Video analytics: Making the most of camera investment

Video analytics can support and enhance the traditional use of CCTV as both a proactive and reactive public safety tool.


Accenture Video Analytics
Using artificial intelligence to make video surveillance smarter

CCTV has grown exponentially, but is only as effective as the response it generates. Countries such as France and the United Kingdom have invested heavily in CCTV monitoring, while some United States cities, such as Chicago, are estimated to have as many as 24,000 cameras connected throughout the city—numbers that are challenging human analysis. When used proactively to monitor real-time events, CCTV operators struggle to remain alert to view all the footage. As criminals know all too well, 98 percent of video footage is not seen by anyone, let alone acted upon. As a result, it is necessary to question the true return on investment that CCTV by itself can offer as a public safety solution.

The evolving sophistication of video analytics means that its accuracy and relevance are growing. Public safety agencies can benefit from pairing CCTV with automated analysis if they:

  • Develop a strategy

  • Partner and interact in new ways

  • Flex their technology

  • Drive a dynamic, multi-layered approach


When used proactively to monitor real-time events, CCTV operators struggle to remain alert to view all the footage. Known limitations in human concentration tell us 95 percent of incidents are likely to be missed after 20 minutes in the command and control room. The sheer volume of footage that needs to be analyzed is also an issue when CCTV is used reactively, following an incident. Ninety-eight percent of video footage is not seen by anyone, let alone acted upon. This raises questions about the true return on investment of CCTV as a public safety solution.

Poor compatibility between CCTV networks across agencies and non-existent integration of public safety systems and technologies, such as drones and body-worn cameras, is adding to the complexity of managing public safety concerns.

In addition, the Internet of Things—where existing objects are connected to the Internet to collect and receive data—is arguably the biggest driver of productivity and growth for many organizations in the next decade and will affect the private and public sector alike.

"By adding video analytics to the traditional network, Mons police detected more incidents, provided a better service to citizens and improved security."


Video analytics can quickly analyze, alert and report on CCTV footage—even monitor feedback from multiple cameras constantly—without the errors of manual intervention. Similarly, video analytics can deliver improved results as part of post-incident analysis. Immense improvements have been made in the accuracy of both video and biometrics analysis in the last five years.

A combination of budget cuts, evolving threats, decreased public safety officer headcount and increased citizen expectations, highlight the need to develop and maintain a cost effective response. Used intelligently, CCTV has the power to address these pressures. But CCTV alone does not deter crime. While there is no shortage of cameras, the existing infrastructure must initiate a response to best utilize camera output. Video analytics is becoming a far more reliable and trusted technology which can help to free up public safety staff for more valuable tasks—and provide public safety solutions that better serve citizens’ needs.


An example of a successful application of video analytics is the Singapore safe city test bed. Through its Safe City programme, the Singapore Government seeks to harness the latest in advanced analytics to complement its public safety solutions, increase security, deliver services more effectively and make the most efficient use of its resources. Accenture collaborated with six Singapore Government agencies from the areas of law enforcement, transportation and the environment to pilot its Safe City Solution, supported by the Accenture Video Analytics Service Platform. The solution integrated existing and new video sources into a central analytics platform and ran live tests during two major public events. Through the use of advanced video analytics and user-friendly applications, the test bed successfully helped the Government to predict crowd behavior, coordinate resources, respond to incidents and facilitate collaboration among the various agencies. The Government can now produce meaningful insights in real-time, enabling it to respond more quickly to situations.


Business models, how data is shared and workforces are all being reinvented by the latest wave of digital innovation. Public safety agencies can benefit from pairing CCTV with automated analysis if they:

  • Shape a strategy for the next five years that builds video analytics into the organization, taking account of specific operational needs and demands.

  • Find new ways to interact with the private sector to gain access to their networks, take advantage of implementation support for video analytics, and benefit from private sector resources.

  • Maintain a flexible platform by adopting an integrated and component-based solution, including considering flexible options such as cloud-based storage.

  • Combine diverse video footage from multiple sources using video analytics to gain a new breadth and depth to public safety information that inspires real-time decision making.


“We collect a lot of information. How rapidly can we analyse it, draw conclusions from it, draw distinctions between causation and correlation.”


Chief of Police, Milwaukee Police Department

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“Policing is an information business but we live in a world now where information is growing at exponential rates and it is all different types of information, it is not just crime reports."


Managing Director, Global Public Safety, Accenture

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