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Best practices for video analytics in public transport

Best practices for video analytics in public transport
Video analytics in public transport systems require careful planning. Here's a look at the best practices when using onboard video analytics.
Video analytics has already become an integral part of video surveillance systems in various verticals. In public transport, the integration of video analytics has been slightly slower due to their implementation difficulties. However, more and more operators consider the possibility of using analytics for proactive security and business intelligence. 

But there are certain best practices to follow when installing video analytic solutions for public transport systems. This article asks three industry experts to share their opinion on how integrators and customers should go about getting the best out of their onboard analytics solutions. 

Related: Top video analytic features smart and safe city customers demand 

Olivier NITRE, VP for Video Security Solutions, Teleste

One of the critical elements is, as usual, to well define what is the need and the ultimate target for the operator. What do you want to achieve? Is video analytics the best tool to reach the goal? What are the tool(s) to be combined with, if any? The worst enemy of video analytics is the belief that "one tool fits all." 

"We will install camera(s), and let's see what we can achieve later on with VCA" is the ultimate video content, analytics killer! Careful planning and properly defining expectations and specifications are the key to a successful video analytics implementation.

The use of video analytics will be dramatically improved by using artificial intelligence. AI is not something that is very visible immediately, nor simple "bells and whistles." It is a deep mechanism that will tremendously ruggedize and leverage video analytics as a reliable critical component.

Hartmut Sprave, CTO, MOBOTIX 

Above all, you should make sure that the selected product meets your and your customer's requirements without being overly influenced by terms such as artificial intelligence or deep learning. The best solution is still the one that solves your customer's problems.

Another important point is to consider the local conditions and adapt the use of the products accordingly. It's also essential to manage camera resources for the efficient on-site operation to complete the whole concept.

Florian Matusek, Product Group Director, Video Analytics, Genetec

Before you start your project and before you plan your project, you have to be very clear about what you want to achieve. You must define what data you want to get out of it? 

If your goal is, for example, people counting inside of a train, then plan the camera positions and equipment specifically for this purpose. You should not use the existing cameras and existing systems because often, the camera position may not be proper, and the camera may not be suitable for this kind of application. 

So usually, you will need to install dedicated cameras for video analytics. For this, you need to know before what you want to do to make an ideal plan.

Meeting requirements in the COVID-19 era

The COVID-19 pandemic has also played a role in boosting the demand. Onboard equipment is not something that is decided or installed in one week or one month, as they are multiple constraints in this process, even if the process is a bit simplified for the ground equipment. But there have been new inquiries purely linked to COVID-19, e.g., "mask detection" or "distance measurement."

"But, on the longer term, the rail operators and transit agencies definitely want to actively promote their own safety and security policies to restore confidence and trust about how the agency is handling the pandemic," NITRE explains.  

"Live view in the railcars, passenger counting, and crowd management is at the center of the interest. But also, indoor, outdoor, and onboard TFTs and LCDs can be equipped with scheduled PSAs, live health reports, and safety and hygiene instructions for riders, and real-time data can be presented in intuitive graphics that allow for riders to make informed decisions regarding the trains and buses they should take."

Sprave added that people are looking for technology tools that help meet regulatory requirements to get back to business. These include the creation of hygiene concepts but also, and above all, the protection of their employees. When considering the best practices during the pandemic time, integrators and customers must ensure that the solution meets such requirements. 
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