The demand for video analytics software what was going on in 2021

Based on the analysis of 2,457 queries for video analytics software from public sector and business customers in 2021, NtechLab found out that business is significantly ahead in terms of number of queries. However, most real deployments take place in the public sector.

Facial recognition goes beyond capital cities

Safe cities, the primary video analytics use case in the public sector, are now being deployed far beyond Moscow and the Moscow capital region. Deployments, including POC ones, both completed and in progress, cover, as of end 2021, 20 regions of Russia. Among the new queries from large regions are solutions for recognizing guns and aggressive behavior. In education, there is strong interest in facial recognition proctoring tools for remote examinations. Despite the end of the pandemic, the academic sector expects the further growth of online and mixed learning, and therefore a need in video analytics powered proctoring.

Far from capital cities, local authorities look for environmental solutions capable of reducing the costs of garbage removal. Two large regions have shown interest in software that helps analyze the level of garbage in the containers, the cleanliness of the garbage collecting site, as well as plan the routes of garbage trucks. In 2021 the queries for garbage removal control account for about 2% of the total number of queries from the public sector.

Public sector is getting smarter

Before recently, most governmental queries concerned security. Today the public sector is shifting to other scenarios of using video analytics systems for smart cities. For example, counting people with silhouette recognition helps to measure the load of cultural, social, sports and transport facilities. This category accounts for more than 25% of the total number of queries. Customers interested in such solutions belong to museums, monuments, parks, sports facilities, as well as clinics, and the transport sector, mainly for smart bus stops.

Another promising smart city option is the recognition of a person falling on the street and alerting emergency services. People receive medical aid faster which reduces the risk of death in dangerous situations, for instance in case of ischemic stroke. A typical situation for people experiencing a stroke on the street is being mistaken for a drunk and abandoned in danger.

The third option for smart cities is heatmaps built using the collected impersonal data on all people movement in the city streets and indoors. Cameras and video analytics software will collect data that help to understand that, for instance, on certain sections of the road children often use the crossing which is dangerous due to heavy traffic. That is, you need to add a speed breaker, road signs, or a «safety island».

In addition, there are interesting concepts not yet implemented, but under discussion: smart barriers that can recognize emergency vehicles and taxis, as well as residents’ cars, and automatically open the entrance to the residential block area. Customers for such solutions are the municipal authorities and management companies.

How business consumes video analytics: higher demand but fewer deployments compared to public sector

The interest from private business to video analytics grows faster than that of the public sector. The number of queries from businesses since the beginning of the pandemic has increased by 1500%, and in 2021 — by 495% compared to 2020. However, despite the increased interest, there are fewer deployments than in the public sector. In 2021, business inquiries converted into sales increased by only 300%. While from the public sector this figure is much higher — 850%.

There are several reasons for this. The main one is the high deployment costs: government managed institutions find budgeting much easier. But even if the business has money, they inspect thoroughly the economic efficiency of a particular deployment. For a typical small company, biometric access control and areas access management may be unaffordable. They will prefer less advanced but cheaper technology. To make the video analytics software pay off faster, businesses in some cases try to implement several scenarios at once, for instance, pairing access control and attendance tracking.

The second point: video analytics deployment is not just attaching cameras, installing software, and putting an operator to monitor. It is important that employees accept the innovation: some learn it and use it at work, others do not oppose it. For instance, if you use attendance tracking solutions that monitor working hours, you must let your employees know why you use it and how it works, that this is not total surveillance and there is no reason to oppose innovation.

In addition, the adoption of technology can be slowed down — or even prevented — by the lack of data for analytics. That is, you can deploy a solution, but the data will be collected, for instance, only in six months, or you need to add data collection tools. Infrastructure underdevelopment is also a possible stopper — you may have not enough cameras.

Business needs products, not technology

There is practically no demand for non-existent innovations for making the world better. Businesses want solutions that already exist, improved, and adapted to their needs. The trend for conversion of algorithms to products is increasing.

In particular, a number of industries, including transport, restaurant and hotel business, retail and banks, are interested in self-service terminals. In 2021, there was a 580% increase in related queries. Self-service terminals are a new growth point for video analytics, mainly for retail, which needs payment by face, the ability to purchase tobacco and alcohol products without presenting documents if the buyer has already confirmed his or her age, as well as comparing a person with shoplifter blacklist.

Also, projects of contactless reception at the hotel and facial biometrics access to rooms are also under negotiation. The first idea is relevant because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to reduce contact between people. The second is the convenience of customers who do not need to carry a key card with them, and search for it in their bag.

Know your client by face

The consumer wants personalized offers and services, and the business, in turn, seeks to know its customer. For this reason, video analytics solutions are becoming more in demand for companies that want to segment their clients by gender and age, and to recognize unique and new visitors. This helps to create effective marketing strategies, and fine-tune your influence over different audiences. The growth in demand in this direction from business in 2021 amounted to 1300%.

Also customers ask us about solutions to improve loyalty programs, use biometrics instead of plastic cards at the checkout. It is client-friendly, imagine you do not need to search for a card in a bag, or speak out your phone number. And it is environmentally friendly as well, you can completely abandon plastic.

The strongest demand (17% of queries) comes from the tourism sector, culture and leisure — they want to count people and are interested in client analytics. Among the leaders are also production, construction, and commercial real estate, with 11−15% queries. At the same time, the needs of both the public sector and business are changing: companies are turning from the concepts of control and security towards customer service while the public sector is focused primarily on “smart cities”.