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29 officers have been trained and licensed to operate 14 drones for the NYPD in a unit known as the Technical Assistance Response Unit. These drones will perform a wide variety of tasks such as monitoring both vehicle and pedestrian traffic, surveilling large events, search and rescue, and assisting in other miscellaneous emergencies. It has been a little while since we looked at the emerging market for security drones. It is still true that security drones require human pilots to be effective in a police force, and it is worth clarifying that these UAVs are not autonomous.
The idea is for the drones to act as an advanced party to a crime or emergency scene. Drones having eyes on the situation first gives incident commanders the chance to see what they are getting into before they jump into danger. Unlike in China, where drones disguised as doves watch every living thing in Beijing, these 19 drones will not be used to perform warrantless surveillance, though many still suspect misuse to occur anyway.
Two of the drones are quadcopters with zoom-in cameras and thermal imaging capabilities. The remaining drones are smaller, with one being relegated to training purposes. NYPD has said that these drones are for special situations and not for routine patrol or for use in traffic enforcement. They also claim they will never attach weapons to these machines or use the drones themselves as weapons. Whether or not that is a promise that sticks remains to be seen.
Drone use by police is certainly not new and not just for big city departments anymore. The Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College has shown over 900 law enforcement agencies with deployed drones at the time of their study. However, that scale of drone surveillance still pales in comparison to what China is executing, and for that we should probably be grateful.
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Avigilon has recently announced what they call a “next generation” AI capable camera system. Called the “H5 Smart Camera”, this technology makes use of Deep Neural Networks built into the devices themselves to provide the ability to learn, detect, and notify for events requiring investigation. So called “deep learning” or “deep neural networks” are the same type of AI tech used in the AI operations of companies like Google and Amazon. Deep learning AI works by sorting through massive amounts of data, the more the better, and modifying its own code based on what the program sees. Google’s “Watson” is a famous example of this kind of software, and gained public exposure when it defeated the world’s top player of “Jeopardy”. Deep learning was also used in the software that established computer’s as the top “players” of Go, a chess-like strategy game which is well known for its highly technical play and difficulty.
Avigilon is working with Intel, a leader in the emerging AI marketplace. Intel’s “Movidius” VPUs allow for power-efficient acceleration of hardware in deep neural networks. These networks are inspired by and in some ways modeled from the way that biological systems (brains and central nervous systems) process and interpret information. Intel believes this technology will “usher in a new generation of video analytics capabilities with deep learning approaches” (avigilon.com). The H5 camera line uses these AI facilities to develop more sophisticated event detection and automatic notifications. The cameras are to be displayed at the Global Security Exchange conference of 2018 in Las Vegas, and are expected to be launched into the market in 2019.
This is the focus that Avigilon has had in the industry for a while already and they have analytics systems available now. Yet as technology marches up an accelerating curve in processing power, we can expect more and more functionality in all AI systems to come. AI itself is a fascinating technology that we have looked at in more detail in previous articles, and is expected to radically change the markets in almost every industry and the global economy as a whole.
Security Technology of South Texas is an authorized integrator for Avigilon systems and has designed systems with this kind of functionality. Avigilon analytics is particularly useful in enterprise scale operations, school and college campuses, as well as car dealerships or any other large property where tight security is necessary. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org on our website or via phone at 210-446-4863 24/7.
As brick and mortar companies continue to drive the level of competition up in the retail market space as they compete against online companies offering free shipping and very low prices, they must seek every possible advantage so as to grow their revenues while still addressing conventional security threats such as inventory loss through internal and external theft, also known as “shrinkage”.
Fortunately for those working in a retail space, the security industry has developed products allowing for greatly enhanced security in addition to a whole range of features that are useful in tracking customers and streamlining various processes. There are five key areas associated with the concept of “Intelligent Video”: People counting, traffic pattern analysis, customer satisfaction, the reduction of theft, and monitoring the exterior. Here we will look at these aspects of “Intelligent Video”, more commonly known as analytics enhanced video surveillance.
Unlike a company that operates strictly online, traditional storefronts have a difficult time determining just how many people visited their location each day. Counting visitors can enhance efficiency and make it easier to make decisions which could affect conversion rates and per-customer transactions. Cameras at the entrance should use WDR or “Wide Dynamic Range” so as to bring the clearest images to the analytics software.
Using analytics to monitor and analyze traffic patterns can involve heat mapping, which visually shows a hot and cold flow on screen based on customer flow. Regional people counting analysis helps show how people move through the store. Data like this can be used in determining where to place products, how high on the shelf, and etc. This software can also show how much visitors look at any particular display. Ultimately, all this data can be combined to get a very clear picture of what your customers do on average, and therefore what your best options are for the store.
As far as improving customer satisfaction goes, it simply follows from the implementation of the aforementioned changes based on analytics information. Line times can be reduced or eliminated in the store. On a broad scale, analytics will determine how many people to bring onto staff on any given day and what hours they should work. HD cameras can also be used to individually capture transactions at the register.
As for reducing theft, a wide range of options is available. IR cameras for very low light areas to motion detection or more advanced tech such as tripwire or removed object analysis will enhance the overall effectiveness in managing inventory and reducing theft. PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) cameras are useful in monitoring the exterior of the building. Having a camera for every corner and corridor also eliminates the possibility of false injury claims and confirms facts in the case of a burglary.
Security Technology offers the integration of security solutions such as these, along with analytics to get the best overall picture of what goes on in your storefront.
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Sources: Security Today Magazine