Video surveillance of logistics properties is about security – and a great deal more besides. Logistics Business magazine’s editor Paul Hamblin meets Rishi Lodhia, MD EMEA for Eagle Eye Networks.

Rishi Lodhia is a veteran in the cloud video surveillance market – he was CEO and co-founder of Cameramanager back in the early 2000s, and after selling that business to Panasonic in 2013, bought it back again as part of Eagle Eye Networks in 2017. He offers a vision of security throughout the supply chain enabled by cloud surveillance.

“The overarching tenet of logistics is that effectively you’re looking after someone else’s assets at multiple sites and in transit,” he explains. “As a result it’s the responsibility of the logistics company or department to ensure that those assets remain protected and secured at all times throughout the total supply chain. The ability to view those packages and assets as they move through the supply chain from one central location is key.

“Keeping an eye on the supply chain, the commercial goods within it, and the people who work in it is a core capability of surveillance. Ultimately surveillance matters because, used correctly, it means that throughout the entire journey assets are kept safe and in the right hands, and if something should go astray, it’s easily traceable.”

So cloud-based assets offer a lot more than a small camera perched over the front door? “The real advantage of today’s modern cloud-based video surveillance systems is that they deliver so much more than a visual overview of the live and historic situation. The availability and integration of computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming what was previously just an ‘observation’ tool into something that can deliver real business operational advantages.

“In the same way self-driving and electric cars are transforming mobility and transportation, the combination of cloud-based video surveillance and AI is revolutionising the video surveillance industry and will be very impactful in the logistics industry.”

It sounds good – but can he give an example of how it might work? “Here’s a great example. These past 12 months we’ve all witnessed the growth of e-commerce businesses. The importance of picking and shipping the right product to the right customer is a given. But mistakes happen. With a cloud-based video surveillance system it’s possible to provide 24×7 customer support.

“Footage is immediately available that shows what is actually happening in the distribution centres. Where did an error occur? What needs to happen to make things right? All this insight is available in real time to resolve any customer queries.”

Taking it one step further, he suggests integrating the cloud based video solution directly into the customer’s support software. This enables video footage to be shared directly with the customer so they can see their shipment’s journey through the package line. Looking even further ahead, computer vision is a field of AI that enables digital images from cameras and videos to accurately identify and classify objects – and then act on what they ‘see’.

“The combination of computer vision and AI is going to significantly help to accelerate the automation of manual work and enable autonomous distribution and logistics centres,” he suggests.

All very  ground-breaking – but we all know that security cameras are very often switched off or malfunctioning, don’t we? “The problem is, many video surveillance systems in use today are frankly outdated. These legacy systems require monotonous monitoring or a meticulous manual review after each triggered event to extract useful information.

“This places serious limitations on the effectiveness of the technology and the ability of organisations to more broadly apply it to real world security, safety and business challenges. And of course, if the cameras are switched off, nothing gets recorded anyway. With a cloud based system, alerts are directly presented when a camera is off line and they can even be rebooted remotely saving time and money.”

Regulatory compliance matters, too. “Video surveillance footage has to be kept for a designated periods, for instance. When it comes to an on-premises solution, adapting that to ensure you can meet changing regulatory requirements can be difficult – in some cases impossible. With a cloud-based solution, it’s easy to change.”

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