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Video analytics: Making bay watch smarter and more efficient

Video analytics: Making bay watch smarter and more efficient
Maintaining beach security and efficiency is always a priority. In this regard, video analytics can offer invaluable aid to operators.
Needless to say, summer is a busy time for beaches. Maintaining beach security and efficiency is thus a priority. In this regard, video analytics can offer invaluable aid to operators.
Beaches are popular destinations all year round. Palm Beach County, Florida, for example announced that 8.22 million visitors went to the Palm Beaches from January to December 2019. Newport Beach, California, each year draws nearly 10 million visitors, according to Newsweek. Visitations usually peak during the summer season.
Yet, opening the beach to this many people invites safety and security issues. According to a blogpost in Crosstown, the LAPD recorded 105 assaults with a deadly weapon at LA beaches in 2020. There were also 55 thefts as well as 42 simple assaults, the post cited.

How video analytics can help

Luckily, these issues can be addressed with a video surveillance system supported with video content analytics (VCA), which play a key role in keeping beaches safe and secure.
“With responsibilities that include mitigating criminal activity like vandalism and theft, locating missing persons, monitoring the ebb and flow of crowds, and overseeing vehicular and pedestrian traffic, security operators at beaches have a job as vast and diverse as the environment they serve,” said Lizzi Goldmeier, Director of Marketing at BriefCam. “Comprehensive, AI-based video analytics solutions can help beach operators address these responsibilities by increasing situational awareness and, consequently, the ability to decide on and deploy responses to environmental changes quickly and efficiently. By leveraging their existing video infrastructure, beach operators realize the full potential of their video by making the content searchable, actionable, and quantifiable.”
So how can video analytics help beach operators? We take a closer look below.

Security and safety

It goes without saying security and safety are top priorities for beach operators. In this regard, AI-based video analytics can offer much assistance. A VCA system for example can detect and alert operators of unusual activities, for example people swimming during no-swim periods, unidentified objects left on the beach, or individuals loitering at a spot for a long time.
Further, VCAs also have smart search functions that can be valuable.
“Beaches, like many public spaces, attract crime like theft and vandalism. Video analytics makes it easier to search and filter video to understand an incident that has occurred. Whether a crime, health and safety event, liability claim, or even a missing person case, the ability to quickly retroactively review video can be critical to understanding what went wrong,” Goldmeier said.
On missing person retrieval, Goldmeier added: “When a person is reported missing, video analytics can provide law enforcement with insight into the case, enabling them to filter video to understand when the person disappeared, whether they were with anyone else, and where they were detected across cameras. Understanding where a missing person was last seen (and under what circumstances) can help officers determine whether they are in danger and provide leads as to where they might be found to speed up the investigation and reunite the person with their party.”

Operational efficiency

Certainly, beach operation entails not just security. A beach encompasses a variety of venues including retail shops, restaurants, stands and entertainment facilities. How to reduce crowding, optimize space utilization and provide a good guest experience is therefore also important. In this regard, VCA can help too.
“While a beach wants to accommodate as many guests as possible, it still needs to keep safety and guest experience in mind. Tools like data visualization can help stakeholders understand daily, weekly, yearly, and even hourly traffic trends and make decisions about space utilization, path optimization, and even the best locations for lounge chairs or other beach rentals,” Goldmeier said.
She added: “Real-time situational awareness empowers beach security personnel to proactively mitigate crowding and negative experiences by directing foot traffic to uncrowded areas, closing full parking lots, or opening new queues. However, long term data aggregation helps beach operators benchmark traffic flow patterns, uncover visitor demographic segmentations, and identify popular amenities in parking lots and retail queues, and on the coast. Heat mapping and path tracking can reveal quantifiable intelligence for identifying hotspots and developing solutions for mitigating queues and crowd formations that could be damaging to the guest experience.”

Cloud vs. edge

Given the wide variety of VCA tools available for beach operators, they are faced with the question of whether to put them on the edge or in the cloud. Again, as pointed out before, there’s no clear answer for this. It all depends on the user’s unique requirements.
“Every video analytics deployment is going to be different to serve the unique needs of the environment. Considering current needs while also being aware of and anticipating the needs of tomorrow is a crucial factor of any technology investment, including choosing a video analytics solution. This mindset will help the appropriate stakeholders choose a flexible solution, whether cloud-hosted or on-premises, edge, or hybrid options, that supports existing infrastructure while also leaving room for scalability and technology advancement. Flexible architecture is key here, and will ensure positive, long-term value and satisfaction for beach operators,” Goldmeier said.

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