Advances In Video Surveillance: Video Analytics

Jan. 1, 2008
Typical applications include exterior perimeter protection, controlling restricted areas and detecting behaviors that are precursors to potentially dangerous or illicit situations.

Video surveillance technology has advanced in quantum leaps since it has transformed into a digital process. Processing transmission and storage of digital data is a mainstream technology with such huge market potential that research and development yields an ongoing constant stream of improvements and breakthroughs.

Because digital processing is performed by microprocessors, much of the new digital video equipment is essentially PCs and related accessories.

Digital Video Recorders, the successor to Video Cassette Recorders, initially resembled their predecessor, being dedicated devices with a specific function - to record video. But in a few short years, DVRs are already being supplanted in many applications, though not by a new technology (it's still digital and still data).  

Functions such as recording are being assigned open platform devices such as desktop PCs and take advantage of the economics of scale that are the result of using readily available mass-produced components such as hard disk drives, microprocessors and   other hardware components.

What differentiates each piece of hardware is the software that is running the device. We're in the era of soft machines which are the result of combining hardware with software to achieve new functions.

An exciting new area of product development which is coefficient with this technological synergy is video analytics. It combines network topology, video data, digital processing and artificial intelligence with software algorithms which analyze data and identify behaviors.   Rather than analyze motivation for the behavior, it endeavors to determine motivation by analyzing a behavior or a pattern of behaviors within a specific zone and then alerts personnel when it decides there might be a problem.

Video analytics also referred to as machine or robot vision are software algorithms which enhance video surveillance system performance by programming the camera to monitor for specific events or behaviors in a given camera's field of view.

Video analytics are used in real time switching, signaling alarms and initiating recording.

Video analytic products are available imbedded in video components such as   DVRs , NVRs and cameras, or as software packages which can be installed into PCs or into digital signal processing equipment.

Video analytic products are differentiated by the number of channels they can process as the types and complexities of behaviors they can be programmed to detect.


Real time applications include alerting security to a specific behavior being sensed at a specific camera, and initiating recording of that camera's activity.

In surveillance applications where guards or security personnel may not be actually viewing cameras, the analytics can initiate recording or time stamp recorded activity, as well as trigger a remote alert off-site.

Where large numbers of cameras are deployed, use of video analytics improves security staff efficiency by providing a robotic level of watchfulness, which could not be achieved with even a team of guards trying to remain diligent and alert watching monotonous site activity for long periods of time.


Honeywell's Active Alert video analytics suite of products enables enhanced security and surveillance solutions by automatically monitoring video for specific people, vehicles, objects, and their associated behavior within a camera view. Active Alert can provide real-time alarms based on user defined rules to detect abnormal or suspicious behavior without the need for human supervision. This powerful capability enhances both manned and unmanned operations by working 24/7, reducing the amount of video data operators must review, and enabling a high level of monitoring for any size video system.

Honeywell Active Alert software is accurate and high performing and is capable of monitoring and analyzing the behavior of up to 20 objects per camera view, both indoors and outdoors.

The Honeywell Active Alert suite of products is an ideal solution to enhance a facility's current level of security or to optimize the use of current personnel resources.

Honeywell Active Alert can be used as a standalone solution or in conjunction with a compatible recording system with local and remote management capabilities. The user interface is intuitive, user friendly and easy to maintain, regardless of the system size. Powerful data search tools enables almost instantaneous access to events and alarms.

Typical applications include exterior perimeter protection, controlling restricted areas and detecting of behaviors that are precursors to potentially dangerous or illicit situations.


•            Real-time scene analysis and alarms based on user definable rules

•            Rich set of detectable events and behaviors to suit a broad set of system requirements

•            Accurate indoor and outdoor applications with patented technology to reduce false alarms

•            High performance software that minimizes the need for excessive PC hardware

•            Powerful onsite or remote configuration capabilities

•            Powerful search tools for instantaneous retrieval of incidents

•            Ability to provide voice, visual, relay closure, e-mail, or cell phone alarm


Honeywell Active Alert is offered in Base, Standard and Premium packages, each of which enables a different set of detectable behaviors.

Base: The Active Alert Base package includes basic people and vehicle movement behavior detections.

Standard: The Active Alert Standard package builds on the base package by adding the ability to discern more advanced behaviors such as person jumping a fence line or loitering, and vehicles parked or pulled off the road.

Premium: The Active Alert Premium package builds on the Standard package by adding the ability to detect abandoned or removed objects, and possible theft incidents.

The selection of HONEYWELL products includes the software, a variety of frame grabber PCI cards, as well as fully assembled and tested servers built around Dell computers.

A frame grabber is a device into which a video camera is connected and where the signal is digitized.

A server is a PC or computer which is dedicated to a process or processes so a computer which is used for a surveillance system is called a video server.

Many systems run off a single PC.


Factors such as the number of cameras, the size of the facility, the degree of redundancy required to assure reliable operation, the number of locations from which the video is to be viewed, and the amount of recording time desired will all affect the system architecture.

For example servers may be dedicated to interfacing cameras, or others will handle data. Some servers administer network and Internet services. Some systems will use a separate server to analyze the video data.

Chart 1 outlines the capabilities of the three packages.

By integrating video analytics with other systems such as access controls and intrusion detection systems, automated responses can be programmed for a wide range of events and situations, from a full blown crisis down to parking violation. Having robotic video to perform the bulk of the routine events leaves security personnel free to focus on the more important issues.

Applications for this software are everywhere -- learning institutions, industrial processes, military, public buildings and streets, and retail to name a few.

For more information, contact Honeywell Video Products, 2700 Blankenbaker Pkwy., Suite 150, Louisville, KY 40299, Phone: 502-297-5700 800-796-2288. Fax: 502-666-7021. Web site: