Many people have privacy concerns relating to video cameras, especially when this is combined with AI technology. However (when properly controlled and regulated) this could, in fact, be actually something that offers people more freedom as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses. Providing some more freedom will be politically, economically, and socially critical, as it looks like we will need to learn how to live with significantly reduced social contact for the foreseeable future.
We can look at this via an example. Understandably, people are desperate to get out of their homes for some much-needed exercise and fresh air. However, in many countries, exercising or even sitting in a park are now forbidden. Although being in a park on your own carries no COVID-19 spreading risk, these rules need to be in place, as authorities have no easy way to see what is happening in public spaces. Are groups/crowds of people gathering? Are people keeping a safe distance? They simply do not know, so a general rule has to be implemented, for example, all parks are closed. However, it gets worse, when any ‘violation’ has to ‘punished’ as an example to make sure people follow the strict rules, like an elderly person sitting alone on a park bench.
So, if authorities could more easily monitor open spaces in real-time, it means that the rules could be loosened and people could enjoy sitting in the sunshine in the park or going for a short walk, while high-risk grouping or crowding could be automatically detected and addressed as required. Therefore, better monitoring, via video cameras and AI, could, in fact, bring more freedom.
What Swarm Analytics Is Working on to Deliver Meaningful Crowd and Group Insights
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Swarm Analytics is working hard to quickly deliver extra AI models to deliver insights into people spacing, groups, and crowds in streets, squares or shops. The existing capabilities of Swarm Analytics for counting and tracking people will be further developed to also enable group size estimation and density information.
Crowd or Group Size Estimation
To gain comprehensive insights into crowds and gatherings of people in environments, where conventional systems like mobile tracking do not work well, Swarm Analytics group estimation is required. For example at big sports events or smaller gatherings, where it’s very challenging to count visitor numbers or identify group sizes. Additionally, if certain limits of group sizes or visitor numbers are reached, real-time alerts can be used to trigger required actions.
For evaluating critical situations or identifying overcrowding in shops, shopping centers, squares, or streets, density insights are required. Are people keeping a safe distance apart? When density levels reach a critical level, automatic real-time alerts can be used to take appropriate safety actions.