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Smart software makes big improvement for video surveillance

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20 September 2010

Curtin University spin-off company iCetana has won a $25,000 “Broadband Innovation Award” at this year’s Tech23 conference in Sydney, for its innovative surveillance software that reports only significant rare or infrequent motion events in video surveillance.

The conference is an annual gathering of 23 of the best innovative companies in Australia, and attracts top tech industry leaders as well as potential investors, entrepreneurs, business mentors and possible clients.

The video analytics solution means that less than one percent of video surveillance footage that might contain events such as loitering, anti-social behaviour and traffic violations needs to be viewed by CCTV surveillance operators.

iCetana collaborates with Professor Svetha Venkatesh and her research team at Curtin University’s Institute of Multi-sensor Processing and Content Analysis (IMPCA), where the team researched the mathematical techniques and designed the innovative technology for “anomaly detection in large data-sets”.

“The software first ‘learns’ from existing footage of a fixed field view security camera,” iCetana Director Matthew Macfarlane, said. “Having gone through the learning process, it then starts to monitor and report unusual behaviour.”

“So, when someone runs across the street, dances on the footpath, climbs a wall or a fight breaks out, then it is picked up and security staff are alerted.”

Other video analytics systems rely on pre-defined coding of the expected anomalies, which will never be able to cover all event possibilities.

To date, more than 50,000 hours of footage has been analysed from video cameras at three pilot sites and during this time no activities were missed by the software that should have been picked up.

“This has resulted in a substantial productivity lift, and it means that things are being reported in real time,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“It reduces some of the industry problems of massive data overload, lack of real time alerts and operator fatigue in monitoring centres.”

iCetana’s CEO Gary Pennefather was elated at winning the award.

“Innovations like iCetana’s intelligent video software will change the way video surveillance is used,” Mr Pennefather said.

“Improved access to broadband networks will enable the ubiquitous uptake of IP-based video solutions and other IP related technologies for commercial entities through to home consumers.”

While currently targeted at the high-end security market, it is anticipated that in a couple of years this technology will allow home consumers to easily monitor activities on their properties from a home web camera.

Mr Pennefather thanked the dedicated team at iCetana, researchers at Curtin University, tech industry leaders at Tech23 and the NSW Government for supporting Australian-developed innovation and for having the vision to assist technologies such as iCetana’s that can make a difference to public safety and security.


Gary Pennefather, CEO, iCetana, 0418 915 821 Email:

Stephen  Bose, iCetana 043 583 4578 Email:

Teresa Belcher, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 9085, Mobile: 0401 103 755, Email:

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