Solink Blog

Helping retailers and financial institutions to be data-driven

Solink CEO Michael Matta shares his views on the video analytics industry

June 26, 2014
In a recent interview, we asked Michael Matta, co-founder and CEO of Solink, to talk to us about the video analytics industry, current trends, and what makes Solink different. Mike runs the day-to-day operations of Solink while managing strategic relationships with partners and integrators. He is an expert in creating value for customers in data intense industries and his years of experience working in data analysis and value creation have helped shape the overall direction of the Solink platform. Here’s what he had to say Facial Recognition and License Plate Recognition are the current “Hot Topics” in video analytics. What are your thoughts on these security trends versus the reality of analytics overall? We now live in a world of ubiquitous computing where your face is one aspect of your identity that can confirm who you are. You can easily identify someone by looking at his or her digital footprint, but you can’t confirm who they are until you can match a name with a face. In security and risk management there are applications where matching a face to a transaction could reduce fraud and exposure to bad debt. LPR is great because is can generate a ton of useful data for multiple industries. LPR technology is like assigning a “cookie” to every car, and as we know from web analytics, unique identifiers are essential to truly understanding users and behaviours. The adoption of higher resolutions improves accuracy. In general, the ability to identify uniqueness is important because it helps identify trends, What are your opinions about video analytics in delivering Business Intelligence? At Solink, we believe that there is great value in analyzing video for two reasons: Recorded video is the biggest source of unstructured big data; and Video is a rich source of contextual information. Video analytics can provide additional context with business intelligence but it requires data collected from other systems to be truly effective. Once you’ve integrated video analytics with transaction and enterprise data, you can discern unique insight from the contextual information you collect. Understanding the uniqueness of a person or situation and converting that understanding into an opportunity can augment business intelligence. This contextual awareness is made possible by correlating multiple sources of data, video especially. Is video analytics capable of “finding the guy in the blue shirt”? Sure, which guy in the blue shirt? We’ve included colour detection as one of our analytic triggers and have seen a number of use cases for it. For example, you could make sure that there are 3 employees or “blue shirts” behind the customer service desk as per company policy. There are also applications with analysis retail. You would track what colours you sell the most and when they are picked off the shelf. While this is viable today, it’s not a perfect technology. There could be customers with the same colour shirt; and it can be hard to distinguish between tones. Let’s call it a work in progress. When do you see video analytics being

Why you should trust your data to “the cloud”

June 19, 2014
You have heard the warnings about cloud computing: “do not trust the cloud” “tech giants are trying to keep your data hostage” “you are no longer in possession of your own data.” When managing sensitive content in the cloud, you’re relinquishing control over that data and handing it over to a third party. This may be a hard pill to swallow for some companies, especially when it comes to proprietary information. A number of the concerns regarding data security are justified: in the last few years, we watched Sony, Target, and Ebay suffer massive data breaches, not to mention the notorious Heartbleed bug that’s still on everyone’s mind. So if multi-billion dollar companies are still vulnerable to attacks, do small and medium sized companies even stand a chance? If your data is on a local intranet then, in theory, someone on the internet cannot access the server. This is the “security through obscurity” belief which suggests that if hackers can’t see the code, then it’s harder for them to find ways to break it. But that philosophy is flawed. As Technical Architect, Rex Morgan illustrates: “Security through obscurity would be burying your money under a tree. The only thing that makes it safe is no one knows it’s there. Real security is putting it behind a lock or combination, say in a safe. You can put the safe on the street corner because what makes it secure is that no one can get inside it but you.” Similarly to cloud computing, open source software has always gotten the bad reputation of being a security risk, especially in its early development. But that perception loses validity when you look at products like Linux, for example, which is one of the most secure operating systems in the world and was developed using open source code. The real strength of an open source platform is in its community: the more people looking at the code, the higher the chance of spotting flaws and fixing them quickly. This is what’s missing in the “security through obscurity” approach. Cloud computing has come a long way since the 90s: today it’s just as secure, if not more so, than local intranets. It’s thanks to hackers and the community of developers and testers that cloud providers are able to continuously improve on security: the cloud is so easily accessible online that millions of people can look at the framework and find the vulnerabilities. Essentially, cloud providers open themselves up for security risks, let everyone take their best shot and then they go in and fix the holes. Over time, the community helps to harden the framework and eliminate the risks. There are even companies like GitHub, who create bounty programs to openly encourage people to try and hack into their servers and report the risk for a cash reward. In terms of ownership, with cloud computing you are only giving up possession of your data in the sense that it’s not stored on your local drive. The benefit is that the

4 Comparisons that Prove Video is the “BIGGEST” Big Data.

May 12, 2014
Every day, the world records over 413 Petabytes of video data. (Or the combined storage space of 92 Million CD-ROMS) At 413 Petabytes produced each day, video is the “Biggest” Big Data. If you did not believe it before, these comparison stats should make you a believer, Google – Processes 20 Petabytes of data each day. Walmart – Walmart POS transactions generate 2.2 Petabytes per day. Youtube – Every minute, 100 hours of video is uploaded to Youtube, equalling 0.023 Petabytes per day. The National Security Agency – The NSA only touches ~ 30 Petabytes of data on a daily basis. Equivalent to 1.6% of all data carried by the internet per day. Clearly, video is producing a lot more data than other medias. You might be asking, “How do we create so much video data?.” Every day, millions of surveillance cameras are recording all around the world. Most of these cameras are recording 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Out of the hundreds of Millions of hours of recorded video, most of it will never be viewed – and with good reason. With most recorded footage, there is nothing happening on the screen. However, what happens when something important is happening on the screen? When is this footage viewed? The simple answer – when s%$t stuff happens. Most recorded video is only viewed when stuff happens and people want answers. This is a “big” missed opportunity for insight. Video is the most context-rich source of data. It is a first-hand account of what happened. If only video could communicate what it saw, but, unfortunately, video is largely unstructured, unsearchable and inaccessible. At Solink, we’ve taken the unstructured video content and turned it into a structured, searchable form of data. We’ve also decoupled the video content from video hardware so that it is accessible to multiple departments and decision-makers in real-time. Our platforms built-in contextual analytics engine and our department specific applications empower employees and managers to use video with other forms of data to solve problems and recognize opportunities in real-time. The Solink Video Discovery Platform processes terabytes of data at a time allowing users to mine and extract value from video and other forms of data – fast. Solink combines video with other forms of data, such as, POS, ATM, access control, sensor and more, for unique and detailed insights. This level of intelligence can be useful in many applications and can help foster a data-driven culture in any organization. The opportunities with video data are abundant. Solink has already taken care of the first step – making video a discoverable medium for advanced analytics and problem solving. Have you factored video data into your business intelligence strategy? Talk to our team to find out how.
Solink

Hikvision and Solink Announce Integration Partnership

April 2, 2014
City of Industry, California – April 2, 2014 — Hikvision and Solink announce the integration of Hikvision’s imbedded recording solutions with Solink’s event-based video discovery platform. The integration allows Hikvision’s video recorders to seamlessly access Solink’s unique contextual analytics and business applications for loss prevention, operations, risk management, and other data intensive fields. Hikvision operates in a diverse set of verticals including retail and offers a wide range of best-in-class video recording products, ranging from SMB sectors to professional enterprise applications. Rich variety of core functions is available, including recording, display, playback, camera management, triggered recording on prescribed events and search on parameters such as date, timeline and event. Hikvision video storage solutions provide users maximum benefits in terms of ease-of-use, massive storage capacity and system reliability. Solink’s retail application uses video data to help retailers understand and make better decisions around loss prevention and content management. Integration with Hikvision allows retailers to better manage shrink through a contextual exception based reporting system. By adding structured video data to traditional data sources, Solink enables decision makers to quickly identify and react to threats and opportunities across their business. “Our customers are interested in maximizing the use of video intelligence to protect business assets and increase revenue,” said Jeffrey He, president Hikvision USA. “Our association with Solink opens a new level of enhanced video analytics and content analysis that will redefine the use and value of stored and live video recordings.” “With integrations to many point of sale and retail solution vendors currently available, Solink can analyze customer and employee behavior by leveraging video and data analytic triggers”, said Solon Angel, head of product at Solink. “The Solink platform allows for data to be consolidated and alerted-upon once suspicious events are identified. This type of data-driven decision making is quickly becoming a standard amongst owners, managers and executive teams.” About Solink Solink is a leader in making unstructured video a discoverable medium for data-driven decision making within the enterprise. Solink is enabling the convergence of physical security video and big-data analytics. The unique “contextual analytics” applied by our applications enable customers to make greater sense of the massive amounts of video and enterprise data they collect – making it more accurate, rich and usable. Solink is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada and full information is available at www.solinkcorp.com. About Hikvision Hikvision is the world’s largest supplier of video surveillance products and solutions. The company specializes in innovative video surveillance technology, as well as designing and manufacturing a full-line of innovative CCTV and video surveillance products. Since its inception in 2001, Hikvision has quickly achieved a leading worldwide market position in the security industry. Hikvision possesses the world’s largest R&D team and state-of-art manufacturing facilities; both allow Hikvision’s customers the benefit of world-class products that are designed with cutting-edge technology. As a further commitment to its customers, Hikvision annually reinvests 7% of its revenue into R&D for continued product innovation and improvement. Hikvision has global operations with regional offices in the United States,
Solink

Solink Introduces Contextual Analytics

March 20, 2014
OTTAWA, Canada – March 20, 2014 – Solink Corporation is pleased to announce the release of its unique event-based video discovery platform at ISC West 2014. Solink was founded to address the predominantly unstructured, undiscoverable and inaccessible nature of recorded surveillance video and make it an invaluable resource for the entire enterprise. With over <ahref=”http://www.cepro.com/article/video_surveillance_recordings_create_413_petabytes_of_data_every_day/”>400 Petabytes being created and stored daily, recorded video has become the epitome of “Big Data”. Solink connects surveillance video with the rest of the enterprise– databases, transactional systems, and sensors to enable context-driven insight – called contextual analytics. Working with a variety of technology partners, Solink’s platform currently enables applications for the financial and retail marketplace. These applications give employees and managers an easy-to-use tool to identify and process operational challenges that are better resolved through video. The platform is designed for large-scale environments where hundreds or thousands of locations need to be consistently monitored. Solink’s banking application provides financial institutions the ability to monitor suspicious activity at ATMs and Tellers detect and prevent fraud. For example, when multiple cash transactions take place, and the surveillance video shows a single customer present during all transactions then this irregular behaviour may indicate a form of fraud. For retailers, Solink’s application identifies customer and employee patterns and creates visualizations, such as heat maps to identify purchasing habits. Data such as inventory logs, loyalty cards and transactional data is automatically paired with recorded video to gain unique insights into buying patterns and sales conversion. Retailers use contextual analytics to track in-store customer movement, increase operational efficiency and optimize store layout. The application also provides retailers with “contextual” exception based reporting capabilities. “Solink is helping banks and retailers make more informed decisions through video. This includes how to best protect assets, become more competitive, and increase employee productivity,” said Mike Matta, Solink Co-Founder and CEO. “Solink is also expanding its applications into other Big Data relevant verticals that are able to use video to find more efficient ways to leverage existing data streams.” Solink is funded by Wesley Clover International – an early investor in March Networks. About Solink Solink is a leader in making unstructured video a discoverable medium for data-driven decision making within the enterprise. Solink is enabling the convergence of physical security video and big-data analytics. The unique “contextual analytics” applied by our applications enable customers to make greater sense of the massive amounts of video and enterprise data they collect – making it more accurate, rich and usable. Solink is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada. For a full demo, schedule a call with one of our Loss Prevention experts.

When Data Met Context: A Story About Non-Obvious Relationships

January 31, 2014
Most decisions in business are made by looking at the facts, aka the numbers. This can be a problem because sometimes numbers can lie, or give false conclusions when taken out of context. Ask yourself this, how many times have you admitted fault when replying with the words, “Well, when you put it that way”. This is the power of contextual analytics. “Contextual Analytics is the ability to analyze the actions of a particular person, place or thing and to convert that understanding into a proactive business tool for an actionable means.” When you contextualize data, some interesting things happen. You make new relationships between previously unrelated data points, you improve the accuracy of prediction models, and you are able to separate the relevant data from the irrelevant. When you understand the uniqueness of a person, place or thing, you can take advantage of new opportunities, or better protect yourself against non-obvious threats. At Solink, our platform leverages security video as a unique source of contextual data. By analyzing real-world events captured by video, our analytics are able to better understand and interpret the data generated by your business systems. While recorded video is one potential source of contextual data, we leverage a number of additional, existing data sources to get the whole story. These sources include POS, ATM, access control, sensor and machine data to name a few. By contextualizing this data, you gain a better understanding of the environment it was created in and can make better decisions around it. There are many ways that contextual analytics can have a huge impact on your business, but certain requirements need to be met before an organization can truly take advantage of this approach. Understanding that contextualized data gives stakeholders the most accurate information is the first, and probably most important, step towards developing data maturity. Only then, can an organization begin to adopt the new tools, processes and culture required to master it’s data. In a future post, we’ll talk about the three requirements of contextual analytics, and the capability model for making it a part of your daily work flows. Stay tuned! Edit: Since publishing this post over a year ago, we’ve written about the actionable ways that contextual analytics can improve your business. Here are the top ones: Reduce wait times at queue lines and keep customers happy during service delays From POS Text Overlay to Integrated Video Analytics: how transaction integration has evolved 4 technology-driven ways to reduce employee theft in your quick service restaurant
})(jQuery);