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Departments : First Look

Vu Digital: Bringing It All Into View

Vu Digital's Video S.M.A.R.R.T. uses automated facial recognition and audio transcription to create an easily searchable database of body-worn camera video for efficient evidence management.

July 08, 2016  |  by - Also by this author

Photo: Vu Digital
Photo: Vu Digital

Video S.M.A.R.R.T. from Vu Digital is a complete video management simplification tool for law enforcement. The letters in S.M.A.R.R.T. stand for Storage, Metadata, Automated, Redaction, Review, and Technology, which covers the ways in which the product helps an agency manage video evidence, including sharing evidence with district attorneys and finding relevant information within the data for a multitude of uses.

The original version of this product allowed large consumer companies to quickly analyze a high volume of videos to obtain information they could use for money-making opportunities. But the facial identification and audio transcription technology that made this possible has now been repurposed with a customized user interface for law enforcement.

"For police departments and district attorneys, what they really need is a way to quickly manage their video and sort through it because it takes too long to view it in real time," says Wade Smith, vice president of operations at Vu Digital.

Video S.M.A.R.R.T. makes this easy by using advanced algorithms to decipher and tag data, including images, audio, and text. The software breaks video into frames, and then analyzes each frame looking for faces and text and tagging it. All of this "metadata" is then time stamped.

"You can conduct a search of a single video or hundreds of videos to find relevant names that were spoken or text of a street name in view. Then you can bring it up and view it instantly," explains Smith. "That's because we've appended metadata to every half-second of video."

The reason a search can bring up specific words or names that were spoken is that Video S.M.A.R.R.T. also creates an audio transcript of each video through an automated system. This means an officer can type in a person's name or any keyword such as "drugs" and search for any time it was said in a video. Smith says this is most users' favorite feature.

This audio transcript also helps in the redaction process. "You just highlight the words you don't want, and they go away and aren't in there in the replay," says Smith. Redacting faces or place names is a similar simple process. A complete audit trail keeps track of all redactions, edits, and file sharing to ensure all chain-of-custody protocols are followed.

Another way Video S.M.A.R.R.T. saves agencies time and resources is by making it easier to determine when portions of video are not relevant to a case. For example, you can have video from body cameras at the same scene all synced together in time so you can view them together or individually. You can often quickly tell that some officers wearing body cameras are away from the immediate scene conducting tasks like holding a perimeter and their video will not be relevant to the case.

The program also allows you to view the wavelength of sounds in a video. So if you see a flatline, you know there are no words spoken in that section, and you can instantly skip it. "The ability to have an automated transcript helps, and skipping through 'dead' portions of video saves time as well," says Smith.

Making every step of handling digital evidence very visual is one of Video S.M.A.R.R.T.'s strengths. Its timeline feature breaks a video down into visual chunks that can also be fully searched, which aids in investigation. Thumbnail images of an event appear on the lefthand side of the screen in sequence, with all of the words spoken in each segment appearing underneath. "It allows you to quickly scroll through the video and see something you might have missed," says Smith.

Video S.M.A.R.R.T. harnesses the power of the cloud via Amazon Web Services to conduct all processes in merely minutes. Everything is web-based, and can be made to work with any existing systems an agency may have. You can also purchase the full solution or choose to only have audio transcription and face ID. The company typically charges by volumes of hours, with tiered pricing breaks. Vu Digital aims to be flexible to meet a department's needs.

"It's about saving agencies money and resources related to sorting through video evidence," says Smith. "We provide a quick, easy solution, and having all of your video detailed with granular metadata can only help going forward."

http://www.vudigital.com/smart/

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