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Episode 234 – Video Applications in Cities & Buildings in COVID-19 – Interview with Milestone Systems

Interview with Brett Hansen, South Pacific Country Manager, South Pacific and Mike Metcalfe, Manager Asia Pacific Key Account Team, Milestone Systems (

This session focuses on the theme of video surveillance applications in smart buildings/cities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and what options exist for situational awareness in the workplace and public spaces.

With XProtect widely adopted and with a myriad of partners, the Milestone Experience Centre, in Melbourne, allows clients to visualise and configure the technology to suit their requirements.

As people begin to return to places of work, retail centres, restaurants and public places, there will be an increased need for awareness and management of crowd numbers, cleanliness, tracking and tracing, personal space, etc. Video management, combined with other technologies, can help with this in many regards.

Traffic flow management

Using analytics to check on traffic to amenities such as rest rooms  – for example analytics can be set to monitor the number of people entering a specific area, then the system set to provide an alert that “We have had 300 people through that area, need to go and clean them”. This leads to pro-active hygiene and cleaning, rather than relying on a simple schedule which does not take into account actual volume of traffic to an area.

This can also flow on to other areas – hospital waiting rooms, restaurants, change rooms etc, which generally have a cleaning schedule but do not necessarily account for the volume of people passing through.

Spatial awareness metrics

How best to manage queues into a shopping centre, workplace, stadium etc? Video can be set to analyse and provide metrics around the number of people in a certain area, and provide information – again, allowing authorities and management to be proactive and stop people from entering a space if it is over-crowded, or send someone in to an area once a certain volume has passed, in order to sanitise it.

  • Counting people in an area and send someone to clean or control.
  • Monitor for dwell time, for example to establish how long people may have been occupying table space in restaurant. Can tell how long someone was actually in a restaurant, which then allows authorities to gauge not only that a person was IN a particular place, but also how long they were there for. This can have a positive impact on track and trace capabilities, as it allows authorities to judge if someone actually crossed paths with an infected individual – not just that they were in the same place on the same day.
  • Helps with managing people flow through an area. 
  • Dwell time analytics can be set for a specific a zone, such as a waiting room at an airport, or café. Allows management to judge that, for example, “Someone has sat down at table fifteen, the system is set to know how long are they allowed to stay there.”

Crowd density

Suitable to retail, hospitality, commercial building spaces.

  • Video management can set crowd density in a specific area to say, 8 people and then an alert is issued if the number moves above that prescribed figure.
  • That situation can then be managed either by physical intervention such as a staff member moving in to ask people to move on, or over audio.

Queue management

Suggesting  that management is now aware how many people are physically ‘inside’ the building as queue is being managed, but how many are waiting outside? Video can also detect the speed at which people are allowed through an area, and help management best control the flow of pedestrian traffic.

Contract tracing and measuring proximity – ‘show me how many people came within say, two metres of this person’. Video can judge exactly how close people are getting to one another, and provide metrics. These then allow people to set rules and alerts around proximity.

Temperature measurements

Can be tracked in real time as people move around.

Information leads to proactive steps and positive outcomes

  • As good as the technology is these days, it is what you actually do with it that makes the difference. What are people doing something with the outcomes of this analysis.
  • Anyone can use the tech, but it is all about how it is presented, and what you do with it. How effective do you want to be with track and trace, to take that data and make it useful to mitigate risks.

Face masking

Video tech can be set to detect if someone doesn’t have a face mask on, and track that person or sound an alarm.

Heat mapping

  • Can demonstrate where the volume of pedestrian traffic is moving to in a specific space, and record any metrics attached to that information.
  • Useful visual guide.

Recorded for MySec.TV on December 4, 2020 courtesy of Milestone Systems. Video episode link to be added shortly.

Link to the Copenhagen Letter


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