Analytics – video, voice, biometrics – have matured over the years, from the Sci-Fi phase where everyone’s expectations were unrealistic, to more practical, and now it seems, back to the future again. As public safety and security operations prepare for an onslaught of Big Data, analytics are taking center stage.
I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak on this very topic at the Secured Cities conference in Baltimore this week. Joining me for the discussion were: Larry Jones, Project Manager for the City of Cleveland, Department of Public Safety, Office of Information Technology, and John Matheson, an independent information technology and physical security technology consultant specializing in higher education, local and state government.
If one thing is clear, it’s that video cameras and voice recordings are everywhere. The monitoring, recording and reviewing of surveillance camera video and communications is mature and widespread. It’s a powerful aid to safety and security, particularly for incident investigations. But there are limitations. Finding hidden information in voice and video recordings can be a labor-intensive process. When the first video cameras were deployed in US cities, the small number of cameras made it relatively easy to review video. Now, hundreds or thousands of cameras means that most video goes unwatched. Most recordings are eventually deleted without ever being replayed. But now, continued advancements in algorithms and processing power are helping sophisticated analytics software bring valuable insights to the surface, in a fraction of the time.
Consider for example: In Cleveland, they’re using video analytics to clamp down on illegal dumping; Audio analytics can detect repeat hoax callers, cutting down on wasted resources; And next-generation video analytics, like NICE’s Suspect search can help find a missing child in the critical early minutes
Analytics are finally delivering real results.
Of course these are all exciting developments, but they are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of where analytics will take us in the future.
Maybe Hollywood isn’t all fiction after all.