Over the last few years, artificial intelligence (AI) has grown in importance. In Silicon Valley, the world’s biggest tech companies – Google, Facebook, Amazon, Tesla – are engaged in an artificial intelligence arms race. In the last year, we’ve seen AI commercialised for home-use in the form of Amazon’s Echo and the Google Home, with Apple’s HomePod launching recently. But AI has also drawn the attention of a range of businesses in a variety of industries and sectors.

At the current rate, AI is becoming increasingly important to our daily lives. And as we begin to see more and more AI-powered applications in commercial use, so we will begin to see it used in specialised areas and day-to-day services.

AI is different from hardware-driven, robotic automation processes. Instead of the automation of manual tasks, it performs recurrent, computerised tasks at high-volume with a greater degree of accuracy. While there are still many challenges and complexities to overcome in order to either merge AI technology in with legacy systems, or fully replace them, we are beginning to see its impact in reshaping various operations.

In both the public and private sector, the implementation of AI and video analytics are revolutionising surveillance systems. This is leading to public safety and security measures being devised and driven by big data analytics.

The majority of CCTV cameras in operation are passive. They’re a portal either manned by human operators or used to record activity. The manual analysis of a video feed is a time-consuming process and requires analysts to sift through large amounts of video data to isolate important incidents. This could mean reducing hours of video to minutes, or even a few crucial seconds. But the latest developments in AI are equipping systems with digital brains to match their lenses. This will allow security and surveillance systems to analyse live video feeds in real-time, free of human intervention.

In regard to public safety, this could help direct police and emergency services units in the event of a crime or an accident, improve accuracy and boost the rate of response. A recent report by Reform, an independent think tank, found AI could assist the healthcare sector, helping with NHS inefficiencies. It could also benefit a range of scientific and industrial applications.

The adoption of this technology offers many advantages to security professionals in both the public and private sector. The protection of everything from the general public to officials, to sensitive data and other corporate assets requires the identification and evaluation of threat. But, investment and resources are not unlimited. And there is a tremendous amount of value in being able to use AI to replicate the judgement of humans. To be able to use AI to aggregate and sort through data – turning it into intelligence-driven, actionable insights – is a big benefit for public safety officials and private security companies.

The use of such analytics will also help departments modernise their operations. By using data to identify patterns when security is compromised, or when and where certain incidents are likely to occur, both private companies and public bodies can implement proactive, preventative security strategies, ensuring a greater standard of safety.

At SCC, we’ve been a long-term advocate of the use of AI in the public sector. Our Public Safety Video Analytics Service utilises artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms to identify potential elements of interest in large amounts of footage. As a result, this service can be applied across many sectors, including use in both public and commercial security systems.

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