How To Get Started with Video Analytics

Video Analytics Overview

Video Analytics enables smarter video alerts on what matters most. It actively detects and distinguishes between people, animals, and vehicles to reduce nuisance alerts. Combined with new virtual tripwires and fenced-in activity zones, youcan enhance perimeter security and gain more insight into activity on your property.

Once a person, vehicle or animal is detected, you can receive an enhanced alert with a thumbnail image of what was caught on camera. Also control what should trigger a video alert and what can be ignored. For example, when a:

  • Person enters your yard at night, but not animals
  • Car pulls into the driveway, but not when it drives past
  • Pet gets on the sofa, but not when it walks around the room
  • Person loiters on the porch, but not when mail is delivered
  • Employee enters a restricted area, but not meeting rooms

Additionally, Video Analytics can even trigger light automations like turning on an outdoor Z-wave light when a person is detected on the property.

When viewing Video Analytics clips, playback begins when people, vehicles or animals are detected.

What is required to use Video Analytics?

The use of Video Analytics requires two things:

  • An active Alarm.com account with Video Analytics enabled
  • 1 or more compatible cameras.

Through Surety, the Surety Complete plan includes Video Analytics.

Which Video Devices Support Video Analytics?

The following video devices are compatible with Video Analytics:

  • 1080p Indoor Wi-Fi Camera (ADC-V523) *
  • 1080p Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera (ADC-V723) *
  • Indoor Fixed w/IR (ADC-V522IR)
  • 180° HD Camera (ADC-V622) *
  • Outdoor Wireless (ADC-V722W)
  • Indoor/Outdoor Mini Bullet (ADC-VC726)
  • Indoor/Outdoor Dome (ADC-VC826)
  • Indoor/Outdoor Turret Camera (ADC-VC836)
  • Indoor/Outdoor Bullet Camera (ADC-VC736)

*Requires Calibration prior to creating Video Analytics Rules

Calibrating Cameras and Best Practices

Once you have Video Analytics enabled on your Alarm.com account and you have a compatible camera, its time to get Video Analytics set up!

Calibration

Note that some cameras will require calibration once they have been installed prior to setting up Video Analytics rules. Those cameras are:

  • 180º HD Camera (ADC-V622)
  • 1080p Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera (ADC-V723)
  • 1080p Indoor Wi-Fi Camera (ADC-V523)

The calibration process involves taking five still images of a person or object in different locations visible to the camera.

Important : The video device should be re-calibrated whenever it is moved to another location.

Calibrate the camera

You can calibrate the cameras using the Alarm.com mobile app or website. Using a mobile device to complete the calibration is recommended because the user can take the calibration images while standing where they need to be.

To open the calibration page using the Customer app:
  1. Log into the mobile app.
  2. Tap Menu
  3. Tap Video .
  4. Tap Settings
  5. Tap Calibrate Cameras .
  6. Tap > next to the device to calibrate.
To open the calibration page using the Customer Website:
  1. Log into the website.
  2. Click Video .
  3. On the Video banner, click Settings .
  4. Using the Video Device drop down menu, select the video device to calibrate.
  5. Click Video Analytics Calibration .

Complete the camera calibration

Important : If this is the first time the camera is being set up for Video Analytics, the camera’s existing Video Motion Detection (VMD) rules will be removed, but they can be added back later.

  1. On the Camera Calibration page, click Continue

    Calibration-1 .

  2. Click Take Photo.

    Calibration-2

  3. Verify that the bounding boxes are as close around the object as possible, and the entire object is in view.

  • If the snapshot needs to be retaken, click Retake Photo

    Calibration-3

    • A person’s entire body must be in view of the camera, head to toe.
    • Each snapshot should be as different as possible to ensure good calibration.
  • Edit the bounding box to exactly fit around the detected body.

  1. Click Next .

  2. After five images are captured, click Submit .

  3. Once the calibration is complete, click Done

    Calibration-4

  4. If the calibration is unsuccessful, review the snapshots and correct them as necessary.

Video Analytics Camera Setup Best Practices

Camera position, angle, and distance requirements
Position Position the camera 8-16 feet above the ground. If the camera is repositioned, recreate all of the rules and recalibrate the camera if the camera supports calibration
Angle Angle the camera downward between 30°-60°. The horizon line should be as level as possible with the ground at the bottom of the image. This recommended angle provides for an ideal field of view while avoiding clouds and trees. Video Analytics is designed to work with an angled-down perspective; not horizontal, and not top-down.
Distance Targets should not be farther than 25 feet away (15 feet at night), and the entire target should be visible inside the camera’s field of view.
Environment Be aware of any bright lights (i.e., motion-triggered floodlights) near the camera that may attract insects or affect exposure and IR settings. Mount the camera in such a way that a vehicle’s headlights do not shine directly into the camera.Avoid reflective surfaces (i.e. overhangs/eaves, walls, etc) that will reflect IR lights at night and make it difficult to see objects further away as reflective surfaces become overexposed.

Recommended Camera locations

  • Overlooking a driveway
  • Overlooking a front porch or wherever packages are dropped off
  • An area of interest around a yard, where kids or animals are sometimes seen
  • Indoor entryways, exit ways, or hallways of interest

Not recommended

  • Areas with constant or uninteresting motion (e.g., roads with regular vehicle movement, trees constantly swaying in the wind, etc.)
  • Pointing cameras out a window, as screen interference and reflections cause Video Analytics performance issues

Create a Rule with Video Analytics

Video Analytics rules can be configured using the Alarm.com website or mobile app.

Note : It is possible to create up to three Video Analytics rules on the same camera. Additionally, ground zones and tripwires can overlap.

Using the Customer Website:
  1. Log into the Customer Website.
  2. Click Video .
  3. Click Recording Rules .
  4. Click Add Rule .
  5. In the New Video Recording Rule window, select Video Analytics .
Using the Customer app:
  1. Log into the Customer app.
  2. Tap Video .
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Tap Recording Rules .
  5. Tap + Add New Rule .
  6. Tap Video Analytics .

Select the rule type

  1. Click to select the desired camera. If the camera needs to be calibrated, you will be directed to the Calibrate page (see above)

  1. In Select Type , click to select the rule type.
  • Click Tripwire when a target is likely to cross through the camera’s field of view or when objects enter or exit an area (e.g., a car pulling into or backing out of a driveway).

Rule-2

  • Click Ground Zone when a target is likely to linger in the camera’s field of view (e.g., a person delivering a package on the front porch).

Rule-3

  1. If the camera has Video Motion Detection (VMD) recording rules set up, they must be deleted before setting up a Video Analytics rule. When prompted with the following warning, click OK to continue.

    Rule-4

  2. Click Next.

Select the camera scene

  1. In Scenery , click to select Indoors or Outdoors based on where the camera is installed. The camera should be marked outdoors if it will be exposed to rain, snow, spider webs, or moving trees and set to indoors if in a controlled outdoor environment (e.g., a screened-in porch).

Note : This selection must be the same across all recording rules associated with a specific camera.

Rule-5

  1. Use the Minimum Object Detection Size slider to adjust how small an object can be and still trigger a recording. It is recommended to keep this at its suggested value upon initial rule creation. Very Large captures the fewest recordings only of the largest objects, and Very Small captures the most recordings including large and small objects.

Note: Certain video devices have a calibration process that replaces the Minimum Object Detection Size setting. Minimum Object Detection Size will not appear on this page for those cameras. For more information about the calibration process, see above.

Rule-6

  1. Click Next.

To Configure a Ground Zone rule:

Skip this section if Tripwire was chosen during rule type selection.

  1. In the Rule Name field, enter a name for the recording rule.
  2. Click and drag the corners of the shape to cover only the ground where the target’s feet will be. To clear the current area of interest and restart, click Clear ground zone .
  • Click and hold inside the shape to move it around without changing its shape.

    Rule-7

  1. Using the Duration Inside Area of Interest drop down menu, select the desired time an object needs to stay inside the Ground Zone to trigger a recording.

To Configure a Tripwire rule:

Skip this section if Ground Zone was chosen during rule type selection.

  1. In the Rule Name field, enter a name for the recording rule.

  2. Click and drag the Tripwire to cover only the ground where the target’s feet cross. The arrow determines which direction the object must be moving to trigger a recording. To clear the current Tripwire and restart, click Clear Tripwire.

    Rule-8

  3. Customize the direction of movement to be recorded:

  • In Direction , click Switch directions to switch the direction of the movement to capture.
  • Click to select Both Directions to record when an object crosses the Tripwire regardless of which direction it is moving.

To configure schedules, exceptions, and notifications for the rule:

  1. Using the Set Minimum Delay Between Clips drop down menu, select the desired time frame. This setting determines how long the camera must wait after recording a clip to trigger another recording.

    Rule-9

  2. In The Rule will run… , click to select At all times or Only during the following times.

  • If Only during the following times is selected:
    • Click to select the days of the week to record on.
    • Using the Begin dropdown menu, select the time for the recording rule to start.
    • Using the End dropdown menu, select the time for the recording rule to stop.

Rule-10

  1. In Except when… , click to select any available exceptions that turn the rule off regardless of the schedule. Options depending on the equipment include: the panel is armed away, the panel is armed stay, and Geo-Device is inside a specified Geo-Fence.

    Rule-11

  2. In Send notification for clips containing… , click to select the types of clips that the user wants to be notified about. The camera records and uploads all motion it detects but only sends a notification to the user based on the selected notification options.

    Rule-12
    Note : Clips included in the Other category are when the camera detects an object but is unable to determine which type of object it is.

  3. Click to select the desired notification recipients. It is recommended to use push notifications to a phone using the drop down option to attach a thumbnail.

    Rule-13

To configure light automation for the rule:

Camera-driven light automation rules require Lights to be enabled on your Alarm.com service package along with at least one Z-Wave light device enrolled on the account. If these requirements are met, the Light Automation section appears toward the bottom of the Video Analytics Rule.

Note : Lights cannot be enabled during a time when the Video Analytics rule is not set to record (e.g., if a tripwire rule is drawn on a driveway and set to record only at night, lights cannot be set to turn on during the daytime because no clip would have been recorded)

  1. Using the Turn on selected lights for dropdown menu, select how long the lights should turn on for.
  2. Click to select which lights are to be automated by the rule.
  3. In Automate my light(s) when following triggers an event , click to select which events should turn on the lights when triggered.
  4. In During these time frames , click to select At all times , Only during the following times , or Only after sunset .
  • If Only during the following times is selected:
    • Click to select which days of the week on which to record.
    • Using the Begin drop down menu, select the time for the recording rule to start.
    • Using the End drop down menu, select the time for the recording rule to stop.

Rule-14

To Ensure Rule Accuracy Best Practices
  • Avoid intersecting tripwires or overlapping ground zones with objects that are prone to movements, such as trees, bushes, or other objects that move in the wind.
  • Only draw the rule where the feet or wheels of an object should cross.
    • Do not increase the size of the loiter zone or tripwire to cover the whole of the target.
    • Do not include furniture, walls, trees, or other structures in the rule/selection.
  • After observing what the rule detects over a few days, consider adjusting either the Minimum Object Detection Size slider or the camera calibration.
    • When adjusting the Minimum Object Detection Size slider:
      • Increasing the minimum object size can reduce false detection.
      • Decreasing the minimum object size can detect smaller targets.

View uploaded video clips

To view video clips using the Customer Website:
  1. Log into the Alarm.com Website.
  2. Click Video .
  3. Click Saved Video Clips .
  4. Only clips with a valid person, vehicle, or animal classification appear here by default.
  • To view clips classified as Other :
    a. Using the drop down menu next to the date pickers, select Other . To only show video clips classified as Other, deselect all other items in the drop down menu Rule-15
    b… Click Search .
  1. To play a clip:
  • In Gallery View , hover over the desired clip, then click the Play icon.
  • In List View , click the desired clip’s Clip Description.

Note : Clips that include pre-trigger recording start playing at the moment the motion is detected instead of the beginning of the clip.

To view video clips using the Customer app:

  1. Log into the Customer app.
  2. Tap Menu
  3. Tap Video .
  4. Tap Saved .
  5. Only clips with a valid person, vehicle, or animal classification appear here by default.
  • To view clips classified as Other :
    a. Tap Icon
    b. In Object Detection , tap Other . To only show clips classified as Other , deselect all other items in Clip Trigger.

    c. Tap Apply

  1. Tap Play.

Note : Clips that include pre-trigger recording start playing at the moment the motion is detected instead of the beginning of the clip.