Hitachi deepens IoT play with new Hitachi Video Analytics

Hitachi adds a Video Analytics solution to its Internet of Things portfolio, which also includes the Hitachi Video Management Platform and the Hitachi Visualization Suite.

Paul Lewis, ‎Chief Technology Officer, Americas at Hitachi Data Systems

Hitachi Insight Group, the unit of Hitachi which handles its Internet of Things (IoT) business, has announced Hitachi Video Analytics. This new video analytics software is designed for Hitachi Smart City and Public Safety solutions to provide sophisticated intelligence to equipment at the edge of the network, and complement the other elements of the Hitachi IoT portfolio.

“This is all about the evolution of traction in the digital world,” said Paul Lewis, ‎Chief Technology Officer, Americas at Hitachi Data Systems. “It deals with how we best put smart in the things that are out in the edge.”

Hitachi Video Analytics provides functionality like people counting, queue detection, activity analysis, directional counting, and image enhancement. In transportation applications, this translates into vehicle counting, traffic analysis, parking space detection and license plate recognition. In public safety and security, it allows for intrusion detection, left-behind object detection, facial recognition and camera tampering alerts.

“Because the analytics software is paired with video cameras which are also made by Hitachi, we can do the analytics at the edge, rather than through centralized compute,” Lewis said. “The transportation and parking analysis is done more effectively, because it’s at the edge.”

Lewis also highlighted some distinct technological capabilities of the software. Object Detector technology provides 4-D reconstruction of two-dimensional video images by using particles, perspective, velocity, path deviation and travel distance to improve accuracy.

“4-D is the ability to first, put a two dimensional object into 3-D, and then watch it move and trail it over time,” he said. “It makes things much more accurate and reduces false positives.”

The software also offers automated and enhanced identity protection, which addresses privacy issues by going well beyond the ability to pixillate faces.

“Cameras create privacy concerns.” Lewis said. “We have implemented privacy protection where the image can still be collected, but where everything, including clothing and other distinctive features, can be blurred for public exposure. The person who is authorized to monitor can see things, but other people won’t be able to.” Other privacy features include the ability to track and record all access to the video data – a very useful feature in environments like hospitals, to reduce the risk of legal liability.

Other notable features include a Video Enhancer to filter out interference like rain and snow, and a Camera Health Monitor to provide automated detection of camera-tampering or damage, and sent an alert if required.

Hitachi Video Analytics integrates with and extends the Hitachi Video Management Platform, a virtualized storage, networking and compute appliance. It can also be used with Hitachi Visualization Suite, which integrates IoT data from video cameras and other disparate systems and sensors to provide a map-based unified view for enhanced situation awareness.

“We can now combine the platform, the visualization, and the analytics in a full video managed platform,” Lewis said. “Internet of Things is a critical market for Hitachi – and is so significant that we spun out the Hitachi Insight Group just under two years ago to handle all our IoT initiatives.”

Lewis emphasized that the nature of the IoT market means that these solutions are delivered through the partner community.

“We can engineer interesting great solutions, but we need partners, and typically a series of partners, to help enable the public safety world with these solutions,” he said.

“This is the perfect opportunity for the channel. Partners already have relationships with these individual cities and airports who are the customers for these types of solutions. Combining all these elements in IoT solutions provides a broader partnership with the end user client and expands their opportunities with them.”

Hitachi Video Analytics s generally available now in North and South America, as well as in the United Kingdom and all APAC countries, excluding Japan.