Intelligent surveillance and incident reporting raising situational awareness
Editor / Provider: Hayagriva Software, a&s International | Updated: 2/27/2015 | Article type: Hot Topics
Over the years, video surveillance has been the essential key to creating a safer environment. However, a tool needs to be developed to help sift through all the video footage, as well as manage and save the important details. With Com-Sur, a Windows and mobile (iOS and Android) based intelligent surveillance enhancing and incident reporting software, users can enhance surveillance, create standardized intelligent incident reports, and back up relevant data forever!
Video surveillance has become the de-facto means to create safer cities, workplaces, and homes. However, installing video surveillance systems is just the beginning. One needs to do more. One should be able to gain intelligence from video, which will help in preventing losses, reducing operational risks, improving business process, and subsequently sales. Additionally, in case of crime, standardized intelligent incident reports created in PowerPoint would help solve wrongdoing faster.
In the case of an incident, the DVR needs to be accessed to locate the footage, and presented to law enforcement agencies. This is where the trouble begins, and the following questions come to mind:
1. What if the DVR itself is stolen or destroyed?
2. What if the DVR failed to record?
3. What if the footage is lost due to human error, or deliberately erased?
Generally, to retrieve footage, systems integrators (SIs) who installed the video surveillance system are called upon, which can be an expensive and time consuming affair. Now, once the footage is found, the affected party is required to connect with the appropriate law enforcement agency and explain the entire case to them. Unless it is a high profile case, there is not a high chance that the over-burdened law enforcement agencies would be able to invest long hours on the case immedately.
With respect to law enforcement agencies, there are several issues that bog them down, when it comes to viewing video footage. Some of the issues include having to watch long hours of footage from different sources, especially when there is an incident which has occurred at a place not directly covered by the video surveillance — for example, the Boston marathon bombing case. In such cases, law enforcement agencies need to rely on footage derived from video captured by local businesses and/ or public video surveillance around the scene of the incident. Law enforcement agencies also have to deal with painfully aggregating videos from different sources and sharing them with other agencies or the public, as well as writing up reports, which is often a manual and non-standard process.
Furthermore, while cameras and video management systems (VMS) are increasingly becoming smarter, the reliance on alarms is growing to detect an exception. However, it is well known that several alarms can be false as well, which leads to human intervention. Moreover, it is also impossible to rely squarely on technology only. In order to decide whether a bag left behind by a passenger at an airport is a threat or a genuine error, some amount of human intervention or review is therefore required. However, because it is cumbersome to review long hours of footage, review is generally ignored. This could result in missing an event that may never be raised by a modern VMS, for example, a dry-run, or recce.
It is unanimously accepted that, monitoring surveillance video is a tedious and demanding task. According to research carried out by Police Scientific Research, video surveillance observers tend to suffer from video blindness after 20 to 40 minutes of observation, i.e., they cannot recognize the objects in the video anymore. It is also important to note that most DVRs usually retain video up to a maximum of 30 days after which it is overwritten. If one needs to access video after that, it is not possible.
The Solution To The Problem
Intelligent surveillance enhancement and incident reporting software such as Com-Sur converts video (in real-time or from recorded footage) into rapidly reviewable screenshots, enabling the user to review hours of footage in minutes. Things that seemed in order are suddenly discovered because of this feature. Example, a dry-run, or issues like whether the staff was paying attention to its customers, or if the shelves were well-stocked. This also makes it possible to review if camera positions were altered, or whether the cameras were working at all, which is often a big problem.
Standardized Intelligent Incident Reports
Incidents do not differ by regions — an incident that occurs in the U.S. is no different than an incident in any other part of the world. Therefore, use of standardized incident reports can lead to several advantages for users. For instance, stakeholders sharing one minimum industry standard of an incident report as opposed to different kinds of incident reports will lead to ease of taking action when every incident report arrives in one standard format. Additionally, metadata gathered while creating the report delivers intelligence through patterns, e.g., what kind of incidents are taking place at what locations, at what time, on which particular days, etc. This makes it possible to take corrective and/or preventive action.
Another advantage of standardized incident reports is that crime can be solved faster. Using Com-Sur, the affected party can convert video into screenshots, describe them, and create a storyboard describing the entire incident. The software also makes it possible to embed the relevant video clip within the report in order to deliver a complete package to law enforcement. Think of the burden that would be reduced for law enforcement agencies if the affected party is proactive and submits such an incident report to them.
Most importantly, since the reports are created in formats like Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, and PDF, sharing them becomes very swift and easy. Think of an incident that takes place in one suburb quickly being shared via email with other suburbs, cities, and even countries — all at the click of a button. And with the above formats, it's easy to view the report on a smart phone or tablet.
Backs Up Video Forever!
The intelligent incident management software makes it very easy to back up video in the form of screenshots at up to five different locations in real time. These could be one's own servers, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and MS OneDrive, etc. This makes access and retrieval very easy. Furthermore, one can tag important screenshots and choose to retain them for as long as is needed.
Furthermore, the software also makes it possible to share large numbers of photos and their related information as a contact sheet (thumbnails with their relevant description). An example of this would be sharing details of suspects at various borders and entry points. With Com-Sur, one can create incident reports using photos from a camera or mobile device. Thus, incidents not captured by video surveillance can also be covered. Additionally, the software acts as a great training material creator. Since Com-Sur captures screenshots from any video, one could look up videos on sites like YouTube to capture screenshots, add subject matter expert comments, embed the link within the slide, and create customized training material. Think of videos in one language, and subject matter expert comments being quite another. Finally, Com-Sur works with any camera, DVR, or video surveillance system.