Making the World See Beyond Security

Video surveillance – what was once most commonly used to monitor and record empty spaces or a closed door – is now much more than that. Today, technological advances are transforming the notion of “surveillance” across a wide range of businesses, including retail, banks and more. Beyond simple building protection, video surveillance technology is now integrated with video analytics software to drive business growth.

As Singapore gears up to be the world’s first ‘Smart Nation’, the future is technology. One such example is the untapped potential of video in various industries, beyond the basic security functions. From heat mapping to improve retail store layouts and alerts to shorten checkout waiting lines, to doctors seeing patients in their own homes, to identifying and grooming the next Gold Olympics winner like Singaporean Joseph Schooling, the possibilities are endless. Here are some alternative uses of video that bring us closer to Singapore’s dream of truly becoming a Smart Nation.

Video in retail: levelling the playing field against online retailers 

Online retail is booming, while brick-and-mortar firms are facing the heat. Retail sales in Singapore fell 2.5 percent in February, which seems to spell further trouble for retail businesses. Video can extend beyond surveillance as a piece of disruptive technology that can be used to gain a competitive edge. With Amazon recently announcing its pending launch in Singapore, brick and mortar retailers need to look towards an omnichannel strategy to differentiate themselves.

With analytics, video capabilities easily go beyond security. Functions such as facial recognition and heat mapping can win customer’s hearts and minds. It is also worthy to note that customer experience remains the top priority for consumers, and by studying consumer behaviors and planning resources, retail stores can deliver a personalized in-store experience, giving them a competitive advantage against e-commerce retailers.

Eastland Mall is a case in point. Working with Quantum, a leading data storage company, Milestone provided a winning combination of video surveillance that helped retailers combat the customer blues. With Quantum’s high-streaming storage performance, in combination with Milestone software, Eastland was equipped with the latest state-of-the-art video monitoring and analytics systems to drive retail growth. In the future, such integrated solutions will be the norm.

Video in sports: identifying the new generation of talent   

With video surveillance solutions, the next Olympic winners can be identified way in advance. Sportsmen and women are able to challenge their limits and improve their training regimes. With every movement captured, video analytics help to constantly re-evaluate performance, allowing coaches around the world to replay their footage from anywhere and anytime, and tweak training sessions as needed. Players can use data to assess both their competitors’ and their own habits and patterns. Checking performance from all angles, players can come up with unique strategies and corrected habits to achieve their full potential.

In the UK, Leicester City soccer team is a prime example of how an underdog can achieve success with the help of video surveillance and data analytics. Sophisticated data and analytical tools with wearables were used in their training sessions leading up to their capture of the English Premier League 2015/2016 title. The technology catapulted them to the top of the league. It’s no surprise that other clubs and sports should embrace video surveillance to complement their training, to replicate such success using video analytics data. Milestone video on Leicester City football(See the club!)

Video to save the environment

Surveillance can also be used to save the world. Erosion, deforestation, and rising water levels are just some of the issues that a good video surveillance solution can offer to monitor, track and alert. For example, weather cameras are being set up to oversee coastal regions and monitor potential dangers such as forest fires. This data can be translated to in-depth studies to understand its impact on wildlife and ensure animal welfare is set in place.

Tassal, a Tasmanian salmon producer, is a company that has used video surveillance to improve efficiency. Smart cameras are installed to access information on its water oxygen levels, temperature, and currents. The software later identifies the optimal time for feeding, effectively improving efficiency and reducing operational costs.

The uses of video are limitless, and it can be used in so many ways outside security. As Singapore vies to be the first smart nation, it is time to realize the real, untapped potential of video capabilities and harness it to drive business growth.

(A version of this article was published in June in The Business Times of Singapore.)

by Benjamin Low, Vice President, APAC, Milestone Systems