The Evolution of Video Analytics

Video Analytics, also known as Video Content Analysis (VCA) , in Surveillance,  has been around for many years ever since the introduction of Digital CCTVs in the late 1990s.  Around the years of 2004 and 2005, companies specialising in VCA started appearing, providing solutions that analyse changes in the scenes to help in security monitoring.  The most commonly available analytics then were object detection, unattended objects, virtual tripwires or boundaries and with some offering object identification as well.  All these were based on analysing the changes in the scene which is actually changes in the pixels of images. 

The applications using these early VCA were mildly successful.  Mainly use to alert guards to anomalies in the video stream and most of the time producing more false alarms and then real events. 

Today, VCA incorporates more sophisticated analysis thus making themselves more useful as a surveillance tool, some are even expanded to help businesses analyse their operations and customer behaviours.  This came about with the advancement of higher resolution digital cameras that provide clearer images for the VCA to analyse.  Secondly, with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning techniques, the VCA can actually learn the scene and adjust to the environment, ignoring environmental factors and accurately predict real changes to an image, thus producing more accurate analysis of a video. 

Today, Video Analytics have evolved to provide Facial Recognition identifications in surveillance and access control, predict abnormal behaviours and also analyse foot or vehicle traffic. 

Applications in non-security area for business is rapidly picking up.  The ability to provide, not only heat maps of traffic for marketing analysis but also demographic information in terms, of predicting age, sex and to some extent, facial expressions of customers, for customer service feedback. 

The extent of usage of Video Analytics is limited to the imagination of enterprises in how to apply VCA to improve their businesses and making full use of these fast improving technology with the incorporation of AI.