San Kim, Virtual Management Intelligence (VMI), Operations Director
Advanced, remote video monitoring is becoming much more attractive to mid-sized and smaller customers, thanks to recent developments in AI analytics that are transforming the quality of service.
What comes next should be even more exciting.
At VMI, since 2017, we have been growing our customer base, and we’ve been winning business in sectors a diverse as logistics, and banking, to cannabis, and food processing – the list goes on.
This growth is despite the fact that remote security monitoring remains a highly competitive market. What we are increasingly seeing from customers is that they want a more tailored, responsive, proactive level of service, which is beyond what they’ve ever been offered before.
Many of these customers also recognize that video tech can now add real value to their business in a way that goes beyond basic security.
For some years we’ve had the quality and choice of cameras and the installation expertise to enable video coverage of any location, inside or out. And today’s end-to-end solutions are more affordable, robust, and user-friendly than ever, which cuts down the time we have to spend on maintenance and troubleshooting with end-user customers.
That’s important, but it’s not our main challenge.
The biggest difficulty, and cost, for the monitoring services sector has always been how to ensure those systems are used fully, and without error, by the teams of people who control them. It takes experience, attention, and stamina to view camera feeds, and even the most dedicated operators can’t maintain a high level of attention hour after hour.
In the past, this limited the quality of service that could be offered.
But now we have a new generation of automated video monitoring tools – including line-cross detection, loitering detection, and object detection – and it’s overcoming these limitations.
Automated AI-enabled detection is now highly accurate and reliable, and much less prone to being triggered by harmless environmental factors, which means that increasingly our system operators only need to view a video feed, and decide on what action to take, when an event of genuine interest occurs. The analytics handles the 24/7 vigilance, and our operators only get involved when they need to – which lets them focus on customer service.
Our clients can now contact any of our operators and say: I had a slip in one of my lobbies, can you back up the relevant cameras, upload the recordings to a particular folder on our FTP, send a link to the store manager, and include it on a report to our insurers as soon as possible.
This is a major benefit - helping users cut their insurance liabilities and reduce their litigation risks – and it leads the way to further video applications beyond traditional security. How about having a camera system that detects when a construction worker neglects to wear a hard hat or high vis vest? Or notifies a logistics manager when a truck driver fails to run through obligatory vehicle safety checks before starting their journey? Or warns cannabis growers if their plants are wilting, or a food processor if there’s a production line problem?
People can’t watch activity 24/7, but smart video can.
As AI develops further, there’s huge potential for many more new uses and benefits, and there will be a market for these services - as we know from speaking to customers.
Already it’s making highly customized services much more affordable, with a single operator now able to oversee more sites than previously. And customers are impressed by how well we can target our service to their specific needs.
There can be a big difference in the response required from one site to another – even at sites belonging to the same customer but in different locations. For example, an intruder coming into your parking lot after dark might be a sign of real trouble at one location and will require rapid intervention. But for the same customer in a different state or city, that kind of incident might be a regular occurrence which is of little concern – a harmless itinerant looking for recyclables or discarded cigarettes, for example.
The point is, we are tailoring our response precisely to each customer and to each location, and AI-analytics is helping to make that possible by eliminating the noise.
This kind of 24/7 granular site monitoring was once only available to large corporate customers with dedicated control room operations – now even small businesses can benefit from the power of AI video.