The Benefits and Opportunities of AI Video Analytics in the MENA Physical Security Market
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, more and more businesses and governments around the globe are realizing the significance of implementing technologically advanced solutions. One of the latest trends is to utilize artificial intelligence and computer vision to reduce security risks and improve safety. The physical security market is primed to benefit from AI, which can provide highly accurate and advanced analytics and has the ability to analyze big data. Therefore, AI-based security solutions are now getting wider adoption globally, with greater demand for remote video monitoring, intrusion and perimeter security and access control systems.
Though the North American region continues to dominate the market, the MENA physical security market is now growing exponentially. According to RationalStat, it is expected to grow from US$ 1.8 billion in 2022 to US$ 3.0 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of around 7%.
Investments in AI technology in this region will clearly be on the rise. In 2030, the MENA countries are expected to accrue 2% of the total global benefits of AI. This is equivalent to US$ 320 billion. The annual growth in the contribution of AI is expected to range between 20 and 34 percent per year across the region, with the fastest growth in the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia.
The market growth and the demand for physical security solutions in recent time have been driven by three main factors: the peaked construction activities, the increasing number of smart city and urban projects, and a significant increase in the number of commercial facilities such as malls, hospitals, and corporate offices. Besides, more global events such as FIFA World Cup in Qatar, are held in the region. This calls for increased safety and security of their facilities. In the last few years, they have been equipped with a huge number of surveillance cameras to monitor the surroundings, track movement and detect unauthorized access. Now we can see a tendency to modernize security infrastructure so as to make the most of the existing video surveillance systems. That is achieved by integrating AI into their security infrastructure. Apart from increased security and operational efficiency, it allows organizations to leverage the tremendous amount of data collected from video footage and convert it into actionable insights for better business decisions.
AI applications for physical security
As the Middle Eastern countries place AI at the heart of their national economic strategies, we can expect to see increased investment in and implementation of AI in a variety of businesses and sectors.
● Remote monitoring and smart video surveillance
The first AI application that has proven to be extremely useful is for improved video surveillance. As the installation and deployment of surveillance cameras are regulated by strict rules in the GCC, first of all in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, there is a growing demand for video surveillance solutions, particularly for remote monitoring. It enables facility owners and security operators to keep track of their assets, get better situational awareness and proactively respond to impending threats. AI automatically detects threats, filters out false alarms and notifies operators only of a real danger so that they can take proper action. AI-powered software can also work on drones, helping to patrol the area around the facility, guard parking lots, or inspect places that are hard to reach.
Public and private establishments and other vital places and facilities are required to utilize systems of monitoring and analyze the data collected from them. That is when AI comes in handy. AI-powered solutions not only detect incidents but also provide accurate real-time information so that security operators can make an informed decision on further actions. Aside from the benefit of real-time threat detection, which significantly reduces response time, AI allows them to make the most of video footage by analyzing a tremendous amount of data and providing actionable insights and historical data. This helps better understand trends and patterns to drive business insights, optimize operations, eliminate choke points and improve profitability.
Artificial intelligence can help Middle Eastern governments increase civil security by reducing crime rates and delivering faster criminal justice. Law enforcement can utilize AI video analytics to spot and filter any malicious activities in real-time or use it for effective pre-crime and post-crime investigations. Modern AI-based video surveillance systems also enable operators to search for a particular person or object in all the footage much faster than a human can.
● Demand for intrusion and perimeter security systems
The regional physical security market is also affected by the fact that the MENA region is gaining popularity with international tourists. Therefore, Middle Eastern and North African countries will gradually start requiring the implementation of AI video analytics in malls, residential areas, recreational facilities, and hotels to prevent intrusions and increase security protection. Perimeter security is also a key concern for businesses of all types and sizes.
Most facilities have video surveillance systems in place that can be used to monitor the perimeter for unlawful entrances into protected properties. AI-powered Intrusion Detection and Perimeter Protection solutions make it more effective due to the automation of threat detection, real-time alerts and all the accurate data that video analytics can provide. It is crucial for facility owners to have actionable information about the event to be able to either prevent intrusion or respond effectively to it.
● Access control systems
Physical access control systems have seen significant adoption across the GCC, first of all in Saudi Arabia’s commercial sector. The COVID-19 epidemic highlighted the need for safer ways to manage access control, paving the way for contactless solutions. Therefore, many organizations now rely on either mobile technologies or facial recognition solutions that don’t require physical interaction, thus reducing the risk of spreading infection.
Another tendency is to modernize access control by integrating AI video analytics into existing systems and implementing multi-factor identification to verify both employees and visitors. It results in increased safety and security and improves employee attendance control and visitor management. Besides, it helps transform building access into a seamless experience and provides extra business benefits.
● Customized security and safety solutions for the oil and gas industry
The countries of the Middle East are well known for their substantial oil reserves and production. Saudi Arabia is not only the world's largest exporter of oil, but it is also home to the world’s most valuable oil company, Saudi Aramco, which is worth around $2 trillion. The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are another two major oil producers included in the world's top ten.
There is no doubt that O&G facilities must maintain the highest levels of safety and control at all times, as a single incident can have devastating effects, causing property destruction, business interruptions, and posing risks to human life. That is why companies invest considerable resources into improving network security and entrust thousands of soldiers and guards to protect their assets. Despite this, security incidents occur regularly. Thefts, unauthorized access, vandalism, espionage, and other incidents that could disrupt their operations are quite common for all oil and gas facilities.
Leveraging artificial intelligence enables O&G companies to improve security and workplace safety, as well as optimize business operations and productivity. AI-powered computer vision solutions can be used to implement effective 24/7 perimeter monitoring, prevent unauthorized access, detect and locate threats, and trigger an immediate response by security.
AI-powered solutions can also monitor the temperature of the equipment and detect thermal anomalies that could lead to a malfunction in the system and create a fire hazard. Early warning allows the maintenance team to intervene quickly and avert disaster.
In the case of a fire hazard, a computer-vision-based solution proves to be really effective. As soon as cameras catch sight of smoke or fire, the system notifies security and alerts first responders. The faster the response, the more quickly a fire is brought under control.
Thus, leveraging AI brings a proactive approach that helps anticipate, identify and mitigate threats. By integrating AI solutions into their security systems, oil and gas facilities enhance situational awareness and better protect their assets and workers.
● Security and added value for retailers
Physical security is a key concern for retailers. The Middle East contains some iconic retail destinations and malls, including the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world; the next two by area are the Mall of Arabia and The Avenues, Bahrain. Whatever their size and type, mall operators face numerous security issues. One of the ways to address them effectively is to implement AI-powered security solutions that enable effective perimeter protection, greater threat awareness and a fast response to a problem, be it a robbery, a shoplifting incident, aggressive behavior, or an active shooter scenario. With AI video analytics, retailers can timely detect a threat and respond to it effectively.
Both retailers and mall operators are interested in how people move through stores and public areas to maximize sales and minimize congestion. Retail video analytics can track customers’ movement in a store, analyze it, and create heat maps that are further used for layout optimization, better staffing management and smarter merchandise planning. AI insights provide store managers with a clear picture of store performance, allowing them to detect inefficiencies and devise ways to improve. It also gives a better understanding of customer needs in order to create the most preferred shopping environment for them and improve their shopping experience.
The Middle East market for physical security is on track to grow faster in response to increasing construction and business activities in the region, growing international tourism, and increasing labor costs. Currently, it is going through a massive digital transformation and adopting advanced technologies to better protect assets, people, and businesses. AI is at the heart of this transformation. AI video analytics are increasingly being implemented by regional governments and the private sector to upgrade their security infrastructure and manage security challenges more effectively. Aside from providing real-time intelligence on critical safety and security events, video analytics brings added value by analyzing data gathered from camera footage and building actionable business insights.
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