Video Surveillance & Physical Security Industry Viewpoints
April 12th, 2021
Author: Seva Liokumovich

How to Use Video Analysis to Safely Relaunch Cruise Ships

Get More Value from Video Surveillance

The cruise line industry is getting back on course after a year of economic setbacks caused by the COVID pandemic. Given the economic fallout across the industry, cruise line operators are highly motivated to optimize their operations, ensure health safety for their employees and staff, and enhance the guests’ experience — all while trying to reduce their overhead costs. To accomplish these goals, cruise operators should consider a technology solution that leverages their existing architecture to address the challenges of today and tomorrow. Video content analytics software, which complements a video surveillance (CCTV) system, is one example.

Although many organizations typically use and consider video surveillance solely as a physical security resource, video footage contains a treasure trove of valuable information that can benefit other departments of a cruise line organization, including marketing, planning, customer experience and service, hospitality, and operations. AI-driven video analytics turns raw video footage into quantifiable and actionable intelligence that benefits additional cruise company stakeholders. It detects, identifies, extracts, and catalogs objects in video, then drives analytic activities based on the indexed and classified metadata. Video for analysis can be processed and leveraged in real time or on-demand, so that operators can improve both real-time situational awareness and post-event footage search and can uncover trends and insights from video data that has been aggregated over time. Here is how these video analytic insights are used by the various stakeholders across a cruise line company in order to realize the full potential of video surveillance investments, deliver optimized guest experiences, streamline operations, and increase security and safety on-board.

Optimize Guest Experiences with Demographic & Footfall Insight

What areas of the ship are most popular and at what times of the day or week? Which activities or resources on the ship are most (or least) popular and with which demographics? Video analytics answers those questions with visual heatmaps, charts, and graphs that provide illustrate trends about demographic and pedestrian traffic volumes and navigation patterns. Venue planners can see the average amount of time that guests dwell in particular areas or entertainment venues and assess whether those hotspots indicate product popularity or problematic bottlenecks. This operational intelligence empowers them to make more informed decisions about what attractions they should offer, where to place them, and how to optimize site layout so that foot traffic flows easily.

This data is critical to help managers deliver positive guest experiences on a consistent basis.

Naturally, guests do not appreciate crowding or long queues.  A video analytics system can deliver dwell and people count reports that indicate where and when crowding and long queues typically occur and the average amount of time guests spend in a queue, so managers can plan staffing or signage to alleviate these problems in the future. Alerts can be configured for crowd control: Analytics operators can set a pre-determined count thresholds for an area, which would indicate an emergency, overcrowding, or a long service queue at a check-in or checkout point; staff can be deployed to respond to the emergency or redirect traffic. Guest services managers can even drive optimal service by using face recognition or appearance similarity functions to evaluate staff traffic patterns and determine whether their uniformed staff are dispersed effectively.

Streamline Operational Management and Facilities Maintenance

Video analytic solutions can delivery occupancy detection for complying with public safety regulations, but this data can also be leveraged for other operational benefits. Video intelligence and tracking capabilities can be leveraged to understand the number of people who have entered an area, such as a restroom or gym, so that maintenance managers can be alerted whenever the number of people who enter that area exceeds a customized threshold. This information helps maintenance and operations managers schedule facility cleaning based on actual usage of the facility, which is more effective than relying on traditional time-based schedules. Additionally, managers can generate dashboard reports to evaluate that data and plan maintenance according to long-term usage statistics.

Heighten Security, Safety, and Public Health On-Board

Security teams – the traditional video surveillance users – can also enhance their daily activity with video content analytics. Using face recognition filters, for instance, they can proactively understand when guests have not re-embarked after an onshore expedition to reduce docking delays and port penalty fees. They can also use face recognition or appearance similarity to locate a missing person – especially young children – across the multiple cameras on a ship. Extensive filters can be leveraged to manage access to sensitive areas of a ship, and security personnel can use face matching and configure digital watchlists of authorized entrants to secure spaces to help detect when unapproved individuals are trying to access restricted areas. This can also lead to better planning decisions about staff deployment or signage. By looking at historical data illustrated by graphs, heatmaps, and histograms, operators can derive trend intelligence to guide their strategic planning.

When on-site crimes, medical emergencies or accidents occur, security teams can leverage video content analysis to accelerate investigations, enabling them to quickly review footage of the incident and apply comprehensive video search filters to focus only on the relevant information. This enables users to understand incidents post-event, clear false claims, and reduce litigation. For real-time situations such as crowding, changes in illumination, or people dwelling for an unusual length of time in an area, a video analytics system can send a real-time alert to the operator to drive rapid decision-making and enable proactive response to developing situations.

Finally, although the COVID pandemic will eventually recede, it is still of paramount importance to comply with public health mandates to ensure guest and employee health. Video content analytics systems can help support reopening efforts with a number of key capabilities. For one, it can be leveraged to detect face mask wearing as well as physical proximity and social distancing, either in real-time for rule enforcement or over time for general compliance assessment and reporting. If a staff member or guest does contract COVID-19, managers can use video analytics system functions to facilitate efficient contact tracing; i.e., to determine whether the infected person was within a six-foot radius of other people for more than 15 minutes during the contagious period, and whether he or she was wearing a face mask at that time.

Clearly, the information that lies buried in video footage helps various departments of a cruise ship — guest services, operations, security, and planning — function more effectively. By complementing their video surveillance systems with video analytics technology, cruise lines not only improve their bottom line, they also improve the guest experience, which enhances brand reputation and customer loyalty.

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