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ISJ Exclusive: The rise of video analytics

video analytics

Waqas Hassan, Co-Founder and CEO of Facit Data Systems explains why video analytics software is becoming so popular.

In various walks of life, we are seeing the true value data can bring. In politics, the volume of data collected on voters before the EU referendum in the UK through social media marketing is credited as one of the reasons behind the Leave campaign’s victory.

In the world of sport, tactical and physical data is collected on every player and athlete in an attempt to maximise their performances and exploit any weaknesses in the opposition. Team decisions by some Baseball teams are now almost entirely based upon what the data suggests.

Now we come to security. One of the areas where the use of data is being most keenly felt is within video analytics and what has become known as Business Intelligence. This describes the practice of using analytics software to not just provide security but to assist the organisation when making commercial decisions.

One of the leading providers of this type of software is Facit Data Systems. International Security Journal spoke with Waqas Hassan, Co-Founder and CEO of the company to find out how Facit Data Systems products are helping end users and what the future may hold for video analytics as a whole.

From the start

Founded in 2014, Facit Data Systems is a knowledge company that specialises in video and data analytics. Hassan was completing his Doctorate in Video Analytics at Sussex University when he was approached by a large retailer and asked to begin work on a number of commercial projects.

According to Hassan, the company is aiming high: “Thanks to the support of our customers, we have enjoyed consistent growth over the past five years. Looking ahead, we want to become the recognised leader for the provision of video analytics software and video products to our partner network.”

Facit’s suite of products include people counting, heat mapping, queue management and most intriguingly, video redaction solutions. Following the introduction of GDPR across all EU countries, video is now considered as personal data and any individual caught on camera now has the right to request that their face is redacted. This has caused difficulties for many organisations when it comes to managing their surveillance data.

Hassan said: “In the last quarter, the Information Commissioner’s Office acted on 91 different organisations where there had been a breach of redaction. This was the first quarter that we have seen a summary of actions taken in this area being published. Declining a redaction request due to an organisation’s inability to redact other parties appears no longer to be an acceptable excuse.”

The state-of-the-art solution from Facit can help businesses overcome these challenges, Hassan explained: “The software is installed directly on a client network so the video never leaves their secure environment. We automatically redact everyone in the video by default, thereby ensuring the organisation remains, by default, fully compliant throughout the whole process. If a request is made to see the footage, we can release the individual target concerned.”

Another benefit is that the software can also be used with existing camera systems which cuts down the costs for users. Hassan and his team have already seen a surge in the popularity of the products with some notable installations being carried out for William Hill and Harrow Council.

video analytics
Waqas Hassan

Putting the customer first

It is, however, in the retail sector that Facit Data Systems has seen the greatest demand for its solutions. Its heat mapping and people counting tools are proving immensely popular, with supermarkets such as Lulu Hypermarket UAE opting to install them.

Hassan added: “Video analytics can provide retailers with information on traffic flow through their environments, to the extent of understanding not only their entry & exit numbers but the dynamic flow of their visitors through their locations, with the ability to highlight the various choke points in the journey. These tools can provide not only historic data but live alerts for certain behaviours or service requests, allowing the more cost-effective deployment of store resources.

“We can provide data comparisons across their entire store network, providing information on the performance of each individual store which will help with future decision making. We are also able to support the brands in confirming visitor numbers which can be used to aid any future marketing campaigns.”

The advantages of analytics software are not just felt by the retailer but by the customers as well: “We can improve the customer experience by providing real time alerts in Queue Management, allowing service providers to re-task their frontline staff to enhance their experience. Additionally, we can broadcast to the public the actual current waiting times, allowing customers to make a choice as to whether to join the queue or wait until a more optimum time.”

Next generation

With these numerous benefits for both the customer and the retailer, it is no surprise that video analytics are likely to play an even bigger role in the future. Hassan sees it that way as well: “What we are seeing more and more of is a thirst for relevant data. Analytics of all shapes and sizes are becoming a cornerstone of business operations. They are required so that management teams can develop and evolve their businesses.

“Video analytics and the new generation of algorithms that have been crafted can now provide greater volumes of enriched data sets, allowing analysts to enhance their modelling. This may even prove to move us away from the original security aspects that the technology was initially provided for.”

It is certainly an exciting time to be involved with video analytics and Hassan believes that Facit Data Systems will go from strength to strength: “We are looking to further develop our partner network across all vertical sectors which will broaden our footprint around the world. We continue to develop our core software which now has in excess of 100 separate components. I believe that greater integrated communications with our partner network will allow Facit to become the trusted partner that we are aiming to be.”

Facit Data Systems will be exhibiting alongside Audax at the International Security Expo, held from 3-4 December at Olympia London. To book an appointment, please visit https://facitdatasystems.com/

This article was originally published in the October edition of International Security Journal. Pick up your FREE digital copy here.