Talktech: The real potential of video analytics

The real potential of video analyticsVideo surveillance systems have become much more than mere investigative tools for public safety.

Across the financial services sector, more banks, insurance companies and trading houses are starting to realise the full potential of video analytics and are adapting their services accordingly.

Services such as robo-advisors and digital tellers are constantly creating more unstructured data, like video, that is critical for business insights. At the same time, video footage has become a key element of financial transactions, customer interactions and compliance, and archiving video is now viewed as a means of managing growth, risk and liability.

Monitoring a high volume of daily interactions still remains a challenge, but storing and retrieving mountains of video footage adds a whole new level of complexity.

At the recent Talktech Executive Meeting organized by Computerworld Hong Kong and IBM, panelists from digital surveillance provider SecuRex, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and IBM looked at the vast potential of video analytics, as well as the best practices for data storage and protection.

Retaining and retrieving video for compliance

According to Chris Mo, senior manager, risk assurance at PricewaterhouseCoopers Hong Kong, financial institutions are required to keep a record of transactions and customer interactions, and video recording is considered one of the acceptable media.

Regarding privacy, he said no compliance issues should arise from simply using CCTV in public areas for surveillance. But once an organization starts recording videos and retaining it, the footage is considered personal data and privacy data protection principles apply.

“Two main challenges then arise,” he said. “One involves securing that data from inappropriate access such as external hacking. The other challenge is identifying the people captured in the video footage, as the individuals are entitled to retrieve the information you hold about them.”

If a customer requests video footage of themselves, finding it among thousands of customers could be a major challenge, according to Roy Tsang, head of storage & software defined infrastructure, IBM Systems Hardware, IBM China/Hong Kong.

“There’s no single answer because awareness is continually evolving and when customers are aware of their rights [to retrieve the video] it can create a can of worms,” said Tsang. “It used to take a day or a few days to retrieve just a few minutes of footage. But technology has improved, allowing us to obtain information in just a few minutes.”

Mo added that another challenge is deciding the retention period, which varies depending on the purpose of recording and the related regulators. For example, if the video footage is used as supporting evidence to ensure no misconduct during the selling process of a banking product, the HKMA requires a retention period of seven years.

With regards to China, Mo added that the new cybersecurity law in China also brought new dynamics in the processing and management of video footage.

“Now, if you collect video footage within China you can’t save it on any cloud servers,” he said. “You need a centralized server inside China. If you are trying to centralize the storage [on premise], maintaining your own server could also be a problem.”

Video moves beyond security

The advanced development in video technology and analytics has also opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the financial services sector. Mo said traditionally, all surveillance footage was used for security purposes. But it can now be used to enhance customer satisfaction by analyzing who is coming into the bank when and why.

“Banks can then adjust their human resources accordingly,” he said.