from the February 2011 issue

Israeli firm seeks to revamp video surveillance

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. 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

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.

In the condensed video, all objects that passed in front of the camera are shifted in time and seen almost simultaneously. The user can click on any object and be taken directly to the original footage where the suspicious or desired event occurred. "It's a pilot so there is still room for improvement, but overall it is a great development in CCTV technology. There are lots of opportunities and possibilities," he said.

Matt Fabian, security manager of a Stew Leonard's, a small supermarket chain in the northeast United States that uses BriefCam's system, also said it was like nothing he had seen before.

He said he can now watch all the overnight surveillance tapes in minutes without the risk of missing important events, as can often happen when trying to fast forward manually.

BriefCam CEO Dror Irani said the programme costs several hundred dollars per camera for high-end security teams, but the idea is to reach home users who will pay a few dollars a month in subscription fees.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report February 2011

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