Alert 101: Video Analytics

I took a dif­ferent route to work this morning which had me pass by the Har­vard School of Public Health. Big win­dows along the street revealed a giant tele­vi­sion screen with dozens of smaller frames and the back of a secu­rity guard’s head viewing them all. I found it odd they’d put the video mon­i­toring room right on the street like that, but even more I thought how dif­fi­cult that secu­rity guard’s job must be. How can you reli­ably keep track of that many frames and every­thing going on in each of them?

According to a video released today by ALERT, a multi-​​university, Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity Center of Excel­lence housed at North­eastern, you can’t. Our brains are only able to process infor­ma­tion from two screens at a time, appar­ently. (Now I don’t feel so bad about the deep anx­iety I expe­ri­enced when walking by the tower of tele­vi­sions in the living room of my col­lege dorm.)

Since these days there’s a lot more visual data to be processed than there are naked eyes to process it, researchers are devel­oping video ana­lytics models to help out. It’s a tricky task though, and still in its infancy. But it’s a pretty neat tech­nology as explained here. Enjoy!