Video Management Software (VMS) and surveillance technology are often misunderstood and mislabeled as purely preventative solutions with powerful security and theft prevention capabilities. In reality, VMS technology actually benefits more industries than most people realize.
There is no doubt VMS software integrates critical security technology; look no further than license plate recognition that helps police locate stolen cars, or video analytics that help law enforcement agencies identify trends in foot traffic on a busy street to help pinpoint drug-dealing activities.
However, the power of video management software doesn’t stop there, and actually transcends the security industry to benefit more verticals and uses. Here are four ways VMS technology is benefiting new industries:
Most people wouldn’t think of security cameras as a useful tool for sustainability and environmental protection. However, VMS technology is becoming a key tool for cities of the future such as those prone to floods or pollution.
Municipal officials around the world have already begun implementing VMS technology. Calgary, Alberta, home to the Bow and Elbow Rivers, experienced a massive flood in 2013 that caused US $5.4 billion worth of damage.
Thanks to strategically placed video cameras and a centralized monitoring station, city officials can now not only monitor water levels in real-time, but they can also aggregate data from IoT sensors to glean insights about broader weather patterns. Because the data is available in real-time, the city is able to prepare for potential floods (or droughts) and keep its citizens and infrastructure safe.
In addition to bolstering preparedness for natural disasters, VMS can also be used to protect the environment in areas like harbors.
In Antwerp, Belgium, for instance, local officials have embraced the use of VMS as a way to detect oil leaks from ships during refueling. When oil leaks into the harbor, it can prove fatal for animal and plant life, having a negative cascading effect on the fragile coastal ecosystem.
Not only do Antwerp officials use cameras to monitor the harbor, but their integrated software can detect when a ship smashes against the quay or lock walls pier, causing damage that requires repairing. The ability to document such an incident and the damage caused proves highly important for future dispute resolution.
Whether for forward-thinking disaster preparedness or real-time incident response, VMS technology has proven to be a pivotal tool as we work to protect our natural environment.
With eCommerce on the rise, brick and mortar retail companies are using VMS technology to enhance the increasingly important in-store customer experience and optimize sales.
One of the most popular ways it is used in retail is through thermal mapping (tracking heat signatures) to monitor and better understand customer behavior.
Powered by video analytics that are integrated into the video management system, store managers can identify which pathways are most frequented and which products consumers dwell on, empowering retailers to find hotspots, optimize layouts and displays, and identify product popularity.
Additionally, VMS technology can help to mitigate a notorious shopping pain point: waiting in line.
Video management technology is improving the check-out experience through intelligent video analytics that send alerts to managers when the number of customers waiting in line exceeds a predetermined figure.
This enables store management to respond and increase the number of staff at the busiest spots in a timely manner and expedite the check-out process.
VMS technology can also benefit drivers. Intelligent video cameras monitor traffic patterns 24 hours per day, seven days per week on highways, city streets, and at many traffic signals. The cameras capture scenes from traffic accidents and areas of congestion.
Intelligent video analytics process hundreds of hours of camera footage and send real-time alerts to city officials when an accident has occurred or when a highway is backed up.
In cities prone to traffic, where drivers spend many hours sitting behind the wheel of their car, video management technology is now helping them take back their time.
Video management solutions also help airports minimize the potential spread of Covid-19. Video analytics monitor passengers wearing face masks, crowd counting helps avoid overcrowding in large areas, proximity identification sends alerts when social distancing is not being followed, and heat mapping optimizes the flow of people in a given area, for example at a security checkpoint.
Video technology combined with advanced analytics is one of the most efficient tools for both the current pandemic as well as any future challenges.
While it is not a cure for Covid-19, it is a hands-on measure of compliance and safety. These same technologies can also be used in an office or retail setting as people return to work or start shopping at malls again.
VMS technology can no longer be pigeonholed into a purely security use-case. It’s important to understand the full capabilities of video management software and its benefit to a particular industry before simply labelling it “surveillance.”
Be sure to diligently research your various use cases and whether the VMS can provide a seamless user experience through the incorporation and integration of other technologies like video analytics, so you can make the best possible technology decision for you and your business.