Using video analytics to drive sustainability in business
The growth in the sophistication of video analytics brings the opportunity to apply surveillance equipment beyond security and into business intelligence and decision-making. The insight provided into business operations has multiple applications, leading to significant potential cost savings and the promotion of sustainable business practices.
A group of students from Aalto University in Helsinki used video surveillance equipment, coupled with video analytics software, to explore ways of reducing energy consumption and guide a more efficient use of space within an office environment.
Ken Dooley, PhD student and author of the study, observed how the premises were being heated up, cooled down, ventilated and illuminated all year round based on assumptions rather than data. Previously the building managers of the building manually calculated and estimated when people arrived at and exited from buildings, but individual patterns of movement were impossible to anticipate and predict. Today the building managers can obtain real-time knowledge about the presence of people and how the premises are used using video analytics.
The study found that if such technology was employed campus-wide, the university would stand to reduce energy consumption by up to 18%. In addition to the huge energy savings, the data harvested showed that by switching to a hot-desking culture desk capacity could be reduced by up to a third.
Dooley concluded that the intelligent solution featuring video analytics software and network cameras “can very effectively contribute to more sustainable and climate-smart buildings, where we can save money and reduce environmental impacts.”
The study demonstrates the clear potential for reduced energy consumption and more efficient use of office space for organisations of all sizes, and when combined with smart building systems to automatically control heating, lighting and other services, the cumulative impact could make a significant contribution towards national energy objectives.
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