Big data, better data – How video analytics can help solve supply chain woes.


Although the WHO has declared the COVID pandemic over, its impact on global supply chains continues to reverberate. Experts predict that supply chain disruption will persist throughout 2023 and possibly beyond. In such a challenging landscape, businesses must find agile and considered ways to respond to these supply chain woes.

Part of the solution to these supply chain issues may lie with video analytics using artificial intelligence (AI) technology. While often used for security purposes, video analytics is a powerful tool with more versatile applications, offering valuable insights into various business operations. By tapping into the vast potential of video data, companies can make informed decisions, drive smarter strategies, and enhance overall operational efficiency.

Understanding the current supply chain landscape

Supply chains have become increasingly complex and interconnected in today’s globalised world. The pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in this network and highlighted the need for greater resilience. Sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing have faced significant disruptions, including labour shortages, transportation bottlenecks, supply delays, and unpredictable demand patterns.

If we take agriculture as an example, integrating digital technology into agriculture presents a significant opportunity for Sub-Saharan Africa. The emergence of internet-based solutions could significantly boost access to, for example, financing for agricultural inputs across the value chain. With technologies such as data management, machine learning, artificial intelligence, automation, and drone-based applications available, businesses require accurate and real-time insights into their supply chain operations to address these challenges effectively.

The power of video analytics

Video analytics, powered by AI technology, can play a crucial role in overcoming supply chain woes. Traditionally used solely for security, video analytics has evolved to offer valuable insights into various business operations. By harnessing the power of video data, companies can unlock a treasure trove of information that can drive smarter decision-making and enhance operational efficiency. Here, we should think of the potential of enhanced visibility and real-time monitoring, predictive analytics and demand forecasting, supply chain optimisation, and risk mitigation.

One of the key advantages of video analytics is its ability to provide amplified visibility across the supply chain. Businesses can monitor operations in real time by strategically placing cameras in critical areas. This allows for proactively identifying and resolving bottlenecks, ensuring smoother workflows, minimising disruptions, and providing safe and secure spaces. For example, in agriculture, video analytics can help farmers survey their land, monitor crop growth, identify disease or pest infestations, and optimise irrigation systems based on real-time data. Combined with advanced AI algorithms, video analytics enables predictive analytics and accurate demand forecasting. By analysing historical data and real-time video feeds, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer behaviour, market trends, and potential supply chain risks. This empowers them to make data-driven decisions, enhance inventory levels, and anticipate demand fluctuations. In manufacturing, video analytics can be used to track production processes, identify inefficiencies, and predict equipment failures, enabling proactive maintenance and reducing costly downtime.

Video analytics can also aid in optimising supply chain operations and mitigating risks. Businesses can identify patterns, detect anomalies, and streamline processes by analysing video data to eliminate inefficiencies. For instance, video analytics can optimise warehouse inventory placement, identify congestion points, and enhance picking and packing operations. Furthermore, by monitoring video feeds from transportation networks, companies can identify potential delays, reroute shipments, and mitigate risks associated with disruptions, such as accidents or natural disasters.

Video analytics and AI: A path to operational resilience

In the face of ongoing supply chain challenges, businesses need innovative approaches to navigate ever-evolving complexities and ensure operational resilience. Video analytics, together with AI, presents a compelling solution. By harnessing the power of video data, organisations can gain enhanced visibility, predictive insights, and operational optimisation across their supply chains.

Sectors like agriculture and manufacturing can particularly benefit from video analytics, addressing specific challenges and fostering long-term sustainability. Embracing video analytics and leveraging better data can empower businesses to make agile and informed decisions, ultimately helping them overcome the supply chain woes of today and build a stronger future.

Marcel Bruyns, Sales Manager for Africa at Axis Communications