Safe Cities Solutions

10 Use Cases for Video Synopsis

(originally printed in Safe Cities Solutions)

Oftentimes, public safety and security personnel are faced with the problem of “too much video, not enough time to for review.” However, there is a technology that allows users to browse hours of video in minutes. It is now possible for all recorded video — not just some — to be reviewed as a matter of routine, greatly enhancing surveillance effectiveness and public safety.

The provider of this Video Synopsis technology is BriefCam, whose products allow for hours of video to be viewed in minutes.

Video Synopsis presents all events simultaneously, even if they occurred at different times (see image). On average, review time is compacted by factor of 1/60, meaning 1 hour of video can be viewed in 1 minute.

Here are 10 video review scenarios that demonstrate the benefits of “synopsizing” to public safety and security personnel.

1. Total Video Review (TVR) – At present, only a fraction of surveillance video (best estimated at 1-2%) is ever reviewed due to lack of personnel, time, adequate tools and/or funds. TVR is the practice of going over all footage at the beginning and/or end of each shift using BriefCam. Implementing TVR as a standard procedure assists not only in locating reported events but also in uncovering the types of events that previously would have gone undetected.

2. Undefined incidents – BriefCam presents all events as they happened, without pre-set or pre-defined rules. This feature is excellent in situations where the investigators don’t know exactly what they’re looking for but definitely “know what it is when I see it!”

3. Rapid investigation response – Many areas are heavily monitored by CCTV but is this footage watched in a timely manner or only long after the fact? Using BriefCam Syndex on-site review, such areas can be monitored for suspicious activity in a timely fashion, as well as enabling post-event forensic investigation (for example, car-break-ins) to be conducted in minutes rather than hours, significantly shortening the gap in time between when an incident is reported, and when it is investigated and responded to.

4. Video backlog –There’s no underestimating the pain of having reams of video that must be reviewed before an investigation can even begin. Because BriefCam “synopsizes”, on average, 1 hour of video into 1 minute of review time, backlog can be shortened and video review can take place within a satisfactory amount of time.

5. Low priority crimes – Rapid video review means that incidents once considered not important enough to warrant the time and effort of investigation can be now followed up properly – and without the use of Fast Forward, as BriefCam displays events at their actual run-time speed.

6. Low frequency events – Criminals or terrorists may “case” a location for days, weeks and even months before taking action. This can be done without engaging in any suspicious behavior, e.g., approaching a fence and looking at it but never climbing over it. BriefCam displays individual events that happened over time, simultaneously, making such behavior patterns evident immediately.

7. Dead Zones – Although cameras monitor areas of low activity, such as stairwells, hallways, exits, etc., they are seldom watched (research has shown that operators tend to monitor busy areas only). Yet it is precisely in these quiet, out-of-the-way places where crime often occurs. Routine review of these so-called “Dead Zones” can result in the discovery of activities that had, up until that point, evaded exposure.

8. Streamlining On-site Investigation – Crime scenes and other on-site investigations often require reviewing hours of video to determine the exact location of events. Using BriefCam, activity patterns can be revealed rapidly, resulting in fast action, on the spot.

9. False Claims – Accidents resulting from persons slipping and falling can result in lawsuits in the millions of dollars. Using BriefCam, operators can perform routine fast review of accident hotspots (such as escalators, stairwells, etc.). BriefCam can also assist in investigating the history of claims that may – or may not – have taken place.

10. Speeding Up Lockdown – Security breaches or children gone missing often result in lockdown situation in which no one is allowed entry or exit of the premises. BriefCam speeds up the process by enabling rapid review of security video from the relevant cameras in seconds, and enabling effective real-time action.

Traditional solutions have attempted to automate video review. BriefCam’s technology, instead, engages the human operators in the decision-making process; their eyes, experience, good judgment and instinct are integral to the process, enabling them to review video a more efficient, effective way.