Beyond Video Surveillance: Video Intelligence

What if I told you: “There’s a technology you probably already have in place that’s collecting all kinds of intelligence to help you better run your business. And, you probably aren’t using it to its full extent"?

Most businesses would like answers to questions like, “In which direction do most customers walk when they come through our front door?” or “Are my workers complying with OSHA safety requirements?” or “How many customers leave my business before they even engage with an employee?” 

Historically, the only way to get these answers was through manual intervention – assigning people to watch, count, evaluate and otherwise study customers and employees. Or, if video cameras are installed, having people manually review video recordings. 

But, there is a much more practical and effective way to get these answers, and many companies already have the infrastructure in place. It’s digital video. And it can answer these questions and more. 

Different Types of Surveillance

Digital video is simply data, just like any other data you might collect in spreadsheets or from your website. And just like you can use analytics to track the paths and activities of visitors to your website, you can use digital video analytics to do the same thing with customers walking through your business. 

Similarly, just as you can analyze abandoned shopping carts to figure out why sales are breaking down on your website, you can analyze the interactions between customers and employees to see if they are drawing customers deeper into your business or sending them out the door. 

As we’ve written in a previous blog, AI and digital video analytics can be used to monitor customers and employees for compliance with COVID-19 reopening guidelines. Specifically, these technologies can automatically monitor occupancy limits and social distancing, detecting employees and customers who aren’t wearing face masks.

Those same technologies can enable capabilities that can be used to derive a wealth of additional business intelligence. For example:

  • Retail stores can track occupancy and customer movement through the store to optimize staffing, merchandising and safety.This capability can answer questions like:
    • What days and times see peak traffic?
    • When are the “dead” times?
    • Do customers most often turn right or left after they enter?
    • Is everyone wearing a mask when they enter the store?
    • How are my employees reacting when they are alerted to someone not wearing a mask in the store? (This latter act, obviously, requires manual intervention, but can be triggered by AI-based mask recognition and alerting).
  • Industrial environments can also benefit from these capabilities. Just as AI can determine whether or not people are wearing masks in a business, they can also determine if employees are wearing hardhats and other protective gear to comply with OSHA requirements.
    Thermal imaging can even be used to see if machinery is running hot, so mechanical problems can be addressed before a breakdown occurs. 
  • “High touch” businesses, such as car and RV dealerships, can use video analytics to understand interactions between salespeople and potential customers walking through the door.

    • How long does it take for someone to engage the customer?
    • How many customers leave before anyone even talks to them?
    • How long are customers sitting in the waiting area to have paperwork prepared for them?
    • Are people browsing vehicles in the lot being engaged in an appropriate time frame?
    • And are we improving on these metrics over time? 

Any business that heavily relies on employee-customer engagement to complete a sale would find this type of intelligence valuable. 

Whether you already have digital video cameras in place, or are considering them for security purposes, these additional intelligence capabilities can drive even more benefit to your business. If you’d like to explore how your digital video environment can be extended to include business intelligence features, talk to us!

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