Video 101: An Introduction to Video Data and Analytics

By Andrew Chapman

Video technology and the associated metadata (data about data) can solve the challenges accompanying video searchability, allowing customers to rapidly gather real-time intelligence from a series of unstructured video data that is produced by a single camera or a global network of cameras. Analytics which uses this metadata is the cornerstone of video search, enabling both security and business intelligence applications from a single video management system (VMS).

For those of you in the traditional physical access control systems (PACS) industry, immersing yourself in video data and analytics might seem daunting. Starting with the right terminology is half the battle.

CCTV vs. IP Video
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) refers to the use of analog surveillance cameras that transmit a video signal to a specific set of monitors. CCTV systems are a closed loop system, only a limited number of viewers can access the footage from a single location. With the arrival of IP-based surveillance, analog CCTV systems are now being superseded by improved digital technology. In short, CCTV is dead, or certainly dying.

Field of View
The field of view (FOV) represents the complete area of coverage provided by a network camera when viewed at full frame. FOV can be determined by camera type, lens, and image resolution.

Frame Rate
Frame rate is the number of unique consecutive images (frames) that the camera produces per second and is often referred to as frames per second (FPS).

Lux refers to a standard unit of measure for illumination. In relation to network cameras, lux is the measure of low-light sensitivity provided by the camera.

Megapixel IP Camera
Megapixel IP cameras provide exceptionally high image detail and are the ideal choice for video surveillance applications where clear identification of people and objects is critical. A megapixel camera will also provide a broader field of view than an analog camera and allows users to zoom in on specific portions of a scene without a significant loss in image detail.

Network Video Recorder
A network video recorder (NVR) is a hardware box that receives video streams over a local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN) and captures them onto hard disk in digital format. Recording and playback can be managed remotely using a network PC.

The resolution of a digital image specifies the number of pixels, expressed by pixel width and pixel height. The higher the numbers (resolution), the more details can be seen within the image.

The Math of Building a Video Management System (VMS)
Essentially, video is math, treating magnitude, relationships between figures and forms, and relations between quantities. And unless you balance a video system out — from the camera to the monitor — you’re wasting money.

Here’s more math. It’s vital to consider how many cameras are (or you desire to be) in your system; and ask yourself, what resolution will these cameras be? Think about how you intend to view back the recorded footage. If you purchase a 10 megapixel camera, for example, take into consideration FPS (both viewing and recording) and the resolution of your monitor. Are you planning to retain this footage? How much activity are you seeing in the FOV? It’s also important to consider analytics, the process of intelligently analyzing video for temporal and spatial events. But we’ll dive further into that topic in our next blog post.

The point is, video has the potential to be a powerful tool in your security system and can complement existing PACS infrastructure. But unless you can speak the language, and do the math, you’ll find yourself spending too much money on the wrong components, and the end result will be an unbalanced system.

Learn More
3VR by Identiv’s video intelligence solutions provide a single platform for real-time security and customer insights, enabling organizations to protect employees, customers and assets as well as improve customer experience. Learn more by visiting, contacting your Identiv Sales Representative, calling +1 888-809-8880, or emailing