Infrastructure has been a major focus area for the new government—development of cities in particular. Converting existing cities into smarter cities and building new smart cities seem to be given the top-most priority in the political agenda. Plans are being developed to use technologies that can take the existing cities to the next level and make them self-sufficient, comfortable and efficient. But efficiency alone is not adequate for the city to be ‘smart’. The city has to be safe for the citizens to feel protected and for the overall well-being. In order to ensure safety in a smart city set up, IP based video surveillance is a must.
Video surveillance technology has been used since the past few years for securing cities, but only sporadically. This would change in the case of a smart city. As smart cities will have buildings that would be specifically designed to accommodate advanced technology, video surveillance becomes imperative. The importance of video surveillance will move from just security to tracking, monitoring, crime-prevention, disaster-prevention, among other key applications.
At the outset, the video surveillance solutions can be used to track traffic and for monitoring purposes such as left baggage identification, criminal identification, etc. Surveillance cameras can be installed across the city including retail outlets, workspaces, homes, places of historical importance, transport and transport hubs including railway stations, bus stands, airports, hospitals, restaurants etc.
Advanced tech for crime management
Installing video surveillance systems in smart cities will cost about 10% of the overall cost to set up the smart city. And given these myriad applications of video surveillance technologies, there are innumerable advancements that are being seen today to address the various opportunities available. Technology advancements in video surveillance is growing with each passing day. Few of the advancements that have happened over a short duration include easy accessibility—providing remote access and administration of live images from anywhere using a standard Web browser, high quality images —the digital images do not lose quality during transmission or storage, easy installation, cost
effective and scalable.
Apart from these upgrades, various innovative and unique technologies have been brought in the cameras. Lightfinder technology is one such development seen in video surveillance. This technology provides better resolution and life-like colours, especially in low-light conditions.
Another technology that helps monitor any area during low light or complete absence of light is thermal imagery. This technology detects movements by detecting the temperature of the approaching object, and capturing the images. These thermal cameras are also equipped with sabotage alarm, movement detection function and are designed to function in demanding conditions such as darkness, mist and smoke.
Ultra high resolution cameras are a new advancement in surveillance technology. Cameras are equipped with 720p, 1080o HDTV and 4K resolutions providing highly clear images.
All these progressive technologies are also available on the cloud. These hosted video solutions offer benefits of low cost of ownership and maintenance.
Deriving analytics from surveillance systems
Data collected through video surveillance can be used for innumerable purposes. Video analytics is about reducing the vast amount of information contained in video, making it more manageable for systems and persons. Building this sort of analytics into network cameras has
major advantages such as a more reliable and versatile video surveillance system, and drastically reduced workload for the security authorities.
The intelligent network camera is never idle and supports the operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is constantly on guard, waiting for an impulse to start recording or sending an alarm to the operator. Additionally, intelligent video systems can extract video and data from surveillance video streams and integrate that information with other applications, creating new benefits and opening up new business possibilities.
In a centrally networked surveillance system, smart analytics can help in detecting and tracking movements of a criminal or a terrorist for example, wherever he is located—since the details of the criminal is loaded in the system, notification will be received by the authorities when the criminal is spotted by any surveillance camera located anywhere in the city—be it a mall, railway station or on the highway. This kind of an advanced system will enable authorities to take the right measures when required and equip them to prevent criminal activities.
By Sudhindra Holla
The writer is country manager, Axis Communications India