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With security incidents at concerts and at sporting events on the rise, venues are investing in high-tech video surveillance solutions to keep fans safe. Through intelligent video analytics, UNICOM Global helps these venues use their security video to improve operational efficiencies, to gain a deeper understanding of their audience, and to be proactive in preventing security incidents. This new take on video data is turning security deployments into valuable monetary assets for event venues around the globe.
We are now at a point where we are actually processing video in real time. As fast as we can get the information into the system, we start to create actionable intelligent data, which produces business results in real time.
Jon Kelly Senior Solutions Architect, UNICOM Global
UNICOM Global is a leading provider of integrated, comprehensive software and hardware solutions around the world. With more than 25 global locations and 40 corporate entities, UNICOM serves a diverse range of customers—from commercial companies to public-sector organizations. Today, through numerous acquisitions, the company has diversified to provide end-to-end IT solutions to solve its customers’ biggest business challenges.
One of UNICOM’s focus areas is event venue security—everything from rock concerts to sporting events. Event venues depend on video surveillance for real-time detection of suspicious people, bad behavior, and anomalies. Surveillance footage is also used forensically after an incident to verify facts, to aid investigations, and to reduce liability.
Now, UNICOM is opening the door to greater business opportunities by applying intelligent analytics to video data. “We look at video as an asset. We are creating value and operational intelligence out of a traditional security-based technology. We are extracting value from an operational, marketing, sales, and entertainment standpoint,” explains Jon Kelly, senior solutions architect at UNICOM Global.
By layering its own video analytics software onto security-based video surveillance solutions, UNICOM is changing the game for event venues of all types. Along with the security benefits, UNICOM’s new solution can also help improve operations. By tracking the flow of people inside the venue, event operations managers can immediately see where additional resources or products are needed to expedite entrance or concession lines.
Video analytics also helps event organizers get a deeper look at their audiences. Instead of using facial recognition only to identify blacklisted people or people of interest, event organizers can use it as a tie-in to social media. Integration with social media helps extract more accurate marketing and behavior insights, providing touchpoints during and after events.
“Event managers have a hard time knowing who is actually in attendance because tickets can be sold and resold any number of times. They generally know only 30% of their audience in attendance. By applying video analytics to their security video, they can quickly see changes in trended models of people interested in their products,” explains Kelly.
Video analytics can also help venues further enhance security with the ability to be proactive rather than reactive. For example, object recognition can identify if someone is trying to hide something or if someone is carrying an object that could be used as a weapon.
“Video surveillance is generally introduced after an unfavorable event, as an insurance policy against a repeat of the event,” Kelly adds. “But we’re introducing video analytics to new stakeholders who are seeing that these technologies have a direct monetary return, which is now trackable.”
UNICOM uses a NetApp® E-Series video surveillance storage solution in a FlexPod® configuration with Cisco UCS Servers to store and retain video data and to power its advanced video analytics. With E-Series, UNICOM can enable customers to view and to analyze video data from hundreds or thousands of cameras immediately—not hours or days later.
“We are now at a point where we are actually processing video in real time. As fast as we can get the information into the system, we start to create actionable intelligent data, which produces business results in real time. For events, that could be avoiding risk or millions of dollars of lost revenue.”
With real-time analytics, event operations managers can monitor concession lines remotely, receiving alerts when lines become too long. For example, UNICOM’s custom software can tell if one concession stand has 80 people in line while another has just 10. Such information enables operations managers to respond to customer demands quickly by increasing staffing at the busier booth or by directing patrons to the shorter line.
As event venues begin to use their video surveillance data for more than just security, they are increasing camera coverage to provide even greater return to the business. NetApp E-Series storage is ultra dense and easily scalable, which makes it cost effective and easy to grow.With E-Series, event venues can start small and scale to thousands of cameras. The high density of E-Series also provides tremendous capacity in a very small footprint, simplifying management and reducing power, space, and cooling requirements.
“At a venue, space can become critical because many don’t have huge data centers on site, so they have to be nimble,” says Kelly. “But, most importantly, E-Series’ extreme efficiency makes it future-proof. It is easy for event venues to build on top of it. And they can rest easy knowing that it is going to last a long time.”
As a solutions integrator and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) provider, UNICOM uses products and solutions from across the NetApp portfolio to design and to build solutions that deliver maximum return on investment.
“We see the value in the NetApp Data Fabric,” says Kelly. “Whether it is E-Series for video surveillance, NetApp AFF to accelerate application response time, or NetApp FAS for longer-term storage, there’s a solution for everything. NetApp adapts to business needs better than any other storage vendor.”