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Daniel A Burrus
Daniel A Burrus
Daniel Burrus, Technology Futurist and Keynote Speaker on Business Trends, Technology and Future Trends. Author of the best-selling book, Flash Foresight.
 
Posted in Business / Strategy / Innovation

Is Today’s Smart Technology Watching You?

Feb. 20, 2012 1:28 pm
Categories: Future Tech
Keywords: None

Most people agree that our technology is getting smarter, but you may not realize just how smart. For example, let’s take in-store surveillance cameras. In the past, the video quality of those cameras was poor. Most of us can remember watching the nightly news and seeing blurry footage of a robbery and not being able to make anything out.

Today we have two things taking place that alleviate that scenario.

1) We have software that can clean up the video footage so we can see the detail.2) We have inexpensive cameras that can replace those old, bigger cameras, and that can give us full 1080P HD video resolution at a low cost.

Now you might be thinking, “So, what? That just means the police will be able to better identify who was robbing a store.”

Actually, it’s a much bigger deal than that. With today’s smart technology, companies are tapping into these video streams and, using high-speed computer analytics, are doing shopping analyses within the store, based on the security camera footage. In other words, security cameras are able to expose a wealth of sales and marketing data.

For example, we can see customer movements, what products they stop in front of, and how often they stop in front of them. We can see if that display at the end of the counter is working or not. At the end of each evening, we can get a report on all the traffic patterns in the store without having to watch all the video because it’s all automated. The report can show where delays are taking place in the store, where the lines are building up, where people are spending most of the time in the store, where people are not going in the store, what products are the hottest, and which aisles are being browsed and for how long.

And that’s just information from inside the store! Now, let’s take that outside of the store and look at the technology in the street.

Increasingly, we’re using cameras to analyze traffic patterns and to look at high-crime areas. The nation that is most advanced in this practice is Great Britain. They have cameras all over their cities and towns capturing the video of 24/7 life and using high-speed analytics to analyze traffic flows, people movement, crime, etc.

But it doesn’t stop at video footage; they’re also capturing the audio. That means after a video has been recorded, they can do an audio zoom and listen to the conversation that is happening at an intersection, for example.

You might think, “Who is going to listen to all of those conversations?” No one. Since it’s digital audio, you can search the audio content for keywords and pull up the conversations that are specific to the phrases you’re searching for.

This is already happening in Great Britain. Now the question is, will it only be used there, or will other countries, including our own, start using this smart technology in the future? The answer is, of course we will be using it here and in other countries as well.

So in the future, we will definitely see more cameras with audio capabilities in our daily life. We’ll have to rely on the local authorities to be using this technology in a wise way and not to compromise our individual rights and privacy. The wealth of information these cameras can capture is limitless, as are its uses. The key question for you is: How can your company work smarter with smart technology?

Daniel Burrus

 
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