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The Future of Dataveillance: Breaking Rules by Making Rules

02 October 2017

Write Custom Rules

Welcome to the final installment of our three-part Interview Room special on Dataveillance.

So far in our special series on Dataveillance, we’ve explored how and why the concept came to be, its significance to the evolution for Synectics’ Synergy 3 command and control software, and the issues it can help address as a security, safety, and operational management tool.

But what is next for Dataveillance? How is it set to evolve and what might help or hinder that process? We caught up with John Katnic, Vice President of Global Gaming at Synectics – who was there when the Dataveillance proof-of-concept was first launched to the gaming community – to find out what the future holds.

When we spoke to Neil, he mentioned that GIS mapping integration might present interesting opportunities around Dataveillance. Can you tell us about that?

GIS (Geographic Information Systems) is a term usually applied to any software solution that enables you to read and analyze map data. Nothing new or particularly ground-breaking there – it’s a widely adopted technology and ultimately a commonplace navigational tool.

Where it gets really interesting in relation to Dataveillance is when you look specifically at integration, and how data layers can be applied to visually ‘surface up’ live information.

In a casino, for example, systems integration means data from point of sale, gaming tables, slots, etc. can be pushed to a command and control solution ‒ in our case Synergy 3 ‒ where ‘show me’ rules can be applied to identify events and trends of interest.

But what if those events and trends were automatically identified and presented in real time on a map of the entire gaming property? What if, at a glance, operatives can see jackpot hot-spots, anomalous footfall, comps exceeding thresholds or roulette play outside statistical averages? By integrating Dataveillance with GIS that’s exactly what can happen.

Surveillance teams can see, hover, click and dive into data to rapidly investigate and manage incidents, a capability which means GIS goes from being a basic navigational application to real-time data support tool.

How do you see Dataveillance evolving in the future?

Rules are traditionally associated with restriction. But with Dataveillance, rules are liberating – they have the power to unburden us from the heavy and distracting weight of data, lightening the load to enable fleet-of-foot understanding and response.

They are also liberating in the level of customization they offer, and I think this is where we could see the most exciting developments in the long run.

Our ambition is to make the process of writing Dataveillance rules simpler and easier so that users are encouraged to start customizing and creating their own developments ‒ rules that perhaps become apps which can be used to promote best practice across entire sectors. It’s a process happening in so many other facets of business, why not with surveillance and security?

That’s a long game view. Regarding more immediate developments I think ‒ as Neil Waudby quite rightly referenced earlier in this Dataveillance series ‒ the evolution and adoption of workflow capabilities are going to be a key mile marker. In that respect, the most important evolutionary phase in the journey relates to usage. Enabling data to drive both decision making and consistency by aligning action with standardized response procedures, is a powerful resource and one which still needs embedding as a realistic opportunity.

Are there any barriers that still need to be overcome?

Definitely. The surveillance industry has been stymied by integration restrictions and mindset siloes that have kept Dataveillance as a solution of tomorrow, even though it is a technology of today. With this in mind, I’d say the most significant hurdles relate to systems integration rather than Dataveillance itself.

Migration to IP remains a priority in this respect. The process can still seem a daunting and expensive prospect for businesses with significant analog infrastructure. The availability and sophistication of hybrid solutions have helped ease the transition for many, but there is still have a long way to go.

Also, while conformity programs such as ONVIF have helped to promote standardized interfaces for IP-based physical security products such as cameras and access control, the same cannot be said for many third-party solutions. Sector-specific technologies ‒ from baccarat systems in casinos to passenger counting solutions for transport environments ‒ are often still highly proprietary, making the integration process more difficult and one that requires customization.

Our approach and the approach of progressive tech manufacturers is to develop integration partnerships to help ensure leading solutions are compatible. But more needs to be done to capitalize fully on the opportunities at hand.

What would you say to people who might argue that software can never replace human detection and intuition?

I’d say they are quite right; it can’t. But I would also say they are missing the point. Dataveillance is not meant to be a replacement for human capability; it is a support tool to maximize it.

You are always going to need, and benefit from, the skills that an experienced surveillance operative can offer. For example, there was a case in the US where a poker machine programmer had built-in a hack to pay out on specific number combinations. The low value, high access scam avoided suspicion and over the years earned him millions of dollars. He was only caught because a surveillance operative saw him throw away a “sure hand” at an unusual moment in play.

Regardless of sector, you can never over-estimate the value of industry knowledge and experience. But, with the right technology, you can harness and use that knowledge to better effect.

We are a generation that excels at generating data but one woefully equipped to understand and use it. Without adapting and adopting tools to help, it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information at our disposal. The Dataveillance engine in Synergy 3 lets customers create the ideal marriage between human interaction and software automation to drive informed, refined surveillance.

Dataveillance and Synergy 3

Find out how the Dataveillance engine in Synergy 3 correlates video, alarm, and other information from multiple third party systems, and enables security managers to create “if/and/or” rules for real-time analysis and trigger alarms and workflows.