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France: the market for surveillance cameras powered by AI is banking on the Olympics to grow

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Apr16,2024

 France: the market for AI-enabled surveillance cameras bets on the Olympics to grow

Unsplash Pointed out as a threat to public freedoms, the use of algorithmic video surveillance in France has been authorized within the framework of the Olympics

Marginal in France, the algorithmic video surveillance (VSA) market, which relies on technology to detect suspicious behavior, is now counting on its experimentation during the Paris Olympic Games to take off. 

In practice, software is associated with surveillance cameras to detect any abnormal or risky behavior in real time. A human is then notified to take charge of the situation.

Pointed out as a threat to public freedoms, the use of VSA in France was authorized within the framework of the Olympic Games by a law adopted in April 2023, for the detection of eight specific cases such as crowd movements or an outbreak of fire, without facial recognition however. 

Previously, “there was no text in France which prohibited or authorized the use of this type of software”, explains to AFP Yoann Nabat, teacher-researcher in private law and criminal sciences at the University of Bordeaux.&nbsp ;

In this gray zone, the deployment of algorithmic surveillance has until now been done in France “on tiptoe and lip service”, notes Dominique Legrand, president of the 'National Association of Video Protection (AN2V). 

If there is no official national data, the association Quadrature du Net ensures that around fifty cities are already testing it, such as Nice, Nîmes or Aulnay-sous-Bois. 

Not counting the manufacturers of cameras, VSA today represents 15% of the total video surveillance market in France, i.e. a turnover of around 50 million euros, details for AFP Patrick Haas, director of publications En Tout Sécurité, specialists of strategic security analysis.

A drop in the ocean in the global algorithmic video surveillance market, valued at $5.6 billion in 2023, according to MarketsandMarkets. 

Dominated by the Asia-Pacific region, it should almost triple to reach $16.8 billion by 2028, taking advantage, for example, of technological progress to improve video analysis. 

“This is the most promising sector of video surveillance “, insists Patrick Haas. “If the video protection market generally grows by 8% to 10% per year, video analysis is +20%.” 

Beyond the Olympic Games, the new French legal framework, which allows the experimentation of VSA during “sporting, recreational or cultural events” until March 31, 2025, has already stimulated the sector.

Alan Ferbach, boss of Videtics, one of the four French companies selected to deploy VSA during the Olympics, particularly for crowd management, has observed for a year “a systematic need” to couple artificial intelligence and cameras in calls for tenders from communities.

The sector, which consists mainly of large defense companies like Thalès and a handful of French start-ups and foreign companies – mainly Israeli, Chinese and American – is now hoping that the experience of the Olympics will lead to legislation long-lasting.

This prospect should create “a windfall effect”, indicates Yoann Nabat. “It will become a huge market since all town halls, for all events, will want their video surveillance system.” 

Algorithmic video surveillance could then experience the same evolution as that of drones, anticipates- he says.

A reason to regulate this market even more seriously, if we do not want to find ourselves in an Orwellian world where technology will take precedence to take us further still a long way towards Chinese-style social credit.


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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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