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Standalone NVRs continue to devour the DVR market

Standalone NVRs continue to devour the DVR market

Editor / Provider: Tevin Wang, a&s Asia | Updated: 4/21/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Affordable IP products from major manufacturers have helped to accelerate the migration from DVR to NVR, as it quickly becomes a lower cost option to install network cameras where a network infrastructure is already in place. The main driver behind the migration from DVR to NVR is standardization.

NVRs are starting to be used in more scenarios, especially with the launch of 4 and 16 channel units that look and feel much like analog DVRs. With a monitor output and a DVD writer, standalone NVRs make IP solutions easier for smaller installers and operators. It is now not uncommon to see 4 channel HD solutions in small high value retail installations.

Another factor is PoE enabled NVRs that allow for plug-and-play. The plug-and-play function makes everything much easier, which proved to be very popular in the SMB and DIY market.

IP-friendly infrastructure
Although many developing countries in APAC are still using analog solutions, new projects are gradually moving to IP. Why? The vast majority of new buildings utilize a structured cabling system designed to support all subsystems within, from telephones to building management. It is only logical that security systems also use the same infrastructure. In this case, the TCP/IP Networking Protocol along with IP-friendly building makes wiring, integrating, and managing much easier than old buildings cabling.

According to Sony Electronics APAC, worldwide NVR sales will certainly expand. Amongst all the regions, Asia's migration to IP systems is remarkable, and such a trend will reinforce the growing number of NVR sales. In addition, a recent take up of NVRs in SMB, as well as in home security verticals, has been observed. The key drivers are low prices and easy installation and operation.

Still using DVRs? Think again
Here are some of the main reasons why many adopt NVRs over DVRs:
* Higher resolution for each channel
* Storage capacity; NVR storage capacity is larger than any DVR
* Ease of management, NVRs can be easily managed via software
* High scalability; a single NVR can handle more cameras
* Cost effective:
    - analog compatibilities
    - lower cabling installation cost
* Future-proof: NVRs can be quickly repaired and replaced, and easily upgraded compared to DVRs
* PoE and wireless compatibilities enable installation in hard-to-wire environments

Many of the standalone NVRs have functions that bear resemblance to their DVR predecessors. In addition, many NVRs' GUIs are exactly the same as DVRs, so switching from DVRs to NVRs does not put any unnecessary burden on users as they do not need to change their usual routine — no additional training is required. For smaller installations, 16 channels and under, only basic or non-IT knowledge is required.

Standalone & PC-based NVRs
While both PC-based and standalone NVRs record and store video, manage cameras, enable viewing of recorded contents, and archive histories, the differences between the two lie in how they operate, and the features they provide.

Standalone NVRs are smaller and more compact in size compared to PC-based NVRs. In terms of performance, standalone NVRs operate on SoC, and usually have one or more DSPs for video compression and decompression, and a CPU for other functions. On the other hand, PC-based NVRs utilize the CPU for video compression/ decompression, viewing and recording content, and managing cameras.

Standalone NVRs are better suited for systems where the number of cameras is within the limits of an NVR's capacity. PC-based NVRs are decidedly more powerful in processing data, and offer much more flexibility in storage scalability, compared to standalone NVRs. PC-based systems also offer more camera scalability, whereas standalone NVRs tend to have an upper limit of camera capacity.

Standalone NVRs triumph over PC-based NVRs in the following areas: price, reliability, and stability. With fewer components and packaged in a compact case, they are appealing in price and more reliable in performance. They are also more stable, secure, and less prone to viruses and hacks, as they run on Linux, as opposed to a Windowsbased system. Finally, as they run on a standalone operating system, they have a shorter boot time, compared to the longer loading time required by PC-based NVRs.

With their many benefits, standalone NVRs are gaining traction in the market. In response, several manufacturers are hearing this call and offering attractive standalone NVRs. Smaller projects benefit most from the features and capabilities of standalone NVRs and SMB enterprises are able to save substantially on costs.

More importantly, standalone NVRs are not only powerful, but also boast ease-of-use features, such as auto search and built-in network power to remove the need of a PoE switch. The perk of this function is that it further reduces costs for customers as they do not have to purchase PoE switches, which could be costly.

Lowest price may come at a cost that is too high
The rising popularity of standalone NVRs has resulted in numerous manufacturers sprouting up in Shenzhen, China. Although standalone NVRs from these manufacturers come with an extremely lower price tag, their reliability may remain questionable.

Education remains key to the widespread adoption of standalone NVRs in Asia. Standalone NVR providers should work hard to show end users and installers the benefits of standalone NVRs. At the same time, the first users to adopt standalone NVRs would most likely to be SMBs as they stand to benefit most from low-cost systems.

EverFocus HD-SDI system secures NEXCO West highway toll booths

EverFocus HD-SDI system secures NEXCO West highway toll booths

Editor / Provider: sponsored by EverFocus | Updated: 4/8/2014 | Article type: Infrastructure

Mission
EverFocus has recently built-up the HD-SDI system, including 20 DVRs (EPHD04+) and 50 outdoor IR dome cameras (EHH5101) on the NEXCO-West (West Nippon Expressway Company Ltd) highway toll booths located in Hiroshima, Yamaguchi.

According to NEXCO-West, the toll booths require a system that is reliable and can produce clear images no matter on the staff or the POS machine. Moreover, cameras with anti-raining/snowing and small-in-size features are considered as the key points. Therefore, they chose EverFocus' HD-SDI DVR and outdoor IR dome camera.

Solution
Compact size along with elegant design has always been the major feature in the Japanese market. The EPHD04+ is a four-channel HD-SDI DVR that comes with a fine outlook and a small chassis design, plus its 1080p full HD resolution for live video recording, playback and archive videos, all these features have satisfied the customer's requirements. The easy installation, which is just the same as what we do for the traditional CCTV system, has also save the time and money.

On the other hand, for highway customers, they often choose box or bullet type cameras; however, cameras being hit by trucks or buses happened frequently. Hence, NEXCO-West has made a decision to adopt dome type outdoor IR dome for this project. The EHH5101 is weather resistant (IP66) and is able to provide 1080p HD video over coax.

Result
With EverFocus' HD-SDI system, the evidence can be safely and clearly collected, especially the POS machine and bill can be seen clearly through the monitor. According to the customers, accidents like vehicles passing by without paying the highway fee, or missed receiving toll bills have been decreasing. The full HD video images and the stable system bring the successful surveillance to the highway toll booths.

EverFocus ENVR8304E wins secutech Excellence Award 2014

EverFocus ENVR8304E wins secutech Excellence Award 2014

Editor / Provider: EverFocus | Updated: 4/1/2014 | Article type: Security 50

EverFocus awarded secutech Excellence Award 2014 in NVR contest at 2014 secutech in Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall last week.

2014 Secutech, International Security Expo held from Mar. 19-21, attracted around 500 manufacturers and professional visitors to Taiwan. EverFocus―an a&s 2013 Security Top 50 manufacturer ― received 2014 Secutech NVR Excellence Awards with their ENVR8304E― an 8-Channel Plug & Play NVR.

Earlier this year, the EverFocus EAN3300, EHN3261, Genie XMS, and a hybrid mobile solution received this year's Taiwan Excellence Award. The award proved R&D engineers have also developed an extensive expertise in IP products, software, and solution.

The new EverFocus NVR Solution, targeting small-scale installations such as homes and small businesses, will also be placed under the spotlight. With true plug-and-play setup and real-time local display up to Full HD resolution, the Linux-embedded solution works just like a DVR but without the need for those complicated network settings that would be otherwise required with conventional NVR systems.

Featuring a standalone network video recorder up to 8 channels, along with a series of NVR EverFocus megapixel cameras, the NVR Solution offers a complete system kit that can be easily installed in a matter of minutes. There is no need to purchase extra computers or software to operate the system.

When paired with EverFocus PowerVideo Plus CMS, the ENVR8304E-8CH can be used in complex multi-site installations with centralized management. The ENVR8304E-8CH is also fully supported by the EverFocus MobileFocus remote viewer on iOS and Android devices, which help extend video surveillance from fixed locations to mobile environments.

[Secutech2014] Korea30: ITX unveils IP solutions and 960H DVR

[Secutech2014] Korea30: ITX unveils IP solutions and 960H DVR

Editor / Provider: Erica Lin | Updated: 4/2/2014 | Article type: Security 50

ITX, the Korean DVR manufacturers, has been known for its well-designed and high-end DVR products. In the price-sensitive market, ITX takes a different route, making real long-lasting and easy-to-use models by developing unique functions and interface design.

ITX is the first company proposing the the plug and play system in NVR. For one and half year after ITX launching NVR, the company had very slow improvement on the market. But last year, it has seen a huge growth up to 72% from 2012 to 2013. On interface design, ITX has self-developed graphic-based GUI. The concept is to realize intuitive using experience.

The same strategy is applied to ITX IP solutions. ITX is moving to the IP solutions including network video recorder, IP camera while continuing on recorder manufacturing (like analogue recorder and HD-SDI recorder). However, ITX has only limited number of IP camera models. ITX IP cameras are equipped with Sony's CMOS sensor and Cannon lens. The combination of key hardware makes it a good product. In Secutech2014, ITX showcased its latest 960H analogue DVR. It is based on the same design and technology.

[Secutech2014] ITX high-end DVR highlights 960H features

[Secutech2014] ITX high-end DVR highlights 960H features

Editor / Provider: Erica Lin | Updated: 3/20/2014 | Article type: Security 50

In Secutech2014, ITX, the Korean manufacturer of standalone DVRs, network cameras and NVR presents its latest DVR—HAVH-1648. The new model featuring 960H real time images targets at high-end market. The UAVH-1648is a high-end DVR, supporting live or record / archive /network without any loss of performance. It features user-friendly full-HD GUI, dynamic search mode. The clear and easy-to-use search model is categorized by thumbnail/calendar/timeline/event . with the search mode, users can search and look into video footage by minutes. Meanwhile another highlight from ITX os its brand new full HD real-time Poe NVR—IPXP-1648.

According to the Sales Manager of Asia market, DVR with 960H is still the most demanding feature now in Asian market. Compared to the higher presence of IP equipments in European countries, the market trend in Asia is shifting from analog to IP solutions. It is getting common that governments request for IP solutions in terms of large public projects.

Dahua debuts HDCVI: First long-distance HD analog technology

Dahua debuts HDCVI: First long-distance HD analog technology

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by:Dahua | Updated: 3/17/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

In November 2012, Dahua Technology debuted HDCVI technology to the world. As it is one of the latest innovations of HD-over-coax technology, a&s International would like to analyze its market potential and test its performance in security applications.

With the world debut of HDCVI (High Definition Composite Video Interface) -- the latest technological breakthrough in long-distance HD-over-coax technology, Dahua Technology demonstrated both its R&D capability and determination to become a total solutions provider. The innovative HDCVI makes possible the transmission of HD video without latency over a distance of up to 500-meter via coaxial cables. In other words, end users now have the option to upgrade existing systems from standard definition to megapixel high resolution at a lower cost.

Although network video technology has penetrated the majority of market sectors and geographic regions, the current global security market is still dominated by analog systems in terms of sales volume. Accordingly, Dahua still sees plenty of opportunities in the traditional analog market. “For a big commercial building with around 40 million coaxial cables, recabling can be extremely costly and time consuming. At the same time, end users want higher picture quality. Therefore, we believe end users would increase their demand of HD-over-coax technology and Dahua's latest innovation, which enables HD video transmission via coaxial cable within a 500-meter distance would be the solution to fit all these requirements,” said Liquan Fu, President of Dahua.

Global marketing with focus on Asia
With a strong network of local distributors around the world, Dahua plans to market HDCVI not only internationally, but also in Asia. The company sees Asia as one of the biggest markets and a region where HD demand is booming, especially in the ASEAN member states. “Statistically speaking, the ratio of analog to IP products is currently 9 to 1 in India. The Indian market is one of the markets experiencing great demand for HD, as is the Brazilian market. Therefore, we can predict that HDCVI has the potential to shine in other analog-dominated markets too,” said Tim Shen, Overseas Marketing Director at Dahua.

Currently, Dahua is confident that there will be great demand for HDCVI in verticals where HD video is required, but end users want hassle-free IP video systems and are often reluctant to replace the entire existing infrastructure of cables. These include the residential sector and certain SMB sectors, such as retail, banking and casinos.

Total HDCVI solution
In addition to HDCVI cameras, Dahua is going to launch HDCVI Tri-brid DVR in the first quarter of 2014. HDCVI Tri-brid DVR works with analog, IP, as well as HDCVI systems. “Therefore, there shouldn't be compatibility issues between HDCVI, regardless of the type of system that is already in place. We do believe with the launch of this new product, integration and compatibility with HDCVI will reach a higher level,” said Shen.

In the coming year, Dahua is planning on several local roadshows with its partners to better present HDCVI to local systems integrators and installers. Meanwhile, it has just launched a microsite — HDCVI Academy. “HDCVI Academy is designed to be a platform for interaction between Dahua, our existing partners, and potential partners. For instance, all of our distribution partners can access HDCVI Academy for updates on HDCVI, from product models, case studies, SDK, technical support, and even new bracket selection,” said Shen. “In addition, we have an interactive bulletin board to answer all questions that people might have at any stage of installing HDCVI cameras or HDCVI in general. HDCVI Academy is a portal for more people to understand the benefits that HDCVI brings and how they can be benefit from HDCVI.”

TIPS:Basics of HDCVI Technology
HDCVI technology is not the same as analog image processing technology, HD digital technology, or IP megapixel technology. The biggest difference between this technology and others lies in that HDCVI combines the analog modulation-demodulation technology (transmission) of analog image processing with the high-resolution optical imaging of HD digital technology and IP megapixel technology. This provides HDCVI with the best of both worlds – high-resolution display and rapid analog transmission. The result is rapid analog transmission in a fast provisioning system that is easy to set up, but at the same time avoids the headaches common with network video systems, such as bandwidth instability, data packet loss, and latency.

HDCVI camera test performance
As a reliable and trusted source of information for the security industry, a&s conducted a test on HDCVI front-end imaging and storage devices to learn more about this technology. The test included 2 DH-HAC-HFW2200S waterproof, infrared high-definition HDCVI bullet cameras; two DH-HAC-HFW2200S waterproof, infrared high-definition HDCVI mini dome cameras; and one HDCVI based DH-HCVR7808S hybrid DVR.

True Color Display
The true color display capabilities of HDCVI are confirmed in the test. The 2-megapixel camera supports 1080p and real-time, high-resolution transmission of 720p at a maximum frame rate of 60fps. The HDCVI-DVR supports 1080p to QCIF multi-resolution, and 1-30fps storage and transmission. It supports up to a maximum of 8 blocks of 4TB hard disks (enabling a maximum storage capacity of up to 32TB). The following results are obtained in tests where the DVR video parameters are set at a resolution of 1080p, frame rate of 25fps, and bandwidth of CBR 4Mbps.

1080p high-definition performance
After the high-definition images transmitted via HDCVI are demodulated by the DVR and processed via H.264 encoding and decoding, the horizontal and vertical resolutions of real-time image quality forwarded by HDMI can reach up to 950TVL. Furthermore, edge definition is close to 900TVL and 8-bit is easily identified on a 10-bit gray scale. The same image quality is achieved with both a 2-megapixel IP and HD-SDI camera. Color images are also consistent when compared against the 24 colors of the Color Checker.

The next test looks at performance of videos taken outdoors and indoors. First up, the images taken at noon on rainy days (<1000 Lux) are detailed, with branches hundreds of meters away remaining identifiable. Next, images taken in the evening with street lamps (>20Lux) are clear and transparent, with good noise control. Finally, the automatic gain control of the camera is good indoors, and under normal light conditions, images are clear and easy to view with moderate screen brightness.

Applicability in low-lux settings
When placed inside a camera obscura, the color of images taken in light levels above 14 Lux are consistent with those taken under normal light levels, but color performance is affected at Lux levels below that. However, the AGC is switched on upon further reduction of light levels and together with 3D noise reduction capability, color images remain clear and crisp. The cameras switch to black and white images when light levels fall to 1.06 Lux to produce clean, noiseless, and clear images. When light levels are as low as 0.18 Lux, the cameras automatically switch on infrared lights to produce sharp and clear images. With IR illumination, the camera is still capable of a 20-meter effective surveillance range in darkness.

Hybrid input Incorporates all images
In addition to HDCVI signals, Dahua's HDCVI high-resolution, analog solution also supports standard-definition analog video, 960H analog video, and network video resolutions of 1080p and below. HDCVI, 960H and D1 video signals can be accessed through the same BNC. It is also worth mentioning that this product is ONVIF compatible and supports third party front-end devices.

Transmission Distance Reaches Over 300-meters
HDCVI is capable of long transmission distances and its transmission distances of various coaxial cables are as follows:

* RG-59/U guarantees up to 500 meters of high-quality and reliable transmission at 720p
* RG-59/U guarantees up to 300 meters of high-quality and reliable transmission at 1080p
* RG-6/U or higher specification cable guarantees up to 650 meters of high-quality and reliable transmission at 720p
* RG-6/U or higher specification cable guarantees up to 400 meters of high-quality and reliable transmission at 1080p

OSD menu control via coaxial cable
In this test, it was discovered that the HDCVI solution allows for remote control of the camera's OSD on the DVR client side. This is achieved simply through connecting the DVR with the camera via the coaxial cable. Once that is done, the end user would be able to, for instance, enter the “PTZ” menu in the video channel to control the camera's functions and image parameters. The advantage of this technology is less upfront investment, as the coaxial cable transmits images and controls the cameras. Moreover, back-end remote control of the camera allows for more precision and saves valuable time.

Excellent anti-interference performance
In the test, 6 sources of video inputs are transmitted and accessed simultaneously. In addition, there are numerous network cables, wires, displays, exchanger, and PTZ controllers in operation. However, it was discovered that images remain stable and the system is under control. Finally, when radio signals and magnetic fields in the form of receiving and dialing phones, are introduced at both ends of a 300-meter, 96 braiding coaxial cable, the image displays remain unaffected.

Supports twisted-pair transmission
This HDCVI solution also supports twisted-pair data transmission. In this test, the camera and DVR is connected via a 2-meter, cat5 twisted-pair cable that is also connected to a UTP convertor that is widely available on the market -- UTP Balun, coaxial twisted-pair convertor. The image display was normal and the image quality was identical to the results obtained when coaxial cables are used. Furthermore, DVR remote control of the OSD menu remains normal. According to the manufacturer's installation guidelines, 17Ω ordinary cat5 twisted-pair cable can transmit up to 300 meters at 720p, while 17Ω ordinary cat5 twisted-pair cable can transmit up to 200 meters at 1080p.

Steady and reliable transmission
A 2-megapixel HDCVI camera was connected with a 2-meter coaxial cable, while another identical camera was connected to a 300-meter coaxial cable. To observe the transmission performance of different cable lengths, images of an electronic stopwatch are then shot through the system to be processed by the DVR and HDMI local decoding. It is fair to say that the latency between the cables is the same, even though they are of different lengths. Latency is controlled within the range of 280 to 310ms and is consistent in all the tests.

Video playback is clear and smooth
DH-HCVR7808S supports 4 inputs of simultaneous playback at 1080p simultaneous. When video playback is tested, there is no difference between the quality of video images and the real-time video screenshot. The definition, color reduction, smoothness, and real-time effect are the same in all the following types of video formats: high-definition analog, 960H, 1080p high-definition, or standard-definition analog video. This indicates a proper processing of the DVR encoding and decoding.

Luxriot Mobile is available for beta testers

Luxriot Mobile is available for beta testers

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by:Luxriot | Updated: 3/17/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Luxriot Mobile is a free application for Android and iOS, it allows users to access Luxriot VMS Servers' live and recorded video streams using smartphones or tablets from almost anywhere. This easy to use application allows multiple cameras monitoring simultaneously.

Until now most of the customers already were able to use their mobile devices to view live and recorded video from their VMS'es via the Luxriot Broadcast Server. But Luxriot finds introducing native applications for Android and iOS to be a great improvement for customers, since native application allows Luxriot to offer more important features as well as to increase usability and outcome from Luxriot VMS.

Following features will become available for beta testers:
- Live video from one or multiple cameras
- Play back recorded video
- Video stream quality adjustment for efficient bandwidth utilization
- Multiple Server setup
- Save camera screen layouts
- Snapshot to share
- Connect using 3G, 4G and Wifi


A&H Software House, is a global developer of an open architecture Video Management System – Luxriot VMS. Luxriot VMS accepts MJPEG, MPEG4 and H.264 as well as HD and megapixel video streams from Network (IP) cameras, encoders and video capture boards. Luxriot VMS is integrated with over 2500 devices from all major manufacturers and provides a client-server architecture to build hybrid scalable solutions from a single NVR/DVR to the multiple server system with thousands of cameras.

EverFocus releases new user-interface MobileFocus apps

EverFocus releases new user-interface MobileFocus apps

Editor / Provider: EverFocus | Updated: 3/12/2014 | Article type: Security 50

EverFocus announces the new, attractive design of user-interface and added features to the line of MobileFocus apps. EverFocus offers 4 versions of mobile apps: MobileFocus (free) andMobileFocus Plus (paid) for iOS and Android devices, MobileFocus HD (free) and MobileFocus HD Plus (paid) for iPads.

The MobileFocus and MobileFocus HD now offers a 4-channel live view quad display with 1-channel video playback. The new 1-channel playback from your DVR or NVR on the free app allows users to search by Time or Event, providing you the flexibility to review your recorded video anywhere, anytime.

The MobileFocus Plus offers up to 4-channel video playback with Time or Event search options in a quad display view. In addition, a new “Local Recording” feature will now provide users the ability to save live video in MP4 video format for iOS and AVI video format for Android. With the new “Local Recording” function, once the recorded video has been saved on your handheld devices, you can playback the backup video without utilizing your data plan.

The MobileFocus HD Plus offers up to 16-channel video playback with Time or Event search options. iPad users can now playback videos from their DVR or NVR with a single screen, quad, 9-channel or 16-channel display view options. For live video viewing of EverFocus IP cameras, the MobileFocus HD Plus provides users the options of a single, quad, and 9-channel screen display. It also features “Local Recording” function so you can save your video in MP4 format right onto your iPad.

EverFocus' line of MobileFocus apps supports all EverFocus H.264 DVRs, NVRs and IP cameras with video formats of H.264, MJPEG, and MPEG4. Whether you are using a free or paid version of the app, users can benefit from common features such as single or multi-channel view, two-way audio, snapshot, digital zoom, on-screen camera time/title display, and PTZ control (focus, iris, auto pan, zoom in/out, and preset point setting).

Hikvision solution secures Mac's convenience stores in Canada

Hikvision solution secures Mac's convenience stores in Canada

Editor / Provider: Hikvision | Updated: 2/27/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

For the past 50 years, Mac's Convenience Stores have served the needs of Canadian customers throughout a multitude of locations in Ontario and Western Canada. Mac's Convenience Stores offer a variety of products associated with the general convenience store industry, while certain branches also provide gasoline with gas stations attached to their stores.

Beginning in 2007, Mac's transitioned from their old analog surveillance system into a digital platform. As a result, Hikvision was chosen to help them do so. However, this newer Hikvision-based solution was not simply meant to provide better hardware; instead Hikvision was chosen to provide both technology and a solution that would:
* Provide iVMS software to connect individual stores to corporate headquarters
* Provide security for the entire chain of stores - regardless of location
* Individualize store-based solutions for each specific branch
* Future-proof

Provide Equal, but Individualized, Security
As can be expected with such a large geographical footprint, the dynamics of individual Mac's stores greatly vary. Some are located in metropolitan cities of considerable sizes, others in rural areas. Some are more heavily trafficked, and others less so. Some are much larger with busy gas stations attached to them, where others are simply of the convenient store variety. The issue was, there were a great deal of variance between individual stores throughout Central and Western Canada. However, regardless of this variance, Mac's required each of its stores to be secured.

To address this issue, Mac's hired the Canadian security firm Reliance Protectron to act as integrator for this solution.

John Watts, National Account Manager at Reliance Protectron, decided something other than a one-size-fits-all approach for DVRs was needed: "We had to initially take into account the specific dynamics of each store. In some cases, smaller convenience stores were in rural areas and had enjoyed years of service without any security incidents whatsoever; but in other instances, certain Mac's were in heavily trafficked urban environments where customers primarily visited the stores to purchase gasoline. Both usage and history of previous theft, etc., needed to be understood."

For Mr. Watts, key to this effort would be Hikvision's iVMS-5000 software. This software allows Hikvision hybrid DVRs (such as the 9000 series used in this solution) to connect to Mac's central security operations in Toronto via the Internet. Currently, each individual Mac's store largely handles its own security footage and issues; however with the introduction of this iVMS-5000 software, Toronto now has the ability to access stores' security footage, automatically update DVR features, and better future-proof individual stores for the time when more interconnectivity may be required.

However, before any specific DVR units could be selected for individual stores, testing was required. Mr. Watts continued, "It was decided the DVR's would be secured in an area accessible only by the store manager after a predetermined time-lapse period to provide additional protection for the DVRs ... so they cannot simply be picked up and stolen by the bad guys in a theft."

Based on these results, a variety of Hikvision's 7000 / 8000 Series of DVRs were chosen.

As earlier noted, the particulars of each store greatly varied. Since most of these stores used preexisting black and white analog cameras, the specific Hikvision DVR model was selected based on the number of cameras at a store. Since both of these Hikvision DVR series offer a range of channels, a rural store with only a few cameras would receive a different DVR model than a branch in Toronto that had 16 cameras for its store and adjacent gas station. Regardless of channel number, each model includes 2 terabytes of hard-drive space to ensure enough memory is available.

In this fashion, the DVR solution was specifically tailored to the needs of the individual store - providing maximum coverage, but without wasting resources.

Hybrid Future-Proofing
Initially, the above solution provided the means for individual Mac's stores' security. However, looking ahead, Reliance Protectron's goal was to gradually upgrade these stores' security and ensure any future changes would be possible. In short, future-proofing.

Mr. Watts explained, "A number of surveillance upgrades are being planned. We see the point-of-sale area as critical, as well as additional coverage for problematic gas lanes and stores that experience a higher crime rate."

To accomplish this goal, Hikvision's 8 and 16 channel 9000HFI-ST/SH Series of Hybrid DVRs was selected. Since these areas - POS, gas lanes, etc. - will likely employ high-definition IP cameras, Hikvision's hybrid DVRs with up-to 5 Megapixels resolution recording, and HDMI and VGA output at up-to 1920×1080P resolution, allow newer IP cameras to function alongside older analog models.

Additionally, the previously-mentioned iVMS-5000 software provides a method to connect Mac's stores that utilize Hikvision hybrid DVRs with corporate headquarters in Toronto.

Furthermore, if an individual store grows, or needs additional cameras, the hybrid DVR's hard-drive requirement may also change. Hikvision's 9000 Hybrid Series allows additional terabytes of memory to be inserted while still in the field. This unique feature saves time, effort, and the cost of providing a temporary DVR while the existing DVR is being serviced in a repair center - a feature most manufacturer's models do not provide.

Avigilon: 10 ways to keep video servers running optimally

Avigilon: 10 ways to keep video servers running optimally

Editor / Provider: Avigilon | Updated: 2/21/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Any security manager who has been tasked with overseeing a network can understand the frustration of server and other equipment failure. Sometimes, these malfunctions are a result of manufacturing errors or electrical issues, but more times than not, server issues are a result of user negligence. Servers are a lot like cars; it is important to perform periodical maintenance to ensure they are running optimally and more importantly, to ensure their longevity.

Failure to consistently check the overall condition of user's servers can lead to a variety of problems such as overheating, network inefficiency, and unauthorized security breaches.

To ensure user's video servers continue to run like a well-oiled machine, Avigilon created a monthly IT maintenance checklist that will help you save both time and money.

1. Visually inspect servers
Conducting visual checks on servers and hard drives is an important aspect in ensuring they run optimally. Most servers have intuitive lights (or LEDs) externally displayed so that an end-user is always aware of the server's status and can spot any immediate red flags. Typically, blue or green lights signal good status, while red or orange lights often signal some sort of failure - whether it is the device or connection. Some servers can email users alerts whenever there is a hardware failure. Ignoring the server status lights could result in system failure and the potential for video loss if it's a hardware malfunction.

2. Update and schedule user's operating system and anti-Virus software
Just like user's home computer, servers are susceptible to viruses. If one have a publically accessible server, be sure to consistently keep your operating system up to date and frequently run an anti-virus scan on it. Users' anti-virus software should be the most current version and should meet all industry standards. A corrupt server is not only prone to slower performance and internal server errors, but also leaves users' servers open to possible external security risks. Finally, it is important to ensure that users' firewall software is properly configured and turned on.

3. Schedule a defragmentation
When a server attempts to locate files that are fragmented across the hard drive, the bandwidth it takes to locate and group individual files into one can slow down user's entire system. Scheduling and performing a defragmentation to the server's hard drive will pool all fragmented files together, making them easier to find. Keep in mind that some servers, such as Avigilon's, do not require users to perform a defragmentation because fragmented files are already blocked together and written to the hard drive in the same place upon installation.

4. Review operating system logs
The practice of reviewing operating system logs is standard to server operation. If users have a Windows-based system, make sure they check the activity logs to ensure there are no out-of-the-ordinary or suspicious audit entries. Not following up with “Critical” or “Warning” events may lead to system failure, resulting in loss of video and disconnected system access.

5. Audit the active accounts
In organizations of all sizes, over time there is bound to be turnover. As a security measure, it is important to keep track of the employees that have access to servers and ensure that former employees do not have access to users' systems. Be sure to delete old users and change passwords when necessary.

6. Verify Retention
Make sure having record of servers' storage capacity. Since cameras typically record on motion detection, if there is an increase in activity in the area users are monitoring, the retention time may be affected. To verify the amount of storage users have, check out the software's timeline and confirm the number of days that are being recorded. Don't try to locate important footage from a few weeks back only to find out it has been erased.

7. Delete unnecessary bookmarks
Managing your server's saved footage is very similar to using your TV's DVR. Keeping old bookmarks for surveillance video in your server is the equivalent to hoarding a stockpile of recorded TV shows you don't watch. Too much data saved unnecessarily will impact your storage space and the amount of footage you are able to retain. Be sure to delete and/or export saved footage you don't need to maximize your server's storage space.

8. Check UPS battery
Power outages happen. As a result, it is important to ensure the security and servers are not compromised in the event of electrical failure. When installing a server, customers should add a UPS or backup power supply to protect their information in the event of a power failure. Upon installation, customers should also perform a quick test to confirm the backup battery is working correctly.

9. Ensure software is up to date
Verify that software is up to date for both the video management client and the server. This will enable users to optimize your software and ensure that bugs from previous versions do not affect the current system. Being negligent with software updates could be a security risk as updates may fix important issues in previous versions of the software.

10. Auditing logs of users activity
It is always a good idea to audit user activity on a site to ensure users are adhering to protocol. Check activity logs to be sure users are being responsible and ethical with their access.

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