by Brian Baker

“Video analytics don’t work. “

I’m still tired of hearing this.

Video analytics, and software as a whole, require a different approach – regardless of the installation platform. Many in our industry correlate the need for trained users and the need to configure the analytics with the notion that analytics, as a whole, are immature and unreliable. Nothing could be further from the truth. This thinking highlights the resistance to change that exists within the security industry.

I suspect companies like SAP and Oracle have a different take on products that require training and configuration. These companies make complex and feature-rich software products, yet they wouldn’t imagine a customer deploying their stuff without key people taking product-specific configuration and user training. Don’t tell me SAP and Oracle are immature products that haven’t yet hit their sweet spot in the market. And what about Adobe products? People who are trained and certified to use the Adobe Creative Suite get paid big bucks!

Software is like that. It is made of bits and bytes. You can’t hold it in your hand and turn the dial or push the button. If you take the time necessary to learn how to configure and use it, the real value will show through the hype.

Please share!

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4 Responses to “the finest whine (pt 2: software)

  1. Sam Pfeifle Says:

    Well, actually, that’s the thing about the Adobe Creative Suite – just about any monkey can use it.

    It used to be, in publishing, we had a whole department dedicated to layout and production. Now, the editors lay out their own stuff and we get paid nothing extra for it.

    Further, the explosion of “designers” who can use the Adobe Suite has effectively made the design profession a hobby. I can assure you that very few people get “big bucks” for using inDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. Those that do are essentially con men who’ve found employers that are still computer illiterate and think what they do is magic. Starting pay for a designer at the local newspaper is $10 an hour.

    That’s the thing about software in general – it can be incredibly intuitive and easy to use and set up. Look at things like iMovie. It used to be, film editing was for highly trained film editors or craftsmen. Now, any moron can cut and edit a decent short film in 10 minutes. Or upgrade to FinalCut Pro, which is what just about every semi-professional filmmaker uses now, and it might take you 20 minutes to make a much better film.

    It’s incredibly easy to use. You point and click. Things do what you think they’re going to do.

    Setting up something like wrong direction identification or loitering alerts, etc., should take minutes to set up correctly.

  2. Ed Troha Says:

    I’ve learned a lot about using the Adobe Creative Suite over the last 15 years, since I “graduated” from the music business to the business of marketing technology, and I can tell you there are HUNDREDS of things those applications can do that I will never begin to learn, despite how well I visualize what I want or need. I agree with you – if you know what you want to do and you play around with it long enough, you can figure out how to get where you need to go. But I would never call myself a designer!

  3. John Honovich Says:

    ObjectVideo is developing a very interesting blog where they post thought provoking/debate questions.

    This week, ObjectVideo discussed how mature software like SAP and Oracle require training and configuration, contrasting it to the expectations in the security industry of video analytics working like hardware. ObjectVideo notes that, “This thinking highlights the resistance to change that exists within the security industry.”

    I think this is dangerous messaging. First, while IT organizations do put up with configuring big ERP packages like SAP, SAP is legendary for being a nightmare to deploy (for fun, read the SAP CRM Nightmare blog). Indeed, problems with using these systems is a key motivator in the move to SaaS for CRM.

    Secondly, the security industry neither has the channel nor the cost structure to accommodate complex configuration and optimization. For instance, this is why more and more VMS software providers are launching their own appliances are partnering with others (like Intransa). Most of the market has neither the technical staff nor the ability to charge for expert optimization.

    I think this is a reality that all manufacturers need to accept if they want to reach the mainstream security market.

  4. Brian Baker Says:

    John -
    Great comments and a much appreciated validation of OV’s business model: Partnering with leading companies (vs. becoming a hardware company) to offer both full-featured and simplified analytics packages that are edge OR server based AND are easier for the end user to implement and operate. We recognized a number of years ago that the only way to bring analytics to the mainstream would be through reducing the hardware footprint, reducing the cost and making it easier to use – preferably as a high-value ingredient to an overall solution vs. analytics for analytics’ sake.

    While sensationalism sells, just to be clear, we are talking about configuring rules, perhaps some other parameters and understanding the deployment environment to make a video analytics system work — not gutting the entire corporate operating system and all that goes with it. SaaS or not, there is a learning curve. For example, we use SalesForce.com at ObjectVideo. It is not effective without a trained user. You don’t just pick it up and use it to its maximum effectiveness without learning how to use its breadth of capabilities.

    We have been working on making analytics easier to use since 2006. Our global hardware partner network began releasing easier-to-use functional packages in 2008. Our OV Ready protocol makes our analytics easier to use and configure using the software platforms of our OV Ready partner network. Customers now have a range of choices through both hardware and software partners to satisfy both the full breadth of analytics capabilities or easy-to-use targeted feature sets.

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