Smart city initiatives could gain from better use of visual data

There is huge potential in linking visual data to the Internet of Things (IoT), according to the founder of a cloud-based surveillance company.

In a new white paper, James Wickes, co-founder and chief executive of Cloudview, says that most footage captured by security cameras in the UK is locally stored and is never looked at, let alone analysed. As a result, millions of hours of visual data are wasted every day.

However, the IoT allows a wide range of devices to send data to cloud storage, where it can be combined with other data to form the vast collections known as ‘big data’. This data can be analysed and interpreted using techniques such as predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and deep learning — identifying patterns and trends and revealing new insights.

Integrating visual data with the IoT, big data, cloud and analytics could create new smart city applications, the white paper suggests.

These applications could, for instance, enable a faster response to motorway accidents, optimise the management of city parking, better manage people flows in transport hubs, and support the care of vulnerable people.

Wickes believes the Visual Internet of Things (VIoT) market is set for rapid growth this year.

“The Visual IoT will be central to many of the developments that will touch our lives,” he said. “Indeed, this is already proving to be the case. When you check in at an airport a reader scans your boarding pass and a camera scans your face. Without the visual data that the camera captures, the system would be much less effective.”

Combining visual data with other IoT data streams and adding analytics would make it “immensely valuable”, Wickes believes.

He concluded: “There is tremendous potential for existing surveillance cameras to go beyond their single use function, and become part of wider, smart city initiatives that focus on improving the local environment. Local authorities and other camera users need to grasp this opportunity quickly and capitalise on their unused and unloved resources to benefit all of us.”

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