Artificial Intelligence: A Proactive Approach To Surveillance

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is an actively emerging technology deployed to gather information and intelligence ahead of anticipated problems.

Growth in security camera deployment has been driven by many things, but the greatest driver has been the need to provide deterrence of illegal or criminal activity and documentation of events when they occur. Proof of an incident has become a standard expectation in every environment that we occupy. Not only is the expectation driven by legal risk, but the desire to provide secure environments for building occupants


CCTV is moving rapidly toward a legacy surveillance solution. Monitoring live streaming cameras is riddled with human error due to a number of factors. Security professionals are burdened with an increasing number of daily distractions because of expanding responsibilities. These growing responsibilities lead to diminished capacity to focus, shorter attention spans, and manual fatigue.

Part of the increasing scope of responsibility is due to the continued growth in building and property security. The number of security related systems has increased, as has the size of each system. Investments in security solutions are useless without the ability to properly utilize them.

Growth in these systems has created a need to define solutions to better manage and utilize the deployed technology. Thankfully, as systems have grown, so has the technology. When technology is utilized effectively, it allows security and management personnel to better focus their efforts away from passive monitoring and toward proactive security activities.


The shift from analog security camera systems to IP based digital security solutions has not only provided greater image clarity, it has also provided the platform on which technology can be incorporated to streamline and automate surveillance efforts.

Historically, the sheer volume of video footage and poor camera resolution were frequently used as justification for slow deployment of surveillance systems in many facilities. If one could not find a necessary portion of a recording among the volumes of footage, or identify what was happening in the clip, the value of the surveillance footage was minimal. Early on, digital surveillance provided a means by which rudimentary intelligence could be incorporated into the recording process so that it became more effective to search and find content. The ability to compress, transport, and store higher quality digital recordings also provided significantly higher video resolution which allowed for greater identification during an incident.

The digital transformation of security solutions also allowed for integration between disparate security systems, which provided greater control of the building environment. The ability to utilize multiple systems concurrently created the ability to more effectively respond to issues when they were detected. This shift has created increasingly safer environments for building occupants. But, until recently, much of the proactive response capabilities were still fully controlled by human detection and response.

The latest evolution in video surveillance technology has been in the integration of Artificial Intelligence, or AI. AI is shifting the burden of proactive detection away from human activity, and focuses on integrating intelligent analytics into systems to improve detection and streamline human response.


Artificial Intelligence allows a security team to shift focus away from manning cameras, and instead actively move throughout a facility while technology does the monitoring. Unlike human assets, AI doesn’t get stretched too thin or get distracted, and is capable of analyzing more video data than humanly possible.

Similar to web browsers which filter through massive amounts of available information, AI can filter through massive amounts of video data and turned into meaningful and actionable information for the security team. AI not only monitors video surveillance content, it also helps make sense of data.

There are two segments of security artificial intelligence that are providing varying silos of value to a facility’s security team.

    Camera surveillance today is generally rule-based, and traditionally predefined. It provides alerts if rules are broken, such as a person navigating out of a set geographic field, or entering a premises during non-standard hours. These alerts can provide actionable feedback on issues that may arise based on existing knowledge.The detailed search capabilities available through AI enhanced video analytics provide deeper levels of intelligent surveillance tracking than had previously been possible. Recorded video carries significant amounts of information that is searchable as long as the software understands what it is intended to identify. Search capabilities can include facial recognition, and can be as general as the identification of all video frames which include objects like a “yellow bag,” or a “blue hat.”These activities historically would have taken security personnel hours of man-hours scouring through recorded footage. With AI, detailed searches can be accomplished with radical precision is seconds.
    Higher level security artificial intelligence, sometime referred to a machine learning analytics, is based on algorithms and equations, rather than pre-defined rules. There is no initial programming by the user. The system software is self-learning, observing patterns and characteristics and classifying or tagging the information it observes.Security behavioral analytics defines for itself what is normal behavior over the period of time, then tracks occupant behaviors and issues alerts when it recognizes actions that are atypical of learned behavioral patterns. These atypical patterns can include aggressive body language, or potential vandalism, or likely security threats, among many other potentials risks. While it may proactively identify risk-related events in progress, the behavioral analytics can also identify potential incidents, and send alerts to security personnel prior to an incident occurring.

    The ability to utilize AI in identifying and addressing potential risk related incidents before they happen provides a level of security not previously possible through manpower alone. But AI does not displace personnel; rather it allows them to focus on the aspects of the role which demands more critical thinking, unique decision making, and incident response.


Security incidents carry both hard and soft costs. The burden of an incident goes well beyond the obvious costs associated with either losses or remediation. What are the labor costs associated with physically manning an expanding surveillance station? What are the liability risks associated with not identifying a risk? What are the losses associated with a security incident?

There is also productivity losses by personnel displaced due to an incident, or diminished productivity due to apprehension about personal safety while present in a facility? Lost productivity has significantly higher cost implications than almost any other loss in a facility. If you want employees and customers to feel safe and free, providing a safe environment is one of the most important investments an organization can make.

Some newer Camera and Video Management Systems are being deployed with analytic capabilities embedded. But there may be a necessary investment to incorporate and deploy a more comprehensive security artificial intelligence solution in a facility. When considered against the hard and soft costs associated with less robust security solutions, the investment toward incorporating AI in an organization becomes enticing.


The availability of High Definition cameras and the need to sift through massive amounts of data on an increasingly regular basis is helping to define how artificial intelligence to improve the performance of facility surveillance. Emerging AI technologies allows security teams to provide higher levels of safety and security without having to bring on additional personnel. AI can accomplish surveillance tasks faster and can empower security teams to refocus their daily tasks to be more occupant-driven and more focused on critical assessment and response.

Incorporating artificial intelligence in security and surveillance elevates the value of personnel, and allows the team to provide safer and more productive environments to facility occupants.

Contact CM3 Building Solutions today to discuss how we can help you start your journey toward incorporating artificial intelligence into your larger facility security and safety plan.