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How AI startups have disrupted the video surveillance landscape

How AI startups have disrupted the video surveillance landscape
Startups that leverage the power of artificial intelligence for advanced video analytics are changing the traditional video surveillance industry.
One of the characteristics of the video surveillance industry for the past several years was its reluctance to change. Besides a natural evolution from analog to digital, the industry has not seen much innovation for a while. This is when developments in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) began to make inroads into the video surveillance industry.

Research from Omdia shows that global video analytics revenue is set to increase from the US $1.1 billion in 2018 to $4.5 billion in 2025. Identifying and drawing data from video footage, a combination of computer vision and AI-enabled video analytics, is attractive to customers mainly for the ways it makes security surveillance more efficient. But its applications don't end there. Companies are now seeking the use of video surveillance for business intelligence, where technology helps them improve operational efficiency and earnings.

What these startups offer

The major theme behind what these companies offer is intelligence that makes devices understand what they see. Even a simple home camera may distinguish between a dog and a human in the video that is recorded and give alerts accordingly, making it easy for the user to decide what to do.

Viisights, for instance, has developed a unique video-understanding technology for real-time video processing. The technology is capable of processing live video feeds, in addition to recognizing the participating objects (e.g., person) and their attributes (e.g., red shirt).

"The system is capable of understanding the object's actions, interactions with other objects (events), the scene being viewed (i.e., a crowd is gathering, riots) and the context (a car is driving on the road or on the sidewalk)," said Asaf Birenzvieg, CEO of Viisights. "Basically, we are able to extract more meaningful data from the live video feed and therefore create actionable insights and greater ROI."

Some companies use analytics like facial recognition to identify people, their age, and behavior. Some others help to identify people who are part of watchlists for security and safety. There are startup companies that even make use of computer vision to identify products and make sure they adhere to quality requirements during manufacturing.  

There are also companies that offer video analytic solutions that can predict the possibility of environmental disasters. The French startup Tenevia, for instance, uses footage from video surveillance cameras pointed at rivers and canals to predict the possibility of floods. 

How they try to differentiate

Some of the largest solution providers in security have also ventured into the analytics sector. This was an inevitable move for them as part of taking their business forward. Their advantage is that they have deep pockets, and this gives more room for investment in R&D. But despite this, many of the startups are faring well. In many areas, they are able to outdo the larger companies through innovation and speed.

It could be that larger companies are slower to make decisions when it comes to investing in new technologies. There are more people involved in the decision-making process, and there are more factors to consider than a startup. Smaller companies, especially those that have lower overhead costs, are more flexible to adapt to market requirements.

The future

Video analytics is set to play a more important role in the days to come, and startups could be the drivers behind it. They may come up with more innovative algorithms that would increase the return on investments from video surveillance systems. And as more and more projects like smart cities get implemented, the role of AI analytics would only become more prominent as a means to improve operational efficiency and convenience.

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