First i-HLS Video Analytics Conference

First i-HLS Video Analytics Conference

Mr. Stephen Russo, Director of Security and Privacy Technology, IBM Global Technology Services

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Mr. Stephen Russo, Director of Security and Privacy Technology, IBM Global Technology Services
Mr. Stephen Russo, Director of Security and Privacy Technology, IBM Global Technology Services

 The rapid growth in video capturing, recording and transmission in recent years, has brought a new era, in which almost every corner of our lives is watched by cameras and in many cases available to third parties to use. But the immense number of video hours captured in real time for different uses makes it practically impossible to have everything monitored (pun intended) by human beings.

As usual, the use of technology enables a range of improved implementations for video captured for critical uses. The challenges and opportunities of using technology to bring video to its full potential brought together Israel’s hottest names in the field in i-HLS’ first Israel Video Analytics Conference, held in Tel Aviv today. During the event, speakers from different companies in different fields discussed the potential uses of video analytics for homeland security uses, and showed solutions already being implemented in the field. This was a topic-specific continuation of yesterday’s Israel BIG DATA Fusion (IBDF) Conference, also held by i-HLS, which gave a deeper glimpse of the ways in which governments, law enforcement and intelligence agencies can use data gathered by modern technology into a valuable intelligence source.

i-HLS ISRAEL Homeland Security 

Brigadier-Israel-Russo-Rom-Head-of-Technology-Directorate - Israel's Prison Service
Brigadier-Israel-Russo-Rom-Head-of-Technology-Directorate – Israel’s Prison Service

The main issues presented in the event was the difficulty in trying to make machines understand visual data like the human eyes and brain do, instead of just perceiving the world as a bunch of pixels. Representatives from companies such as Briefcam, EMZA, MAGNA and others explained different methods of making computers able to differentiate notable visual data like humans and vehicles from natural scenery, which makes it possible to notify the correct people about important events happening in front of the cameras in real time, while keeping “false positives” to a minimum. Other companies, like Rafael and XTR3D, went even further and showed how software algorithms can enable even deeper artificial understanding of visual data, including abilities like identifying people by face and other biometric signatures and even telling the difference between various animals and airplanes.

After having a good impression of existing and emerging technologies for video analytics, participants were faced with broader uses for those principles. Brigadier Israel Rom, Head of Technology Directorate in Israel’s Prison Service, spoke about video analytics improving holding facilities’ ability to handle prisoners, Marian Cohen, President of C. Mer Industries, presented the companies work in implementing a “safe city” project in Buenos Aires, and Shahar Belkin, CTO of FST21, offered a different view of “safe city”, implementing the politically incorrect method of “profiling” by letting people opt-in to be recognized by surveillance systems, thus being treated as “VIP”s in places like airports and sports stadiums, were people unknown to the authorities have to wait in line and get checked.

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Israel Livnat, Chairman of ANTEO, also offered an interesting take, stating that the main challenge facing the video analytics field is not the technological one, but the financial one – making money from such solutions in an era when so many products are offered for very low prices.

By Yair Mohr