Video Surveillance & Physical Security Industry Viewpoints
July 29th, 2021
Author: Marc Sanders

Leveraging Video Analytics for Optimized Beach Safety, Security, and Experiences

Leveraging Intelligent Video Surveillance for Better Beach Management

Beaches are important attractions at travel resorts and destinations, especially in warm climates, where they often attract thousands of tourists and guests each day for swimming, sunbathing, dining, and more. To keep visitors coming back for repeat visits, it is essential to make sure that the beach is safe, clean, and inviting. Beaches that offer additional amenities, such as boardwalks, entertainment areas, and restaurants, require substantial staff and resources to maintain safe operations; staff often includes operations managers, concessions staff, guest services staff, security officers, and lifeguards.

Because of their size and the risks associated with swimming in natural water bodies, outdoor beach venues can be challenging to monitor. To improve beach safety and security, some municipalities and resorts rely on video surveillance deployments for monitoring beach traffic and activity and reviewing video footage for incident investigation. By enhancing surveillance investments with video content analytics software, beach operators can derive actionable, quantifiable data from video. Video content analytics powered by Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning identifies, tracks, and classifies objects in video footage, indexing video metadata to enable granular search, smart alerting, and comprehensive reporting. This allows managers to leverage their video surveillance networks not only for safety and security, but also operations, marketing, concessions optimization, and visitor experience.

Crowd, Queue and Bottleneck Prevention

Whether for a parking lot or a concession stand, vehicle and pedestrian traffic management is important to avoid crowding and accidents. One of the most valuable benefits of video content analysis is its ability to aggregate data over time to reveal trends and normative conditions. With quantitative data – rather than anecdotal data about traffic volume and patterns, management teams can research trends and make more informed decisions about staffing and signage.

Operators can also develop reports to assess area occupancy at a beach. This is a great way for marketing, security, and planning teams to manage occupancy limits, prevent crowds, and understand which areas of a beach are more highly trafficked, as well as typical crowd counts.– With operational intelligence reporting, operators can be more proactive and strategic in preparing for expected and unexpected crowds to keep visitors safe and comfortable.

But beyond understanding traffic trends, this long-term aggregated data also enables operators to discover norms and makes defining abnormal behavior easier, allowing users to to create customized real-time alerts that are triggered when unusual behavior is detected to drive rapid assessment and response.  Such functionality improves real-time situational awareness and accelerates response to evolving situations. For example, operators can set up people count alerts to be notified when the number of people in a service queue or the number of vehicles in a parking zone exceed the normal threshold. Similarly, a dwell alert can be sent if a person, vehicle, or object is in a particular camera view for a suspicious amount of time, which might warrant closer inspection and action from emergency responders.

Concession Management & Enhancement

Video analytics can also help beach operators better understand the demographics of their guests by generating reports to understand whether visitors tend to be male or female, adults or children. In this way, operators can better understand their audiences and optimize targeting efforts by determining how to enhance their offerings and increase engagement for their primary – and potential – audiences.

Heatmap and navigational reporting can complement these efforts by giving insight into how visitors use a beach and its associated facilities, such as gift stores or restaurant concessions. Managers can use video intelligence heatmaps that indicate not only where people linger, but also how long they typically dwell in an area and the paths they take to reach certain kiosks, displays, or services. Empowered by this data, retail and operations managers can evaluate popular areas of a resort, identify crowding hotspots, and uncover inefficiencies in site navigation for strategic decision-making around layout and traffic flow enhancements. By utilizing space wisely and efficiently, resort managers can deliver better guest experiences, facilitate informed decision-making for their retail tenants, and improve revenues.

Operations, Safety & Security Optimization

Maintenance is traditionally scheduled using a timetable, rather than basing cleaning on actual facility usage. Using video analysis to uncover visitor occupancy and traffic trends for certain rooms, hallways, or other spaces, analytics operators can develop dynamic alerting logic for notifying operations management when facilities should be cleaned. This drives staffing efficiencies and ensures a clean, safe, and sanitary environment for visitors.

Beyond operations staff, video analysis can also optimize security and safety staffing efforts. Given that beach resorts tend to be large areas that need to be carefully monitored, video analytics is a force multiplier for lifeguards, security staff, and other employees. A video analytics system can notify security if people are detected in the water during no-swim periods, or if people are on the beach when access is prohibited, such as after dark or during water or airshows. Similarly, real-time alerts can be configured for detecting animals on the beach or dwelling alerts if objects are on the beach for an unusual length of time, potentially indicating suspicious activity that should be investigated more closely.

Accidents, medical incidents and criminal situations sometimes occur on beaches, and although video surveillance may capture some incidents, manual forensic video review (often with footage from multiple cameras) is time-consuming and error prone. Video content analytics technology enables security teams to rapidly and accurately review video footage across multiple cameras and filter video to pinpoint relevant objects in video. Based on witness accounts or known facts, the operators can identify relevant evidence for review and streamline investigations to save valuable time and resources, while driving faster case resolution.

Face matching  is another video analytic that is particularly helpful when it comes to locating missing persons at a beach facility. A video analytics operator can create a digital watchlist that contains a still photo or video image of the missing person to drive live alerts when a potential match for that face is detected, as well as filtered searches of archived video footage to locate where and when that missing person was last seen on the premises. This obviously can narrow down and accelerate a search investigation to more quickly reunite the missing person with his or her party. Searches can also be conducted using gender, clothing type and color, or direction of travel filters, among others – for example, investigators can search for a person based on what he/she was last seen wearing, such as a red top and white hat.

With actionable, quantifiable data gleaned from their video footage, beach managers not only improve beach safety and security, but drive efficiencies across departments to make delivering an optimal guest experience seamless.