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Video technology has consistently enhanced society in subtle and obvious ways. Within safety and security, modern video cameras can alert the police when a crime occurs and can instantly identify license plates of stolen cars. Beyond this, video technology is used to create heat maps to determine how well certain products are performing in a store, automate access to buildings, and so much more. 

The evolution and innovation in the video technology industry is rapidly improving and advancing to meet modern needs. In fact, in the next decade, video technology will profoundly enhance the way we live and work. By 2030, we will enjoy exponential advances in video technology that will positively improve our cities, healthcare system and education system, as well as the hospitality industry. 

Of course, there is frequent confusion and ambiguity around the continuous evolution of technology. Terminology like the “internet of things” and “machine learning” can leave people more puzzled than informed. It is not always easy to understand how advances in technology benefit us. With this in mind, here are a few of the most promising ways that video technology will improve society by 2030 and beyond: 

Smart cities: Going greener

Today, 55% of the world’s population live in cities. By 2050, nearly seven out of 10 people in the world will live in urban areas. A larger population means a longer commute in many cities — on average, commutes have increased by 20% since 1980 in U.S. cities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many smart cities already use video cameras for traffic surveillance, but in the future, advanced video technology will go beyond surveillance to actually manage and improve traffic flow, and as a consequence, lessen the impact of air pollution on the city’s environment. 

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Instead of adding more lanes, many smart cities are now exploring the concept of a walkable city: using urban design to link homes, workplaces, medical centers, schools and retail stores with easily accessible pathways for pedestrian and bike use. Not only does this green solution improve air quality and people’s health, but it could also reduce traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution.

To build these walkable cities of the future, city planners will leverage video technology to aid in driving urban development. Using analytics integrated through data-driven video technology software, city administrators will track the usage of city parks or other areas that could be turned into pedestrian byways. By leveraging connected camera networks, video cameras will be able to map and identify areas for revitalization (such as parking structures that could be moved underground to create more room for walkable paths). Video technology will help increase walkability and ease of travel, and as a byproduct, it will also reduce traffic and pollution.

Healthcare: Video surgeries improve outcomes and mitigate risks

Hospitals across the globe face unique security challenges to maintain safety throughout their facilities, from parking lots to emergency rooms. 

Today’s hospital security systems use video technology to protect people and property. But hospitals of the future will look to video for help in providing precision remote surgery. Using robotic surgical technology and advanced communication systems, surgeons and patients will be connected across the country for better surgical outcomes. In short, the most qualified surgeons will be paired with patients based on need and operate from anywhere.

After the surgery, the surgeon will do remote rounds using an app to speak with the patient in the recovery room and check his/her vitals. Ultimately, precision robotic surgeries conducted by specialized surgeons could result in a reduced length of stay and/or readmission. Video technology will drastically improve the outcome of major medical events by pairing the most qualified medical professional with the patient most in need.

Additionally, cameras in the remote surgery room will be integrated with video management software, allowing it to record operating procedures and gather data during the surgery. The hospital can use the detailed recording of the procedure for training surgeons and operating room staff.

Education: Supporting positive behavior in the classroom

Today’s schools are taking a more holistic approach to security, creating an environment where safety and security tools are operating in real-time through connected networks, sharing data and information with local law enforcement to improve decision-making and event response. But video technology of the future could provide more than safety for students — it may help in promoting positive behavior and meeting academic outcomes.

Positive behavior support is a proactive approach that schools use to improve school safety and improve behavior. This framework focuses on prevention instead of punishment by using universal behavioral support in the classroom, such as reinforcing positive behavior, teaching social skills and providing targeted academic support. However, today’s process for developing support structures for classrooms can be time-consuming as teachers must manually collect and record data.

Video technology can help alleviate the data collection workload by automatically gathering video data from a classroom. If a problem behavior is identified, teachers and staff can respond with appropriate strategies or adjust behavioral or educational support to help students perform better on tests as well as overall in school. 

Ultimately, video technology can assist school administrators in improving academic performance and decreasing bullying as well as drug and alcohol use.

Hospitality: VIP service and sustainability through video technology

Many hotels use license plate recognition (LPR), access control, video analytics and motion detection to track and prevent suspicious behavior on properties. But in 10 years or so, these safety tools will be used for a full VIP experience to delight and protect guests.

In the future, when a rewards program guest arrives, LPR will identify their vehicle and alert hotel staff so the valet team greets the VIP by name. Since this particular guest has already agreed to use biometrics for a seamless check-in and check-out process, facial recognition confirms the guest’s identity along with access control that recognizes and “speaks” to their cell phone, and automatically opens the hotel suite door as they approach it. Greeted by a virtual assistant integrated through video technology, the system asks the VIP if they would like a favorite drink delivered to their room via a hospitality robot. 

This same technology will be used to do more than improve customer satisfaction and convenience. In the future, internet of things (IoT) technologies will be able to monitor water usage and temperature controls, as well as alert hotel staff to garbage and recycling bins that need attention. Motion detectors will automatically turn off lights or running water for energy conservation and provide data to the video management system. This data, in turn, will help hotel managers improve sustainability practices throughout the property.

Companies are embedding video technology to optimize their operations 

Video technology will help to make society a better place for us all to live as it continues to evolve and advance. Many companies around the world are already employing video technology in ways that go beyond security. Powered by data-driven video management software with smart video analytics, business leaders are currently using video technology to optimize processes at every level. From enabling buildings to become “smarter,” to improving city operations, video technology is helping business and public leaders run their companies efficiently — not to mention remotely.

In the future, business leaders will utilize video technology to monitor indoor and outdoor air quality and track resource usage to make campuses greener and more efficient, thereby cutting down on waste and pollution. They will use video technology in facilities with limited parking to optimize parking spaces for employees and customers, decreasing traffic congestion and improving the flow of vehicles. They will use it to automate tedious manual processes by quickly gathering and processing video data and applying predictive problem solving. 

Video technology will reshape the way we live and work as it continues to evolve and become more embedded into our lives over the next decade.

Thomas Jensen is CEO of Milestone Systems.

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