what AI analytics can do. This sector is developing very fast and is continuously introducing new features that may be just what you're looking for. Incorporating forensic search in recorded video footage is key to building an effective video surveillance system for users, and important to creating a unique product offering for integrators. Needless to say, you can't build a cost-effective video surveillance system without using CPU resources wisely. If a system's functionality completely aligns with what you're looking for, ask what neural accelerator hardware it supports to correctly estimate the cost of your video servers.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

Author profile

Alan Ataev Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, AxxonSoft

In case you missed it

Facial Recognition: Contactless Solutions For A Safe, Post-pandemic World
Facial Recognition: Contactless Solutions For A Safe, Post-pandemic World

Facial recognition technology has come a long way since it first came to market several years ago. Initially plagued with technical challenges and widely viewed as a futuristic solution, facial recognition is now firmly implanted in numerous consumer and business products and applications. New advancement in software, specifically in the areas of algorithms, neural networks and deep learning and/or artificial intelligence (AI), have all dramatically improved both the performance and accuracy of facial recognition, further expanding its use for an increasing number of applications. From a purely business perspective, facial recognition’s powerful identification and authentication capabilities make it ideal for two primary applications: first as a security tool, and second as a workforce management solution. The touchless, accurate credential solution Facial recognition readers meet the new emerging need to limit physical exposure to germs and viruses Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the touchless nature of facial recognition as an access credential was gaining traction with physical and cyber security professionals. By using an individual’s face as an access control credential, facial recognition eliminates the need and expense of physical cards and proximity devices, or the need to physically enter PIN codes. In addition, facial recognition readers meet the new emerging need to limit physical exposure to germs and viruses by offering a highly accurate touchless access control credentialing solution. As a workforce management tool, facial recognition helps preserve the health of employees checking into work, while providing management with an infallible means of documenting employee time and attendance while providing a detailed history of overall workforce activity and individual personnel tracking. Both of which have been longstanding challenges due to easily compromised time tracking systems and practices. Now, nothing is left to question based on hard data. With the growing popularity of facial recognition technology, there are many choices already available with more undoubtedly on the way. Selecting the right solution for your specific access control and/or workforce management application is dependent on a very wide range of variables. But there are a few core characteristics that you should look for when evaluating facial recognition readers. Wide and near-angle LEDs Most facial recognition terminals employ some form of IR (Infrared) technology to help ensure high visibility by the unit’s image sensor. This often limits where the unit can be installed such as outdoors or near windows due to strong ambient light. More advanced facial recognition readers employ as many as 80 wide-angle near infrared LEDs and 60 narrow-angle near infrared LEDs, allowing the unit to recognize faces even in full daylight and brightly lit environments (not direct sun). This enables installation at indoor locations near windows, lobbies and building entries. 3D pixel intensity distribution analysis Another facial recognition reader advancement to look for involves three-dimensional pixel intensity analysis. Ambient lighting contains ultraviolet rays which can negate near infrared LED lighting, and can also cast shadows making it difficult for a facial recognition reader to pinpoint the facial recognition points required for identification and authentication. Three-dimensional pixel intensity distribution analysis minimizes the effects of ambient light when acquiring facial images by minimizing lighting contrasts. As a result, it is easier for the algorithm to recognize the shape of the face, enabling it to extract more facial features and create higher quality face templates, which are critical for accurate facial recognition. Functional ergonomics This results in a faster, more comfortable, and convenient user experience The angle and position of a facial recognition reader directly impact the performance of the unit. Facial recognition readers with different viewing angles for built-in visual and infrared cameras allows users to stand at positions that are most suitable for facial recognition with little or no effort of contortions. This results in a faster, more comfortable, and convenient user experience. High performance processing Like any intelligent edge device, the performance of a facial recognition solution is directly reliant on its processing power. New advanced facial recognition readers deliver exceptional performance by employing enhanced face template extraction technology combined with powerful processor. For example, a facial recognition reader with a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor can perform up to 3,000 facial database matches (1:N) within one second. More advanced solutions also feature Group Matching functionality capable of executing up to 30,000 matches within one second. Live face detection It is most important that the facial recognition readers you evaluate are capable of analyzing faces in real time to maintain fluid entry/egress even during high volumes of employee traffic. Hardware-dependent live face detection systems employing technologies such as facial thermogram recognition and facial vein recognition require expensive hardware components, provide less accurate matches and slower authentication performance, which is counterintuitive for mainstream access control and workforce management applications. Dual authentication for added security Although the use of an advanced facial recognition reader provides the convenience, health benefits and cost-savings of touchless identification and authentication, there are many applications where more than one credential may be necessary to ensure the highest levels of security. Advanced facial recognition readers with multimodal, multifactor credentialing capabilities provide this added security benefit. For example, facial recognition readers that support multiple RFID proximity devices supporting 125 kHz and 13.56 MHz provide varying degrees of protection and greater implementation versatility. Videophone or intercom capabilities Facial recognition readers with multifunctionality can solve several challenges with one solution Facial recognition readers with multifunctionality can solve several challenges with one solution. A perfect example includes devices with SIP (session initiation protocol) videophone capabilities which effectively eliminate the need and associated expense of  installing separate intercom devices while adding another layer of security to one’s facility. The COVID-19 pandemic, and hopefully soon to follow post-pandemic world, have surely accelerated the need for highly accurate, cost-efficient, and reliable facial recognition technologies to help get people back to work safely. Selecting the right facial recognition solution for your specific access control and/or workforce management is now more important than ever before, making a little extra due diligence during the evaluation process a smart decision.

Thermal Cameras and Smart Cities: Preventing COVID-19 in Public Places
Thermal Cameras and Smart Cities: Preventing COVID-19 in Public Places

With the pandemic still in full swing and no certainty as to when exactly it will come to an end, the world has been battling anxiety for months now. And with each day, circumstances change quickly and almost make it impossible to predict what will happen next, how events will unfold, and what actions to take in light of a new situation. But one thing is certain: the world has been shut down and paralyzed for way too long, and the eventual reopening is unavoidable – in fact, it’s well under way. In this situation, what is possible to control is how the world will continue reopening – and specifically, how to ensure the safest possible reopening that will ensure the return of some degree of normalcy to people’s lives and business operations, while also managing the risk of COVID’s spread in the most efficient way. Our highly digitised, technologically advanced world This is when the power of technology comes to rescue the day: what truly sets the global crisis we face today apart from other calamities that humanity has encountered over year is the fact that it has developed in a highly digitised, technologically advanced world where each day brings about innovations with a sole purpose to make daily life and operations easier and more streamlined. And among these, the star of the past decade has been artificial intelligence. The world has been shut down and paralyzed for way too long, and the eventual reopening is unavoidable – in fact, it’s well under way While AI has many avenues of introducing efficiency and fast problem-solving, there is one specific application that will further fuel the reopening of the world and successfully keep the spread of the virus abate. This “collaborative security” application includes a synthesis of smart video analytics, facial recognition, object identification/detection, and thermal cameras that can support the reopening of businesses globally when installed within those facilities frequented by customers. With such a level of sophistication that can ensure uninterrupted monitoring and analysis of large public spaces, these AI technologies can ideally operate best as cloud solutions to ensure a collaborative network with maximum scalability and widespread implementation. As these technologies increase in ubiquity and find their way into daily operations of businesses globally, the cost of the smart solutions will decrease proportionally to the growth of their reach. There are some highly specific ways to create this collaborative network of interconnected safety tools in the current climate. Here are some applications that have been successful to date and will increase in usability in the foreseeable future, creating “smart cities” working together towards a safer, more secure world. Maintaining social distancing practices The most important step everyone around the world has taken to contribute to the effort of slowing the spread of the virus has been social distancing. A six-foot-distance has become a new social norm that has quickly been adopted globally and become a habit to people who are naturally used to being close to others and socialising without giving distance a second thought. The star of the past decade has been artificial intelligence So, it is natural that such distancing measures take time to get accustomed to – and it is also natural that individuals may forget about them from time to time. To help maintain the six-foot distance between people at all times and give them slight nudges to keep the rule top of their minds, AI video technology can be trained to estimate the distance between individuals in public and commercial areas and identify the cases in which people get too close to each other. By notifying local merchants or authorities about such cases, the system can help ensure the safety of everyone in the area at all times while positively reinforcing the public to gradually get more accustomed to maintaining the distance and thus helping stop the spread of the virus. Detecting the virus through facial recognition Perhaps the straightforward application of such high-level technology is using video surveillance to identify persons of interest who have tested positive for the virus. Modern AI has the ability to identify facial features and characteristics with a unique level of granularity, making it possible to identify individuals whose records show they have antibodies from those who can be potential carriers of the virus. After the initial differentiation and identification, the system can then notify the employers and employees of the facility about the results of the conducted analysis and the pursuant results, allowing them to be more vigilant and take action where necessary to ensure a safe experience for everyone. PPE reinforcement Wearing a mask or some sort of face coverage in public spaces and especially within facilities (such as stores, for instance) has been - and will continue to be - a requirement for maintaining a safe and healthy environment for people to continue with their day-to-day lives and businesses to resume regular operations. To this extent, the object detection and identification abilities of smart cameras can further reinforce this requirement and ensure that the absence of protective equipment doesn’t go unnoticed.  Essentially, these cameras can easily identify if an individual has coverage at any given point of time or not, notifying the local authorities about any risks immediately and helping them maintain necessary safety measures without having to interrupt their workflow or worry about missing a visitor without a mask. Detecting high temperature One of the key (and the most widespread) symptoms of COVID-19 is a high fever - a certain indicator of whether an individual may have been infected with the virus or not. While identifying fever with a regular human eye is nearly impossible, AI can do so at a fraction of time by quickly scanning body temperatures of any incoming individuals and determine whether it’s above CDC’s recommended temperature of 100.4F in order to determine the risk factor and notify the local authorities to take action. Modern AI has the ability to identify facial features and characteristics with a unique level of granularity This technology is a good tactic to objectively assess potential risks that come with elevated temperatures - and sometimes, the people themselves might not realize they might (unconsciously) be carriers of the virus and thus endanger the safety of others in their vicinity. The technology is yet another step towards ensuring a safer reopening of the global economy and a more streamlined way of getting back on track while minimizing the risk of spreading the virus further. It’s not all about the theory  We have tested the described approaches in our own R&D campus in Europe. The latest release of the IREX cloud enables remote fever detection and monitoring of social isolation and mask policies with AI. We have integrated thermal cameras to detect people with elevated temperature and CCTV cameras for identification and notifying those who potentially ill. In case of any health threat, the venue manager gets an instant message with a picture and exact location. These preventive steps helped our employees return to the office months earlier than it's happening in other countries. Moreover, personnel coming back to the office by their own wish as now they feel a virus-free environment in the campus - even safer than in their own homes. Now we are launching a pilot project for a well-known pharmacy chain in Florida, USA. With the help of a Computer Vision platform, staff will be able to divide customer traffic into those with normal body temperature and those who come in with elevated temperatures, as well as effectively monitor social distance norms. The goal of our potential client is to maximize the safety of customers in the post-pandemic period. Also, IREX is already deployed across hundreds of locations in the UK and will add health monitoring capability soon.

Can CCTV Become A More Effective Tool?
Can CCTV Become A More Effective Tool?

We all know that having CCTV around your home can help to protect you and your family. Without CCTV, you could end up in danger and an intruder could get away with breaking into your house, hurting your loved ones and stealing your possessions. Similarly, without CCTV in the office, you’ll be leaving yourself open to all kinds of damage and could lose a lot of equipment in the process. In short, making sure you have CCTV is important for both home and business security. However, it can be improved to become a more effective system so that you’re better protected, and can even deter a potential intruder without having to panic. In our world of ever-changing technology, we’re able to upgrade and enhance our CCTV systems so they can become a monitored system. Remote CCTV monitoring is an ideal way to protect everyone and everything whether you’re at home or at a workplace. What is remote CCTV monitoring? For a long time, CCTV was one of the best ways to keep your home, the office and people safe. But people started to notice that it would only deter people so much of the time and often the cameras were ignored by intruders. They would just cover their faces and hope for the best as they steal from a home, office or any other premises. Remote CCTV monitoring is a system that can loop into your existing CCTV, or come preinstalled with a new system. This technology sends a feed to a control room full of trained operators that are on call 24/7. Within this control room, operators are able to respond to any sort of distress call or unauthorised movement on the property line.  How does it work? Remote CCTV monitoring works by attaching to a live feed of your CCTV system, existing or new, so that the signal and images can be passed to a team of operators. These operators are on hand 24/7 so that if there is a problem, you know that you're safe in the hands of a specialist team. The specialist team has been trained to mitigate the chances of somebody breaking into your home when the system is triggered; similarly they call the local authorities instantly so that the potential intruder has less time to flee the scene. This is especially important if an intruder is already inside your property because they have less time to steal your items and leave. Without CCTV in the office, you’ll be leaving yourself open to all kinds of damage and could lose a lot of equipment in the process One of the biggest questions that revolve around remote CCTV monitoring is the idea of operators watching the CCTV at all times. Luckily most remote CCTV monitoring systems will incorporate a motion detection system to accompany your CCTV. Motion detection offers the ability to alert a control room if there is an unauthorised entry to the property line. These motion detection systems are state-of-the-art and so, depending on the system that you choose, they can watch over your property from a number of angles. Once the motion detection system has been triggered and the alert has been sent to the control room, then and only then will the operators get involved. This means that until the motion detection system has been triggered, nobody will watch your live CCTV feed. After one of the systems has been triggered, one of the specialist operators will instantly jump into action. This means that they can take different measures to deter any potential intruder and make sure that they do everything in their power to stop any damage or theft from the premises. In addition to the motion detection system and CCTV, you are able to opt for a public address (PA) system too. This means that an operator is able to shout commands through the PA system and potentially scare away any intruder. The intruder will also be warned about the fact that local authorities have already been called to the location.  Remote monitoring versus traditional CCTV Motion detection offers the ability to alert a control room if there is an unauthorised entry to the property line Having a monitored CCTV system means that you're able to better protect yourself, your business, employees and even your loved ones. Whether you're at home or in the office, having someone looking over your shoulder protecting your every move is something that can be appreciated by everybody. The biggest problem with just having traditional CCTV, is that it is a reactive system. This means that rather than stopping crime, a CCTV system just records it. While the thought is that having a CCTV camera visible can deter some intruders, there's no real evidence to suggest that it stops anybody; anyone can simply cover their face and carry on breaking into your home, office or even your car. As mentioned, remote CCTV monitoring is going to tackle that problem and make sure that someone is on hand to protect you at all times.