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3 ways factories can be made smarter with video surveillance

3 ways factories can be made smarter with video surveillance
Industry 4.0 or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has become a rising trend among manufacturers who want to increase productivity and efficiency. In this regard, smart video can help. This note examines how.
Industry 4.0 or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has become a rising trend among manufacturers who want to increase productivity and efficiency. In this regard, smart video can help. This note examines how.
IIoT has gained traction over the years. Billed as the Four Industrial Revolution – hence the moniker Industry 4.0 – IIoT offers various benefits to manufacturers. In fact, a report by MarketsandMarkets points out the IIoT market is expected to grow from US$76.7 billion in 2021 to $106.1 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 6.7 percent during the period.
IIoT is all about sensors and the data they generate. Video surveillance equipment such IP cameras, being IoT devices, can play an important role in this regard.
“Like many other industries, smart cameras equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) video analytics are being put to use in manufacturing, logistics and other industrial environments to solve a variety of pain points,” said Anton Wintersteller, Senior Business Development Manager at Azena (formerly Security and Safety Things). “New smart camera capabilities have been brought about by the increasing amount of processing power available on cameras, which essentially turns them into IoT multi-sensors capable of analyzing data directly on the device.”
“Deep learning and machine vision continue to be a growing trend in the industrial IoT market. Specifically, smart video fits into this because it automates tasks there were previously completed manually. Now, with smart video integrated with industrial IoT, manufacturers can leverage prescriptive analytics to analyze the meta data to determine next steps in the event that something happens on a production line, such as when a package is poorly packaged.” said Jammy DeSousa, Senior Product Manager for Security Products at Johnson Controls.

How smart video enhances IIoT

So how can smart video play a role in IIoT? There are at least three ways as discussed below.

Keeping premises secure

The first has to do with what video surveillance does best – keeping premises secure.
“Perimeter security is a priority for industries across the board, and manufacturing is no different. Within facility grounds, smart cameras equipped with license plate recognition analytics can support entry and exit management by detecting incoming and outgoing trucks. This ultimately allows facilities to utilize analytical insights for access control purposes and increase security by ensuring only authorized vehicles can enter,” Wintersteller said. “Smart cameras with AI analytics can serve as a perimeter intrusion detection sensor that can help to reduce the number of false alarms by analyzing potential threats on the edge determining whether to send an alarm on to human operators for response.”

Maintaining staff/worker health and safety

Worker safety is a top priority for industrial facilities. Smart video can play a role in this regard as well.
“Smart video surveillance can directly contribute to increasing employee safety by enhancing facility processes. For example, when a forklift truck passes by at a high speed, or picking robots move heavy containers at great heights, the physical safety of workers must be protected. Another step to increased facility safety is to ensure compliance with facility rules and policies, as many accidents are caused by carelessness, improper use of machines, human error or personnel not complying with regulations. Using video analytics apps, smart camera solutions can monitor whether employees are wearing safety clothing, through the identification of hardhats, high visibility vests, work goggles, shoes and even special protection belts,” Wintersteller said.
In the post-pandemic era, smart video can also help with disease prevention and control in factories. “Smart video can be used to help ensure worker health and safety by making sure that large groups of people are not congregating in areas or that employees are following social distancing guidelines. It can also be used to identify materials that may be obstructing a door, which would violate fire and safety protocols.” DeSousa said.

Operational efficiency

IP cameras combined with onboard or edge server analytics can help with the factory’s overall efficiency. AI, for example, can pinpoint a bottleneck and identify its root cause – for example a machine idling or a worker not doing their job right. The operator can then correct the problem.
“For operational efficiency, surveillance, and analytics specifically, is being leveraged to monitor normal patterns of a production line and then identify abnormal behaviors. It can be used to watch equipment lights and sounds for patterns that does not fit with a machine that is operating efficiently,” DeSousa said.


Installing a video surveillance system in a factory setting requires careful observation and planning. “While environmental factors should always be taken into account when installing a security system, when it comes to installing a surveillance system, technicians will need to be aware of more subtle factors, such as dust and vibrations. Also ask questions such as is the machinery in the facility going to have an impact on the camera’s ability to focus? Additionally, ceiling heights will have to be taken into account, as well as what you are monitoring for (e.g., presence of safety gear, or theft detection), and the placement and set up of the production line,” Wintersteller said.

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