In the world of physical security, video analytics has become a standard feature. The tool provides a more accurate way to search video when a suspicious event happens. In simple terms, video analytics is software that runs either on a security camera, an NVR or VMS, or both. The software identifies activities, features, or patterns of behaviour by analyzing security video. Video analytics can detail activities being monitored, be it a building, construction site, or store. It continues to be a key element in surveillance solutions.

Video analytics is a powerful way to not only detect intruders but also to identify them. Thanks to technological advances, video analytics can track people or objects and send out alerts and notifications about questionable behaviour. As video analytics continues to evolve so do its applications. With license plate recognition, counting people at large events, and facial recognition, the uses are endless. However, two common uses of video analytics are people and vehicle detection and loitering detection.


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Not every scenario requires video anal. A regular motion detection camera is ideal in low-traffic areas like IT rooms and indoor storage areas. Motion-based alerts can be set up in controlled/indoor locations, with a low volume of alerts.

For example, a motion detection security camera is often sufficient to monitor access and exits. The most common scenarios that would add benefit from video analytics include:

  • Monitoring an outdoor parking lot, a truck yard or storage yard
  • Construction sites
  • Warehouse, logistics, and manufacturing plant floors
  • Monitoring the outside of a building to prevent trespassing

1) Video Analytics: People and Vehicle Detection

People and vehicle detection are the most basic and commonly used video analytic features of security cameras. Most cameras will record when there is motion in view, detecting a certain amount of pixel change. But a camera with video analytics can distinguish the difference between a person, a vehicle, or an animal. These are typically IP cameras that connect to a video management software (VMS) software running on a network video recorder (NVR). The video surveillance software is more intelligent and will ignore things like debris blowing around in the wind or bad weather such as rain and snow.

The primary purposes behind people and vehicle detection are to reduce storage and network bandwidth, increase the accuracy of live monitored security cameras, and decrease false alarms. People and vehicle detection can also reduce the amount of footage to look through during a search. People detection offers little benefit to controlled indoor environments such as offices.

Example 1: Storage Yard Security

Any business with an outdoor yard to store vehicles, heavy equipment, or expensive material can make great use of people and vehicle detection. For instance, Alerts can be sent to a phone or through email documenting when employees are coming and going and monitor for trespassing during non-business hours.

Example 2: Warehouse, Distribution, and Logistic Center Security

Warehousing, distribution, and logistics facilities can help alert staff or security guards to events happening around the building. During the day, when the cameras see people or vehicles in certain areas around the facility, an alert can go out. Similarly, when people or vehicles enter the lot at night, another alert can be set up.

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Example 3: Office Tower Security

The number of security cameras needed to cover an office building is endless. These include elevator cameras, floor cameras, parking lots, common areas, and outdoor areas. Searching through the video to find an incident is tedious. But people and vehicle detection can lower the amount of video storage, especially outside, which enables a quicker search by choosing people, vehicles, or both. Using video analytics to search for people at the loading dock, for example, will ignore motion such as blinking lights, change in lighting, doors opening, and vehicles pulling in. Once the tower closes for the evening, the security cameras issue an alert if people and vehicles are detected. Areas of the building that should not have traffic after a specific time frame can have a rule to email a clip to security when a person or vehicle is detected.

Example 4: Commercial Plaza Security

Commercial plazas typically have all outdoor security cameras monitoring storefronts, parking lots, and behind the plaza. Roads in the distance, debris, and bad weather will quickly add lots of motion-based recording to the video surveillance system. Setting up security cameras for people and vehicle detection will reduce unnecessary video and speed up the search. For example, suppose an owner wants to confirm when the snow removal trucks arrived. In that case, a simple vehicle search will quickly pull up the event.

The primary purposes behind people and vehicle detection are to reduce storage and network bandwidth, increase the accuracy of live monitored security cameras, and decrease false alarms. People and vehicle detection can also reduce the amount of footage to look through during a search. People detection offers little benefit to controlled indoor environments such as offices.

2) Video Analytics: Loitering Detection

Loitering detection takes people and vehicle detection to the next level. For example, loitering detection can let a business owner ad a “dwell” time. The security camera will ignore people and vehicles unless they are present for more than a specified time frame. Loitering detection reduces the amount of video recorded. It is ideal for proactive alerts. Whether a video clip is sent in real-time to a phone or a monitoring station, loitering detection reduces the number of false alarms coming through. Any location with a high volume of people and vehicles can use loitering detection to distinguish events further.

Example 1: Construction Site Security

Monitoring a construction site, either live or recorded, can be overwhelming due to the high volume of activity. By incorporating a loitering detection rule, a security camera will ignore people and vehicles moving and only send an alert when the object stops in a region for a specific amount of time. New home residential construction sites are typically wide open for anyone to drive in. People are often already living nearby. For example, creating a rule that looks for vehicles stopping in front of “lot 55” triggers an alert for more than five seconds. During condo construction, the rule can ignore people walking by the front gate but alerts the monitoring station when someone stops for more than 20 seconds.

Example 2: Commercial Plaza Security

People and vehicle detection will help reduce video storage and speed up video searches. Still, loitering detection at a commercial plaza will help actively monitor the site. Some businesses a the plaza may run 24 hours/day, such as Tim Hortons. However, by integrating loitering detection video analytics cameras, areas can be identified that should not have any people or vehicles stopping for a set amount of time.

For example, a person can walk by all the shops. Still, if they stop in front of a closed business for more than 20 seconds, a monitoring station can look at the cameras. A vehicle driving into the plaza entrance and around the parking lot is fine. As well vehicles can drive through and behind the plaza, but a set rule can catch people stopping in front of the garbage bin for more than 10 seconds. Having an alert sent to a phone when people congregate at the plaza could be a useful tool to deter people from loitering.

Example 3: Warehouse, Distribution, and Logistic Center Security

Many distributions and logistics centres run 24 hours a day, but this does not mean that the whole building is open. Setting up loitering detection rules will draw attention to areas that people or vehicles stop when they should not be. A car can drive into the driveway, circle around, and drive out without an alert being issued. However, suppose, for example, the vehicle stops for more than 30 seconds. In that case, a notification is pushed to a live monitoring station or a security guard for further investigation.

Although video analytics can do remarkable things like facial detection, understanding the threat or risk is essential when setting up a system. Video analytics can be a central part of a video surveillance system solution. By integrating video analytics into a business’ security camera system, owners can track and identify trespassers. So, if there is a need for more than simple motion detection, consider integrating video analytics into your security system.

Want to learn more about surveillance systems and video analytics? Read our related posts, including how video analytics in security cameras makes video surveillance easier, the difference between a DVR, NVR and VMS, as well as the different types of security cameras. And if you have more questions, contact us for a FREE online design session. We will help you choose the right video surveillance system for your business.


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