As cameras become less expensive, video monitoring becomes a more viable solution for cities, CSPs, and businesses. More and more are adding cameras to the tools in their arsenal. Cities and CSPs are using them to improve public safety or monitor traffic, while businesses use video for greater intelligence and customer insights.
But improving safety or increasing customer intelligence doesn’t happen just by recording video. You also need video analytics software to help sift through the hours of footage and pull out important events or insight.
Today’s market offers multiple options for video analytics software that can help. Here are five of the top choices as well as each platform’s benefits and drawbacks.
1. Camera-Based Video Analytics
Camera-based video analytics is software built into physical camera hardware. All analytics activity and computing occurs at the source of the video data, with only relevant video streams leaving the camera. Since the software is built into the camera, you’ll most likely find camera analytics software offered by camera manufacturers, although other providers may also offer the ability to perform analytics at the source of video streams.
Benefits of Camera-Based Video Analytics
Since no unnecessary video leaves the camera, embedded intelligence software is very cost-effective from a network perspective. It doesn’t use any unnecessary bandwidth for uploading or storage. Camera-based analytics also has the ability to detect, recognize, and analyze license plates and other business intelligence data.
Drawbacks of Camera-Based Video Analytics
On the downside, analytics that’s built directly into hardware is much less flexible than other options. It lacks customizable manual settings as well as the ability to build your own algorithm and application for the software. It also lacks IoT functionality, which makes it difficult for users to connect and merge analytics from other cameras and IoT sensors.
2. Video Management Systems (VMS)
VMS software is built to handle large quantities of data. It records and stores all video in a central location where human monitors can review footage without worrying about what was recorded and what wasn’t. Most VMSs are built to provide advanced management capabilities, with fewer analytics features.
Benefits of Video Management Systems
The biggest strengths of video management systems are camera management and video storage for those who need to keep all their video footage. VMSs can deal with multiple cameras and a high volume of video, organizing the data into a single location. VMSs also include real-time alerting and can cross-correlate a limited amount of building sensors.
Drawbacks of Video Management Systems
Because VMSs are built for video management, their analytics capabilities are less robust than other systems. There are minimal intelligence tools and no option to build your own application. Parameters for what’s important in scenes need to be programmed into each camera, which can be time-consuming and laborious.
VMSs can be more expensive than other systems because they require organizations to record and store all video data, not just what’s relevant. Cities and CSPs working with hundreds or thousands of cameras may want to look into more cost-effective options.
3. Intelligent Video Analytics Software
A diverse category, intelligent platforms are often designed to perform specific types of analysis. For example, organizations that want to monitor parking lots will have specialized software that recognizes cars, license plates, and can perform highly-specific forensic object search. Other intelligent platforms may focus on traffic or business monitoring.
Benefits of Intelligent Video Analytics Software
Because they’re so specialized, intelligent video analytics software gets high marks for customization and real-time alerting. Intelligent platforms are also highly efficient at forensic object recognition and can be cost-effective if the platform uses edge analytics.
Drawbacks of Intelligent Video Analytics Software
Intelligent platforms vary greatly depending on their application, but very few make it easy to integrate IoT sensors or build your own algorithm. Depending on the platform, they may be more expensive as well. These platforms typically run on a central application, requiring more upload bandwidth and data storage than those with edge analytics.
4. Cloud Provider Software
Cloud provider software is sometimes considered a do-it-yourself option provided by cloud services vendors. Vendors offer algorithms that you can use and adjust for your own applications with high-quality cloud hosting and storage.
Benefits of Cloud Provider Software
Since cloud providers offer algorithms that customers can adjust, this is a great option for those who want to build their own algorithm or application, but want a starting point. Many cloud providers are also good at supporting existing IoT sensors that may be in your network. They’ll integrate them directly into the video analytics software.
Drawbacks of Cloud Provider Software
This software is focused on the cloud, so it’s unlikely that you’ll find high-quality options with embedded intelligence or edge analytics. Customers of cloud provider software also provide and manage their own camera hardware, which can result in additional costs.
5. Smart Video Analytics Software
Offered by vendors like Nokia with large research and development capabilities, smart video analytics software is often built on IoT platforms. Many incorporate multiple types of algorithms, including artificial intelligence like machine learning, to improve functionality.
Benefits of Smart Video Analytics Software
Smart platforms are excellent at incorporating IoT devices and provide alerting and prioritization in real-time. Smart video analytics alerts are especially useful in safety applications for municipal or CSP users because artificial intelligence allows the platform to learn what data is important and what isn’t, improving their accuracy.
Some smart platforms also incorporate edge analytics, making them cost-effective in terms of bandwidth and network storage. Depending on the platform, there may be limited forensic search and recognition abilities as well.
Drawbacks of Smart Video Analytics Software
Because smart platforms learn on their own through artificial intelligence, they offer only limited manual scene settings. Their forensic object recognition and search capabilities are also below that of intelligent video analytics platforms. Finally, most smart video analytics software is sold independently of hardware. Acquiring high-quality cameras can add extra time and expense to the software set up.
Video Analytics Software Continues to Evolve
Just a few years ago, searching for video analytics platforms would usually lead you to video management systems. Other platforms have evolved recently, driven by improvements in technology that lowered costs and improved algorithms. Intelligent, cloud provider, and smart video analytics software are all still considered emerging platform types. You can expect all these platforms to continue to evolve, offering more options to integrate IoT devices and build your own algorithm or application.