Across the globe for the past several months, casinos, theme parks, hotel conference centers, and stadiums have been either temporarily shuttered or operating at reduced capacity because of the COVID pandemic. Like most businesses during this unprecedented crisis, they’ve lost revenue, which means they will be taking a hard look at where they can reduce expenses, drive more revenue, and operate more efficiently in the coming months and years to drive more return on investment from the people and technology they employ.
One opportunity for technology maximization is video surveillance networks: Though typically relied upon for physical security and forensic investigation, there is a wealth of information in video data that can be tapped beyond security for streamlining operations, guiding long-term planning, and optimizing the customer experience. To get the most value out of their video surveillance systems, agile businesses are using complementary Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered video content analytics software. This technology processes video, identifies and classifies objects in the footage (such as people, vehicles, and other items), and then indexes them to enable operators to quickly and easily search, filter and alert on video based on object classification. It also allows operators to generate business intelligence based on aggregated video data, which helps managers understand trends, drive intelligent decision-making, and develop strategies and contingency plans.
While video intelligence software enables video surveillance networks to be leveraged beyond traditional security use cases, it also has significant safety and security applications. Because video analytics enables rapid, accurate review of video footage across multiple cameras, the technology enables security teams to more quickly investigate on-site crime, medical emergencies or accidents by using video search filters and/or face recognition to pinpoint relevant objects in video. Based on witness accounts or known facts, the operators can identify relevant evidence for review and streamline their investigation. In the case of a missing person or a person of interest in a theft investigation, this powerful search functionality increases time to target and saves valuable time and resources, while driving faster resolution of incident cases.
In addition to reactive benefits, intelligent video surveillance helps security teams respond proactively by improving their situational awareness with alerting capabilities based on advanced object classification and recognition filters. Using the same video search filters, operators can configure real-time alerts to pre-defined activities or objects. For example, to prevent theft or injury on premises, analytics operators can set up real-time alerts to notify security if someone is dwelling in an area for an unusually long time, or if someone enters a restricted area. They might use face or license plate recognition to be notified of specific persons or vehicles of interest that appear in a video feed: In a casino, that may be an image of a customer who is banned from the premises, whereas in a theme park it may be the image of a missing person.
On the other hand, customer service teams can leverage face recognition alerts to enhance engagement with consenting VIP customers and receive notifications whenever they or their recognized vehicles are detected on the premises. Face recognition can also be used to develop employee watchlists, so that management can evaluate aggregated staff traffic patterns and understand how effectively they are dispersed throughout the venue to drive optimal customer engagement.
Similarly, to prevent queues or bottlenecks at check-in or checkout points, payment terminals, or waiting areas, people-counting alerts can be configured for occupancy management and crowd control. By defining count thresholds that would indicate overcrowding, count-based alerts can be used to increase situational awareness and enable the proactive deployment of staff to redirect traffic when crowds start to form or respond to emergency situations.
Operations staff can also benefit by using count-based alerts for maintenance purposes. When a threshold of visitors entering a restroom has been crossed, an alert can be triggered so that facilities can be cleaned on an as-needed basis, rather than a time-based schedule. This same principle can be applied for routine repairs and maintenance efforts.
A key to configuring alerting logic and driving proactive response to situational changes is benchmarking and analyzing normal activity, to reverse-engineer which behaviors warrant real-time preventative alerts. Marketing, security, and planning teams are empowered to achieve this by leveraging long-term aggregated video data as operational intelligence. From occupancy statistics, popular navigation trends, visitor demographics and more, casinos, theme parks, and entertainment venues can ensure a comfortable experience by making informed decisions and plans based on historic activity already captured by video surveillance resources. By processing and visualizing visitor activity data, for example, casino operators can uncover where visitors tend to congregate in lobbies, at kiosks, slot machines, or other areas. Armed with this knowledge, they can determine how best to optimize the customer experience, from preventing bottlenecks to investing in different machines or tables to engage visitors.
To quantify traffic patterns, heat maps can uncover which roadways, parking lots, pathways, entrances, or hallways are most commonly used, and how often. This data can be used to plan and design more effective layouts or parking lots to ensure more streamlined operations.
To better understand the demographics of their guests, marketing teams can generate reports to uncover whether they are reaching their targeted audiences and determine how to tweak offerings to increase engagement and expand reach to other demographics.
By complementing their existing video surveillance systems with video content analysis, hospitality and entertainment venues empower their security, operations, customer service, marketing, and planning departments. Smoother operations, better customer service, and more efficient security processes result in reduced overhead costs, increased visitor retention and loyalty and, ultimately, greater revenues.
More on video analytics for hospitality and entertainment here.
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