CCTV Test: Line Cross Video Analytics

T

he benefits of IVA (intelligent video analysis) are manifold, and cover both security and business intelligence. While many focus on advanced analytics using AND/OR logic to link rules, the humble virtual tripwire is often under-considered.

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Despite this, it offers a value-added solution for a wide range of tasks, including access control, perimeter protection, traffic management, intruder detection, site safety, service triggering, building management control, etc..

AXIS Cross Line Detection
AXIS Cross Line Detection from Axis Communications is a downloadable line crossing application which can be used with any Axis camera that supports the Axis Camera Application Platform. Once installed, a licence is required, although the company does allow a 30 day trial licence to be obtained free-of-charge.

The application detects targets crossing a virtual line, and exceptions can be used to automatically trigger an alarm event. The manufacturer states that the application is ideal for general detection in low traffic external or internal areas in a variety of lighting conditions.

The application is claimed to be easy to configure. The virtual line is created in the camera’s live view, and once the directional discrimination is established, the manufacturer claims there is no need for further adjustments. To aid set-up, a real time visual confirmation allows the installer or integrator to assess operation.
The application integrates with the camera event management functionality to allow alarm actions.

The application supports the Axis Camera Application Platform (ACAP) running firmware 5.11 or later. Well, that’s what Axis claims, but we didn’t find it to be the case. We tried uploading the application to three cameras which support ACAP and which used the right firmware. Both the M1054 and P3365 are claimed to be compliant, but they showed errors when the application was loaded. The Q1615, however, did load the file without any fuss.

Once installed, a licence is required. We opted for the 30 day trial licence, but using the new version of the Axis website caused failures. The older version of the website did allow the key to be generated. We’re sure that the web interface will be fixed as it’s ongoing, but the compatibility issue is something that Axis must look in to.

Once up and running, the configurations are simple. That’s because the application is somewhat limited in its scope. It supports a single line which is positioned by dragging the axis points. The line can be segmented, although this is limited to two parts. However, it does allow a small amount of flexibility.

The final part of the process is to establish directional discriminations. This can be set as either direction or both. A real time visual confirmation allows the installer or integrator to check operation.

Once the line is configured, alarm actions can be set via the Events menu. A new action rule can be created, triggered by the application, and a selection of actions can be configured. These include day/night switching, defogging, a text or audio alert, local recording, transmission of an image or notification, switching WDR, etc..

Despite the configurations being basic, accuracy is high and the IVA application works well. It lacks some of the refinements of other offerings, such as filtering by size.

Bosch Dinion IP 8000
The Dinion IP Starlight 8000 is a 5 megapixel camera, which includes IVA functionality as standard; there is no need for an additional licence or software installation. It allows the use of up to eight rules. Alongside line-crossing, the camera also supports object within detection field, loitering, condition change, person following route, camera tampering, object left, object removed, entering a defined area, exiting a defined area, crowd detection and people counting. It also includes standard VMD and metadata generation.

The camera is a true day/night unit and supports the use of H.264 and M-JPEG compression. It delivers real-time video footage at 5MP in 16:9 (2992 x 1680) and 4:3 (2704 x 2032) aspect ratios, along with HD1080p and HD720p streams. Multiple streaming is supported with user-configurable frame rate and bandwidth for each stream. Regions of Interest (ROI) are also supported.

Sensitivity figures are 0.0121 lux in 5MP mode, or 0.00825 lux in HD1080p mode for a 30IRE image. Other features include 97dB WDR, two-way audio, intelligent automated exposure, bit-rate optimisation, edge storage via an integral MicroSD memory card slot, posting of alarm images to Cloud services and storage management.

The IVA offering includes a number of rules, allowing a fairly comprehensive set of events and actions to be established. The rules are fairly diverse, and alongside line crossing you also have object detected within a defined field, entering a defined area, exiting a defined area, loitering, person following a defined route, object left, object removed, condition change, camera tampering, crowd detection and people counting.

Up to eight rules can be deployed simultaneously. The rules allow further discriminations to be introduced to allow greater control over what constitutes an event.

Our test focuses on the use of line crossing algorithms. However, several of the other rules can be used along with line crossing principles to deliver benefits, both with regard to security and business intelligence.

Configuration for the IVA can be carried out via the Bosch Video Client or using the camera’s web page via a browser. Previously using the camera’s web page only allowed access to limited IVA options, but a new interface now allows fully configurations to be carried out.

The first task is to create a new alarm and select the line crossing rule. The lines are generated by simply clicking within the image to create nodes. Lines using multiple nodes are not supported. However, up to three separate lines can be supported. Once the lines have been created, the direction is selected. This can be crossing in either or both directions. There is also an option to set a debounce time to ensure a single event does not create multiple alarms. Other configurations allow specific parameters to be set which refine the IVA performance.

Set-up is intuitive, and once the IVA is properly configured accuracy is very good and consistent. Whilst flexibility with regard to the creation of lines could be slightly better, control over the performance makes it simple to tweak out any issues such as nuisance activations.

The Dinion IP 8000 isn’t a low cost camera, but add a flexible IVA set-up to its other performance and you do get what you’re paying for.

Riva: RC3402HD-6311IR
The RC3402HD-6311IR is a networked static dome day/night camera which delivers HD1080P streams. The camera includes on-board video analytics, which are powered by the VCA analytics engine.

The IVA functionality is licence-free and included as standard. It offers an advanced tracking algorithm with a claimed low false alarm rate. With regards to detection zones and analytic rules, up to 40 zones (multi-segment polygons and lines) can be established, along with a total of 60 VCA filter rules. For enhanced security, the VCA annotation can be burned in to the raw video stream. The camera also supports the use of IVA to detect camera tampering such as changes in focus, masking and realignment. Additional IVA functionality is available, but requires a separate licence. The use of VCA functionality does impact on video performance.

Video can be encoded using H.264 or M-JPEG, and dual streaming is supported. Other features include VMD, WDR, privacy masking and edge recording via MicroSD cards.

The marketing materials from the manufacturer very much give the impression that most elements of the IVA functionality are licence-free, and whilst basic functionality is included as standard, you’ll soon discover that if you want to do anything more than general detection you actually do need to pay for a licence.

Making the VCA configurations is relatively intuitive. Metadata needs to enabled to ensure correct operation. Setting up lines and adjusting perspective are all simple tasks.

Setting lines is relatively straightforward. The interface uses a basic contextual menu, and once the desired element is selected it can be drawn onto the screen visualisation. It can then be given a dedicated colour, and various parameters can be adjusted to allow performance tweaks to be applied. These include detect/non-detect, enter/exit, direction, counting, etc..

To ensure performance is stable, a calibration screen guides you through setting the correct parameters for any given camera. The VCA functionality works well, and use of detection and non-detection zones allows the elimination of most types of typical nuisance activations.

Verdict
Increasingly, IVA is being included on IP-based cameras and encoders, and as such installers and integrators have expectations as to what functionality should be available. All three options in this test offer edge analytics, and processing is subsequently more limited than in server-based offerings.

The AXIS Cross Line Detection application is basic, but it works well. Accuracy was good, and whilst you are limited to a single line, it can be made up of two segments. That said, both segments must share a common directional discrimination. The downside was that the application wouldn’t load onto older devices despite them being listed as compatible. This reduced its score; if we hear of a resolution we’ll rescore the application.

The Dinion IP 8000 was recently tested for video performance by Benchmark, and was the first product in several years to receive an Outstanding status. Looking at IVA on its own, it’s probably as good as you’re going to get from a licence-free edge proposition. The ability to segment lines would be nice, but as it stands it delivers more than enough flexibility for most applications.

The Riva RC3402HD-6311IR delivers a wider range of IVA options, although many are beyond the scope of this test. Line crossing functionality works well, and whilst it requires more time for set-up than the other cameras, it does deliver enhanced performance in return for your effort.

Of the three cameras, the Bosch unit is only one to offer the full IVA functionality as standard. However, even with the addition of licence fees, the others still deliver within expectations.

BENCHMARK
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