AI in Video Surveillance — adding ‘Brains’ to the ‘Eyes’

The expanding vistas of urbanization have made video surveillance an integral part of any ‘smart building’ or ‘smart city project’. Being used as a potent technological aid to detect any anomaly or criminal behavior in and around homes, businesses, and public places, video surveillance has surely dominated a large portion of any security set up. But as we are now 18 years into the new millennium, the obvious question is, “What next?”.

With new and advanced technology hitting the market, what does the future hold for the video surveillance industry? And the answer that will most certainly catch your fancy is ‘AI’ or ‘Artificial Intelligence’. It has been truly gripping to witness the evolution of AI over the past decade, but researchers guarantee that the best is yet to come.

The good news is that the cameras are gaining Artificial Intelligence. These digital eyes that are smart enough to connect to Wi-Fi, watch over us 24/7 and record videos incessantly are going to get smarter! Just a few years back, just about all cameras were like eyes sans any intelligence. Artificial Intelligence is here to give brains to the digital eyes, enabling them to analyze video without the need for human intervention. As a result, the new generation of cameras are intelligent machines that no longer just see and record, but are able to judge and act.

Clips is the recently launched camera by Google that makes use of Machine language to automatically click snapshots of people or things it finds interesting. You must have also heard about Apple’s latest iPhone using face recognition to unlock your phones. These are just a few examples that cameras with brains are no more a thing from some James Bond movie but they are already here, making an impact on our lives. Their presence might be subtle but surely not to be ignored.

With the use of AI Technologies like ANNs (Artificial Neural Networks), Machine Learning, and deep learning, video surveillance systems will be able to analyze video footage in real time. The video analytics technology will help security software to self-learn the normal behavior of people, vehicles, machines, and the environment and differentiate it from any unusual and potentially harmful behavior that might go unnoticed by the human eye.

The advancement in Artificial Intelligence has enabled the use of technologies like face recognition, faceless recognition, crowd density monitoring, stereoscopic vision, image sharpening, and behavioral analysis. Incorporating AI technology with surveillance cameras can be vital in identifying issues before they manifest into problems which is one of the main driving factors to bring AI and video surveillance together.

These AI enabled cameras are instrumental in improving safety in public areas like streets, malls, train stations, and bus stops. In many countries, the military and government use security screening systems to identify terrorists by monitoring people in real time. They look for microexpressions — diminutive twitches or mannerisms that can reveal a person’s vicious intentions.

As exciting as it may seem, the integration of AI technology with security cameras is intimidating never the less with questions and concerns from the public about the invasion of privacy. But it won’t be wrong to say that in this case, the pros quell the cons outright. There is still a long way to go in exploring the potential of AI in video surveillance and there is no denying the fact that it will revolutionize the field of surveillance and security. Till then it will be quite interesting and exciting to watch how the future unfolds for this merger of AI and security surveillance.