The Role of Video Security

The Role of Video Security

How AI is transforming the way users interact with security systems

The security industry is being pressed to do more with less while dealing with the compounded issue of managing new internal and external threats on a daily basis. Risk management can feel like a daunting challenge, but responsible AI can help a security operator deal with large amounts of information efficiently by focusing their attention on important events.

With every passing month, artificial intelligence is moving beyond the natural limits of human attention and transforming video security in the process. The latest intelligent systems analyze vast amounts of video data quickly — a true benefit to the modern security operator who has a broad range of information to assess.

Today’s smarter technology is able to process information incredibly quickly, optimizing operators’ ability do their jobs. Significant AI advancements transmit the most relevant data to operators at near-immediate speed, have faster search capability and more sophisticated motion detection.

Today, AI plays an integral role in the security industry, sharpening security workers’ on-the-job capabilities. It helps humans pay attention to the elements of their jobs that require critical thinking and action.

Mitigating Risk with Faster Search

Without AI, security operators typically monitor tens of video screens — a tedious, lengthy process comparable to finding and assessing information before the existence of online search engines. According to research, factors that impact an operators’ ability to “actively” monitor include the number of screens and amount of activity per screen, ability to remain alert, task interruptions and background noise.1

Recognizing the need for improvement in the security industry, some companies have developed responsible AI tools to make video security as easy as an online search today — imagine the world of keyword searches, algorithms and programming applied to motion detection and video search. Technology that allows security operators to search based on physical appearance is a good example of AI’s capabilities.

Instead of searching through video feeds to try and find a specific person or vehicle, a security operator can input physical descriptions to begin a search to find what they’re looking for faster. This ability heavily enhances the operators’ search capabilities and dramatically improves the overall information-seeking process.

Today, faster search and AI technologies allow teams to detect, verify and act on events more efficiently and effectively. Take the example of Independent Express Cargo Ltd. (Independent Express Cargo), one of Ireland’s largest pallet delivery operators, serving as a national transport network hub and full third-party logistics supplier with 25 depots across the country, 1,000 active clients and a turnover of €35 million annually. As 4,000 pallets are moved through its Dublin site daily, security and the ability to track between 8,000 to 14,000 pallets of storage at any given time for its clients is essential for the integrity of its services.

To improve security and surveillance throughout its Dublin site, which consists of 180,000 sq. ft. of warehouses on a nineacre site, Independent Express Cargo Ltd. installed a complete AI-enabled integrated security surveillance system.

By presenting transport managers with the ability to detect people and vehicles in unusual areas, self-learning video analytics do the heavy lifting by providing alerts for further verification, helping to enable faster response when needed. Then, if the person or vehicle who was last seen with a missing pallet needs to be located throughout the site, the transport managers can use technology that searches by appearance to quickly locate them.

Focused Attention, Greater Detail

Human attention spans have natural limits. Research shows that after 20 minutes of staring at a video screen, we tend to lose focus and our attention spans decrease significantly. In fact, a study found that even after 12 minutes of continuous video monitoring, an operator will often miss up to 45 percent of screen activity, and after 22 minutes of viewing, up to 95 percent is overlooked.2

For decades, security operators used pixel motion detection to analyze the changes in pixels from one screen to another. While pixel motion detection technology detects motion, it does so in an unsophisticated way: the pixels change for irrelevant motion, such as leaves blowing or a change in lighting.

Just as high-definition imaging has become essential to today’s video security cameras, so have AI tools. AI brings relevant atypical events that require further investigation to the forefront of security operators’ attention, allowing them to focus on the critical questions at hand: who, what, where and when.

Today’s AI security systems are able to detect motion in complex and varied situations. AI-powered video analytics and motion detection can determine what information is most important and presents it to the operator in an easily interpretable way, making the system smarter and its response times faster.

Motion detection technology uses advanced AI to detect and refine typical activity that could otherwise go unnoticed in security video; it continuously learns what typical activity in a scene looks like and flags any unusual motion. Whereas an older system monitoring a fence line might be programmed with a rule to track movements suggestive of someone jumping a fence, a modern system has the capability of assessing dozens of other potential movements and events that may be of equal or greater importance to the security of the site.

While it is possible for operators to come up with a range of rules and permutations to apply manually over time to the above scenario, advanced AI and motion detection technology does the work for them more quickly and efficiently from the start and keeps improving as it continuously learns and adapts to the scene.

Keeping Criminals at Bay

Newer, long-lasting integrated security systems are helping make vulnerable communities safer places to live. Long Beach Housing Authority in Nassau County, Long Beach, New York, is committed to helping people lift themselves out of poverty, and its Channel Park Homes and Sol Scher Apartments provide life-changing support for those in vulnerable situations. However, low-income neighborhoods all across the nation can face issues related to crime and vandalism, and the area around LBHA is no different; in fact, it’s the only neighborhood in Nassau County designated “high risk” on the crime index. With a mandate to ensure the well-being of its tenants, LBHA knew it had to find a more effective way to keep its residents, employees and the surrounding community safe.

To gain the level of protection they were looking for, LBHA upgraded to a more modern, integrated system with cameras equipped with enhanced image quality and video analytics, providing the community with a much higher level of protection. These new cameras include loitering detection, automatically detecting people who linger in an area past a certain time threshold and alerting security operators to potential threats.

Today, officers have the ability to stream and download video directly from the site to their headquarters and on mobile devices. Whenever a resident alerts them to gang-related activity, officers have immediate access to recorded video for investigations and evidence—evidence which now meets the standard to be admissible in court.

What’s Next?

Advanced AI security technology allows security operators to be more proactive than reactive, directing operators’ attention to where it matters most. Modern, AI-equipped security systems detect motion in more complex and varied situations than ever before, making intelligent assessments about the most relevant information to present to operators in an easily accessible way.

These tools empower operators to make better critical decisions in high-stakes situations, immediately conveying the most important events and insights. The systems are smarter and organizational response times can be faster as a result.

The threats aren’t going away. Leveraging the power of AI into your overall security ecosystem is one way to help to better keep your organization and stakeholders safer.

This article originally appeared in the January / February 2020 issue of Security Today.

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