While South Africa’s high crime rate has been a point of concern for two decades, law enforcement has only recently started looking at implementing technology solutions that provide for pre-emptive engagement through actionable intelligence.Today, strategic sensors and devices to identify areas of interest can be installed in buildings and road intersections – such as the CCTV cameras installed in a number of CBDs – helping municipalities and law enforcement officials to pinpoint potential incidents, says Gerald Naidoo, CEO of Logikal Consulting. “The actionable information provided by cameras and so on can help better protect people. However, the data generated by security systems is useless unless officials can make sense of this ‘big data’ and put it to work.”

He explains that today’s software analytics can pick the relevant bits of information out the volumes of data, and that in order to action the intelligence generated, a unified view of all networked platforms is essential. “The Verint Situational Awareness Platform brings multiple systems together to combine information from numerous sources. This allows for better insight as well as streamlined operations. In addition, it can lower the cost of security infrastructure by integrating with existing systems, minimising the need to replace legacy implementations,” Naidoo says.

According to Naidoo, intelligent video analysis is no longer a nice to have for law enforcement and municipalities, but a have-to-have. He says that not only is it valuable in crime fighting, but is extremely effective in more mundane applications such as traffic management.

“Consider the amount of valuable data that can be generated by analysing video feeds. License plate numbers can help law enforcement track criminals, while city administrators can identify traffic bottlenecks or other incidents before they can cause chaos by leveraging maps, security, traffic, government and commercial sensors and data sources.”

He adds that while video surveillance helps promote greater situational awareness by routing the information to the right people at the right time, and IP surveillance technology with embedded video analytics can help reduce the opportunity for crime and allow for an immediate response, tools such as those incorporated in the Verint platform can also aid in minimising public disorder. “Intelligent video, when combined with targeted analytics, can help monitor high-risk areas and direct law enforcement to respond to specific areas before a situation escalates. The recent spate of xenophobic attacks could have been mitigated with a solution such as this.”

Naidoo says that while law enforcement and municipalities are the most obvious users of this type of solution, companies from many sectors and industries – from banking and transportation to retail – are benefitting from video analytics. “A recent report by the Homeland Security Research Corp shows that the global intelligent video surveillance market is experiencing significant growth, all signs point to continued growth in the future. The research indicates that intelligent camera technology should account for 25 percent of the global video surveillance market by 2020. As public and private sector organisations ramp up their security initiatives, video analytics will become increasingly central to safeguarding facilities, assets and people.”