What is a smart city like? How video surveillance AI is changing our cities

AI Video & Visuals

Lucy Booker writes for IFSEC Global exploring how AI-based video surveillance is changing the urban environment and what the smart cities of the future will look like.

‘Smart cities’, also known as ‘safe cities’, are on the rise around the world. These hyperconnected infrastructures collect data from buildings, people and devices to improve our daily lives.

Whether it’s optimizing waste management, air quality, or traffic flow, video surveillance artificial intelligence (AI) systems will play a key role in optimizing the built environment of the future.

But how is smart video surveillance being used in cities today? In particular, how will Automatic License Plate Recognition (ANPR), the most common use of AI-based video surveillance, play a key role? are you fulfilling


Credit: Juan Alberto Casado/AlamyStock

How will our city change?

According to the United Nations, two out of three people will live in cities by 2050, equivalent to another 2.5 billion people. Our urban centers are evolving and there is no doubt that this kind of population density needs to be managed.

solution? Smart Cities: Living organisms defined by the European Commission as “places that use digital solutions to make traditional networks and services more efficient for the benefit of their residents and businesses”.

This level of connectivity means that breaking down physical security “data silos” is critical. So it’s no surprise that video surveillance AI is presented as the future, addressing multiple challenges while integrating with other solutions.

Jean-Philippe Deby, Business Development Director at Genetec, said: “Having a modern, integrated platform that encompasses systems such as video surveillance, access control, ANPR, intrusion, and analytics helps to some extent in achieving this.”

ANPR is the most widely used video surveillance technology in smart cities. Now let’s see how to use it…

How is AI-powered ANPR changing?

According to Omdia’s Smart Cities Database, the global market for ANPR products will exceed $1.4 billion in 2021. Much of this growth is driven by new wireless, battery-powered, and solar-powered hardware, increasing market demand for rapid deployment systems by more than 18. % in 2022.

As Bryan Montany, Senior Analyst at Omdia, explains, the accuracy of these systems is becoming more reliable. at night or in bad weather. ANPR software can now more accurately identify make, model, and other characteristics. “

As ANPR has become more sophisticated, the hardware itself has become smaller. For example, the US-based company Supervision claims that its Picopak mobile technology is “his LPR camera, the smallest in the world.” With dimensions of only 10 x 10 x 4 cm, it is so compact that it can be used on a scooter or even a children’s car as shown on the website.

How is AI-powered ANPR currently being used in UK cities?

In fact, UK cities such as Bath, Birmingham, Nottingham and Oxford are already using smart ANPR to tackle problems such as pollution.

In Bristol, local company SEA has provided 49 of its ROADflow Fusion cameras to detect vehicles that do not meet the zone’s emission standards. This system also links to third party solutions such as payment providers.

ANPR camera in use on a highway (Credit: ImageSelect/AlamyStock)

More broadly, multifunctional spaces are also emerging in transportation hubs. For example, parking operator APCOA has announced the first of his seven urban mobility hubs in Carmarthen, Wales. These points include charging points for electric vehicles facilitated by ANPR technology, along with other services such as his Wi-Fi pods for remote work.

Improving metropolitan transportation systems continues to be a focus for expanding cities. According to Emergen Research, traffic management accounts for the largest revenue share in the global HIM ANPR system market in 2020.

As seen in products such as Kapsch’s digital traffic management system, changing driver behavior by putting a price on various factors such as vehicle emissions, peak driving hours, and economic profile is a way to motivate road users to take action. I try to motivate them to change.

“Understanding Broader Traffic Trends”

Looking at the technology itself, video surveillance AI reflects some of ANPR’s capabilities. Bryan Montany outlines:

“But in the context of traffic monitoring, metropolitan agencies responsible for smart cities are not interested in catching individual criminals, but instead trying to understand broader traffic trends. In this case, network cameras perform similarly to ANPR equipment, but cost hundreds of dollars less per camera.”

If the difference between ANPR and video surveillance AI is less obvious, how do they work together in smart cities today?

How are AI video surveillance and ANPR used in smart cities around the world?

It is estimated that China has more than half of the world’s smart cities. The advent of edge computing, cameras and sensors with 5G wireless connectivity is expected to accelerate the use of AI-powered video surveillance not only here but around the world.

Hailed as “the world’s first fully smart city,” Shenzhen has sensors and cameras monitoring and monitoring almost the entire city at all times. Data is collected, centralized and integrated to inform city management, planning and individual decision-making.

Alongside China, other countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia are expected to take full advantage of video surveillance AI, as Brian Montagny explains. Related to the car, it begins to capture the driver’s biometric and behavioral characteristics. In addition to monitoring the vehicle, these cameras also monitor the person behind the wheel. “

Video analytics systems are proving to be used in multiple applications in western cities. For example, the city of Genk, Belgium, uses Nokia’s Scene Analytics to measure noise levels in shopping malls and report them to concerned residents. Further afield, in Melbourne, Australia, the same technology has been trialed to help authorities fight illegal dumping.

However, privacy concerns are a major consideration for many countries. In the UK Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commission Annual Report 2021-2022, Commissioner Professor Fraser Sampson cited his ANPR as an area of ​​focus and said of the UK: Regulation and accountability in these critical areas. “

How Can AI Video Surveillance Help Law Enforcement?

One of the biggest challenges for smart video technology is meeting the ever-growing urban threat. Case in point, security software developer Ambient AI recently added 25 new behaviors to its library. This brings the total number of monitored scenarios to over 150. This includes weapon detection, crowd disturbance, and unauthorized entry.

Going back in time, video surveillance AI can also be used to drill down into smart city footage to locate a specific person or license plate. For example, heat maps can help identify which assets on roads are hotspots for criminal activity. It can also be used to measure feet at the entrances of public buildings such as schools and government buildings.

Additionally, in the event of a public health emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic, AI-powered video surveillance will provide data on whether people are wearing face masks or following social distancing rules. can be collected.

What is the smart city of the future?

As always, privacy concerns will always exist, and we must carefully balance what we can and should achieve. But as more and more data is generated, collected and used to create these “hyperconnected infrastructures,” video surveillance has a distinct role to play.

So, ten years from now, if you drive to a smart city, your route will be changed to avoid accidents, you will be warned if your car is not allowed to enter the pollution control zone, and you will be automatically directed to the most convenient parking space. may be induced.

Hassle-free travel in a safer environment may be within reach. This is all thanks to smart cities and the AI-powered video surveillance technology that underpins them.

Register now for IFSEC 2023

16-18 May 2023, Excel London | IFSEC 2023: Recognizing the Past, Embracing the Future

Join thousands of like-minded security and risk professionals at IFSEC 2023 in May. The UK’s largest and longest-running security event is celebrating its 50th anniversary and looking to the next step in the field. His IFSEC distributor network is launching this year, and a new Elizabeth line in London will make traveling to venues easier than ever.

Find hundreds of leading exhibitors from the physical and integrated security sector showcasing all the latest in video surveillance, access control, intruder detection, perimeter protection and software solutions. Join the community and secure your ticket now!

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