We’ve all heard about big data – one of the top tech buzzwords of 2013 and 2014, but what about big video data, also known as video analytics?


Well similarly to how big data allows for data scientists to reveal patterns or trends in extremely large data sets, big video data allows data scientists to pull insights directly from video footage. This allows for the discovery of new trends we simply cannot identify with the naked eye.


Some research suggests that only 10% of what we see actually gets registered by our brain, with the rest being ignored or not perceived. Video analytics can fill up this gap – it captures and analyzes everything that is happening in our surroundings. Rick Scurfield, President of NetApp APAC, recently sat down with Andre Ahchak, host of The Breakfast Club on 938Live, to discuss how video analytics are empowering both business and governments in Singapore to build a smarter nation.


Monitoring Crowds at Events

Using live surveillance feeds of public places, such as at the MRT stations in Singapore, data scientists can predict the size of crowds, where people are going, and determine a list of hot spots for crowds. This allows city planners to both anticipate and adjust to crowds in real-time for major events, such as the F1 night race or for the New Year’s Eve countdown.


Detecting Potential Mosquito Breeding Spots

The National Environment Agency, or NEA, has actually been testing video analytics in a variety of applications. In one such example, the NEA has mounted video cameras to unmanned drones to fly around and detect potential mosquito breeding hot spots.


Developing an Early Alert System for the Elderly

Another way video and video analytics are being utilized is with the tracking of people and their movements, specifically the elderly. Many places are actually installing video cameras and developing analytics systems to monitor the elderly and send alerts to medical personnel or family members based upon irregularities in their movements, which can often save lives.


The Debate Between Privacy and Protection

Despite these benefits, there is always going to be a question of privacy when it comes to video surveillance. When and where are you allowed to record people? Do you have to ask for permission before you can record? These are all viable questions, and according to Scurfield, there is no definitive answer.


“The balancing act that you have to do is between public safety and making lives better versus intrusion into people’s lives,” says Scurfield. “I think that is a great topic that has a lot of debate around it in the research community, and different areas where people are debating how much we intrude in people’s lives with the goal of making their lives better.”


It should also be noted that not all data collected through video analytics is personal information. Metadata, such as a person’s name or physical description, can be hidden from findings, leaving only the anonymous data and its trends, and any information is often highly regulated.


But despite where you stand on the issue, video analytics and other tools will surely have an impact on Singapore’s future. As part of Signapore’s Intelligent Nation 2015 Master Plan – a 10-year plan launched in 2006 to spearhead the development of Singapore using infocomm technologies – Singapore has been embarking on becoming a smarter nation with video analytics applications in our everyday lives.


For more information on video analytics, visit NetApp.com.

NetApp Staff