Imagine living in a safe place, knowing that someone cares about your well-being. Vision technology operates today to save lives and will predict incidents tomorrow.
Imagine that people could be reassured to live in a safe place, knowing that someone cares about their well-being. It is possible and video technology today demonstrates the essential help provided to rescuers; as in the case of mountain rescues or drownings. And there’s every reason to believe that tomorrow we’ll be calling for predictive safety, which is training technology to recognize behaviors that typically lead to an accident and warn people before they get into a dangerous situation.
Video technology to help search and rescue teams find people faster
Search and rescue teams often face the daunting challenge of finding a person in the most difficult of circumstances.
Video technology mounted on drones is a tool that rescue teams use to make their search effort more efficient. According to the BBC, some teams estimate that the use of video drones reduces search times by up to 50%, as a drone can scan large areas much faster than a team on foot. Using thermal video technology, rescue teams can locate a person in danger from a distance, even if they are not clearly visible.
In the UK, a video drone located a man who had been lost in an area of tall grass for more than 18 hours. The rescue team said the video technology “most likely” saved his life. Earlier this year, in one of Europe’s largest city parks, hikers unfamiliar with the area got knee-deep in mud. To add to their difficulties, it was dark and the whole area was pitch black. Using thermal video technology from a drone, the rescue team found them after just 30 minutes.
In mountainous regions, when an avalanche is triggered, time is of the essence. The BBC noted that for skiers who find themselves buried in snow, their best chance of survival is to be found and freed within 15 minutes. Usually there are few or no visible signs on the surface to indicate where the person is buried. Today, drones equipped with thermal video can detect people under the snow, reducing the time it takes for teams to find them. Soon, drones will use multi-spectral video technology to detect carbon dioxide from the breath of a buried person.
Saving lives when people accidentally fall into the harbor
Imagine it’s a cold winter night, and someone accidentally falls into the harbour. What happens next can mean the difference between life and death for that person.
In collaboration with Milestone Systems and Aalborg University, the city of Aalborg, Denmark is taking an approach that uses thermal video technology combined with video analytics. If a person falls in the port, the system can recognize their fall and immediately alert the emergency services. The control center uses live video streamed from the incident area to decide how best to rescue the person.
To protect the identity of people using the port area, the system uses thermal cameras instead of high quality images. This is a responsible way to use video technology because thermal cameras, unlike conventional video cameras, do not capture sensitive information such as facial features.
Predictive security – a concept that helps prevent people from getting into life-threatening situations
In the future, we see the possibility of using video technology proactively. This is what we call predictive security, which is still in the concept stage.
Predictive safety involves training technology to recognize behaviors that typically lead to an accident and warn people before they get into a dangerous situation. For example, using thermal video technology to protect identity, the system recognizes a person staggering at the edge of the harbour. The system alerts the emergency services, who speak to the person through a speaker on the camera to warn them that they are in danger.
While video technology can do a lot to lessen the consequences of people who find themselves in life-threatening situations, it cannot prevent them. Common sense is the safest approach.
Strike a balance between security and privacy
These are just a few of the new uses we foresee for video technology in the future. There will be many more, and we don’t have all the solutions in hand. Video technology can bring many benefits for greater security. However, it is under intense scrutiny by today’s society; it should always be used responsibly, balancing security and privacy. When we do, the future potential of video technology should only be limited by the boundaries of our imagination.
Video technology is reshaping our lives for the better. For future generations to accept, we need to use this amazing technology the right way – responsibly.