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Top 3 myths of physical access control technology

Top 3 myths of physical access control technology

Editor / Provider: Ola Jonsson, Business Development Manager, Axis Communications | Updated: 7/21/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

It is no exaggeration to say that network video has revolutionized the video surveillance market. Now the access control industry is on the verge of a similar development. Once again, it is the transition from analog to IP-based systems and with it the adoption of open standards which provides new opportunities and stimulates market growth.

Since the introduction of the first network camera in 1996, the market share of IP-based video surveillance systems has increased year by year. Today, network video solutions offer a host of benefits and advanced functionalities that cannot be provided by analog video surveillance technology.

There are a number of common misconceptions as the physical access control industry undergoes a similar transition from analog to IP-based technology. In the following, I will address the top 3 of these myths.

Myth #1 - It's not worth upgrading existing analog systems to IP-based technology
A typical analog access control system is dependent on having each device – card reader, handle, door lock, door position switch, etc. – hard wired with RS-485 cable into one central unit or central server. Besides being proprietary systems, which confines the end user to one single provider of hardware and software, these solutions often tend to be very complex and require expert personnel to handle installation and configuration.

Furthermore, when expanding analog systems the process is complicated by the need to consider that a typical central controller is built to accommodate a certain maximum number of doors, normally 4, 8, 16 or 32. Not only does this limitation make the system inflexible but also makes it difficult for the end user to match his requirements with products available, e. g. if there is a need for access control at for example 9 or 17 doors. This lack of flexibility also brings high marginal costs, which can make the addition of one extra door unjustifiably expensive.

Upgrading an analog access control system to IP-based technology therefore allows for more flexibility while lowering costs as the system needs to be expanded to include additional doors. IP networks can be used for more than one application. This way different security systems can use the same infrastructure and can be integrated with each other. Often remote monitoring and management of security systems is a key requirement. This can be easily implemented with IP-based solutions which feature web-based console access.

Myth #2 - Access control systems are only for large installations
Analog access control products and systems are normally designed and optimized for large installations with a lot of doors and maybe thousands of credentials (cardholders). The actual market looks very different. According to the Security Sales & Integrator Gold Book 2013, the average installation consists of 7 doors with less than 130 credentials. Only about 20% of the installations have more than 10 doors.

Without the need for hard wiring to a central control unit or central server, IP-based access control systems enable installations that are very flexible and scalable. This means not only a more versatile solution, but also a more cost efficient one. Freed from the constraints of enlarging the system in certain multiples, a network-based solution can – should it be necessary – be enlarged by one door, and one reader, at a time.

Additionally, IP-based technology enables “edge” solutions. An edge solution has one controller for each door, which is then connected to the existing local Ethernet through a regular network switch without the need for a central server for management. Since IP networks now are ubiquitous in offices, stores, factory plants and similar facilities the cost of adding an IP-based door controller would be minimal, as opposed to multiple serial connections wired back to a central server. Cabling work can be even further facilitated. By employing a PoE (Power over Ethernet) supported controller at each door the need for a separate power cable is eliminated, thereby reducing the total installation cost and time compared to that of an analog access control solution.

Myth #3 - Access control systems are proprietary solutions that can't be integrated with other security systems
Very much like in the video surveillance market the shift from analog to IP-based technology in the access control industry will cause a transition from proprietary systems to open solutions. And these solutions will most likely be based on international industry standards.

Open solutions and standardized interfaces are a prerequisite in any industry that wants to establish its own equivalent of "plug-and-play". There are many gains from such a development also in access control. It will allow end users to freely pick and choose between components – reader, door controller and software – that best satisfy their needs and preferences. This freedom of choice makes the system future-proof and means the end user no longer has to rely on a single brand or supplier. Equally important, it can also enable integration with other security related systems and third party applications, without the need for costly hardware boxes to provide the “bridge” between the different systems. For example, a very common request is to integrate physical access control with video. People entering a building will automatically trigger a camera; the live images can then be used for investigation of incidents or identity control.

In the network security systems market there is already a clear trend to develop open or standardized application platform interfaces (APIs), which can be used by all competing market participants on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Naturally, this will increase supply and promote competition and bring a new level of innovation to the industry, while simultaneously making it even easier for end users, system integrators, consultants and others to take advantage of the different possibilities offered by IP-based solutions.

For example, the Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF), which is a global and open industry standards body with the goal to facilitate the development and use of IP-based security products, announced in 2010 an extension of the organization's scope of standardization to cover physical access control. Ideally, access control devices from manufacturers that comply with the ONVIF standards will in the near future interoperate effortlessly and seamlessly with each other, as well as with other video surveillance products and systems conformant with the standard.

Future outlook
According to a market forecast by analyst firm ARC Advisory Group, IP-based access control systems will comprise more than 35% of the market in terms of shipments by 2016. A key factor will be that new buildings are increasingly being equipped with IP-based building control systems. This provides the basis for integration of previously often separate systems such as access control, intrusion detection, fire alarms or video surveillance.

Open standards and the ability to base different security systems on the same IP network architecture allows installers to build solutions based on products from various manufacturers. This way they can better meet customer demand, price projects more competitively and offer custom solutions to particular installation challenges and requirements. End users benefit from a future-proof and adaptable technology that can easily scale to their growing needs without being locked into any one manufacturer.

A slice of small system surveillance with Axis

A slice of small system surveillance with Axis

Editor / Provider: Axis | Updated: 7/17/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Mission
Following an attempted break-in, Andover, MA restaurant King's Subs and Pizza needed a cost-effective security solution. As a small business in an industry with razor-thin margins, King's Pizza went looking for the highest quality surveillance system that fit within their budget. They also needed cameras that could provide the most flexibility of installation to cover all the important areas with minimal hassle. Additionally, as self-admitted technology novices, King's Pizza required a system that was user-friendly and easy to learn.

Solution
After contemplating installing a consumer-grade analog DVR system, King's Pizza elected to go with the similarlypriced, yet much higher quality Axis IP solution with in-camera edge storage. They installed five 720p HDTVquality AXIS M10 Series Network Cameras in key locations throughout their store. All video footage is recorded onto the SD cards within the cameras, and the system, once configured, runs selfcontained without the need for a computer or laptop thanks to the AXIS Camera Companion software. King's Pizza can even access real-time or recorded video on a smartphone whenever they need.

Result
Not only does the IP surveillance system provide reliable, round-the-clock security for the restaurant, but the owner can also use the footage to track business operations, monitor cash register transactions and investigate incidents. The ability to view archived video has had an immediate positive effect on the restaurant's bottom line. The owner can track whether an ingredient such as premium steak is being used too much, or see if there is a reason for discrepancies in each night's receipts. Every dollar counts for small businesses, and Axis network cameras help ensure they are all counted correctly.

An order of surveillance, but hold the DVR
Owner Dave Young purchased King's Subs and Pizza in 1996 after working there as a cook since 1991. Today, King's has 15 employees, including delivery men, with anywhere from three to seven working at one time. Following an attempted break-in, Young began shopping to replace his long-broken analog camera. After comparing similarly-priced analog and IP solutions, he found the high quality video and cost-effective edge storage options offered by Axis cameras to be the best fit. Five 720p HDTV-quality AXIS M10 Series Network Cameras were installed throughout the restaurant to cover the front and back doors, cash register, customer counter, and kitchen, as well as the office where the money is counted at closing time. The edge storage capability meant that all surveillance video would be recorded to the cameras' internal SD-cards, while AXIS Camera Companion software turned the system into a self-contained recording solution. The cameras connect to a standard networking switch – not even a computer is needed for the system to record. Because King's opted for edge storage and eliminated the need for a costly and maintenance-heavy DVR, the pizza shop was able to utilize a much higher quality IP camera solution at a comparable price.

Easy as pie: Searching for cost-saving evidence
While the fear of being robbed was the initial impetus for looking for a new surveillance system, the IP solution has proven to be more of an operational asset than Young could have ever imagined. “It's is helping to improve the bottom line,” Young said. When the shop is busy, it's all hands on deck. Yet, sometimes those hands make mistakes. “Waste is a huge deal in this business,” explains Young. “My hamburger is cash to me. If I start to see irregularities in our food costs, I can review the video to answer, ‘Why am I losing here?'” Young will log in to the viewing client and focus on the kitchen to see, for instance, if too much steak is being cooked for a particular meal, or whether food was dropped and had to be thrown out. Other times, it's simply a matter of a hot selling order that week. In one instance, Young noticed a major discrepancy when balancing the register. A review of the video revealed the shift manager had reversed a refund at the customer's request. Not only was money not stolen, but the video showed the manager making a correct decision and reinforced Young's confidence in the recently-promoted employee. The ease-of-use of the new IP system helps Young recoup time he lost in the past playing detective without any clues.

“I am not what you'd consider a tech guy. The fact that I can get in there and figure it out without anyone really showing me how, that says something.” He regularly uses the Investigation Mode to move the video frameby- frame to pinpoint what he's looking for. He also discovered that the snapshots enable him to zoom in on the 720p image. “It's phenomenal. I rarely ever need to zoom in because of the clarity of the cameras, but I have that option. There's nothing to it: just a few clicks and you're good to go.”

Security to go
Despite his exceptional staff, Young doesn't take many days off as the owner. But the ease of use, clarity, and remote monitoring capabilities of the IP system just might allow him to fully relax while spending a day doing what he loves most: fishing. “I downloaded the TinyCam app on my Droid,” says Dave, “and if I'm away running errands or actually take some time off to do some fishing, it's great that I can check in on the restaurant wherever I have a connection. I've got a tremendous staff who I trust implicitly. But the ability to check in – even just to see how busy we are – gives me that extra little bit of comfort.”

American Dynamics safeguards well-known broadcaster's home in London

American Dynamics safeguards well-known broadcaster's home in London

Editor / Provider: Tyco | Updated: 7/8/2014 | Article type: Residential & Consumer

As one of the U.K.'s premier broadcasters, Gabby Logan's job takes her around the world.

The former gymnast turned sports presenter began her broadcast career in 1992 as a radio personality, and then quickly expanded into television with Sky Sports, ITV and BBC. Gabby has covered the London Olympics for BBC and England's football team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012. Gabby also served a short stint in Brazil covering England's football team in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, making a quick return to the UK to present from the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland.

In addition to her life on the road as a broadcaster, Gabby also juggles her “other” roles as wife and mother, a regular columnist for The Times, the creator of a successful workout DVD called “Twin Results Workout”, and a dedicated patron to several charities, including the Disabilities Trust, Prince's Trust and Great Ormond Street.

As a busy professional, Gabby and her husband Kenny, an ex Scotland International Rugby star, realized that they needed to implement some type of system that allowed her to keep an eye on things at home while she took care of business on road. Whether gone for the day, or away on a trip thousands of miles from England, a home security system that incorporated video surveillance was the solution Gabby needed to stay connected to her family when Kenny was back at home in charge of the family and property.

Working with Vindex Systems in West Sussex, a specialist integrator of CCTV, access control and automatic number plate recognition solutions that works with both public and private sector clients, the Logans selected a system from Tyco Security Products' American Dynamics range that incorporated the VideoEdge Network Video Recorder (NVR) and Illustra 600 outdoor mini-dome cameras.

Using a monitor at home, Gabby and Kenny can actively watch the video from the cameras on the grounds, or view recorded video with the VideoEdge NVR. The system even allows the Logans to save snapshots of specific video images.

But the real selling point of the system was the ability, through an iPhone application, to watch live and recorded video from her home surveillance system from anywhere she may be. Now Gabby has the ability while on the road to check on her home, her family and any situations that may occur through the VideoEdge Go app.

VideoEdge Go is a full-featured video surveillance viewer that delivers added value to the system and enhances the day-to-day experience by facilitating remote monitoring and forensic investigating from anywhere.

The free, downloadable app works with Logan's iPhone or other Apple iOS device. And because the video is streamed via a wifi, 3G or 4G connection in H.264 rather than MJPEG, it takes up less space on whatever device she is using.

While England was competing in the World Cup in June, Gabby was onsite with the team, but also in touch with home through her surveillance system and the VideoEdge Go app.

Avigilon supplies HD solution to multi-municipal water supply system in Portugal

Avigilon supplies HD solution to multi-municipal water supply system in Portugal

Editor / Provider: Avigilon | Updated: 7/4/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Challenge
Implement an advanced HD video surveillance system that is both cost effective and easy to operate to effectively oversee a massive, multi-municipal water supply and sanitation system in Portugal.

Solution
águas do Mondego SA, the concessionary company operating the multi-municipal water supply and sanitation system in the Baixo Mondego-Bairrada region of Portugal, installed 55 Avigilon HD cameras to monitor 27 different facilities across 13 municipalities. Security officials at águas do Mondego SA manage the high-definition system from their desktops inside the company's main control room using the Avigilon Control Center (ACC) network video management software with High Definition Stream Management (HDSM) technology. The security team also uses the ACC Mobile application to view live and recorded images wirelessly and Avigilon Network Video Recorders (NVRs) to store up to 30 days of continuous surveillance footage.

Benefits
The versatile Avigilon HD solution has enabled águas do Mondego SA to effectively manage multiple facilities, ensuring operational efficiency and water supply quality. Leveraging ACC Mobile, security staff can monitor all sites remotely and make logical decisions while offsite because of the clear image detail that the Avigilon solution provides. Avigilon's HDSM technology is also instrumental in keeping the company's bandwidth low, a crucial factor for the company as the majority of its network is required for other operational needs. The intuitive interface makes navigation simple for the 30-plus users of the system. As águas do Mondego SA gradually transitions from their existing analogue system to an HD surveillance solution, they use Avigilon Video Encoders to ensure all cameras effectively run on the same platform.
- Remote access to all sites
- Easy to operate interface
- Reduced installation and maintenance costs
- Superior image quality
- Minimal impact on the network

Multi-Municipal Water Supply Company in Portugal Deploys Avigilon High-Definition System to Protect its Assets and Water Supply

Founded in 2004, águas do Mondego SA was created with the goal of providing the best water supply and treatment services in Portugal. Today, the company has grown tremendously and is currently responsible for overseeing over 80 different sites in 13 municipalities across the country. Prior to deploying the Avigilon solution, águas do Mondego SA used analogue video to cover the perimeter of just eight of those facilities. In order to protect their assets and the long-term safety of the water supply, the management team at águas do Mondego SA knew they needed to invest in a full-scale HD video surveillance system. “Our legacy analogue CCTV system was expensive and did not provide usable image quality that we could use for process control,” said Carlos Capucho, engineer at águas do Mondego SA. “With the old system, we could not do any remote monitoring and there were plenty of faults. Replacing our analogue system with an HD video solution was inevitable.”

The management team searched for a system that was easy to install, operate and upgrade and had a detailed but practical graphical user interface. With the assistance of Domosinal Systems, their Portugal-based partner, águas do Mondego SA conducted a thorough market analysis of different HD video surveillance system providers before ultimately choosing Avigilon because of its image quality, ease of use and versatility. “We concluded that Avigilon's end-to-end HD surveillance system was the most compatible with our operational needs,” stated Mr. Capucho. “In the years since installing Avigilon, we are pleased to report that the system has far surpassed our initial expectations.” As of December 2013, the company uses over 55 Avigilon cameras to oversee 27 facilities across Portugal with plans of expanding to 20 more facilities in the next year.

Integration with SCADA Software
águas do Mondego SA uses supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems to gather and analyze real-time date of their water supply at each site. The management team at águas do Mondego SA have been able to leverage the Avigilon ACC software as a complementary tool for their SCADA systems, enabling remote and reliable video verification with HD images without any dedicated maintenance. “The Avigilon solution is directly integrated into the SCADA management systems,” said Mr. Capucho. “If SCADA detects an event, the Avigilon supporting footage can be sent to the operators, giving them enough real-time information to make an educated decision. The integration between the Avigilon system and SCADA means operators have fewer platforms to monitor.”

Remote Access
Avigilon's ACC Mobile application has made it convenient for the security team at águas do Mondego SA to monitor each of the 27 sites. With their previous system, the company did not have remote access, forcing them to make long trips whenever a situation arose. “In the past, when we received alarms, we had to go back and forth between sites that were more than 80 kilometers apart,” Mr. Capucho said. “With the Avigilon system, we can use the high-resolution footage to track our system's various stages of treatment online, without having to actually be on location.”

User-Friendly System
According to Mr. Capucho, “The Avigilon HD video surveillance system installed at Aguas do Mondego SA is easy to use with almost no maintenance required.” Mr. Capucho added, “The ACC software is an effective tool that helps us save on both cost and time when we need to go back and search for footage. The company has saved money on repairs and maintenance and it is easy to train all of our security staff on.”

Remcam launches new remote monitoring service for MOBOTIX UK Partners

Remcam launches new remote monitoring service for MOBOTIX UK Partners

Editor / Provider: MOBOTIX | Updated: 6/18/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Remcam (Scotland) has launched a new service designed exclusively to help MOBOTIX Partners offer remotely monitored security services across the United Kingdom. The new subscription service uses RemoteGUARD software integrated seamlessly into the advanced features pioneered by the MOBOTIX decentralised CCTV systems including motion analytics, two way audio and the new ground breaking MX Activity Sensor.

The Remcam RemoteGUARD service is only available through MOBOTIX Channel Partners and allows installers to offer 24/7 CCTV monitoring as a simple add-on service for new and existing customers with MOBOTIX CCTV installations. With a flexible monthly charging model based on the number of cameras and monitoring schedule, Remcam offers considerable savings over in-house managed CCTV monitoring centres or on-site security guards.

From a professionally managed CCTV and 100% RemoteGUARD authorized and supported monitoring centre in Dunfermline, highly experienced, SIA approved Remcam operators handle all security duties and take responsibility for event management. As part of the service, Remcam deal with incident escalation and resolution such as informing the police and/or local key holders with the relevant details whilst the incident is in progress.

“Remcam RemoteGUARD is entirely focused only on the needs of MOBOTIX Channel Partners and Customers and uses a multi-tenant approach to service delivery,” explains David Cockburn, Monitoring Station Manager for Remcam, “We have no conflict of interest as this service is only available through MOBOTIX Channel Partners and all calls to our control centre are answered using the names and procedures specified by each of the commissioning MOBOTIX Partners to ensure that Remcam meets the service quality mandates set out by each Partner.”

MOBOTIX partners can setup different monitoring criteria for each of their customer sites based on time, day and escorting procedures. Remcam also performs regular remote site patrols and event verification based on triggers such as building alarms, Passive Infrared Detection, audible sound triggers, entry point and motion alerts.

“Remcam allows our Partners to enhance their security services without major CAPEX or OPEX investments through a trusted and proven monitoring provider using fully validated technology,” says Frank Graham, Business Development Manager, UK and Ireland for MOBOTIX UK, “CCTV is only truly effective when there is somebody to monitor and respond to incidents and Remcam provides our partner community with a service that both reduces cost and complexity while providing opportunities to earn additional recurring revenue.”

Remcam has already engaged with several MOBOTIX Partners during the development and testing of the new service and has around 60 cameras currently under monitoring. Declan Duffy Engineering Manager of Advanced MOBOTIX Partner Eclipse (IP) Ltd added, “Remcam has allowed us to enhance our range of services to our customers while offering peace of mind around how we deal with incidents – especially for customers who traditionally could not afford a security guard or traditional remote monitoring service.”

Talk: Russell Ure, creator of Piper, EVP and GM of iControl Canada

Talk: Russell Ure, creator of Piper, EVP and GM of iControl Canada

Editor / Provider: Editorial Dept. | Updated: 5/27/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Piper recently got updated with a couple new features. We had the opportunity to talk briefly with Russell Ure, founder of Blacksumac, which created Piper. Blacksumac was recently acquired by iControl Networks. Ure is currently EVP and GM of iControl Canada.

Were the features already on the roadmap or were they requested by users?
The two-way audio was planned from the beginning, while the multi-Piper support came about from feedback from Indiegogo backers.

Can you tell me some more about the multi-Piper support?
The new feature supports up to five Pipers on a single network. Each Piper is a full security system and a smart home system that includes a camera, motion detector and microphone. Piper also lets you create different rules–for example, you could set a rule that states: “if motion is detected, record video and set the siren.”

When you have multiple Pipers in your home, each Piper will be running the rules on their own units, as they can interact through Wi-Fi. The system can share knowledge about detection of events between the different Pipers, so when one Piper detects motion, it can set the siren off on all other Pipers in response to that, showing how all units work together as a team.

In terms of hardware, isn't that kind of redundant? Why not have separate components that the user can install in different places as they see fit?

We did look at that. However, from a manufacturing and a time-to- market standpoint there wouldn't have been a great deal saved by doing that.

We also looked at the specific use cases of Piper. For instance, if someone comes into your home, we want each piper to operate as a security system by itself and trigger the other two. Once you start looking at all the features and all the use cases of Piper, most features are best when combined in the unit.

Can you tell me a bit more about the two-way audio and how that works?
When you have multiple Pipers, you have multiple live camera views to choose from—there's a microphone button that you press and hold to talk to whoever is in the room. When you let go of the button, you can hear what they're saying, so it's like an intercom, but with a camera. The audio is very clear, so it's possible to have a lengthy conversation with somebody in the room. All you have to do is talk to them and pause to give them time to respond.

Can you share any other features you have on the roadmap right now?
All I can say is that every four to five weeks, we'll be releasing new features to our entire user base. We have some very exciting features in the pipeline.

Do you have a vision of what a smart home is?
I think there has to be a central controller inside the home. Our vision is that home management and home control will be managed locally in the home with a unit like Piper. It will increasingly become more intelligent and support all kinds of different capabilities.

Piper is a full computer that runs independently without the cloud. It makes decisions, processes things and recognizes situations all locally. Even when you connect to the live camera view, you're connecting peer-to-peer through a secure mobile connection to the Piper unit, not a cloud server.

I wouldn't want my home to be basically controlled by some cloud intelligence, where something in the cloud is figuring out what I'm doing and where my family is, and then make decisions about what should be done in the home. I think increasingly people will be uncomfortable with that, and they should be. But, that kind of automation is increasingly important, and having that automation done locally inside the home is definitely the future.

So Piper works even when an Internet connection is not present, and the cloud is used only for storing images and video, and sending push notifications?
Yes.

There are a lot of systems on the market that allow users to control home appliances from a smartphone, but does not offer any type of automation. In your opinion, is that still a smart home system?
In my opinion, what we're really going through now is the development of the ultimate smart home system, and we're doing it in stages. People can control things like turning on or off lights from a mobile device and you can also turn appliances on or off or control the heating inside your home. These are examples of steps along the future smart home path.

Ultimately, we all want something like in Star Trek: when you go into the home, there's something in that home that is going to anticipate what you want. When you come into or leave a room, the light immediately changes and that system understands your preferences. There're a lot of things that can be done with automation over time, but we're still in the early stages and we'll continue to see the smart home unfold over the next few years.

How does the acquisition by iControl Networks affect the Blacksumac team and Piper's development?
I run the Piper team and serve as Executive Vice President and General Manager at iControl Canada.

I am continuing to work with my same team and we will continue to push ahead on our product roadmap. We are looking forward to enhancing Piper with some exciting features that wouldn't have previously been available to us.

And those features you mentioned, you can't talk about them just yet?
Unfortunately, no.

In what countries has Piper been most successful?
Our main focus right now is North America, where we are selling Piper. But, we have Piper deployments around the world—not quite sure how they got to the various countries, but people find a way.

We plan to start selling full blast in Europe shortly and the rest of the world soon afterwards. I think Piper will be popular with customers in Europe and also in Asia because many people live in smaller spaces. Monitored security is not as common in these areas as it is in North America, so I believe there is huge opportunity for Piper as well.

Right now only the North American version on the market?
Correct. We have several European versions that are in the final stages of certification and testing, and then we'll be ready to start selling in Europe.

Do home automation, smart home and connected home mean different things to you, or are they the same?
To me, they all mean the same thing. In order to have a smart home, you need automation, otherwise it's not very smart. And to enable automation, you need connection, so these terms are all the same, in my opinion.

What inspired you to create Piper?
The inspiration for Piper came from my daughter, who was going to school in a different city. She was living in an apartment, and I was worried about her. I realized I couldn't get a security system installed in her apartment because every security system has to be professionally installed. When I looked around, there was just nothing I could buy her that would give her what she needed. That was really the start for me. There are a lot of people who need a home security solution and can't get it for their apartments.

How does she like it?
My daughter loves using Piper! She and her roommate are much happier having it in their apartment.

Why not just buy a home security camera? There are a lot of them available that offer remote monitoring. Why did you want an entire security system in one unit?
Piper was built for people who would install it themselves, rather than by a professional installer. Also, when you look at smart home, camera technology and security systems, they share so many parts together.

I asked my daughter and a lot of her friends who had apartments: “What worries you the most?” They said they were most afraid that someone could come into the apartment while they were sleeping. I then asked them what they would want to happen if someone did come in. They wanted the lights to turn on, which is an example of how security and smart home features are combined. They also want to make sure that no one would be in their apartments when they get home at night, and they wanted the lights to go on and have access to a camera view of their apartment.

Once you start talking to people about what they need, having all of these features together in one unit makes a lot of sense.

A lot of Asian manufacturers in the security industry are beginning to develop smart home systems. They do not have that much experience designing products for consumers, so the UI tends to be less attractive and difficult to navigate. Do you think the UI is important for consumers?
Absolutely. You have to design your systems for people who have no technical knowledge at all. That is our main design focus: if you can design a UI that helps them, chances are you've designed something that most people can use easily.

Should products primarily be easy to use or visually attractive?
I think products need to have both qualities. If you're putting Piper in your home, it has to look good. It can't be something that looks out of place. You want to have it in a place of honor, as opposed to hiding it somewhere because you don't want to look at it. Some people believe that because it's a security system, you should be hiding it, but I don't agree with that.

Also, security is not just about intruders— if you're at work and your children come home, you want to check what they're doing, so you want a camera that has a good view of the place, and something that looks good and fits in with all the rest of your home.

Taiwan Dream Mall deploys QNAP NVR solutions

Taiwan Dream Mall deploys QNAP NVR solutions

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by QNAP | Updated: 5/26/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Introduction
Dream Mall as the largest multi-functional shopping center  in one of Taiwan's major city, Kaohsiung. ll is also one of the top large-scale shopping centers in Asia. With over 2,000 stores and restaurants, a movie theater, and an amazing roof-top amusement park, the mall occupies an area of 50,000 square meters with a total floor area of almost 400,000 square meters, including a parking lot with 3,000 parking spaces.

Challenges
Attracting tens of thousands of customers to the mall every day, Dream Mall management desired a large-scale surveillance system to fulfill purposes of crime prevention, enhancing of customer safety as well as monitoring and recording of the activities in the mall. The primary challenge comes to the need of deploying a security system capable of commanding hundreds of security cameras simultaneously in and around the shopping center. To reach such scale of security system, the total cost of traditional CCTV surveillance systems would be too high as the total length of coaxial cables required is about the equivalent of 87 San Francisco Golden Gate bridges. Besides, these CCTV systems can't offer video image quality as required.The secondary challenge is that the security system has to be highly flexible and expandable, allowing addition of new cameras and recorders.

Solution
After thorough evaluation, Dream Mall selected QNAP NVR (Network Video Recorder) solutions for its security system deployment. Multiple QNAP NVR servers are set up and attached to the network to command 600 Panasonic IP and analog cameras with megapixel resolution and VGA resolution. The NVR demonstrates excellent compatibility and allows new models to be integrated to the security system with simple network connection, saving hassles of physical wiring and setup.

QNAP NVR servers offer Full-D1 resolution, which is similar to DVD video quality for clear image monitoring and recording. Surveillance videos are recorded to the internal hard disks of the NVR units offering mass storage capacity with secure RAID disk volume protection. The recorded video can also be exported to external storage devices or remote storage such as QNAP NAS or FTP servers for review by law enforcement or for redundant backup.

QNAP NVR provides advanced features such as moving objects detection in the monitored areas, network disconnection alert, and smart E-map to help the security personnel locate any abnormal activities within the Dream Mall. The security system is integrated with various alarm devices such as fire alarms and emergency call buttons to protect the safety of the employees, customers, and the properties.

Customer Feedback
QNAP NVR solutions have made high quality and cost-efficient monitoring in a large-scale shopping mall possible. The NVR can be easily integrated with numerous IP cameras and alarm devices. We expected to increase the number of IP cameras to 2,000 in the coming few years.

QNAP NVR is easy to maintain; it helps reduce the overall system setup and maintenance costs. The videos can be monitored on the network remotely and even on mobile devices by their mobile viewing app, which largely enhances the surveillance efficiency.

Why QNAP NVR?
QNAP Security, as one of the well-known Linux-embedded NVR developers, has implemented its award winning storage and RAID technologies to offer its most innovative local display standalone NVR. The system not only ensures remarkable stability on remote monitoring, recording, and surveillance tasks under diverse environments but also renders great simplicity. In addition, the QNAP solution allows users to choose suitable network cameras for various situations instead of being restricted to the resolution of traditional CCTV. To always be one step ahead, QNAP professional NVR team remains creative and committed to the integrity of their software and hardware. Furthermore, its great user experiences on wide range of supported devices and successful installations worldwide are more than enough to prove QNAP Security's viability internationally.

 

GKB safeguards hotel in Medina

GKB safeguards hotel in Medina

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by GKB | Updated: 5/12/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

BACKGROUND
Hotel Al Fayroz Season is located in the central area in Medina, Saudi Arabia, within a short walking distance from where the Prophet's Mosque is. The hotel provides 506 rooms and suits and is able to accommodate more than 1500 guests. In order to have better protection of guests' safety and optimize hotel quality, the management team proposed the needs for a more reliable and flexible surveillance system. GKB professional IP solution, including Diplomat IP cameras and most featured Cloud Platform secures Hotel Al Fayroz Season with an additional layer of security.

SOLUTIONS
GKB team has already installed 140 network cameras in total with two 720P models: GKB D44624 and D34724 cameras. D44624 is a bullet outdoor camera with IP66 water-proof and 2 way audio functions. D34724 is a vandal-proof dome network camera. Both IP cameras support 8 video streams and PoE functions; GKB's remote monitoring software, NVR-10 and Viewer-11, enable hotel to operate on a centralized system for better efficiency and effectiveness with superior image quality and situational awareness.

BENEFITS
* Easier integration with other security devices – GKB provides an open IP platform making it much easier to integrate with other security devices such as access control.
* GKB's IP solution can be extended to as many IP cameras as users want without extra license fee, saving much more cost for the users when needs grow.
* With the GKB's Cloud platform, users can manage all their own surveillance equipments anytime and anywhere.

 

Sponsored by:

About GKB GKB Security Corporation is a global security solutions provider with a full range of CCTV, IP, Mobile, Video Fire Detection System and Home Automation products and support services designed to meet the needs of small and medium-sized system integrators and security installers.

Belgium hospital increases scalability by Axis IP upgrading solution

Belgium hospital increases scalability by Axis IP upgrading solution

Editor / Provider: Axis | Updated: 5/8/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Mission
Hornu-Frameries Hospital, located in Hornu, Belgium, only had analog cameras inside the building and in a few departments. This minimal system did not make it possible to optimally secure the hospital's patients, staff, and property.

Solution
Digital, an Axis Solution Gold Partner in Belgium and one of the market leaders in IT-based electronic security, developed a custom solution for Hornu-Frameries Hospital by adding to the existing indoor and outdoor surveillance system. Digital enabled the hospital to keep its existing cameras by connecting them to the new system via Axis video encoders.

Result
All the cameras are now accessible from a single interface, which makes it possible to quickly analyze events and act accordingly. By keeping the existing cameras, the Axis video encoders enabled Hornu-Frameries Hospital to save part of its initial budget which could consequently be dedicated to an expansion project. The hospital is particularly satisfied with the result.

“Thanks to the Axis video encoders, Digital was able to connect our old cameras to the new network, thus reducing costs in terms of new cameras. We can therefore dedicate the remaining budget to the project's second phase and equip the entire hospital.“
--Jacques Ferir, Technical Service Manager, Hornu-Frameries Hospital.

The Hornu site of the Hornu-Frameries Hospital was built in 1979. It is a general hospital with 391 beds, with standard specializations: surgery, medicine, pediatrics, maternity, intensive care, etc. “We already had surveillance cameras in radiology, maternity, and pediatrics. But they were obsolete, even broken-down, analog cameras. Following recent events that occurred in other hospitals – child abductions, equipment thefts, etc. – we decided to upgrade the network and install additional cameras,” explains Jacques Ferir, Technical Service Manager for Hornu-Frameries Hospital. Digital reactivated the old analog cameras in the radiology department and added Axis network cameras to supplement the installation, bringing the total number of cameras to around 40. Daniel Van Doveren, Digital Project Manager, adds: "Hornu-Frameries Hospital wanted in particular to secure the building's exit points. Therefore, we used different cameras so we can alternate views from inside and outside. If needed, we can follow the route of any person acting suspiciously. For certain areas, we also have a motion detection function on the cameras.”

To secure the inside of the building, Digital opted for AXIS 216MFD Network Cameras. Compact and discreet, they can be installed easily on walls or ceilings and offer effective protection against tampering. The building's exterior is equipped with AXIS 211 Network Cameras, which are specially designed for outdoor surveillance and remote monitoring. These two models are powered by PoE (Power over Ethernet), which reduces installation costs because the camera is powered using the cable that transmits data. Therefore, it does not require an additional electrical supply. In order to connect the reactivated analog cameras to the network of new cameras, Digital used Axis video encoders. These encoders make it possible to easily use the images from the existing analog cameras, transmit them and exchange them over the hospital's computer network without loss of quality. Beyond convergence, they provide advanced functions such as motion detection and event management.

For Hornu-Frameries Hospital, Digital selected AXIS 241Q Video Encoder, which manages up to four analog video channels.

The installation of the new network required two months of work. The Hornu-Frameries Hospital managers have been particularly satisfied with the result: “The main exit points of the hospital are now secured, which reassures both our staff and our patients. Aesthetically, the new cameras blend in perfectly with the landscape and are hardly noticeable. Thanks to the Axis video encoders, Digital was able to connect our old cameras to the new network, thus reducing costs in terms of new cameras. We can now dedicate the remaining budget to the project's second phase and equip the entire hospital.” concludes Jacques Ferir.

IndigoVision expands video solution into 150 Colombian cities

IndigoVision expands video solution into 150 Colombian cities

Editor / Provider: IndigoVision | Updated: 4/22/2014 | Article type: Security 50

The number of Colombian cities using IndigoVision's solution for surveillance has increased by 24, bringing the total to 150.

IndigoVision's unique Distributed Network Architecture (DNA) has been key for the Colombian National Police Force, allowing easy system expansion. The unrivalled hardware compression allows remote monitoring of any camera across all 150 cities.

More about IndigoVision's city surveillance:
Urban challenges
City centers cover large geographical areas consisting of diverse buildings and environments. Public buildings and facilities are prime terrorist targets and inner cities often have high crime areas. Traffic management is essential for safety and operation of urban areas. Hosting demonstrations, carnivals and sporting events all require temporary and flexible surveillance solutions.

Mobile applications' traffic monitoring & crime reduction
IndigoVision has been deployed in a number of mobile applications, including monitoring vans and command vehicles. Fault-tolerant NVRs with removable hard discs coupled with excellent compression and easy wireless network implementation means that IndigoVision is the ideal solution for mobile and rapid deployment surveillance.

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