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Video Test: Video Analytics Line-Cross

by Benchmark

The benefits of IVA (intelligent video analysis) are manifold, and cover both security and business intelligence applications. While many manufacturers focus on advanced analytics combining multiple rules, or the use of AND/OR logic to link detection elements, the humble line crossing analytic is often under-considered.

Line crossing analytics can be very simple: the generation of an alarm event if a person or vehicle passes through a gate, or if a person crosses a perimeter. Whilst hugely valuable in terms of security, and both easy and quick to configure, this simplicity can lead some to believe that line crossing IVA has limited use.

The truth is that line crossing detection 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..

When implemented well, this analytics rule can deliver valuable triggering coupled with a high degree of reliability and accuracy. Indeed, the basic nature of its detection method aids stability in the field.

Where line cross algorithms really come into their own is with regard to more complex applications. The use of multiple lines with different configurations allows installers and integrators to create a staged alarm process, adding to the level of protection on offer, but also introducing site management and automation applications if required.

On the face of things, line cross-based IVA may appear to be simple, but with a little thought can offer a powerful tool for both security and business intelligence.

Axis: AXIS Fence Guard

AXIS Fence Guard is an advanced line crossing application which incorporates developments from the previous AXIS Cross Line Detection application. The latter is still available for older cameras running firmware versions 6 or older. AXIS Fence Guard is a downloadable line-cross based application which can be used with any Axis camera that supports the Axis Camera Application Platform and is loaded with firmware version 7 or later.

Once installed, a licence is required to make the application operable, although the company does allow a 60 day trial licence to be obtained free-of-charge. That said, Q series Axis cameras running firmware version 7 or later do not need a licence to support the application.

AXIS Fence Guard creates virtual fences in a camera’s field of view, and triggers an alarm when it detects a moving object, such as a person or vehicle, crossing the virtual line. The application can be deployed for indoor or outdoor use.

AXIS Fence Guard makes use of an intuitive user interface with real-time visual confirmation to deliver validation of correct configuration. The application integrates with the camera’s Action Rules management feature to automate actions when an alarm event occurs.

One area where AXIS Fence Guard is improved over the older Line Cross application is through support for multiple profiles, allowing varied configurations.

Axis False Alarm Filtering is another enhancement, enabling innocuous motion to be ignored. A configuration to enable the creation of a perspective-based filter allows further reductions of nuisance activations.

In the past Benchmark testing found that whilst AXIS Cross Line Detection offered basic analytics functionality, it lacked with regard to flexibility when compared with some of the other options. Therefore, the launch of AXIS Fence Guard has to be welcomed.

The new application requires firmware version 7 or later, which won’t be an issue with some of the company’s newer cameras. However, we did look to upgrade a number of older (but still currently available and supported) models and found that the latest firmware available was 6.5. This does mean that won’t currently support AXIS Fence Guard. You can check on the Axis website for the latest versions of firmware for any existing cameras to see if they’re upgradable.

The first thing you’ll notice if you upgrade from older firmware is that the latest version isn’t compatible with the now out-dated but still widely used Internet Explorer browser. This is an inevitable step that will become more common in the near future. Also, with the latest firmware the interface has changed, and for those who are used to the old GUI it may at first seem slightly alien, but the menu structure remains the same.

The firmware upgrade will pre-load a number of Axis apps but not Fence Guard. This requires a download from the Axis website, along with a licence. There is an option for a 60 day trial licence should you be looking to try the application out. This requires a file which is generated from the Axis website and requires the camera’s serial number.

Despite the fact that the firmware adds a number of applications which are enabled, the best approach is to disable all but Fence Guard when it is running. The GUI will prompt you to do this.

AXIS Fence Guard can support different profiles, which can have unique configurations. This allows specific rules and actions to be applied dependent upon a schedule, or to be manually switched. However, each profile can only include one line. Lines can be segmented; additional nodes are added with a simple double-click.

With a profile created, the line can be drawn. Directional discrimination is automatically applied, and whilst this can be switched it won’t operate in both directions.

With the line drawn the visual confirmation tool can be activated. This simply highlights non-alarm and alarm activity, allowing the installer or integrator to assess the performance.

There are filters to reduce the incidence of nuisance activations. The first filters out short-lived objects and can be adjusted from 1 to 5 seconds. Objects that appear for less than the set time do not trigger alarms.

The second is a small object filter. The size for this is set via a draggable box, and dimensions are shown as a percentage of the screen space. This filter can be applied either with or without perspective, which does allow a wider range of flexibility when filtering in large, open scenes.

AXIS Fence Guard does work well, and the filters allow the vast majority of nuisance activations to be filtered out. The application delivers triggers which can be used by the Action Rules function, and that gives wide range of options with regard to managing events.

The performance is consistent and for the vast majority of mainstream deployments it will deliver the degree of IVA performance required. As Axis cameras predominantly support the ACAP platform, if a higher degree of analytics functionality is required, a dedicated line cross third party application can be sought.

Bosch: Intelligent Video Analytics

The Dinion 7000 and 8000 series HD and megapixel cameras include the Bosch Intelligent Video Analytics as standard; there is no need for an additional licence or software installation.

Intelligent Video Analytics allows the use of up to eight rules. Alongside line-crossing (including multiple lines in a logical row), 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.

Because Intelligent Video Analytics automatically creates metadata, which can be recorded along with the video stream or be archived on its own, detection criteria can be implemented, even after the event.

While this test focuses on the use of line crossing algorithms, it is worth noting that with Bosch Intelligent Video Analytics several of the other rules can be used alongside line crossing to enhance performance, both with regard to security and business intelligence.

Configuration for Intelligent Video Analytics is carried out using the camera’s web page via a browser.

The menus are clean and easy to follow, and there are a variety of configurations which allow the rule to be tweaked for optimal performance. This does mean that setting up Intelligent Video Analytics takes a little longer than some of the other options but it is time well spent for the added catch performance and stability.

It is worth noting that Benchmark has looked at Intelligent Video Analytics via a number of newer Bosch cameras and these allowed direct configuration of the camera via the unit’s webpages using a standard internet browser. However, for this test we used a Dinion 7000 series camera and this required use of the additional Configuration Manager tool to set up the analytics.

The tool is a simple download and once installed, logging into the camera is straightforward. In the VCA menu new rules are created via the Tasks tab. With a new task selected the rule can then be added; in this case it’s the Line Cross box that is chosen. You then have an option to draw in up to three lines. Lines can make use of multiple nodes, which gives a good degree of flexibility.

Each line can have unique configurations with regard to debounce time, directional discrimination and trigger point. Alarms can be configured if a single line is crossed, or if multiple lines are crossed in a defined order, within a prescribed time window.

If the camera has been calibrated for tracking, this will allow further filtering by object type (upright person, bicycle, car or truck). Further filtering can include object size, aspect ratio, etc.. Finally, there is an option to filter by object colour.

Set-up is intuitive, and accuracy can be improved by spending a bit of time working through each filter option carefully. With the configuration completed, the performance of the line crossing analytic is both accurate and consistent.

The flexibility on offer from Intelligent Video Analytics is good and considering it’s a licence-free feature it is certainly one of the better ‘on-board’ IVA engines you are likely to find in an edge device. During testing all valid violations were reported as per the configuration, and the ease with which nuisance activations could be filtered out inspired confidence in the functionality.

It was a little surprising that the Configuration Manager was required, especially as the firmware loaded onto the test camera did seem to be the current version. However, it’s a very straightforward tool to use and as such won’t represent an issue for any credible installer or integrator.

Hanwha Techwin: Wisenet X

Hanwha Techwin’s Wisenet X camera range offers a number of video and audio analytics rules. The range also supports Hanwha’s open-platform approach, allowing the use of third-party applications to enhance functionality.

Integral analytics rules include virtual line crossing, zone entry and exit, directional detection, object appear and disappear, loitering detection, motion detection, tamper protection and face detection.
There are also heat mapping, people counting and queue management analytics for business intelligence use.

With regard to line crossing, up to eight lines can be supported. However, lines may only make use of two nodes and cannot be segmented. Each line can have different directional discriminations applied.
In most applications, eight line crossing rules might be slight overkill, but as there isn’t the ability to create a single multi-noded line this is the only other solution.

To ensure flexibility each line can have different directional filtering applied, but the associated alarm actions for all lines in a specific scene must be the same. This makes sense if multiple lines are being used to construct a polygonal barrier or to follow a perimeter, but does rule out any options for using multiple lines to create staged alarm events.

Set-up for the line crossing algorithms is found in the Analytics menu, under the IVA tab. The simplicity of the analytics configuration is underlined by the fact that the IVA supports line crossing, analytics areas, masking and common settings, and each is limited to a single screen.

In the virtual line screen the lines are created. This is a simple task completed by clicking at the point where a node should be placed. These can be dragged to allow for fine tuning. Once a line (or multiple lines) are created, the directional discrimination can be applied. Clicking through the drawn lines allows each to adjusted.

The alarm actions are then set. The options are FTP, email, record or alarm output trigger. As mentioned, these must be common for all lines. Finally, there is an option to schedule the analytics or make them operative at all times.

Some further configurations can be made under the Common tab. This includes setting a maximum and minimum target size. To aid in set-up, these are represented by colour boxes on the screen. This makes it simple for the installer or integrator to draw over objects in the scene when setting the size configurations. There is also a sensitivity slider with levels from 0 to 100.

Set-up on the Wisenet X line crossing analytics is relatively simple and fast to complete. That said, the ability to fine tune the performance of the analytics is also somewhat restricted due to this. However, on the few occasions we found nuisance activations occurring careful realignment of the lines and use of masking did deliver satisfactory results.

The on-board IVA included with Wisenet X won’t get close to the flexibility inherent in a more dedicated IVA solution, and in fairness if you need that level of functionality you’ll be more likely to opt for an add-on application from the Hanwha Open Platform scheme, which allows dedicated analytics apps to be added to the camera.

Given the relative simplicity of the integral line crossing IVA, it does work as expected and in many mainstream systems will be enough for most needs.

Hikvision: Smart Feature Set

Hikvision’s Easy IP 3.0 series cameras include what the manufacturer refers to as a Smart Feature Set. This includes four intelligent video analytics algorithms: line crossing, intrusion into and/or loitering in a virtual zone, object left and object removed.

It also supports face detection as an alarm trigger source, as well as tamper detection options for defocusing and scene change. Audio exception report can also be enabled.

With line crossing, dependent upon which specification you read, either up to four virtual lines or a single virtual line are supported, and each can support individual configurations. The use of four lines would allow more complex scenarios to be created, but our experience is that multiple lines are not supported.

Directional discriminations can be applied, as can size criteria to help filter out nuisance alarms. Sensitivity of detection is adjustable, and this is based upon the percentage of the target object to cross the line.

The integral video analytics have been designed to be simple to set up, allowing installers and integrators to deliver added value in a number of applications.

To configure the line crossing analytics algorithm, the Events menu is used. This has two sections: smart events and basic events. Smart events is split into two parts, line crossing and intrusion detection.

A screen image is included to simplify set-up, but this is somewhat compressed in terms of width. However, it will still be sufficiently detailed to allow a line to added with a good degree of accuracy.

When the screen first appeared it was populated with a maximum size zone and so needed to be cleared before any changes could be applied; this is a simple task. A line could then be drawn and the directional discrimination set. The choices are A-B, B-A or both directions. Detection sensitivity is set via a simple slider.

There is a drop down menu to select multiple lines which did give some hope that this would be available. However, despite trying a number of approaches, we could not advance this past 1. Trying to add a second line simply resulted in the first line being overwritten.

With the line drawn, the next step is to set a schedule if required. Finally, the alarm actions can be set. These are limited to recording or notifications.

Of all the line crossing options in the test, the Smart Feature Set option is the most basic. This does make set-up a quick and easy affair, but limits the use of the function to more basic usage. However, once deployed it is stable enough for most mainstream applications and works as expected. You won’t be able to protect perimeters or set up staged alarms, but for detecting line cross events in gateways, doorways or corridors it does what you’d expect from an integral licence-free analytic on a budget camera.

The ability tom add multiple lines, or to segment the single line, would certainly add to the flexibility on offer from the Hikvision analytics.

BENCHMARK VERDICT

Axis Communications: AXIS Fence Guard

AXIS Fence Guard takes the functionality that was available from the older AXIS Cross Line Detection application and moves it forwards. It allows a higher degree of flexibility via the use of profiles, enabling differences in the alarms and event management to be implemented via a schedule.

A few users might find the fact that both directions cannot be monitored by a single line as a restriction, but it really will be a few. The inability to use multiple lines in a profile also removes the ability to have staged activations. However, when used for perimeter applications it does work well, and the filtering aids accuracy. As such, it is recommended.

Bosch: Intelligent Video Analytics

The Bosch Intelligent Video Analytics package started off life as a licensed feature set, and because of this it had been specifically designed to offer more than most ‘on-board’ analytics engines. Despite having been offered as a standard feature for a good few years now, it is still one of the better licence-free options available.

While line-cross detection is one of the more basic elements of Intelligent Video Analytics, it works well, offers a high degree of flexibility, and can add value in terms of both security and site management functions. Because of this, it is highly recommended.

Hanwha Techwin: Wisenet X

Hanwha Techwin’s Wisenet X camera range takes advantage of the latest generation of processors to deliver a very feature-rich experience. Some of the analytics options are basic, but it must also be remembered that a significant selling point of this range is the open platform approach, allowing the use of third party application where specialised needs arise.

As such, the line crossing analytics do perform for most mainstream needs, and unashamedly that’s their target market. They are quick and simple to deploy, deliver stability in everyday use-cases, and where a more ‘dedicated’ intelligent video analysis scenario is required, the open platform options will probably be selected. As such, it is recommended.

Hikvision: Smart Feature Set

Hikvision’s Easy IP 3.0 Smart Feature Set offers an entry-level intelligent video analytics option. The line cross detection is the most basic in the test, but if all you need is notification of a basic line cross event it will suffice.

The cameras it is included on are at the budget-conscious end of the market, so you don’t expect high-end analytics. For many low- and medium-risk sites, the degree of flexibility will be acceptable. It is recommended, but with the proviso that basic functionality suits the site’s requirements.

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