Driving Intelligent Campus Transformation with Video Content Analysis

Leveraging video data for optimized operations

Today, educational institutions are much more than centers of learning and research: University campuses manage extensive operations from commercial and business groups to healthcare, dormitory and sports facilities, and law enforcement and traffic control units. With a broad set of stakeholders and functions, the business, operational and security challenges and responsibilities of universities are wideranging, to say the least.

One leading university, based in the United States, has embraced technology as a way of addressing its extensive needs. Integrating diverse enterprise solutions, the university strives to select technologies that are broadly applicable for multiple campus functions. Like most campuses, one type of infrastructure leveraged by this university is video surveillance, which enables increased public safety and security on the 2,000-acre campus. With sprawling grounds and over 900 buildings, the campus relies on a 3,000-camera video surveillance installation to oversee its property and the 65,000 people who traverse it every day—including 15,000 oncampus residents.

According to this organization’s campus technology expert, the university is always looking for ways to operationalize its systems. Utilizing the Crime Triangle methodology of evaluating offender abilities, crime opportunities and desire for goods and materials, as well as extensive video surveillance infrastructure, the university sought to maximize its investments and enable operators to actively query information and efficiently derive intelligence from video. Since integrating a video content analytics platform in 2017—and gradually expanding its implementation ever since—the university is extracting more data and value from its video resources.

Driving Intelligence-based Decision Making

The university integrated a content analytics platform in order to leverage video data to provide operational intelligence to various divisions across campus. For instance, while the campus was considering an extensive construction project, video analytics were used to provide insight into vehicular and human navigation trends. Visualizing video content into customizable data dashboards, the university was able to share critical business intelligence across campus groups to inform the planning of future infrastructure, including sidewalks and roads.

“We weren’t prepared for the amount of contextual information the solution could provide—we didn’t realize how much detail we would be able to share with the other campus management groups,” an official at the university said. “The traffic details alone have been key for driving our major campus construction project.”

Whereas the university would otherwise have had to hire consultants to share expert opinions about optimal planning, the campus can derive actual quantifiable intelligence about how its facilities and roads are used and make decisions based on actionable intelligence— available with the push of a button.

Another group benefitting from video intelligence is the campus transportation and parking services group. From information about intersections of interest and vehicle types, to daily traffic patterns and peaks, traffic violations and more, this critical data helps the group understand activity, identify problem hotspots and plan for the expected and unexpected. For instance, by using video analytics to identify where drivers and pedestrians are ignoring traffic lights, the campus can determine how to respond. Access to this information enables the planners to prioritize next steps, whether the appropriate response is to increase enforcement efforts or to update existing traffic infrastructure.

The solution empowers the university to be efficient and dynamic, developing plans of action based on concrete information, such as live traffic and intersection data, that can be shared with management teams and decision makers. Between commuting students, faculty and visitors, over 30,000 vehicles enter the campus every day. Video analysis enables the university to effectively monitor traffic, visitors, and active construction projects, as their operations scale.

Empowering Campus Law Enforcement

Beyond data visualizations and dashboards, the campus’s security and law enforcement use the platform to enhance situational awareness and combat crime. Campus theft investigations occupy much of the university police force’s energies, and campus detectives often leverage the ability to make video searchable. What would normally take several days can be investigated in an hour or two with deep learning-driven technology.

Video can be filtered based on known suspect features or, where there is little to no information about the perpetrator, hours of video can be reviewed in minutes to quickly understand what took place and identify suspects— enabling law enforcement to respond much more quickly.

Supporting Diverse University Stakeholders

Understanding how indoor and outdoor space is utilized—from libraries and student centers to research and sports facilities and beyond—monitoring and optimizing traffic flows, maintaining and increasing safety and security and deriving granular intelligence, such as visitor demographics, the university is successfully leveraging video content to gain full insight into its everyday activity.

Striving to meet the extensive functions and needs of different campus groups from retail and food vendors to sports stadiums, construction planning and execution committees, and law enforcement bodies, the university relies on their video content analytics platform to serve its various stakeholders. Through the use of the technology, the university has been able to resolve critical operational challenges and improve daily management of its campus.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Campus Security Today.


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