Customer & Partner Spotlights

BriefCam: Transforming Video Data into Insights with Qlik


6 min read

A man in business attire sitting in a chair in front of multiple monitors and talking on a two-way radio

Security and surveillance cameras are now almost ubiquitous in areas where people gather in numbers. From urban public spaces to sports grounds, shopping malls and offices, these cameras play critical roles in keeping people and property secure and protected, deterring crime and fraudulent activity, and helping to catch offenders.

Founded in 2008 and now owned by Canon, BriefCam is a software provider committed to maximizing the value that video surveillance can deliver. At the start, clients included municipalities, local governments, security operators and law-enforcement agencies that needed more efficient ways of handling and processing video than having human operators painstakingly and manually review thousands of hours of footage.

“BriefCam is all about extracting information from video,” explains Yogev Wallach, Director of Product Management at BriefCam. “We focus on taking video, processing it, understanding what objects are in it, what they’re doing and what their attributes are. Our technology then offers solutions and insights for people who want to review that video, be alerted about specific events or better understand trends in their environment.”

Review, Respond and Research

The BriefCam platform consists of several components and capabilities. The REVIEW module enables users to search for specific content quickly and accurately within a video stream. This could involve tracking the movements of a particular person based on attributes such as clothing or facial features or analyzing a car’s movements using license plate recognition.

A real-time solution also allows operators to set up alerts based on specific parameters. If, for example, the number of people entering a public bathroom exceeds a set figure, a janitor can be alerted to ensure that it’s sanitized.

However, in 2018 BriefCam also realized that the extensive hours of visual material, and with it the huge volumes of data that cameras were capturing, could be used to advance the platform further. A research function could be deployed to deliver high-value operational intelligence, turning standard video information into actionable insights with use cases that could extend far beyond BriefCam’s original market. Achieving this required a tool that would be capable of managing and processing high volumes of data quickly and efficiently, and then presenting the analysis gained in an effective and useable format. And for BriefCam, that platform was Qlik.

“Qlik Sense offers an easy-to-use experience in terms of self-service capabilities and its associative engine,” says Eli Gohar, BI Team Leader at BriefCam. “The interactive visualization and AI capabilities it offers are also very important, as are the chart suggestions and insights feature.”

Critically, Qlik Sense’s in-memory data model would enable BriefCam to process large datasets quickly and effectively. “As an overall BI tool, it’s perfect for what we needed,” adds Gohar. “Our customers usually have plenty of technical knowledge but may not be used to BI solutions. Qlik’s intuitive solution makes it easy to write and manage expressions, and that was very important to us.”

Gohar also highlights the richness of Qlik’s documentation, as well as the strength of its community of users. “Every time we have challenges on how to develop something or need insight into best practice to manage large-scale data, it’s easy to search the Qlik documentation or knowledge bases,” he notes. “Everything is a very accessible. I’m also very active in Qlik Community, which is another great resource.”

Different use cases and verticals

The RESEARCH module of BriefCam’s platform, supported by Qlik, has enabled a rapid evolution for BriefCam, both in terms of its product offering and the markets the business serves.

The platform remains an invaluable tool in areas such as enabling safe cities, optimizing traffic and reducing risks for pedestrians. It also plays a key role in increasing security and operational efficiencies in large public areas including hospitals or shopping malls, integrating with proprietary video management software solutions to manage public safety efficiently, accurately and proactively, while optimizing often limited security budgets.

However, BriefCam’s client base has expanded to include large-scale transport operators, prestigious educational establishments and giants in the worlds of manufacturing and entertainment.

“We now have a range of different use cases, different stakeholders and different verticals,” notes Wallach. “It’s across the board.”

Key clients now include airports, where BriefCam is used to monitor the times aircraft spend at different gates, and arrival and departure times, enabling operators to assess key factors such as refueling times and ensure that additional time spent at the gate is billed accurately. Another major airport client uses BriefCam to monitor rental car returns, ensuring that records are reliable and the fees charged to each car rental vendor are accurate.

Wallach also flags up a banking client which previously used its control center to manage tasks such as ensuring that snowplows cleared the parking lots regularly. “Now it can simply extract and process that information from its security cameras using BriefCam,” he explains. “For businesses like these, that’s a significant step up from operational awareness to operational efficiency.” Additional use cases include retail, as Wallach details how one shopping mall used BriefCam to assess the usage patterns of a vegan area in its food court.

Maximizing the value

BriefCam’s next objective is to further extend its use cases and client bases, including expanding its enterprise market and targeting SMB operators. Wallach acknowledges that while a small store owner would benefit from BriefCam’s RESEARCH capabilities, their needs may be different.

“We need to help them realize the value that BriefCam’s RESEARCH solution offers as a visualization tool and how they can enjoy the value proposition,” he notes, adding that many clients now use BriefCam to help inform all data-driven decision-making processes.

Having launched as a dynamic Israeli start-up, BriefCam is now an established name-brand for video analytics. “We have a new CEO who is leading the charge to explore how the RESEARCH solution – powered by Qlik – can help our company reach new heights. We’re very excited,” says Wallach.

@BriefCamVS is turning standard video information into actionable insights through Qlik

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