We are fighting a serious pandemic and all over the world, strategies are being executed to mitigate the spread of the virus. A key strategy is digitalization – where innovation technologies are accelerated and pushed out into the market, and businesses are starting to realize how having the right digital infrastructure can help them through this period of uncertainty.

One of the crucial and fundamental aspects for businesses’ is video and security. When we speak of video today, we are not looking at the traditional analogue CCTV setup, but at a more sophisticated, Video Management System (VMS) platform.

How it works

With technologies getting more efficient, video cameras do more than ensure security. Modern VMS technologies are IP-based, and equipped with video analytics software. What it means is that it analyses and interprets many captured images from a camera hardware and sensors. Video analytics software applies mathematical algorithms and digitally analyses the behaviour of the objects in the scene being captured. It can give us a complete report on any footage, from providing the exact number of people at a scene or detect movement of any object on screen.

Video analytics work from two major concepts, one of motion detection and another, pattern recognition. In motion detection, each pixel in the video frame is examined and hence, 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, which will be recognized within the frame. Should there be any slight change to the object, i.e. if it is moved, goes missing, or a new object is added, the software will immediately recognize it and send out an alert.

Exiting lockdown and how video can help

In recent days, countries like India are gradually planning to exit the lockdown in phases, to resume economic activity. As such, the possibilities of crowds gathering must also be expected. This is where video analytics can work with cameras to point out potential mishaps possibly triggered by an assembly of people.  With the pandemic still on a rise, countries from China, Taiwan, Russia, Australia and South Korea, have started using tools that provide location data, and video camera footages, to track the virus spread.

What we can expect post-lockdown

During this current crisis, social distancing is identified as the most practical of the preventive measures. Then again, enforcing and maintaining these physical distances will be 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 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, shop 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 either 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 create 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 other 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 even synced to remote mobile devices.

With the 10 sq. m as the standard surface area required for each person – it will also be possible to calculate how many people one can have inside a building equipped with video technologies. Accurate video analytics can count the number of people and provide real-time alerts. Also, by setting up real-time occupancy videos, crowding inside the building can be avoided.

One-way traffic flow to avoid close contact

To avoid close contact and congestion in shops and grocery stores, 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 increase revenue.

An essential containment strategy

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

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