Action Video Q&A
Making what works best for the transportation industry
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Mar 01, 2017
The transportation industry continues to expand, but
crime may be stalling growth. We talked with Ryan
Nolan, vice president of global sales for Avigilon
Corp., to discuss how advances in video analytics can
help improve surveillance.
Q: What’s the current state of transportation security in North America?
A: Transportation has a huge impact in North America and on the
security industry. For instance, civil air transport alone contributes
more than 5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, contributes
$1.6 trillion in total economic activity, and supports nearly 11 million
With the importance of the transportation industry so high, keeping
ports, terminals, and cargo facilities safe and secure is fundamental
to keeping goods moving. When looking at a transportation model holistically, it is apparent that any interruption across logistics, whether
from theft or other incidents, will affect a company’s bottom line.
Worldwide, losses due to cargo theft equal as much as $22.6 billion.
2 The logistics security services provider FreightWatch International
recorded a total of 193 cargo thefts in the United States in
the third quarter of 2016, saying the average loss value per incident
totaled $120,536. This represents a 14 percent increase in volume
compared with the second quarter of the year.3
Video surveillance can help protect terminals, checkpoints, rail
stations, ports of entry and barges. But just having cameras available
is only the beginning. Taking advantage of today’s video analytics
software can help make video actionable, which means turning live
and recorded footage into something more intelligent.
Innovations in megapixel surveillance cameras equipped with
video analytics can help give security personnel and law enforcement
effective tools to capture and prosecute perpetrators.
Q: Does transportation have any unique security challenges?
A: Yes, it does. Container robbery is a big challenge for ports and
distribution centers. Because cargo theft incidents often happen between
the time freight is loaded and when it reaches its destination,
the transportation industry primarily uses video as a forensics tool to
go back and trace the shipment from beginning to end to help piece
together a trail of accountability. Making video actionable increases
the value of that surveillance.
By taking advantage of the latest advances in video surveillance
using pattern-based object classification and tracking technology,
transportation businesses can help improve incident response accuracy,
enabling security staff to react sooner and increase efficiency
Q: Can you provide some examples of how actionable video
could be used to protect transportation companies?
A: Actionable video can help combat criminal activity in a variety of
ways. One example is perimeter protection where pattern-based object
classification technology detects user-defined abnormal or suspicious
behavior. Continuously self-learning analytics with no manual
calibration required will adapt and evolve over time to the specific
Unlike other video sensing technologies, object classification enables
the software to distinguish between vehicles, people, and nontriggering
objects such as wildlife. For example, a car could trigger an
alert if it crosses a predefined directional line or moves in the wrong
direction. If a person or dog crosses the same line, they would not
trigger the alert.
In addition to addressing crime, comprehensive security systems
can help improve transportation operations and efficiencies. Let’s say
a business is contacted by one of its customers claiming that only half
of their order was delivered. With an intelligent surveillance system,
that business can quickly pull up and share video of that merchandise
being loaded, which proves that the full order was fulfilled. It might
be that the shipment was stolen in transit or maybe the customer was
trying to commit fraud. In either case, that video could help protect
the reputation of the business and avoid liability claims.
Similarly, high-definition surveillance cameras can complement
tracking systems if shipments are lost. Actionable video gives businesses
the ability to visually verify exactly when, where, and what
merchandise is loaded—and find this footage in minutes—so it can
more easily be reported and located.
Q: How else can actionable surveillance video
help the transportation industry?
A: Beyond mitigating the impact of damage and loss from incidents,
actionable video can optimize employee effectiveness. Current video
technology enables administrators to benefit from a variety of proactive
measures and productivity uses, including:
- In warehouses, video can help supervisors ensure that equipment
like fork lifts are being used properly by employees.
- In rail yards, alerts can be set based on how long an object is in
an area, so that people or vehicles that loiter can be observed
in real time.
- At airports, actionable video can be used to monitor pedestrian
traffic flow patterns and baggage-cart usage to help determine
where employees might best be located throughout the
terminal for improved customer relations.
- Pattern-based object classification
technology can help security personnel
locate lost luggage or children.
- Being able to access the system remotely
from mobile devices can provide
flexibility, as it enables users to
view their surveillance system from
anywhere the internet is available.
Q: Do high-definition cameras make
A: They make a big difference not just in
viewing a scene, but in the playback quality.
High-definition video increases recognition
and identification accuracy and provides a
superior ability to see images in low-light
and mixed-light conditions.
The cameras are able to cover a wider
area with fewer cameras, which boosts security
personnel’s capabilities. Plus, image
resolution can be increased while minimizing
the requirements—and costs—for storage
They also enable remote monitoring and
provide better perimeter protection. And
combined with self-learning analytics, HD
cameras are able to instantly detect and
learn surrounding scenes so that you get
fewer false alarms.
Q: What do you see as the future of
security in transportation?
A: Security leaders are evolving to be more
future oriented and able to envision the
possibilities of effective and actionable intelligence.
The integration of surveillance
cameras and analytics systems will continue
to progress to help provide businesses with a
holistic and effective solution for monitoring
The exponential increase of sophistication
in video analytics positively impacts
the security sector. The accuracy of object
search programs will continue to improve to
provide security personnel with even more
powerful tools not just for after-the-fact forensics
purposes, but to better combat crime
Transportation is a growing market and
the surveillance industry will continue to
stay on the cutting edge of keeping airports,
ports, rail lines, warehouses, cruise ships,
and truck lines as protected as possible.
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Security Today.