Leveraging 5G and edge based AI video analytics to generate real-time data - The EE

Leveraging 5G and edge based AI video analytics to generate real-time data

Opportunities created by the ever-increasing availability of 5G are wide-ranging in number across the transportation sector, from responding to safety incidents in real-time, to ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience for passengers. 5G promises enormous possibilities for travel providers at railways stations and other transportation hubs, as well as across the transport infrastructure and the freight industry, says Chris Bishop, marketing director, Ipsotek, an Atos company.

With the advent of increased bandwidth to transmit data via 5G, solar-powered cameras can be easily installed at transport hubs, helping to support the growing need for carbon-neutral initiatives. When combined with edge-based AI, CCTV footage can provide a wealth of new insights to assist in making transportation even more safe, secure, reliable, and efficient.

Benefits from such integration include the capability to alert staff and trigger automated responses to critical incidents. Metadata gathered from edge-based AI solutions can be visualised in real time via dynamic dashboards to assist transport operators in planning and managing their transport networks and infrastructure.

5G is an enabler for ubiquitous AI-driven video analytics, which in turn makes the deployment of CCTV cameras easier and therefore has the potential to transform the passenger experience. Gathering operational parameters from computer-processed video streams to better understand passenger flow at transport hubs, allows operators to develop a frictionless customer experience.

With less time spent queuing or waiting around within a railway station or airport, passengers have more time for shopping, dining, and entertainment, which is where retailers can focus on in-person or personalised experiences for passengers via mobile apps.

With increasing pressure on operators to comply with new safety protocols, the effective management of queues and crowds at transport hubs is more important than ever. Using real-time video and edge-based AI analytics, operators can detect the formation of queues in real-time and swiftly open additional lanes or redirect passengers to different locations.

Other critical use cases include the rapid detection of abandoned luggage, passengers loitering in restricted areas, or moving against the general direction of a crowd, enabling alerts to be quickly raised. This level of detection can be lifesaving in some cases such as a passenger stepping onto railway tracks or entering railway tunnels.

Further enhancements to security enabled by the adoption of 5G infrastructure include security checks and controls using mobile devices and facial recognition technologies e.g., detecting a person of interest (“POI”) on a security watchlist.

Monitoring rail infrastructure and tracks using cameras and edge-based AI video analytics can also contribute to health and safety improvements and real-time incident response. Take level crossings for example; gaining early warning of a person or vehicle on the track would significantly minimise disruption, and data gathered over 5G networks from level crossings could be analysed as part of longer-term infrastructure planning and management.

The scope for contactless travel can also be expanded using 5G for a faster, easier, and more convenient travel experience for passengers. In the future, it’s not unrealistic to foresee a scenario whereby all a passenger might need to do is scan their smartphone to access an airport car park, find their allocated parking space, then use the same device for biometric ID to pass through security. Looking even further ahead, we’ll inevitably start to see more use of 5G enabled autonomous vehicles at travel hubs for passenger services such as luggage handling, entertainment and hospitality.

5G will also help alleviate the strain on human resources when it comes to intelligent operations and asset management. Any incident has the potential to seriously disrupt and delay travel services, which is why effective detection and incident response makes such a huge difference to any travel operator.

Chris Bishop

Another application for 5G coupled with edge-based AI video analytics is Cargo handling at ports, airports, and railway stations. These operations could benefit from using a handheld or IoT readers for scanning barcodes, with all collected data sent via 5G to a central location and accessible by service providers and logistics partners.

Connecting and gathering data from IoT devices at ports reading codes on freight containers would further increase the speed and efficiency of unloading and loading, with huge benefits particularly during bad weather or remote locations and without compromising security or health & safety for staff.

The potential offered by 5G is huge, and its capacity for enhancing the passenger experience while also providing transportation hubs with access to more actionable data and increased security capabilities is clear. When combined with advanced video analytics and AI at the edge, the scope for identifying potential hazards and critical incidents will help transportation providers improve operations and increase revenues.

The author is Chris Bishop, marketing director, Ipsotek, an Atos company.

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