Post-Lockdown: Video Analytics for Public Safety

With technologies getting more efficient, video cameras do more than ensure security. Modern video technologies are IP-based and can be equipped with video analytics software that analyses and interprets many captured images from a camera and sensors.

Video analytics software applies mathematical algorithms and digitally analyses the behavior of objects in the scene being captured. It can give us a complete report, from providing the exact number of people at a scene or detecting movement on screen.

Video analytics work from two major concepts: motion detection and pattern recognition. In motion detection, each pixel in the video frame is examined and the video analytics software can pick up even the slightest movement. In pattern recognition, video analytics help distinguish objects within a video frame. Specific patterns or objects can be programmed to be recognized and monitored. Should there be any change to the object — if it is moved, goes missing, or a new object is added — the software will immediately send an alert.

Exiting Lockdown – How Video Can Help

Countries like India are gradually starting plans to exit the lockdown in phases, to resume economic activity. The likelihood of crowds gathering is expected. This is where video analytics can point out potential mishaps possibly triggered by an assembly of people.  With the pandemic still on the rise, China, Taiwan, Russia, Australia and South Korea, have started using tools that provide location data from video technology to track the virus spread.

What Can We Expect Post-lockdown?

During this crisis, social distancing is identified as the most practical preventive measure. Yet enforcing and maintaining physical distances is difficult as it is human nature to want to get close and interact with each other. It is our social responsibility to maintain these rules and to make sure a second virus wave does not go beyond our control.

Post-lockdown, we can expect that governments and organizations will be faced with the following challenges:

  • Identifying parts of the city or premises which are most crowded
  • Identifying time periods when they are crowded or when crowds can appear
  • Enforcement of social distancing rules

Intelligent video analytics solutions can provide information on high occupancy rates in cities by creating heatmaps or occupancy statistics based on images captured. This can be done historically or in real-time, making it easy to figure out where to deploy preventive measures like dispatching enforcement personnel, mounting digital signs or creating audio notifications with PA systems.

Crowd Counting Solutions for Public Spaces

Crowd management will also be crucial post-lockdown, as there is a threat of fallback, especially in public places like commercial establishments, parks, beaches, and tourist attractions. Crowd counting solutions based on video analytics can help alert authorities to when these places get too crowded and where social distance needs to be enforced. These alerts can be received in real-time and synced to remote mobile devices.

With 10 square meters as the standard area required for each person, it is possible to calculate how many people should be allowed inside a building or space. Accurate video analytics can count the number of people and provide real-time alerts.

One-way Traffic Flow Avoids Close Contact

To further avoid close contact and congestion in shops and grocery markets, store managers can use video analytics to provide a single flow detection that will warn customers and alert managers if someone is going in the wrong direction. The tracked data can provide valuable information about the effectiveness of the route which can then be analyzed to improve results.

An Essential Containment Strategy

Today, we see how video can be a vital digitized tool for modern day crises like COVID-19. In a post-lockdown situation, businesses should start recognizing the use of video technologies in cameras. Considering video coupled with the right applications and analytics on an open platform should be a top-of-mind, frontline containment strategy for organizations.

This article by Ritesh Deokar, Milestone Systems Country Manager, India, ran in a fuller version on the Dynamic CIO website in June.