IP protection




Please provide a short description of the state-of-the-art and/or current trends in the field? How does the result fit into it?
First video surveillance systems (1960-80) used multiple analog video cameras (sensor level) to monitor  indoor or outdoor environments by transmitting and displaying analog visual signals in a remote control room (Figure 1). Multiple video signals were presented to the human operator after analog communication (local processing level) through a large set of monitors. Video streams were normally stored on analog storage devices (i.e., VHS, etc.).  

These systems suffered of (a) limited attention span of the operators that may result in a significant rate of missed events of interest or alarms [16], (b) high bandwidth requirements that limits the number of sensors to be used and (c) large amount of tapes to be stored that transform the off-line archival and retrieval of video frames containing events of interest in a complex operation.

During the period 1980-90 the fast development of electronic systems allowed to increase the performances of video cameras, personal computers and communication technologies. In particular, new video cameras characterized by higher image resolution, low cost personal computers and more robust and less expensive communications links become available on the market. In this period, second generation surveillance systems (1980-2000) became a reality (Figure 2). The main characteristics of these systems were the use of digital video communications and the use of simple automatic video processing procedures able to help the operator in detecting some simple interesting events. Several important research papers have been published in that period describing results in real-time detection and tracking of moving objects in complex scenes, human behaviour understanding,  intelligent man-machine interfaces, wireless and wired broadband access network, video compression and multimedia transmission for video based surveillance systems.


The second generation of surveillance systems reached only partially full digital video signal transmission and processing. Few system subparts use digital methods to solve communication and processing problems.

In the first years of the third millennium, studies began for providing a “full digital” design of video-based surveillance systems, ranging from the sensor level up to the presentation of adequate visual information to the operators (Figure 3). In this new architecture model, intelligent video cameras constitute the sensor layer while different advanced transmission devices using digital compression form the local processing layer. An intelligent hub able to integrate data coming from multiple low-level layers constitute the main component of the network layer, where all communications are in digital form. Finally, an advanced Man-Machine Interface (MMI) assists the operator by focusing his attention to a subset of interesting events and possible pre-alarms.


Eye-Tech aims at bringing third generation surveillance systems from academy to market.




What is the problem/need/knowledge gap that the research result is responding to?  How was it addressed before?
Current surveillance systems available on the market are CCTV systems that require a human operator to detect anomalous patterns. Recently, consumer products are available as software for webcams that can detect movement in the observed scene. The former are very expensive as they require the continuous presence of a security operator. The latter are very economical but very prone to false alarms and cannot be configured to detect complex activity that needs to be distinguished from normality.The research result introduces an effective solution for wide (possibly outdoor)area automatic surveillance. It can ease the chore of a human operator in the continuous surveillance of several points of interest simultaneously. In addition, it allows the detection of complex anomalous activity as a deviation from normal patterns in the observed environment. The system is configurable by an operator and can be applied to a wide spectrum of domains.




What is the potential for further research?
Given the wide applicability of the system to every domain where safety and/or security need to be enforced to protect people or property, the proposed R&D result has a strong potential. Further improvements can be achieved by adding multiple heterogeneous sensors (other than cameras) that can provide extended functionalities and capabilities (e.g. radars, audio sensors, infrared barriers, pressure sensors, etc.).




What is the potential of the research result for synergy with other research areas either in the same or in a different discipline?
The R&D result has a strong potential of synergy with other research areas.  Within the ICT area it could be foreseeable to extended the functionality and  capabilities of the system by employing different types of sensors (e.g. radar, audio sensors). Each new sensor other than cameras, would require a different ICT expertise.Other synergies can be foreseen by varying the application domain of the system (e.g. transport, health-care, military surveillance, etc.). Each new application domain would provide specific a priori knowledge to be embedded in the system . This may foster the development of the system to add new functionalities.




What is the proposed method of IPR-protection? (patent, license, trademark etc.)
The only form of  IPR protection that could be envisaged for a software inItalyis copyright.Patenting could be possible only by presenting a comprehensive hardware and software solution in which the software is strongly coupled with the hardware.Software copyright protection will be pursued first. Patenting is currently under investigation and will probably be achieved later. 




What are the steps that need to be taken in order to secure the IPR-protection? What is the cost of IPR-protection?
The software copyright procedure inItalyconsists in a communication to the national copyright authority (SIAE). The procedure itself is very inexpensive.




What is the expected impact of the research result? (industry, society, administration etc. and target groups of beneficiaries)
In general, the expected impact is heightened safety and security of persons, goods,  and properties.The system may also provide additional benefits to in specific domains as the software can be customized for particular needs. For example, in a shopping mall the system may provide, in addition  to surveillance capabilities, the functionality of counting the number of customers that enter and exit the shop. This information can be cross-checked with sales data with the purpose of evaluating the ratio between buyers and visitors.It is foreseen a general reduction of the costs related to human-based surveillance and the requalification of surveillance personnel. This allows for a wider adoption of surveillance systems that can increase the actual and perceived safety in the society. 




What is you overall assessment of the scientific maturity of the research result?
Given the current developments in computer vision and surveillance research that allow for more and more sophisticated algorithms to be applied for the understanding of real-world scenes, and given the results already provided by the existing prototype, the maturity of the R&D result can be ready, after decades of research and development, to hit the market.





Scientific maturity 1 2 X 4 5
Synergies 1 2 3 X 5
State-of-the-art/innovation 1 2 3 4 X
IPR-potential 1 2 X 4 5



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