Israeli firm seeks to revamp video surveillance

Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:37am EST
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By Ari Rabinovitch

JERUSALEM (Reuters Life!) - Just because a crime is caught on camera doesn't mean the criminal will also be caught.

As the world becomes increasingly saturated with closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, security experts say offenders can easily slip away simply because no one has the time to find the incriminating footage.

Israeli company BriefCam hopes to change that with a new computer program, called video synopsis, which automatically analyzes surveillance video and picks out the relevant action from countless hours of video.

A recent article on CCTV in Jane's Defense Weekly asked the question what happens to all that footage.

"Often nothing, because there's no one to sit and sift through the endless hours of video," wrote Joe Charlaff.

Video synopsis, BriefCam says, solves this problem by allowing events that are filmed over several hours to be viewed nearly simultaneously. They say on average they can summarize an hour of video into one minute.

The method is already being tested in dozens of pilot programs around the world, including in a safe city initiative in Europe and by a U.S. supermarket chain.

The program identifies moving objects -- their start time, end time, location -- isolates them, and then repacks them in a condensed video, said Hebrew University professor Shmuel Peleg who co-founded the company in 2007.   Continued...

<p>Aviram Yaacov, computer systems coordinator at Ben Gurion University's security department, uses BriefCam's video synopsis programme at the university in the southern city of Beersheba January 16, 2011. REUTERS/Amir Cohen</p>