New sensor takes aim at false alarms

MOBOTIX’s new analytic tested in adverse weather conditions
 - 
Wednesday, June 12, 2013

NEW YORK—MOBOTIX AG has begun equipping its video surveillance cameras with new motion-detection software that the company says can reduce false alarms by more than 90 percent.

MOBOTIX’s MxActivitySensor is integrated in the camera, where analysis of events takes place before an alarm action is triggered. The technology registers the movement of people and objects while dismissing redundant changes in the environment, such as trees swaying in the wind, according to the company.

“It goes way deeper than changes in pixels,” said Steve Gorski, general manager of the Americas for MOBOTIX. “It’s a whole new algorithm. It’s five years ahead of its time.”

Gorski said a side-by-side comparison with one of the company’s traditional motion-detection cameras provided telling data about what the new technology can do.

“They did a 24-hour test at our factory in Germany—a hillside environment with a road, mountains to the left and trees to the right,” he told Security Systems News, explaining the scene in the test videos. “With the traditional motion-detection [camera], they detected 8,181 events that took up 9,341 megabytes of storage. In the same scene using the camera with the MxActivitySensor, they had 138 events that took up 157 megabytes of storage.”

Gorski said the new technology really shined when the weather was at its worst.

“In our parking lot during a rainstorm, the trees were blowing like crazy and the rain was falling like crazy,” he said. “Depending on where the motion-detection window boxes are set [in a traditional camera], you’d be setting off alarms like mad. The only thing that set off the alarm with the new activity sensor was a person walking out of the building 75 feet away.”

The new sensor streamlines with MOBOTIX’s decentralized concept for its cameras, saving users when it comes to bandwidth and configuration time, Gorski said.

“Everything is done on the edge of the camera. The camera is a computer and all of the processing is done there,” he said. “Only the information that is needed is sent over the network, so you don’t have as much network load and you don’t need a high-powered server.”

The MxActivitySensor is available on MOBOTIX’s new S15, D15 and V15 cameras. It also has been released as part of a free software update for other models in the company’s line.

Gorski said that in addition to standard commercial applications, the new technology holds great promise for the oil and gas industry and for protecting critical infrastructure at remote sites.

“You can imagine at these sites they’re having thousands of false alarms a day with traditional cameras, and it’s costing them a fortune because they’re sending somebody out there or they’re ignoring [the alarms] because there are too many of them,” he said. “But somewhere in there, there could be a real event. When we talk to [customers] about this, their eyes light up because of the potential cost savings and other benefits.”