Intelligent Assets for Simple and Powerful Video Analytics (IVA) by Aaron Allsbrook

May 5, 2021

It’s amazing that in less than five years we have gone from thinking that video analytics were merely Hollywood special effects in the movie Minority Report to now being unsurprised if every digital product we own immediately recognizes us by our face.  In late 2017 Apple introduced Face ID and suddenly millions of people experienced video analytics to immediately process their high resolution face to identify it as a specific person.Then it had to be smart enough to ensure natural minuscule movements were taking place to confirm it was the actual person rather than another video feed or picture.  They also expected this capability on a tiny device that was wireless and could fit in their pocket and be durable enough to go through all the activities and accidents that happen in our lives.


The Capabilities of IVA

While Face ID is the perfect use case for using video analytics to unlock a phone, it’s only a small example of what can be done.  Pure image analytics have the ability to recognize different types of objects by shape, convert images into text, and understand colors.  When images are processed as a series of frames like what is produced from video we now have the ability to understand what is happening over time.  Meaning we can now understand that a shape has moved from one side to the other or that a portion of the frame that was mostly red in color has now changed to brown.  These simple understandings can be converted to a radical opportunity to improve the operational portions of our business for efficiency, drive more business with delightful customer services, or real time alert to theft damage and danger

A Camera is just another Sensor

For most of our lives the cameras that peer down at us have been security related.  We imagine that behind those lenses is a command center filled with screens and humans to watch each screen diligently.  This seems to work for police that are required to make sure that public events are safe, this seems to work for casinos making sure cheaters are playing by the rules, but when it comes down to it, it is very difficult to leverage all these cameras.  Instead hours and hours of footage is stored, and generally only looked at in retrospect.  Who were the criminals in the bank? When was that suitcase left in the hall? What caused all the people to run away? These are all questions we ask after the fact.  


Thanks to modern intelligent video analytics we now have the ability to process the video feed without needing human eyeballs and brains to interpret what’s happening.  With intelligent video analytics cameras have now just become another sensor presenting back basic information we understand.  Things like – there are 10 people in line, customers have stood on aisle 5 for 10 minutes, the grapefruit basket is 20% full, or it’s a customer walking out with a product in hand.  No longer do we have to look at the image, now it’s just basic, business critical data that has been sensed from the camera.  


Intelligent Assets make Intelligent Video Analytics Usable

A camera as a sensor creates tremendous possibilities when injected into an Intelligent Assets application.  Intelligent Assets provides the no-code business focused user interface necessary to define how your business wants to connect, monitor, track, analyze, and control all of its assets.  These assets could be anything from greenhouses to train cars to hot water heaters to airplanes.  These assets will interact with areas that may be rail yards, airports, loading docks, or store aisles.  These assets and areas are enriched with information from any sensor to then process rules, run artificial intelligent inference, or issue commands.  


With a camera as a sensor running on intelligent assets, we can now efficiently act on what’s happening on the video stream.  When we detect shoppers with long dwell times in front of high value goods we can alert a sales floor representative to help them.  When we detect that ticket lines are too long we can open a second line or announce additional offers.  When we understand that the shelf with wine is just about empty we can reorder fresh stock.  While intelligent video analytics is neat in what’s possible, the fact that we take these basic attributes and operationalize them with Intelligent Assets is how we can achieve true business value. 


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