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Video analytics is the process of extracting information, meaning, and insights from video footage. Whereas image analytics looks at a still image and seeks to find patterns or identify face, video analytics can also measure and track behavior.
Businesses use video analytics if they want to know more about who is visiting their store or premises, and what those people are doing when they get there. Facial recognition can be used to help maintain security, but it also can be used to find out more about a business’ customers.
Because video data is dynamic, not static like image data, you can also use it to monitor your customer’s behavior and learn more about how they react to offers, etc. For example, you can collect data from different closed-circuit TV cameras in a retail environment and analyze the footage to see how your customers behave and how they move through the store. This data can help you create and improve your business strategy.
According to data-informed.com, video analytics are being used in the fields of law enforcment and security. For example, proper video analytics could help develop leads and even predict vulnerabilities in airports, stadiums, and other crowd-gathering points. Airports in Asia already are testing video analytics that allow them to monitor lines and congestion and deploy employees in order to redirect passengers to areas with shorter lines.
Recently, MIT released a report on a new algorithm they created in which the computer can predict human actions and interactions from what the people are doing in the seconds before. The current algorithm was shown 600 hours of YouTube videos and asked to predict whether the actors’ next action would be a handshake, a hug, a high-five or a kiss. The potential for this type of technology is vast. Perhaps computers could eventually be taught to predict when someone in a crowd will be injured, or even when a crime is about to take place.
In addition, these kinds of video analytics will be necessary for robots that will interact with humans. We humans do a lot of predicting in our everyday lives, and robots will need to predict and react similarly if they want to interact with us seamlessly.
Video analytics can also assist decision making in complex, highly fluid situations such as aviation, air traffic control, ship navigation, power plant operation, and emergency services. Using technology and video footage to alert personnel to changes or anomalies can help to save lives and prevent crime.
This type of analytics, where the collection and review of the data can all happen without a person’s permission, is a gray area in current law. But there will come a time when it won’t be. Companies shouldn’t be afraid of diving into video analytics, but should do so with a mindset to deliver best practices, treat all data with respect and privacy, and ensure that if they are using customers’ video data, they are making sure the outcome is ethical and adds value to the customer, not just the business.