Video Surveillance & Physical Security Industry Viewpoints
March 16th, 2020
Author: Lizzi Goldmeier

Why VCA-Driven People Counting is More Important Than Ever with the Coronavirus Outbreak

People Counting & Count-Based Video Analytic Alerts 

Video content analytics enables operators to leverage video surveillance networks beyond traditional public safety and security uses: By detecting all the objects in a scene and then extracting identifying, classifying and indexing them, video intelligence software enables a variety of analysis capabilities – including object and face recognition – which ultimately empowers users to leverage video for driving investigations, improving situational awareness and deriving critical intelligence for countless applications.  


One particularly important video analytic capability is people counting, the ability to detect the increase or decrease of people in a pre-defined area or view. When organizations leverage intelligent video surveillance, they can configure rule-based alerts to trigger notifications when certain pre-determined threshold quantities of people have been exceeded. This is especially helpful for retail scenarios where queues need to be monitored to prevent checkout abandonment; at live events, stadiums, campuses or any venue trying where preventing crowding and optimizing traffic flows is inherently connected to customer satisfaction; and in waiting areas where preventing traffic bottlenecks could directly impact customer retention. Having real-time, relevant situational awareness maximizes video surveillance and enables monitoring staff to use the feeds and data more effectively and – ultimately – predictively.  

Awareness of growing crowds is always important for public safety, but today, having timely occupancy information is also becoming key for maintaining public health: With the current global Coronavirus outbreak, the ability to quantify the number of people in a specific space is more critical than ever. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Coronavirus pandemic, which is also known as COVID-19 disease, has been declared “a public health emergency of international concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO). The national health departments of countries all over the world are acting swiftly to prevent the spread of the disease as effectively as possible and to preserve the ability of respective health care systems to manage the illness domestically. For instance, the CDC recommends avoiding touching your face, staying home when sick and, of course, regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and hands. High risk patients, especially, are cautioned to avoid crowds and non-essential travel.  

While every individual has a role to play in combatting this and other public health risks, as always, there are ways that organizations can utilize their existing investments in new ways to help drive these efforts – and this is no different when it comes to intelligent video surveillance and the Coronavirus. Here are a few tips for leveraging video analytic-driven people counting to protect the public and prevent the illness’s spread:  

  1. Proactively Manage Building Maintenance & Cleaning
    Organizations can take a more dynamic, quantitative approach to building maintenance by configuring countbased alerts for area entryways and triggering notifications for cleaning crews when more than a certain number of people has entered the space. In this way, operations managers can ensure that the property – especially sensitive areas such as public kitchens and bathrooms – remain clean and disinfected. 
  2. Preventatively Redirect Traffic to Prevent Bottlenecks
    One way to avoid unnecessary crowding, is by detecting mounting traffic as it forms. By configuring people counting alerts for tight hallways and spaces, operators can monitor and identify potential crowding and react preventatively and proactively to avoid this by sending personnel to redirect traffic to other walkways or access points or by producing signage that achieves the same effect.
  3. Productively Comply with Public Health Regulations
    The public health agencies in countries worldwide are issuing frequent best practices and operating protocols, from barring travel to and from certain regions to minimizing gatherings over a certain number of participants. Organizations can seamlessly and continually monitor their occupancy statistics with real-time video content analytic people counting, to facilitate compliance and protect visitors and staff, regardless of the venue. 

 While much remains uncertain globally as the Coronavirus situation develops, the importance of maintaining public safety is constant. Intelligent video surveillance helps organizations respond to dynamic scenarios proactively and preventatively by utilizing and enhancing existing networks to increase situational awareness. 

On a personal note, we at BriefCam wish all our employees, customers, partners and contacts around the world continued good health at this uncertain time. While we’re disappointed we won’t have the opportunity to connect in person at major events across the globewhich are being postponed to encourage social distancing, we’d like to offer you the opportunity to schedule a personalized demo or watch our On-Demand Webinar: Setting the Benchmark for Intelligent Video Surveillance: BriefCam Guided Product Tour. In a time where breadth, accuracy, performance and flexibility are the key building blocks to an innovative and extensive video analytics platform, this webinar session will address BriefCam’s latest product capabilities, as part of a fully integrated solution for forensic video review, real-time situational awareness and business intelligence.