Interview (February 12, 2016)

Venturing into Video Analytics with Johann Hofmann
February 9, 2016 Kristofer

Venturing into Video Analytics with Johann Hofmann

2015 has been extremely busy for Johann Hofmann, Director and Head of Griffeye. From speaking with hundreds of investigators from all over the world, Johann holds a unique perspective on the current obstacles and opportunities law enforcement are facing today – especially when it comes to digital media.

We sat down with Johann to get his view on the current digital forensic landscape and to learn more about Analyze 16.1’s brand new updates.

Thank you for joining us today – let’s jump right in! First off, can you tell us a little about the trends in digital media you are seeing today?

JH: One of the biggest and most important trends we currently see in today’s world is the production of more video than ever before. Nearly everyone has a smartphone or tablet with a camera, which allows for ease of production but also extensive storage and sharing of personal video files. I have even read that every second, nearly a million minutes of video content will cross the network by 2019 – that’s crazy! (Cisco)

Seems like our networks will be busy in the next few years. So, how does all of this video content affect the industries that Griffeye operates in – like national security, defense and law enforcement?

JH: The production of commercial video set aside, the mass production of video by the public, including footage from surveillance, body and personal cell phone cameras, has resulted in a surge of video being produced. In turn, this has impacted the amount of digital content being handled by law enforcement.

Interestingly, this increase in video content has proved both a challenge and an opportunity for law enforcement – similar to what we have seen with digital photos. While there is more content available to help investigators put together the missing pieces, they are struggling to keep up with analyzing and categorizing all of this new evidence. There is a very real need for a tool that can handle this kind of material in an effective way. Griffeye Analyze 16.1 can process, analyze and store the material quicker than a single officer ever could, meaning resources are freed up and more content is viewed for potentially relevant evidence.

How has this affected research and development (R&D) within Griffeye?

JH: Well, video has been one of our primary focuses for quite some time. We have seen the demand from our customers for video processing capabilities rising in the last couple of years and we’ve worked really hard behind the scene to offer an updated solution. After months of hard work, we are incredibly proud to now release Analyze 16.1, which includes the new Video Utility Pack.

Interesting! What can you tell us about the new release and the Video Utility Pack?

JH: Analyze DI 16.1 and our new Video Utility Pack enables the user to analyze video quicker and more effectively than before. My team has worked hard to build such a powerful tool for image and video analysis, and I am extremely proud of the work that we’ve done with this tool.

The Video Utility Pack helps eliminate non-pertinent video and prioritizes information based on elements such as a specific timeframe, noise or movement. The tool can also help identify activity within the video that an officer would have a really hard time finding. For example, the naked eye may not be able to spot the shadow moving in the background of a video, but our technology can. At the end of the day, our users are going to save time, uncover more evidence and solve more cases.

It is important to note that our current users will need to re-register at our new user portal and get a new license key to download Analyze DI 16.1. I urge everyone to get a new license key as soon as possible because in addition to getting to check out the new utility pack, our user portal now includes a forum, Q&As, articles, news and many other helpful sections to explore.

Speaking of the users – have they had any influence or input on the development?

JH: Of course – we always work in very close collaboration with our user base, particularly with a group of “super users” that continuously inspire and influence the work we do. In many development projects we also work closely with Science and R&D departments in a variety of government entities, academia and industry that contribute to our platform. If we identify a great technology that someone has already developed and that applies well into our product and use, we always strive to integrate that with our tools. I hope and think that our users are really going to like the new capabilities. We try to push ourselves with every release and this new version is no exception. The video review user interface is extremely user friendly and usable, but at the same time extremely powerful. As with each release, we love hearing what our users think and always take their feedback into consideration. I’m really looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts!

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