Smart cities looking to generate more data insights are using cutting edge video analytics to mine feeds from old security cameras.

In a recent commentary Hitachi Insight Group VP Mark Jules discussed how cities can generate data gold from trusty old school video cameras.

He says video analytics are the secret to amping up the value of video feeds from cameras already installed around our cities. This new technology uses computer vision and intelligence to transform those old video cameras into Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. These souped-up cameras then have the potential to generate a variety alerts and insights.

“A tried-and-true technology, video cameras already serve as vicarious eyes and ears in many locales, helping provide situational awareness to those who keep people and property safe,” says Jules.

By utilizing data from these existing cameras, video analytics can analyse the movement of humans and vehicles to help cities become more livable. And the new source of data insight can help smart cities bridge the gap that still exists in making our urban environments more responsive.

Jules gives an example of how added data insight from old video cameras can improve decision-making by businesses looking to understand shopper behavior.

“Analysing how shoppers navigate streets and sidewalks can help store owners make smarter decisions about where they situate their shops or advertisements, or how much rent property owners can command,” he says. “Individual retailers can maximize their investments in floor space and inventory by tracing the rate at which customers enter their store and which products or displays attract and hold their interest.”

Helping retailers figure out what you want

Such information really begins to shine when the information generated by video analytics is merged with point-of-sale data, and retailers can make smarter decisions to attract customers.

Another area where video analytics can mine old video cameras is at airports, which are not only for transportation but increasingly for shopping as well.

“As travelers spend more time preparing for flights, airports are becoming retail centers too, capitalizing on a captive audience of consumers by beefing up the food, beverage and shopping destinations they host in their terminals,” he says.

He says that video analytics can allow existing cameras to track the length of queues, optimize staff at security checkpoints and enhancing passport control processes so passengers can spend more time shopping and less time standing around.