How Intelligent Video Analytics Changes the Game for Airport Operations

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The next time you’re at the airport, smile! You’re likely on camera and being monitored by advanced software. The new technology of video analytics is growing in a number of businesses and has the potential to be applied to a variety of situations.

One area where it is excelling is changing how airports operate more securely and efficiently.

What is Video Analytics?

Although video monitoring of events and locations has been around for a while, the intelligent analysis of it is still relatively fresh and in constant development. In essence, video analytics uses algorithms and software to look at video feeds of different events to monitor for patterns and trends.

The analysis can happen in near real time to alert people of trends or threats and relies on technology instead of humans watching the feeds and trying to catch anything that is out of the ordinary. Video analytics can be used in a variety of scenarios, ranging from event security to organization and strategy.

Video Analytics in Airports

Airports are some of the busiest places in the world, so it makes sense that they would always be on the lookout for a new way to innovate and improve security and operations. Because public spaces in airports are so busy, it can be difficult for security guards to detect suspicious behavior.

A growing number of airports are using IVA systems to monitor passengers and alert officials of any suspicious activity. Where IVA really shines is in less crowded areas, such as monitoring to make sure baggage is left in a quiet area or that passengers aren’t accessing a restricted area. Video analysis can quickly detect anything that is out of the ordinary, like a car parked in a no parking area or someone loitering in a crowded terminal.

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Video analysis removes much of the human error that comes from monitoring video feeds and allows monitors to focus on specific high-risk areas. As time goes by, humans naturally get more tired and begin to miss more and more events on screen. IVA alerts monitors for potential threats, therefore taking away the potential for missing a security issue. Intelligent video analysis also allows different parties within the airport to share information and video.

If a suspicious person is moving throughout the airport, for example, various airlines officials and security guards can share the feed so that everyone is on the lookout. Most systems also allow for remote video monitoring so officials can track busy areas of an airport from anywhere in the world.

However, airport officials around the world point out that video analysis isn’t a perfect system and it is possible for some security threats to slip through the cracks, just like they could if only a security guard was watching, especially in a crowded area. The more secure solution is a combination of multiple techniques, including security guards, video analysis, and facial recognition, just to name a few.
Although intelligent video analysis typically starts out as a security function, it is quickly migrating to other areas in many airports.

Aside from security, video analysis can be used to evaluate and streamline operations at check-in counters and airport gates. The system is essentially another set of eyes that can evaluate the situation and analyze how it can be more efficient. Since IVA can monitor numerous locations at the same time, airline officials can easily check between different counters to see where bottlenecks lie. IVA can quickly search through hours of footage from multiple cameras to find a specific person or event. Instead of manually looking through everything, officials can instead find the issue they are looking for directly.

Intelligent video analysis can also be used to monitor customer behavior, allowing airports and airlines to better meet customers’ needs. If the video analysis shows that most customers move toward a certain security checkpoint or frequent a particular area of the airport for their pre-flight snacks, management can create marketing campaigns targeted at those areas or change processes to make the experience more pleasant for travelers.

Intelligent video analysis is growing rapidly and could have a big impact on creating more efficient and secure airports around the world.

Rick Delgado is a business and technology consultant and writer based in Utah.

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