In today’s world, we hear about Artificial Intelligence a lot. While it has become somewhat of a buzzword, there are many exciting uses for it. If you’re familiar with our products you may have some experience with our current Intelligent Vision Systems and Smart Motion Detection features, they’re quite powerful. There are some lesser-known, but equally exciting features I’d like to showcase today. Heat Map, People Counting, and Queue Management.
What is a Heat Map, and why would you use it?
Heat Map is an amazing feature that can quantify something that up until now can only be determined by gut feel through direct observation. Simply put, a heat map is an image with varying intensities based on some parameter; in our case, that would be activity or movement. Heat Map allows an individual or organization to track movement trends and patterns autonomously, without needing a direct observer. Heat Map has two functions, the first function is simply ‘Number of People’ which is exactly what it sounds like – it allows you to view densities of people over a given period. The second is called ‘Average Strand Time’ which is a combined metric that indicates the exact locations where people tend to linger, how many people linger at said location, and for how long.
These are phenomenal for businesses such as retail shops, gas stations, and other establishments. It allows the business to view the movement patterns of customers: where people tend to congregate, what paths and locations have the most activity, and what things tend to catch people’s attention. Insights from this data can indicate where one might place a high-profit item, for example. Heat Map is featured on our fisheye camera, the MTF12360-AI, but is available on several Montavue cameras.
What sets apart an AI Heat Map vs. a traditional Heat Map?
Generating a simple Heat Map from a video feed isn’t a completely new feature, what sets apart our new AI Heat Map functionality is the AI component. As anyone who has experience with traditional ‘dumb’ motion detection knows, you often get false positives from a tree blowing, sunbeams, or shadows. The real differentiating factor here is identifying if an object/movement is a person in real time before a heat map is generated. This allows our Heat Map to be much more accurate to the movements of people throughout the day.
People Counting, and how you can use it to observe flows of traffic
The next feature we’ll discuss today is People Counting, which is available on quite a few of our cameras – with more to come in the future. People Counting is a related AI feature that can help businesses in a multitude of ways. This uses advanced algorithms combined with AI object detection to count the number of people in an area or who have crossed a certain threshold. This can be used in several ways, such as to trigger an event or notification when certain conditions are met. The data collected from the People Counting feature can also be exported to generate reports based on week, month, or year to help understand trends and patterns that would be otherwise arduous or impossible to quantify.
What is Queue Management?
Queue Management takes advantage of AI detection algorithms to automate queue (line) tracking. With parameters such as the number of people in a predefined area or Average Strand Time, we can trigger a camera event that can indicate that a particular queue is full or movement is stagnating, for example. This feature is made particularly useful due to its ability to use user-defined polygons to create distinct regions within the field of view.
Heat Map, People Counting, and Queue Management are unprecedented features when it comes to information gathering and are only available on the most advanced cameras on the market. We are excited to have cameras with these features and look forward to seeing more implementations as people and businesses learn about the amazing developments in the smart security world.