Uri Guterman and Jan Hazlbauer highlight the opportunities available for security installers to achieve sales growth by helping their end user clients take advantage of the benefits offered by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) solutions.
We may look back in a few years time and wonder how we ever managed without ANPR in the same way we now take microwave ovens, dishwashers and smart phones for granted. ANPR is increasingly being used across a far wider and diverse range of applications which, until recently, might not even have been imagined. This is primarily because the feature-rich solutions on offer from leading developers are now much more powerful and reliable than earlier generations of ANPR.
The opportunity for installers of video surveillance solutions to generate new revenue streams from ANPR is supported by the latest research carried out by IHS Markit. This indicates that the global market revenues from sales of intelligent ANPR devices are forecast to reach $800 million by 2022 and then increase at a compound annual growth rate of 16.4%.
ANPR has historically been used by the police to verify if a car has been stolen, is untaxed or uninsured. It has also been deployed by local authorities to enforce parking and traffic violations and by petrol station managers to combat the problem of people driving off without paying for fuel. More recently, car park operators have been employing ANPR to control the entry and exit of ‘white-listed’ vehicles.
Increased functionality and the availability of ANPR solutions which are affordable for virtually any application means that security installers can now assist their end user clients to use ANPR beyond traditional security purposes.
Indeed, we’ve already seen some interesting and unusual ANPR deployments. For example, a marketing agency is using ANPR to analyse the impact of billboard advertising campaigns. An ANPR app running on open platform HD network cameras provides data on the number of cars and the speed at which they pass the billboards. This gives an indication as to the number of people likely to have seen the adverts and for how long.
The agency is using the data to provide clients with reports on the cost effectiveness of each billboard by comparing them with others in different locations.
Also, Health and Safety procedures need to be strictly adhered to on building sites, while access must always be controlled in order to reduce the risk of the theft of valuable plant and machinery. With this in mind, ANPR has been installed at a large construction site on board a Full-HD network camera in order to minimise the number of security officers needed to manage vehicle access.
The ANPR app recognises the number plates of any vehicles which are authorised to be driven on to the site, including trucks belonging to the building company and those owned by suppliers. Depending on which vehicles have been temporarily or permanently placed on a white list, access is automatically granted or denied without any human involvement.
ANPR is also helping to keep people safe at a large logistics centre. Large numbers of people work at this very busy site. With vehicles constantly arriving and departing, the owners of the logistics centre have a Duty of Care to minimise the risk of collisions, which could result in employees or visitors being seriously injured. The software running on board the cameras installed at two separate locations recognises the number plates of vehicles moving between the two points and measures their average speed while driving to or from the loading bay area. Security personnel are alerted if any driver exceeds the enforced speed limit. The potential for accidents is high at this very busy site and so security personnel are empowered to issue fines to any driver who ignores the speed limit.
Gaining access at night
A city centre hotel is using ANPR to ensure that guests are able to gain access to the car park (which has a limited number of spaces) at night. Pre-registered vehicles are automatically granted access, while on-duty managers are sent text alerts when guests drive into the car park such that they can be greeted as they enter the hotel.
The hotel takes pride in its endeavours to improve the customer experience. One way of doing this is to guarantee each guest a parking space and then make them feel special by way of a personal welcome from a senior member of the hotel team. ANPR allows them to do so efficiently and cost-effectively.
In a highly competitive market, businesses are placing a high importance on customer retention. Hotels are therefore not alone in wishing to treat their customers as VIPs. Car dealers are, for example, capitalising on the functionality of ANPR to identify returning customers as they drive into a dealership’s car park. While visits from all existing and potential customers are highly valued, the company wishes to make those customers who have previously bought top of the range models particularly welcome.
As is the case with the city hotel application, senior management are sent text alerts as well as e-mails when a customer whose vehicle has been entered onto a white list drives into the dealership’s car park.
The above are just a few examples of where ANPR is being used in innovative ways. No doubt the professional installation companies operating within the security industry will find many more ways in which to take advantage of this highly effective technology and enable clients to obtain added value from their video surveillance solutions.
Uri Guterman is Head of Product and Marketing for Hanwha Techwin Europe. Jan Hazlbauer is Project Manager for the FF Group