Monday, 20 May 2013

A little bit more about the V.A.M.Ps

Last week we explained that it was our last post and the end of our journey. But in order to thank you for joining our journey over the last few months, we wanted to leave you with an after-taste about the technology and also a glimpse of our team as well.

In our posts, we talked a lot about the Video Analytics technology, its applications, the intrinsic benefits of it and its future challenges related to our daily lives. In the video below, you can see some of our team members (Pierre, Kyle and Ushi) talking about the technology and our blog in a wrap-up session and discover  the V.A.M.P way of investigating new technologies!

We hope you enjoy watching this! 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The future of Video Analytics......

As the cliche goes, "all good things must come to an end", and so must this fascinating trip that we've taken together through this blog. We have seen how Video Analytics can revolutionise the Gaming Industry (think Wii and Kinect which does that to a basic level today), we have seen how we can fairly and objectively compare players (Messi vs Ronaldo) and we have seen how it can enhance security while making it cheaper and more efficient. We hope you've enjoyed learning about this wonderful new technology and have found our posts both entertaining and educative.

Unfortunately, as is always the case, with interesting topics like this, there is never enough time to cover all that there is to be talked about. If we have been able to excite you about this technology and you want more information and background reading, here are some more links that you can look up:

  • This site takes you through the future of the technology and some of the basic challenges that are yet to be overcome.
  • This paper from Andrew Adams (Meiji University) and James Ferryman (Reading University) talks about Video Analytics from a more ethical perspective.
  • AgentVI is a company focused on providing Video Analytics solutions. Their website provides a rich overview of the capabilities of the technology and how it works.
  • IBM provides a Video Analytics suite as well which is described in good detail.
Like any other emergent technologies, there are many challenges yet to be overcome. Primarily, challenges for Video Analytics are around false alarms, reliability, etc. Think about rain in the outdoors. Rain distorts what a camera sees, and hence it introduces noise into the analytics procedure thus creating false alarms. But given time, and focus, such problems have been overcome in the past and can be overcome here too. Sometimes, solutions can be low tech even. For example, rain resistant films can be placed on the camera screens that are capturing the video. 

It has been a pleasure researching this topic. If you need more information, then feel free to leave us a message and we will get back to you. Best of luck and here's to a beautiful world with Video Analytics.

From all of us Majo Pundits,
Kyle, Marcelo, Pierre, Catalina, Hasan and Ushinor.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Saving Lives through Video Analytics

Last November, a terrible tragedy occurred in Madrid, in a Halloween party celebrated at Madrid Arena, an indoor building located at the fairgrounds in the Casa de Campo. Five girls were crushed to death when a human crowd, out of control, tried to leave the premises. This was partly due  to the fact that the organizers of the party had sold more than double of the tickets they said they had officially sold, and the place was way over its capacity. However, it was not the first time such an unfortunate event had happened.  Similar situations took place in other moments in other countries: in 2010 more than 20 people were killed in a human stampede in the Love Parade in Duisburg, Germany, among others.

So how can Video Analytics help here? Could these and other tragedy have been prevented?

Well, video analytics could offer a great deal of help in this regard. The technology is already available for counting people in crowds. In fact this technology is already being used for commercial purposes in the supermarkets to count the number of customers coming in and out of the store for marketing research purposes as well as operational capabilities. Having this technology for nightclubs can help to enforce the control of the capacity of the enterprise and fulfill the legal capacity requirements often ignored by the business owners.

If more tragic events like the one in Madrid keep on happening, negative publicity will  build up and pressure will be on club owners and local and federal governments to take action. People need to be protected and these risks need to be mitigated. One clear way of implementing the risk management tool is video analytics monitoring system enforcing and aligning ticket scanning at the entrance with the capacity limitation established by the city authorities.

If you're still not convinced about this technology and how it can help, this video provides a good demonstration:

This link talks about the benefits of using Video Analytics for Crowd Control as opposed to GPS based mechanisms which was more traditionally used:
If governments would enforce the use of this technology they could monitor the compliance of companies with regulations and that pavilions and arenas used for events do not surpass their capacity. 

Friday, 3 May 2013

Is it time to say goodbye to your Personal Trainer?


No, I like my Personal Trainer a lot. Now with summer round the corner I need him even more! 


Well, what you need is to shed a few of those extra pounds. But do you really really need your personal trainer? For example, what if the role of the trainer could be assumed by someone else? Or, perhaps, something else.

Ah, don't tell me any more about the thousands of DVDs and Videos out there proposing the perfect workout routine.

You mean videos like this that were so popular in the 80´s and 90´s?

Well, of course nowadays there are thousands of websites and videos that give you advice on how to train, how to best do push ups or how to stretch. There are even devices like the “Wii Fit” that can more or less propose a work out routine. But what they don't offer you is supervision of your training, like what a personal trainer offers on how exactly you perform these exercises. Also, there is no way to receive accurate feedback on how you are actually executing the specific movements.
But, Video Analytics gives us a better way. We can take this a step further and you won't have to deal with any of those annoying videos, neither will you have to deal with the expensive personal trainers.

No way! How would this thing work? 


Wouldn’t it be attractive to have an interactive system at home that could motorize how you do fitness? Like a “Wii fit” but that gives you real feedback on how you are working out. 
Is the position of your feet correct? Is the way in which you are lifting your leg going to damage your back? 
The way it would work is a VCA unit will continually look at your posture and your movements. Just like your trainer does. And then the software inside the VCA unit will do exactly what your trainer does today. The VCA program already knows what the correct movements are. It will match your movements to what it knows to be correct, and then scold you if you're doing it wrong or cheer you on if its right. Very much like your personal trainer.

This sounds awesome! So which companies make this device? How much does it cost?


Well, you're a little bit ahead of the gun there. There's no such device in the market yet, but there are plenty under development. Currently, leading the market in this segment is a company called Sportstec ( Take a look at their website to see the amazing array of products they are offering. While its still not mainstream yet, this is bound to get bigger in the future. 

Imagine! You can carry your personal trainer with you wherever you go!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Challenges for Video Analytics

Video analytics seems awesome… so why is it not growing faster?

Video analytics is a trending topic. We have seen that its applications and benefits are endless, and no doubt in the near future we will see many derivations of this technology. But nowadays, what is holding back the growth of video analytics?

This technology is facing mainly the following problems: 

  • Accuracy - The system is still inaccurate. This means it still has a lot of errors and raises false alerts and needs maintenance. 
  • Human Intervention - It needs human intervention or monitoring, which increases the cost of the system overall. 
  • Privacy and Security - Another crucial issue is the growing concern about privacy and the protection of civil rights. The installation of video analytics tools massively will necessarily imply that everyone is seeing anywhere at any time. This is scary. Who is in charge of this information? Who will use it and for what purpose? This could turn into a huge Orwellian Big Brother. Some Hollywood movies are already making us aware of this… Legislation always tends to trail a bit behind industry. The legislative reality also differs from country to country in terms of the degree of safety and guarantees they offer when treating data and transferring data, which makes things even more complicated and confusing.
Apart from just these three main, there are also Environmental and Computational Factors that can affect the performance of Video Analytics. This page can give you a lot more detail on what these are and how it can affect the performance.

Wow...Is it possible to get around this?

Of course it is possible. Eventually, as these issues are taken care of, the costs will be reduced and the technology will become more affordable. As of now, the principal users of the tools  are public administrations, who can pay the price of using this services and also overcome legislative issues, while private ones, more concerned with cost and profit, need to think twice before making use of it.

Have a good weekend and don't forget to come back and visit us next week!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Messi vs Ronaldo.....using VCA to determine who is actually better.

Messi or Ronaldo?  Who’s better? Can it be answered? Yes!

Many have asked the question above, and there has never been a common consensus.  Goals scored, number of assists or individual/ team trophies won do not always dictate the effectiveness of a player has on the game of soccer (football).  However, what if we said that there is a way to quantitatively answer this question, and without using goals scored?  Would you believe it?  Well you should, because the technology does exist.

So how does it work? 

There is company called Prozone Sports ( that does exactly what we speak of. Prozone sports offers services that include post-match analysis, opposition analysis, player recruitment, live performance, referee, and research & consultancy.  It’s unbiased and nonobjective.   It makes transforms all of the elements of the game, including the ball and the players, into “data points” and then uses complex algorithms to analyze the data. 

Prozone sports uses 8-12 high-tech cameras positioned around the stadium to track players movements. Combined with complex software Prozone provides performance analysis based on physical, tactical, and technical components of each player.   Prozone’s products, which are several, are customizable and flexible so that it can fit to each coaches/teams preferences.

Here is a quick video of the technology Prozone Provides - Prozone Sports Ltd - PROZONE3.mpg

So who uses it?

Many of the top clubs around the world use this type of VCA.   These include Manchester United, Real Madrid, Arsenal, and multiple national teams (England and USA).

So who’s ACTUALLY better, Messi or Ronaldo?

We are not sure.  You are going to have to ask employees of Prozone if they have tried to compare the two.   We are just avid bystanders who are fascinated by the idea of combining technology and sports together, and then seeing the results.  

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Its no longer Observation....its Observision!

What do you mean?

Have you ever had the opportunity to observe what a Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) monitoring station looks like? Take it from us, its glum. Imagine being in a dark room with up to 50 screens and you have to monitor all of them. That sounds bad? Well, it gets worse. Remember, that in most of the 50 screens for most of the time....nothing ever happens. And also, you have no clue what you are looking for and what is about to happen. No wonder no child has ever said that he wanted to grow up and be a CCTV monitoring man....

Take a look at the below images to get an idea what life is like in a CCTV monitoring room.

But, that's all about to change though....

Let me guess.....Video Analytics again?

You guessed right! Yes, it is indeed Video Analytics. Using a network of cameras, we can monitor all that's going on. If something fishy is happening, the computers can even zoom in and take a good look and keep the video for later recovery. And in case something really really fishy is going on, it can even send you a message telling you about it so that you can come in and personally intervene.
And the best thing about it all? No human being needs to be sat anywhere looking at 50 screens waiting for something to happen when he could be spending time with his family, watching his local football team, or enjoying a quiet pint at his neighbourhood pub.

No way! What about security? Can you trust a machine?

The question is, can you trust a human? Human capital is limited. Human potential is also limited. Think about it, has CCTV monitoring by humans ever prevented a serious crime? It may have helped in later investigations, but it has never helped prevent one as far as we know. For example, of the 100 people entering the London metro every minute, its impossible for one (or even five) people to continually scan them for any dangerous faces, etc. But using Video Analytics, we can train computers to do the job for us, and they can do it a lot better than we can.

OK, I get it. So how does it all work?

To avoid boring you, this time we have a video form a company called Observision to do the talking and explaining for us. Observision is a Malaysian ICT solutions company, and are one of the pioneers of the application of Video Analytics to the security industry. Watch this and you'll be totally convinced by the awesome potential. I'm sure a lot of CCTV monitoring people will be very excited too when they get their hands on this technology...

We  hope you enjoyed the video and enjoyed learning more about Video Analytics. We'll be back with more fun and innovative stuff for you to enjoy next week!