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Abu Dhabi University Selects Nedap Technology for Library Management

Abu Dhabi University Selects Nedap Technology for Library Management

Editor / Provider: Nedap | Updated: 10/21/2011 | Article type: Education

At the end of this year, the highly anticipated new campus of Zayed University is expected to open in Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi. Covering an area of 213,000 square meters, the campus will offer it's expected 6,000-member student body a wide assortment of state-of-the-art learning opportunities. And while laboratories, classrooms and computer labs will certainly showcase the latest high-tech innovations, it is the RFID-equipped library that will set a new standard for education in the region and beyond.

The Library at Zayed University, which comprises a total of 18,000 square meters, has been equipped with the latest version of Librix, an innovative RFID solution that makes the lending and returning process easier than ever before. Books are equipped with RFID tags, and after scanning his library card, a student simply needs to place the desired books on a special check-out station before leaving the library; an easy-to-use bilingual touch screen guides both English- and Arabic-speaking students through the process. Returning borrowed books follows a similarly streamlined procedure. In terms of staff benefits, all stations are connected to Librix Online, which enables direct hardware performance monitoring and statistics output.

Dutch Hotel Chooses Nedap Parking Solution for Guest Access and Experience

Dutch Hotel Chooses Nedap Parking Solution for Guest Access and Experience

Editor / Provider: Nedap AVI | Updated: 10/14/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin is a luxury five-star hotel in a unique location direct at the beach at Noordwijk. The hotel has 230 rooms, 20 suites and 4 penthouses topped off with a Michelin Star restaurant. The hotel is host to many famous celebrities such as the Dutch football team.

The hotel sought to make vehicle access to the garage client friendly which is primarily used by guests from the restaurant ‘Copper' and residents of the adjacent apartment complex. Congestion during peak hours also presented a stumbling block. Quick, safe and user-friendly access for vehicles and residents was of utmost importance.

To satisfy these requirements, Huis ter Duin chose Nedap AVI vehicle access. Consisting of the TRANSIT long range reader and the window button, the system was integrated by Bavak Beveiligingsgroep BV. In total, 8 readers and 200 window buttons were distributed. In combination with the Bavak speedgate, opening and closing of the gates within a number of seconds was guaranteed.

"We are very pleased with Nedap's vehicle identification system. Vehicles are identified without the need to come to a stop and the need to present a badge. Access for our users is guaranteed in a secure and efficient manner,” comments Huis ter Duin.

Dutch Concert Venue Opts for Nedap Integrated Access and Intrusion Solution

Dutch Concert Venue Opts for Nedap Integrated Access and Intrusion Solution

Editor / Provider: Nedap Security Management | Updated: 10/12/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

The new Ziggo Dome concert venue in Amsterdam, which is currently under construction, has chosen to install access control and intrusion detection systems from Nedap Security Management. Automatic Signal Rijsenhout will carry out the project implementation.

The Ziggo Dome concert venue has a floor area of 90 by 90 metres and extends to a height of 30 metres. The Dome is planned to accommodate an audience of 15,650 including Member Seats. In total, on a time scale of five years from project completion, more than one million visitors and in excess of 100 events are expected on an annual basis. This ultramodern concert venue requires an advanced and up-to-date security system that will offer both access control for more than 75 doors and integrated intruder detection. AEOS was a perfect match for this brief. AEOS architecture will also be used at the Ziggo Dome in order to implement future extensions easily and efficiently.

Employees and tenants will gain entry and leave the building through doors that are equipped with Nedap's Invexs 190 Mifare readers with keypads. The AEOS ‘graphical alarm handler' will be used to manage collaboration between the security system and third party systems such as the temperature sensors in the beer coolers.

The Nedap AEOS system will be installed and configured by Automatic Signal Rijsenhout, one of Nedap's certified business partners.

Secrets to Success: How Businesses Balance R&D Spending against ROI

Secrets to Success: How Businesses Balance R&D Spending against ROI

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 9/7/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

Save or spend ? Solution providers have to decide how much to invest in technical development, without going into debt. a&s finds out how manufacturers maintain an edge in innovation while ensuring the ROI is right.

Product development is universally a top budget priority. While budget items such as ad spending can be cut, R&D remains untouchable.

However, hiring a team of geniuses does not come cheap. While talent should be rewarded, R&D investments take time to recoup. Some companies may focus on their most profitable solution and dedicate R&D resources toward increasing that revenue, rather than developing truly innovative products.

Making an honest buck out of a good idea is far from a crime. However, when a company depends on a flagship product that is essentially unchanged, it risks becoming obsolete. In challenging financial circumstances, the cost of development may be trumped by the need to generate ROI fast.

Security has been no exception to the global downturn. “There is a lack of innovation in biometrics,” said Ken Nosker, President of Fulcrum Biometrics. “All the copycat, me-too companies jumped in overnight and they haven't innovated anything. They got together smart technical people and copied products.”

Trade shows have trumpeted scores of new products. However, many brands introduced no-frills lineups for buyers on a budget. “While Sony continues to provide the most innovative and high-end models, we also provide entry-level and cost-friendly models to meet the needs of different customers and applications,” said Yoshikazu Hirano, GM of Security Solutions, Business and Professional Products for APAC, Sony Electronics.

Disruptive solutions are few and far between. “My perception is that there is a reduction in the number of genuinely ‘new' product launches,” said Philip Avery, cofounder and MD of Navtech Radar. “What we tend to see is mostly in the software arena, which is probably to be expected, as the security and surveillance industry continues to push towards IP.”

In a sense, product innovation is leaning toward refinement and not so much grinding to a halt. “Products are more shaped and tuned,” said Johannes Rietschel, founder and CEO of Barix. “We often use the phrase ‘evolution instead of revolution.'”

From a component perspective, Texas Instruments witnessed no slackening in R&D. “I don't see a slowdown in product launches and innovation in video surveillance,” said Cyril Clocher, Business Manager for Video Surveillance, Texas Instruments. “Customers cannot launch or innovate if they don't have components for products.”

Lens suppliers reported an uptick in network and megapixel camera launches. “It seems that many new camera manufacturers who do not have established brand names are jumping into the fray, along with large incumbents who are updating their somewhat aging product portfolios with new models and competing with the pure-play network and megapixel camera companies,” said Andrea Iniguez, VP of Business Development, Theia Technologies.

A successful company should have innovation at the heart of its business. “It should be a natural result of ambition to come up with new products that are exciting to both customers and your own people,” said Maarten Mijwaart, GM of Automatic Vehicle Identification, Nedap. “As soon as you start talking a lot about topics such as ‘innovation management,' you can be pretty sure innovation is not a natural aspect of your company culture.”

Balance seems to be the operative word for weighing R&D spending against generating a profit. “We are careful to balance cash flow and revenue, while making sure we can support R&D and engineering and customer support,” said Dick Salzman, VP of Marketing for Keeneo. “ROI for R&D is always weighed as to short- and long-term ability to turn R&D into sellable products and features.”

Several considerations are taken into account for budget decisions. “Barix dynamically controls spending depending on quarterly developments,” Rietschel said. Market trends are also noted at trade shows for product developments. However, customer input is key for Barix. “When we see that interest for a certain area, product or feature pops up in our inquiries, we take a closer look and consider pushing funds into that direction,” Rietschel said.

In response to customer demand, Fulcrum Biometrics developed a fingerprint scanner that operates as an accessory to smart phones and tablets. “Our concept is based on our channels and what they want,” Nosker said. “We have a very sustainable business model and R&D expenses will never get so big that a less-thansuccessful product launch will put the company at serious risk. My bottom line is sustainability.”

While some companies are able to raise venture capital, not all manufacturers can depend on investors to fund R&D. Some corporations can afford to acquire start-ups to fill portfolio gaps, but ROI is not instant. For Arecont Vision, it measures ROI related to R&D in terms of its ability to develop solutions that meet and exceed market demands in a timely manner, said Becky Zhou, Sales Director for APAC.

Israeli alarm vendor Visonic boosted its R&D investment. “We took advantage of the slowdown in the market activity to enhance and accelerate the introduction of new technologies and innovative solutions,” said Amir Gefen, VP of R&D for Visonic.

Component suppliers measure ROI by different benchmarks. “When I see a customer with a leading product designed with TI components, this is what I see as ROI,” Clocher said. “We are integrating and innovating on the silicon, or the IC itself, so that affects the trends of the market and brings innovation to customers. This is where we put our investment to provide the end user with a platform that makes them competitive and differentiated on the market.”

The component perspective certainly requires the latest R&D, but that innovation translates into how other people interpret it. “As a technology company, we don't have a product road map,” said Alessandro Gasparini, Senior Sales and Marketing VP and Chief Commercial Officer of ImmerVision.

The company licenses a 360-degree panomorph lens technology and dewarping software, but the lenses themselves are ground by third-party lens suppliers such as Fujinon, Gasparini said.

Once R&D funds have been allocated, the next step is to determine where the money goes. While funds may go toward a completely new product line, integration with third-party vendors also requires R&D resources. If a company slows product launches, its R&D team may be working on smoother integration.

For Visonic, its R&D projects involve integration of its solutions with central monitoring station platforms, wireless home automation solutions and home security products by other manufacturers, Gefen said.

Israeli video synopsis pioneer BriefCam divides its R&D team into two. One responds to issues in the field, such as integrating with VMS platforms or different languages, while the other team develops ideas around its technology. “Our customers don't necessarily ask for them; we come up with new ideas we try to understand the directions in which the technology may develop,” said Dror Irani, CEO of BriefCam.

March Networks has a similar R&D structure. Its core team works on sustaining existing solutions, while the innovation team works on future technology. “R&D is protecting the existing customers in terms of what they are using,” said Fabrizio Colciago, CTO of March Networks. “We want to give them some kind of continuity. At the same time, we want to provide them the next step to go to the next level.” [NextPage]

Integration with third-party components and solutions can be difficult. “Even with ‘standards' there is a difference of the way it actually works as opposed to the way it is written it should work — just ask Microsoft,” Salzman said.

Ideally, companies should disclose interfaces and provide “how to” information for product use to third parties, without many hurdles. “It depends on the intentions of the other parties, if they are using the open standards as a marketing tool or if they really want to cooperate and integrate,” Rietschel said.

Clear documentation helps smooth integration between hardware and software. “MegaLab was developed to make it easy for platform designers to test and modify their software and hardware for use with Arecont Vision cameras,” Zhou said.

ImmerVision ensures its lenses will work with different products through a compliance check. “Manufacturers submit their product for testing, then the certification is signed by our chief engineer stating product XYZ is ImmerVision-enabled,” Gasparini said. “This is the case for lenses, software and products.”

While some companies did not reduce R&D funding, they made moves to make production more efficient. This includes greater factory automation as well as relocating production facilities to other countries. However, nearly all hardware companies interviewed felt there was no place like home. Outsourced labor may be cheaper, but domestic production enables tighter control over product development.

While Dallmeier visited many international production facilities, it chose to keep manufacturing base in Germany. “Dallmeier is the only manufacturer in Germany that develops and manufactures all components on its own,” said Konrad Hechtbauer, Director of Project and Application Development at Dallmeier electronic.

Companies with overseas production select partnerscarefully. Theia's lenses are made by a partner with plants in Japan as well as Indonesia, Iniguez said. March Networks manufactures hardware in Mexico and Asia, but software is developed in-house. “Our central R&D location is in Canada, with 80 percent of it in Ottawa, or more than 100 people,” Colciago said. Barix moved production to China 10 years ago. “We are considering opening a second production location outside of China for various reasons now,” Rietschel said. Its R&D is based in Switzerland and Germany. [NextPage]

The future direction of R&D is in line with current product development. IP is a continued migration, with the cloud and greater connectivity being essential. Component-level breakthroughs will enable faster processing on the edge, reducing network loading. As hardware becomes harder to differentiate on, software will be the benchmark of a company's innovation. “We don't expect any revolutionary new technologies, but rather a honing and smoothening of the current systems, with IP moving even further into lower-price systems,” Rietschel said.

Technology will be amalgamated to make sense in other environments. “The cloud is coming in quick and having a big impact,” Irani said. Video monitoring could check on a loved one in the hospital — from the office, at home or on the road via mobile devices.

Some companies worked to make power-hungry products more efficient. This is a challenge with processing-intensive devices, such as megapixel cameras or network recording devices. “While other companies where talking about the economic crisis, Dallmeier used this period to prepare the company for the time after the crisis,” Hechtbauer said.

Other companies worked on making their solutions smarter. Hungarian analytics provider Intellio developed intelligent edge cameras and vertical-specific software that are easy to manage. “The new Intellio camera models are able to handle several specific applications, which normally run on a server,” said János Kópházi, MD of Intellio.

The mobile revolution will require additional R&D resources. “It's the next three to four years for the output, but you have to be doing the R&D today to have the products positioned in the market tomorrow,” Nosker said.

As copycat products increase, differentiation lies more in applications than hardware. “What we see happening is that hardware is becoming more of a commodity every day,” Mijwaart said. “The true innovation and one of the only opportunities left to be distinctive is by having better understanding of client needs in specific applications and offer firmware and software that will fully support those needs.”

Ultimately, technology serves as tool to advance human goals. “Today, the differentiation is not in performance any more but in the solution,” Colciago said. “It should not be humans adapting to the technology. We should use technology to understand what the human wants. Because at the end, the human is the master and the technology answers to us.”

Effective Data Sharing Puts the Brakes on Carmageddon

Effective Data Sharing Puts the Brakes on Carmageddon

Editor / Provider: by a&s International | Updated: 8/25/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

Operators need to interact with traffic systems daily for management and enforcement, demanding accurate results. With roads crossing jurisdictions, traffic solutions must conform to system requirements, regulations and policies for seamless interagency cooperation.

The task of monitoring traffic usually spans multiple agencies, who share camera footage for disparate reasons. Highway operators want to manage congestion and clear accidents. Law enforcement bodies want to catch violations, such as speeding or red-light running. Each entity requires different results from the same system, which must be sufficiently flexible. In some cases, each agency maintains its own monitoring network, resulting in five cameras watching the same vehicle. While that example is extreme, it is sadly all too common.

Aside from creating an eyesore, redundant systems are a waste of taxpayer money. “Control room operators are looking for solutions and systems that will help improve their operational efficiency and effectiveness,” said Richard Ng, Director of Business Development, ST Electronics. “Solutions that provide a high level of asset visibility and situational awareness will contribute to these goals which, in turn, will drive the timeliness and adequacy of the response in the event of incidents.”

Efficiency is a top priority for traffic managers, as they cannot afford a pair of eyes on every part of the network. “The ability to recognize and respond to events is the main objective,” said Mark Cartwright, Technical Secretary of the Urban Traffic Management and Control.

Part of efficiency is ease of use, making management's life simpler by resolving problems, said Rui Ma, Director of Intelligent Transportation, Hikvision Digital Technology.

Reliability and uptime are other management priorities. “Reliability is the recognition of the license plate and the correct reading of the license plate, such as not mistaking a V for a Y,” said Koen Hobbelink, Business Development Manager of the Netherlands for Nedap. “Other operational demands are uptime within a certain time frame and lifetime of the product.”

Relieving congestion is the main goal of traffic monitoring. Therefore, gathering information on road conditions is the first step, then sending that data to the management center for flow analysis and taking an appropriate response, said Martin Yang, Director of R&D for Sunell Technology. This can include electronic signage for drivers, providing real-time traffic updates.

A good traffic-monitoring and management system can inform drivers about road conditions ahead, enabling them to avoid traffic jams when accidents and incidents occur, said Nafis Jasmani, Sales Manager for ASEAN at Axis Communications. “The enforcement bodies can also use the system to further enhance their response actions to critical situations as well as dangerous motorists.”

In some applications, traffic flow is the top priority rather than catching red-light violations. “If operators want to count how many cars went left on Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m., they can set it up to count traffic patterns,” said Dan O'Malley, Senior PM for Cisco Systems. “They can use video as business and surveillance tools. Some areas in the U.S. don't even want to record; they just want to count objects that go left and right.”

While some traffic monitoring is done automatically, such as LPR for identification, it still requires human interaction. “The camera is just to see the traffic and check if there's a traffic jam,” said Zaheer Ali, Director of Oriole Electronics. “Operators can see if there's an accident and send help.”

Traffic solutions rarely fall under the jurisdiction of one single agency, requiring interagency communication. This is challenging when agencies want to link to systems from other authorities. For highways that pass through different states or municipalities, each entity may view feeds from its neighbors.

“I have less control over cameras from an external stream than I do from my own cameras,” Cartwright said. “The issue is twofold. One, can I receive the image stream effectively? With network camera technology, you stream to an open standard, such as MPEG-4, so that's not a problem.” A second issue is the control channel. “It's challenging to integrate cameras into a management system, no matter what manufacturer it's from,” Cartwright said. “To change, say, the resolution, those issues will clearly come into the control channel difficulties.”

Despite the difficulties, there are more integrated approaches to traffic management and monitoring. “Take several of the tristate areas in the U.S.,” said Vinodh Swaminathan, Director of Intelligent Transportation, IBM. “New York City's traffic problems are not only caused by New York City roadways. There is a dependence on New Jersey and Connecticut; it requires a much more integrated approach.” [NextPage]

Red-light cameras, which include ones that take still photos and others that record video, are widely unpopular. However, red-light violations can be deadly. In 2009, 676 people were killed and an estimated 130,000 were injured in crashes that involved red-light running in the U.S. alone, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Most red-light monitoring solutions are considered a way for traffic agencies to make a quick buck. However, independent audits of red-light enforcement have shown that while fines exceeded program costs in some jurisdictions, other programs did not break even.

Speed cameras are another enforcement tool, which cuts average speeds by 1 to 15 percent, compared to sites without them, according to a 2010 review by the Cochrane Collaboration. The percentage of speeding vehicles fell by 14 to 65 percent at locations with speed cameras. Reducing speed makes a difference in passenger safety, even if the effect is not always noticeable. In some cases, speed cameras can increase congestion, due to drivers slowing down while passing a monitored stretch of road. “The Dutch police don't use fixed speed cameras — they use mobile speed cameras mounted in police cars,” said Peter de Konink, Product Line Manager for Codecs and Analytics, Siqura (a TKH Group company)

A good enforcement system must be able to stand up to scrutiny under dispute. “Images have to be tamperproof, and enforcement-based instrumentation and measurement other than presence detection need to be well-calibrated and have acceptable tolerances,” Ng said. “There should not be any ambiguity of the violation at the point of offence, and sometimes a secondary verification means may also be required.”

Some enforcement policies are designed to keep cars out, creating an environmental zone in crowded areas. “Classification of vehicles helps to facilitate this and to enforce the ‘green zone,'” said Koen Hobbelink, Business Development Manager of the Netherlands for Nedap. In the Dutch cities of Zaandam and Maastricht, bollards and LPR enforce restrictions on vehicular access to inner-city areas.

However, having multiple operators makes enforcement more difficult. The monitoring is mostly done by the contractor, while enforcement is carried out by a government agency or law enforcement, Ma said. The interaction between the two is often lacking, resulting in a gap.

Along with technical considerations, operators will look at other factors. “One factor is clearly price,” Cartwright said. “Another consideration is whether the supplier can offer good maintenance support. There is also the nontechnical question of whether the operators have these skills.”

Traffic-monitoring and management regulations are fairly local and aimed at a regional market. “In the Netherlands, Crow and Connekt are active,” Hobbelink said. “In other countries in Europe, other regulations might apply, but similar processes can be expected.”

Pan-European standards such as ERTICO are developed by Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), which also has branches in the U.S. and Japan. Connekt is the Dutch organization for ITS, which connects parties to work on mobility in the Netherlands, Hobbelink said. China is developing traffic standards through its national standards committee, along with an intelligent transportation committee, Ma said. For now, standards are incomplete, out-of-date or overly specific.

In the U.K., the Urban Traffic Management and Control initiative began in the 1990s as a governmentsponsored research program. It looked at the breadth of modern technology for traffic monitoring, Cartwright said. But the initiative rapidly turned into interoperability as the key, using mainstream technology standards such as IP ones.

However, mainstream standards may not meet security needs. “We are a patchwork quilt industry — we get bits and pieces from entertainment, telecoms and IT,” said Dave Gorshkov, CEO of Digital Grape. “H.264 is talked of as a standard, but it's the most varied compression standard I've ever seen, with variations in I, P and B frames.” Traffic surveillance did not develop a standard until 2008, when the Technical Standards Working Group for the American Public Transportation Association issued one for surveillance in transport.

Traffic managers want video surveillance to observe a situation. They may also want to review images frame by frame and in high resolution when they need to. When the system is not needed, they do not want overhead bandwidth or storage. “This drove the standards group to put together a document that outlines good practice in use of the systems in various applications, giving ideal frame rates and minimum resolutions that need to be used in case you need to review the images,” Gorshkov said. “The document also guides operators and system purchasers through the design review process and acceptance testing — another part of the video surveillance industry that tends to be subjective rather than empirical.” [NextPage]

While practice makes perfect, it is not always wise to replicate the practices of an existing traffic project. Terrain, technology and cost are among the factors that constantly change. “Often, requirements are copied one to one, without looking at what the best option is for the application the end user wants to realize,” Hobbelink said.

Some bid requirements are reasonable, while others are less so. “In cases where the requirements are reasonable or comply with the surveillance standards, vendors may offer customization services,” said Cheng Yu, PM at ZTE Netview Technology.

Other examples are when end users build what they consider a best-of-breed solution, but do not understand that the integration is impossible without expensive or extensive developmental effort, Ng said. These include functionalities that are vendor-specific and proprietary in nature.

The nature of the bidding process favors the lowest bid, aiming to save taxpayer money. In reality, it can undermine system quality. “Some companies will do anything to win a project,” Ma said. If a project lists certain camera requirements, any product that meets the bare minimum can be considered. However, it is impossible to measure image clarity, as well as the effort poured into developing a camera.

In India, for example, eligible contractors must have completed a security project worth US$15 million. “Tenders require experience, but the contractors who win the tender are not always quality vendors,” Ali said.

Breakthroughs in technology and partnerships promise smoother travels in the future. Gridlock will be further eased with smarter sensors and cameras on the road, providing metadata to operators and drivers. Along with faster updates, traffic video is used for more than security. In Wales, its newest traffic control center houses the traffic agency, police and TV broadcast service under the same roof. “They all get clips, although not access to everything, and use it when they need it,” Gorshkov said. “This design of an operating control center optimizes the data they have and provides high-quality feeds to those that need them.”

New advances in video surveillance integrate GIS positional data. “It's helpful for sending ambulances or knowing where an object is in the field of view or which area of perimeter has been tripped,” Gorshkov said.

IBM's traffic solution for the Korean city of Bucheon provides real-time alerts, yielding a tantalizing glimpse into the future. “The city leverages video data better than it used to, to understand how traffic flows and where choke points are,” Swaminathan said. “The solution helps the city determine traffic volume and speed, and all those translate into better information for drivers. The accuracy of traffic data increased from 50 percent to more than 90 percent. The system makes sure drivers receive accurate data on traffic congestion and tie-ups, and suggests new routes. It also helps the city increase the speed at which they collect traffic data by 1,200 percent. In large cities, it's important to collect and disseminate information efficiently.”

The proliferation of smart phones also puts more eyes on the ground. “If there's a bad accident, a first responder can upload video to the server and alert other first responders by sharing the video of the incident,” O'Malley said. Operators can also pull in videos uploaded to YouTube by drivers for more timely updates, as a picture says a thousand words. “If the monitoring center, security centers or dispatchers can see video, they can bring the appropriate resources to the incident quickly. This is a way to bring down the old barriers to communication.”

As populations swell, some amount of congestion will be inevitable. However, well - coord inated management and enforcement solutions help ease gridlock. Combining good technology and best practices will result in more effective traffic monitoring.

Zoom Through Traffic With Purpose-Built Solutions

Zoom Through Traffic With Purpose-Built Solutions

Editor / Provider: by a&s International | Updated: 8/25/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

In today's urban landscape, automobiles play an indispensable role in transporting people and goods. They also cause a variety of problems, ranging from traffic accidents, congestion, environmental pollution and massive consumption of fossil fuels. These are a few of the issues which are becoming serious global problems and require fundamental solutions.

Traffic-monitoring solutions are designed to identify congestion, as well as increase safety on the roads. More interactive services include real-time messages through signage for drivers. Determining objectives is the first step toward building an effective monitoring solution. a&s looks at selection criteria, as well as whether IP and HD surveillance is ready for widespread deployment.

Resolution is the latest buzz in video surveillance and certainly provides benefits for traffic installations. However, megapixel images require additional bandwidth, storage and processing. Megapixel image sensors are mostly CMOS ones, which need additional illumination that is not always available at night. While the benefits of network cameras will eventually increase adoption, the current status limits where they can be placed.

 Traffic-monitoring solutions are handled on a daily basis by operators and enforcement agencies. They demand results that are sometimes in conflict. While reliability and uptime are clear priorities, other nontechnical issues such as training and ease of use are just as important. Balancing different needs against real-world time and budget constraints requires careful planning. Ultimately, traffic-monitoring deployments can help save lives, time and money and sustain the environment.

Traffic has accompanied the rise of urbanization, as more people vie for limited space on roads. While there are more ways for commuters to reach their desired destination, congestion is a constant factor. Beyond being a nuisance, traffic takes a significant toll financially. In Germany alone, traffic congestion cost US$425 million in lost time and fuel in 2010, according to the ADAC, the German equivalent of the AAA.

Transportation, traffic and congestion in urban areas are a huge cost of doing business. “Almost 1 percent of the GDP for a city or country is the cost of congestion,” said Vinodh Swaminathan, Director of Intelligent Transportation, IBM. “As we talk to transportation CIOs from our annual study, a primary area of focus over the next five years is business intelligence and analytics.” The biggest and fastest growing cities in the world are investing trillions in urban infrastructure, making traffic monitoring a top priority. Cisco Systems estimates the traffic monitoring market will have a CAGR in the low teens to exceed $800 million by 2015, said Dan O'Malley, Senior PM for the Physical Security Business Unit.

In China, large traffic-monitoring networks are being deployed. While the coastal region is more developed, there remains great potential in western China, said Rui Ma, Director of Intelligent Transportation, Hikvision Digital Technology. In Europe, more cities are concentrated now and regulate traffic more in urban areas or business parks. One way to manage vehicular access is with bollard-restricted urban areas, said Koen Hobbelink, Business Development Manager of the Netherlands for Nedap. The market is clearly growing, particularly for incident management. “The business case for video, if you calculate the cost of a major artery being blocked, makes it very cheap to put in a camera,” said Peter de Konink, Product Line Manager for Codecs and Analytics, Siqura (a TKH Group company). “A delay of an hour has a price, and that's quite high.”

There is no sure-fire way to resolve congestion. A surveillance solution for a downtown intersection will have completely different priorities from a highway, said Alf Chang, Senior Consultant for a&s magazines and a former installer. Cameras are getting smarter with analytics, but form just one part of a total monitoring solution. The agency considering a traffic solution must determine why it is needed in the first place; the benefits it hopes to achieve should be narrowed down. “If you don't do this effectively, don't be surprised if the quality is not there when you need to review the stored images,” said Dave Gorshkov, CEO of Digital Grape. He is also Chair of the CCTV and VCA Technical Standards Working Group for the American Public Transportation Association.

Determining objectives early Traffic monitoring is concerned with congestion, but there are other issues technology can address. “Road safety and physical accessibility are other goals,” said Mark Cartwright, Technical Secretary of the Urban Traffic Management and Control, a UK agency. “The challenge traffic managers have is how to meet a range of conflicting policy goals with the traffic management tools at their disposal.”

Understanding and clearly acknowledging what operators want to accomplish plays a huge role. “You don't want to see people putting up cameras, setting up networks and streaming to the back end because they can,” Swaminathan said. “If they understand the outcomes they want to drive and what types of video data are more important, mediumand long-term goals for operating infrastructure would make more sense to the city.”


The most crucial part of project planning is determining the project's purpose. An agency that wants to monitor road conditions may not need crystal-clear images for facial identification or LPR.

Some policies drive trafficmonitoring implementations. For London, its congestion charge started as a policy to deter people from driving. “The charge is enforced using LPR,” Cartwright said. “For cost and liability, London needed to ensure all the entry points to the charging zone are monitored.”

Other citywide policies aim for better living by managing congestion. “Eliminating traffic from specific zones in the city improves livability,” Hobbelink said. “Monitoring and management of restricted vehicle access is, therefore, a hot topic.” Traffic systems are becoming more informative as well. “Throughout the world, we see a shift away from monitoring to proactive traffic management,” Swaminathan said.

“This is driving changes in the information system. You can see the emphasis moving from traditional dependence on front-end equipment, such as cameras, to software and analytics. Operators can use predictive analytics to anticipate a potential incident on a road that is getting increasingly congested. They can then position emergency vehicles on roads, rather than wait and react to an incident.”

The next stage is to determine what technology is best suited for a particular application. IP video surveillance has tremendous benefits, but before procurement, it is essential to understand what its limitations are. Megapixel cameras offer impressive amounts of detail, but require a supporting cast to function in an outdoor environment. “High resolution is almost not desired; it's seen as a luxury,” Cartwright said.

Nighttime imaging is also an issue, as megapixel cameras require IR illuminators. One illuminator may suffice for one lane of traffic, but not across four lanes. More illumination will help, but overheating may cause the camera to crash. Operators will have to weigh between seeing detail and streaming video. While there are newer cameras that can cover up to two lanes with a single 810-nanometer illuminator, these are highly application-specific.

Extra lighting may simply be unavailable on highways. “With the low-light issues, none of the available megapixel cameras will do,” de Konink said. “Additionally, if you mount a camera on a pole 6 to 12 meters high, there will be wind. You will have to make it a very stable pole, but that is very expensive.”

Dynamic range also remains an issue, giving rise to noisier images and increased bit rates, said Martin Yang, Director of R&D for Sunell Technology. CMOS sensors are getting better at handling more pixels, but still have a way to go before they catch up with CCD low-light performance.

HD is a growing trend for traffic applications, but only for specific locations such as toll stations or entrance ramps. IP is seeing added adoption in traffic, but not every camera on the road should be a megapixel one.

General wide-area monitoring still depends on SD cameras for real-time transmission.

Traffic-monitoring checkpoints frequently deploy LPR as well. The world electronic toll collection (ETC) systems market is the fastest growing product segment, displaying a CAGR of about 12.77 percent until 2015, according to a Global Industry Analysts study.

For identification, HD is hard to beat. Key places that deploy HD cameras and LPR also use PTZ cameras, said Cheng Yu, PM at ZTE Netview Technology. “In a typical traffic application, a mixture of HD and SD will be deployed to lower the cost.”

However, real-life LPR performance is not 100-percent accurate and takes up significant processing power and bandwidth. For operators, it can be hard to use as well. Some solutions try to free up bandwidth by compressing the image before running LPR algorithms, but the loss of image detail reduces accuracy and defeats deployment purposes. Edge processing will make this better, but changing conditions make LPR easier said than done.

License plates have multiple formats, making it hard to recognize them all. “In India, some plates write the numbers on one line, while others are written on two lines,” said Zaheer Ali, Director of Oriole Electronics. “Some are in plastic or metal; some are not in English but in Hindi. It's very hard to perform character recognition. LPR has never worked in India for the current format.”

Traffic monitoring is a really demanding situation where operators need to be able to identify vehicles, objects or even persons in a scene, said Nafis Jasmani, Sales Manager for ASEAN at Axis Communications.

“This higher resolution enables the operator to choose either to zoom in or to maintain a wider field of view without compromising the ability to see and discover fine details in the image.”

However, escalating megapixel counts need to be weighed against frame rates . “ I f you t ake 20 megapixels and you zoom 10 times after the fact, the camera could look for license plates, faces or through the windshield to faces,” O'Malley said. “However, if you reduce frame rates while cars travel at 160 km/hr to 4 fps or the IR illuminator is shining at the wrong place, no matter how great the lens or camera is, you can't use that data.” Megapixel is useful in specific traffic applications, but is not practical for every camera system-wide.


While products have their limitations, understanding those limits helps build a practical solution. Hardware and software must perform for years or even decades. “Whatever you install, the system has to be reliable,” Gorshkov said. Agencies must install an appropriate system for their needs, understanding that some equipment, such as hard drives, has short life cycles. “Does the system do the job I want it to do reliably and efficiently? Will it keep doing it for 10 to 20 years? Does it solve problems the camera was intended to help with? People have operational needs, and any system design must meet these needs.”

Another selection criterion is multitasking. “One thing we keep hearing — which is probably a consequence of the economic crisis — is the infrastructure should be simple, efficient and multipurpose,” Swaminathan said. “How do we do more with less?”

Third-party interoperability was supposed to be a thing of the past, thanks to the rise of IP and standards. The reality remains that joining ONVIF does not solve integration issues, because of private agreements among vendors. This ensures only vendors who have paid up will have support for their unique features. “Proprietary protocols only exist as a favor to suppliers, not to end users,” Hobbelink said.

Other issues are insufficiently open APIs and SDKs from vendors who want to maintain their competitive advantage. Lack of transparency has been a long-term headache, as each company has proprietary interfaces that make data sharing difficult, Yang said. An inability to share translates into a bottleneck for traffic monitoring.

There is no common agreement for overall performance. “PSIA, ONVIF and HDcctv are not standards — they're manufacturer agreements,” Gorshkov said. “They're not for maximized performance; they're just ways to connect boxes without difficulty.”

With so many parts in a traffic solution, scalability and interoperability are essential. “Eventually, cost will be reduced if everyone is sending information with the same media and control path,” O'Malley said.

Government agencies or operators must include contract provisions that require the various vendors and system integrators to open up their interfaces or develop new ones. “It is important for the agency calling for a submission or tender to have a good understanding of the various legacy and new systems that need to be integrated together and also the extent of integration required,” said Richard Ng, Director of Business Development, ST Electronics. This includes integrating existing analog systems with digital ones, as well as managing control interfaces.

Along with cameras and an monitoring requires backup storage as well. Presently storage is done in one of two ways. The first is on-site storage at the roadways, Chang said. The second is node storage, distributing storage throughout the system, similar to private cloud storage. The benefit is scalable storage options that can be placed anywhere, instead of a central location.

Some agencies choose not to record their video at all, opting for live viewing, Gorshkov said. This depends on policies, such as how long footage is retained.

Getting surveillance images stored calls for transmission, with wireless deployments increasing due to their flexibility. “In most cases, there is a dedicated network for cameras, such as along highways. If you go wireless, the story is different,” de Konink said. “In some countries, it's much harder to get wiring alongside the road. If you're in Switzerland, you'd have to go through the mountains. Here in Holland, we don't use wireless at all, except for mobile systems where they do maintenance on the road.”

Advances in Wi-Fi and 4-G technologies have overcome some issues with range, power and data rates. “The key is to balance the operational requirements for high resolution and the availability of bandwidth,” Ng said.

New wireless standards will improve transmission speeds. “Before, it was hard to get 2 Mbps to stream to your cell phone,” O'Malley said. “Now with 4-G, it will get fast. The point here is that video surveillance will be ubiquitous as the public networks get faster.”


Capital investment upfront is difficult to justify without some sort of ROI. For the US city of Lancaster, a public monitoring system averaged 836 pieces of video information in a month for 2010, resulting in 15 arrests a month on average. Evidence captured on video saves trial costs, which is roughly $20,000 for each case that goes before a jury, according to the district attorney's office. While the system is not strictly for traffic, it has paid for itself several times over. In Sweden , IBM designed and maintained an automated tolling solution, which employed character recognition and RFID. The system automatically taxed vehicles entering the city center between specific times on weekdays, reducing traffic volume by 25 percent during its trial period for an estimated savings of $1.1 billion. Traffic monitoring can be worth the investment, if carefully designed and implemented.

Traffic monitoring requires thorough planning and carefully considering technical factors. Copying another project's specs without considering site factors will result in missing red-light violations or procuring cameras that cannot perform LPR. Hardware and software considerations come after planning, as users need to take vendor claims with a grain of salt. In the following article, we examine what a traffic-monitoring installation must deliver for effective management and enforcement

Nedap Keeps Wireless Tab on Critical Parking Facility in Eastern Holland

Nedap Keeps Wireless Tab on Critical Parking Facility in Eastern Holland

Editor / Provider: Nedap | Updated: 8/1/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

At a truck parking along an important route in the eastern part of the Netherlands, Nedap AVI has installed the SENSIT, a wireless platform that detects vehicles occupancy in parking spots and reports this information in real time. The information can then be relayed to drivers to inform them about the current occupancy at the parking facility, through digital signage along the way or via smart phone application. With the SENSIT technology in place, Nedap AVI is able to increase the comfort and safety of the over-the-road trucker.

As it is everywhere, transportation is of great importance for the Netherlands. Truckers transport products daily from the Netherlands to their destinations throughout Europe. In the interest of safety and efficiency, drivers must adhere to strict travel and rest times. With access to such real-time occupancy information, truckers may quickly and accurately search for a place to rest, eat, or stay without having to incur delays by exiting the roadway to do so. Timely information on the route increases comfort and safety in this way.

This recent installation of the SENSIT at a truck parking facility along the road between Arnhem and Enschede to Germany, an important route in the eastern part of the Netherlands. This allows the facility to inform drivers about the current occupancy at the parking facility in real-time through digital information along the way or an application on their smart phone.

The sensor uses both an infrared technique and the magnetic field, making the output very reliable and real-time. By integrating the output into a central parking program, the owner can easily manage the parking facility. Besides the current occupancy, the actual parking time can also be measured, which allows them to map out and assess long-term stays.

Moving About in Airports with Biometric Scanning: The World at Your Fingertips

Moving About in Airports with Biometric Scanning: The World at Your Fingertips

Editor / Provider: Camille Shieh | Updated: 7/6/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

Advanced technologies such as biometrics-credentialing kiosks are not just seen in movies;they are gradually appearing in high-risk settings such as at airport customs. Not only do biometrics help screen travelers, they are also exceptional management tools in safeguarding restricted areas and keeping tabs on attendance and payroll records.

Biometrics have not been popular in airport settings until recent years, as a result of the technical barriers that hindered their performance in real-life situations. Often, a biometric reader that performed perfectly in a laboratory test is less impressive in real life, as various environmental and hygienic factors obstruct accurate scans.

In the case of fingerprint scanning, most optical sensors are configured to look for the presence or absence of total internal reflectance (TIR), which is the phenomenon whereby the interface between glass and air acts as a mirror at certain angles, said Phil Scarfo, Senior VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Lumidigm. “The contact between the skin and the platen defeats the TIR, allowing those points of contact between the finger and the sensor to be imaged. Thus, those points of contact must be complete and visible to enable the conventional sensor to collect a fingerprint image. Optical and electronic sensors simply cannot do this time after time. All too often, 3 to 20 percent of the time, the reader is unable to detect the fingerprint.”

In recent years, multispectral imaging technology has solved the fingerprint-capturing problems that conventional imaging systems encounter in less-than-ideal conditions. “This solution is based on using multiple spectra of light and advanced polarization techniques to extract unique fingerprint characteristics from both the surface and subsurface of the skin,” Scarfo said.

As airlines and airports work to balance traveler convenience with the need for security, they will increasingly integrate advanced biometricsbased identity authentication technologies into the growing range of self-service processes within air travel, such as passenger and baggage check-in kiosks, said Scott Basham, Location, Perimeter and Surveillance Security Asia-Pacific Program Lead, Unisys. “This is because self-service processes have extended deeper into the air travel cycle — from online flight reservations to today's passenger and luggage check-in kiosks at domestic airports just prior to boarding a flight.”

Staff and Crew Management
In “Recommended Security Guidelines for Airport Planning, Design and Construction” revised by the US Transportation Security Administration in May, while the use of biometrics is not a federal requirement for US airports, the higher degree of security is recommended for strategically significant facilities or high-risk portals.

Commonly used access control features that tie in with time anddual-authentication process, which includes a smart card with a photo ID and biometrics, said Scott Mahnken, VP of Marketing, Bio-Key International. “Depending on the life cycle of the access control system installed, incorporating time and attendance into access control is a logical step in the upgrading/ replacement process,” said Mark Moscinski, VP of Safety and Security, System Development Integration.

Restricting access for aviation staff can be easily configured by applying biometrics credentialing to sensitive entry points. For unsupervised access to high risk areas, biometrics clearly offer a more secure solution, Basham said. “But care must be taken to ensure that the biometrics cannot be circumvented — either through biometric spoofing or tailgating, where multiple people enter at the same time without verifying their separate identities.”

“At Yeager Airport in West Virginia, hand geometry readers have been used since 2001, restricting access to the control tower located in the airport terminal and also to the HVAC system and other sensitive equipment,” said , VP of International Sales, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. “The control tower doors are opened about every five minutes around the clock. The hand readers are all networked to the airport's central security system.”

Staff's time-and-attendance records can be simplified as well. “Biometrics are often at the front end for time-andattendance systems in all types of industries, including transportation venues,” Diedam said. “Contrary to using badges, sign-ins or other ways of tracking employees, a biometric reader assures that no employee can punch in for another, eliminating time fraud and reducing payroll costs. This is why so many organizations now employ biometrics; for instance, at the Miami International Airport, the hand punch terminals take time and attendance even for janitorial services.”

Eliminating “buddy punching” is only part of the reason that many want to upgrade, Scarfo observed. “Biometric time-and-attendance systems also prove to be more cost-effective in the long run. Within three to five years, biometric solutions become break-even with plastic cards because of the associated costs with cartridge and printer replacements, as well as the support and management of the system.”

“We've received many requests for facial-recognition technology for airport employees,” said Aluisio Figueiredo, COO of Intelligent Security Systems. “The main factor is that it is not as intrusive as iris and fingerprint scanning. However, the drawback is that equipment setup must be in accordance with the environment; cameras must be placed in specific areas under specified lighting to ensure accurate readings. This technology cannot be set up just anywhere.” The technology can be installed in both large- and smallscale airports, as it is affordable and can be implemented according to various planning needs and available budgets.

Dangers Screened Out
For external screening of travelers coming into or leaving the country, biometric scanning does provide double prevention against possible security breaches. In some airports, a database of collected personal biometrics data is integrated and connected to government databases for quick referencing and tracking of suspicious persons. “The database can be connected to a similar installment, such as the FBI's identification system, or it can be maintained independently in the cloud,” Mahnken said.

Since 2002 in Europe, internal and external security systems in many European airports have already been interfaced with government databases to ensure air travel safety, said Arjan Bouter, International Sales Manager, Nedap Security Management.

Sky is the Limit: Airport Security Soaring into Smart Management

Sky is the Limit: Airport Security Soaring into Smart Management

Editor / Provider: Camille Shieh | Updated: 7/4/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

Heightened aviation security since the 9/11 attacks and subsequent terrorist threats has brought along increased awareness, for danger can be detected or deterred before brought into the air.

As new airports continue to be constructed and existing ones upgraded, newer technologies like HD video surveillance, video content analysis and management software are gradually adopted to enhance the security and safety of complex airport and aviation operations. Security management of the entire premises is, thus, increasingly highlighted. One of the top challenges faced by system integrators today is assimilating new technologies and products into existing systems, as old and new systems often have trouble communicating with one another. However, should an airport project adopt technologies based on an open platform, integration would be much smoother, with extra cost minimized and existing investment extended.

It is common to find restaurants, retail shops, cafes — and even hotels, spa centers and casinos — in today's airports. “As airports provide a global transportation network among cities, they are important hubs and have considerable regional economic significance, giving the cities they serve great commercial advantages over those that do not have them,” said Uwe Karl, Head of Airport Solutions, Siemens Building Technologies. “Airports will undoubtedly continue to grow in number, and existing airports will continue to grow in size in order to satisfy the increasing demand for mobility. The systems employed to protect them, therefore, need to accommodate such growth, with a smooth migration path to allow systems to expand easily.”

Newer, Bigger, Better
The mature markets in North America and Western Europe see a continuation of security upgrades. “The sales outlook is promising as threat has not lessened,” said Mark Wilson, VP of Marketing, Infinova. “The biggest need requested by airports in North America is HD video surveillance.”

The US market is continuing at a good pace, fueled by the events of 9/11 and carried through up until the Obama administration, said Mark Moscinski, VP of Safety and Security, System Development Integration. “Federal stimulus funding has also kicked in for many airport security projects with design phases giving way to implementation projects; in fact, we seem to be only at a halfway point through the federal funds for the realization of our current projects.” In the last few years, large airports in Europe have had more difficulty with growth than smaller airports, and this trend will continue in the next five years, said Arjan Bouter, International Sales Manager at Nedap. “In Europe, large airports are looking for more flexible solutions to curb the impact of disruptions by extreme weather conditions and other disasters.”

Newer airports in the Middle East and Asia will also challenge the European ones, Bouter continued. “Obviously, this will have an effect on security management systems; new safety and security platforms will contribute to a lower TCO that improves the competitveness of European airports.”

New and upgrade projects in emerging markets, such as China, India, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Russia and Latin America, see healthy growth in number. “We recently completed a project for 22 airports in India, in addition to other major projects in Easter Europe and the Middle East,” Wilson said. “For these projects, we used a combination of analog and HD cameras, and in many cases, they are taking advantage of the existing fiber optics.”

These regions are characterized by strong expansion. For instance, China has planned over the next five years 55 new airports to cover the expansion of traffic, Bouter added. “These regions will implement new security platforms, often based on open standards.”

Many airports in these regions are also undergoing a “face-lift,” and usually for these projects, HD and megapixel technologies are sought after in conjunction with advanced software like video content analysis (VCA), said Aluisio Figueiredo, COO of Intelligent Security Systems. Overall, the physical security market for airports is expected to double by 2016, said Julian Harris, Research Analyst for Aerospace and Defense in North America, Frost & Sullivan. “Perimeter security is growing significantly due to technology innovation and the push to protect patron safety. We see fiber-optic fencing experience more growth than traditional fencing, as the former continues to be invested in.”

In video surveillance, Harris sees more IP surveillance installed at larger international airports, while smaller airports opt for analog technology with less integration of disparate security systems. “In terms of access control, fingerprint readers tend to be adopted by larger airports, while smaller airports stick to standard access control protocol, suggesting that larger airports are exploring more options.”

Biometrics will continue to play an increasingly crucial role, agreed Scott Mahnken, VP of Marketing, Bio-Key International. “Convenience and security are paramount in airports, and biometrics are virtually impossible to corrupt yet involve no cards, passwords or tangible assets. Documents may be forgotten, but we will always have our fingerprints or other biometric attributes.”


Government In volvement
As most airports are state-owned, municipal, state and federal governments are crucial players in determining what security measures need to be set up in airports. “There is a maze of security and regulatory issues facing every airport,” said John Diedam, VP of International Sales, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. “It starts with a thorough understanding of Title 49 CFR Part 1542 of the US Homeland Security's Transportation Department, ranging from who must be in charge, how to become compliant and airport tenant security programs, to security of various locations within the airport, law enforcement and access control. The first objective is to reduce the complexity of this and all other pertaining regulations, along with the security ramifications.”

Next, one needs to determine and resolve airport security and fire safety vulnerabilities, Diedam continued. “Security could be almost perfect if everything was locked down and nobody could come or go, but that's not feasible. What needs to be done is to assure that security is at a high level but innocents can escape when needed. There's a compromise, and they are typically found within the regulations aforementioned and local codes and regulations.”

In the U.S., every commercial airport is owned and operated by a local government entity — city, county, state or port authority — each with its own political structure, funding capabilities, environmental/noise requirements and security/law enforcement support, said Art Kosatka, CEO of TranSecure (a member of the Association of Independent Aviation Security Professionals). “There are federal regulations, as well as state and local building and electrical codes and fire and life safety codes, which must be met.”

“We often see that local or state governments are strongly involved in the economic development of the region/country where the airport is situated,” Bouter said. “Under such circumstance, local solution providers are often favored to take on new or upgrade projects.”

Airports are used as hubs to create new business in many places, observed Gerard Otterspeer, Product Marketing Manager for CCTV, Bosch Security Systems. “At times, international consultants such as ADPI, COWI-Larsen, Bechtel and Parsons set the security standards in airport projects while they help clients plan and design aviation construction projects.”

New ≠ Best
While there are strict and high security requirements, not all airport projects use the latest technologies the security industry has to offer. “Airport clients are very savvy customers, knowing what they need and insisting that their integrators and manufacturers provide systems that meet their expectations for both performance and budget,” Wilson said. “With even new construction projects, it is not unusual to see analog video implanted in areas where it sufficiently does the job. In fact, there are many hybrid and coexisting systems at airports.”

“Airports focus on leveraging as much of their existing technology as possible; they do not have a rip-andreplace mentality,” said James Chong, CTO of VidSys. “Additionally, they tend to wait to use new technology until it has been proven in the marketplace.”

“Generally, we like to think in terms of first providing an initial concept of operations (ConOps) for the customer — what are you doing, why do you need it, where is it required, what is the threat you are addressing and what are the priorities,” Kosatka said. “This should drive the technology decisions, one of which might be that new technology in consideration isn't right for the airport's actual needs at all.”

Securing airports is a complex undertaking, remarked Larry Lien, VP of Product Management at Proximex (an ADT Security Services company). “Airports are continuously looking for ways to improve ConOps to best protect passengers and employees, as well as avoid poor publicity and lost revenue from security incidents. Some airports leverage the latest technologies to fit specific project requirements. They evaluate many factors to make the decisions, including the benefits, risk factors, costs and ROI for new technologies. Newer technologies, such as HD cameras, offer significant advantages because airports may leverage fewer cameras but still cover a large area. However, airports must still consider the ability of newer technologies to communicate with existing systems and fit within the ConOps.”

In airport projects, proven brands, solutions and products are preferred, while current technologies are followed in a general fashion, Otterspeer observed. “HD and even full HD products have gained popularity in this kind of projects for applications like forensic search and wide-angle viewing; however, during the course of a project, the technologies used can change.” Technologies used are much influenced by the consultants in many cases.


HD and VCA
Using HD video streaming can help extend the life of the existing analog cabling of an airport surveillance system while providing better forensic evidence and the zero latency needed for live monitoring using PTZ camera controls, Wilson Vertical Market said.

In airport security, the devil is indeed in the details. “HD delivers a wide-screen format that captures more useable image content, reducing the amount of empty sky or foreground in a scene if a wide-viewing angle is needed, such as at baggage claim areas,” Otterspeer said.

Motion sensor technology has certainly improved and can now detect farther and more precisely than previous versions, said Rolland Trayte, President of FutureSentry. “Solar-powered wireless sensors offer simple installation and add the detection range to 1,000 feet. Advanced applications can also add analytics to further ensure robust detection and reliability of alarming inputs, and enable the system to ‘learn' the difference between uniquely shaped objects.”

Adoption of VCA for airport monitoring remains low, despite a visible growth in the last couple of years. “VCA is used in about less than 10 percent of airport projects currently, with potential to grow moderately to 15 to 20 percent in the next few years,” Harris said.

“Security standards are not in place yet to get this widely adopted in the market.” Actual applications, Otterspeer added, include line crossings for external perimeters and wrong-way or loitering detection for strategic locations such as air traffic control towers, customs gates and aircraft ramps. “VCA is used from site to site, depending on what the project requirements are,” Moscinski said. “Currently, simple analytics are used most often, as the technology still has several barriers to overcome, such as unsatisfactory hit ratios and high FARs. Simple VCA like motion and object detection can help identify when someone has crossed checkpoints from the nonsecurity to the security side, alarm relevant personnel and provide evidence to assist with tracking and identifying the intruder. We see the most active VCA evaluation now taking place for use in perimeter security.”

Another key technology identified is ALPR, which is very common these days at Tier-1 (major) airports and is becoming increasingly common at Tier-2 and even some Tier-3 airports, said Jim Kennedy, President of Inex/Zamir. “The primary use is for parking revenue management to prevent ticketswapping fraud and subsequent revenue losses. Increasingly, we are requested to provide a ‘list-matching' capability to our system so that local authorities can be immediately notified if a vehicle that is on a watch list enters a specific parking facility.” The disappointment with VCA often stems from undelivered functions it promised in the beginning, Figueiredo said. “Many vendors are pushing less-than-ready VCA products out to customers to make quick cash even if the technology is still not mature enough for real-life usage, ultimately creating more problems for customers. The accuracy of VCA reading is, on average, 85 percent or better when utilized in a controlled environment with strategic camera position and correct lighting.”

HD, megapixel cameras and video analytics may provide improved inf o rma t i on and s i tua t i ona l awareness, but they introduce enormous operational costs in terms of bandwidth and storage requirements, and other issues such as forensic capability and privacy.


Drawing Together
In expansion projects, such as a midsize, domestic airport scaling to large, international airport or a large-scale airport expanding current facilities, new security systems and technologies, such as HD video, IP-based video and VCA, are often introduced. “These new technologies cannot be installed independently of other existing security systems and require shared information,” Lien said. “Security operators must use different consoles and different systems to manage incidents. The costs associated with operating independent and nonintegrated systems, such as training, additional skills required for reporting and longer incident response time, are significant.”

Yet connecting disparate systems under one central command is no easy task. “We face a lot of problems with legacy systems,” Figueiredo said. “Sometimes, there is no documentation, no SDK, or the company responsible for the system simply went out of business. System integrators (SIs) like us basically have to make sure that the systems work together through the use of an open-platform approach.”

“Typically, each installer/integrator is focused on making sure its own system is installed and runs correctly,” Lien added. “Expectations of how to integrate and what an integrated system can realistically accomplish could often be miscommunicated. Entities that require communication between systems should find an experienced SI that can help them set clearly defined goals for their environments.”

For security purposes, central management software like physical security information management (PSIM) is a good way to maintain unified control over different systems in operation. “A true PSIM solution enables one complete and intelligent security system by aggregating information from various subsystems and automating processes as appropriate to effectively manage situations,” Chong said.

PSIM software is a good option whenever doing a significant expansion or a new project, added Joshua Koopferstock, Director of Marketing, Feeling Software. “Multiple systems, mapping and SOPs should be combined within a single software package, and this common operating picture in airports is becoming increasingly important as security systems become bigger and more complex as the facility expands in size.” To facilitate smooth integration of hardware and software, as well as the old and the new, adopting an open approach that grants partners with access to their SDKs and APIs is vital, Koopferstock said.

“Oftentimes, SIs and PSIM vendors combine their knowledge of and expertise in physical security technologies, process management, and security policy and compliance to provide organizations with a complete situational awareness and management solution,” Chong said.

In addition, SIs and airports should work together to consider their ConOps and how the systems should function after integration, Lien remarked. “Understanding process flows, automating tasks, correlating information and giving usable information to operators will help airports optimize their operations and realize cost savings.”

Many are now focused on quickly identifying situations and disseminating the information to the guards, police and other necessary agencies in real time, Chong said. “Airports are also starting to use a single security asset, such as a camera, for multiple uses. For example, security may use a camera to see if someone is walking around the runway, while air side operations may use the same camera to verify if the gate is available for an arriving flight.”

The growing complexity of daily airport operations demands equally diversified security systems. Smoothly integrated systems, such as access control and people tracking, will help with the fluidity of security management on aviation premises. Biometrics, the new kid on the block for airport access control and ID authentication, will be explored next.

Weighing the Benefits of Dedicated VMS

Weighing the Benefits of Dedicated VMS

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 1/18/2011 | Article type: Tech Corner

Dedicated video management software solutions have distinct benefits but are also more complex. A&S looks at the pros and cons for software-only offerings, along with pricing considerations.

Stand-alone and hardwarebased video management software (VMS) solutions offer advantages and drawbacks. “I think both solutions have their place in the market,” said Francis Lachance, PM at Genetec. “We see dedicated software solutions are more targeted at the high-end and large-scale systems because they offer more flexibility in deployment.”

The benefits depend on the individual's perspective — whether they are end users, specifiers or system integrators. “While vendor-based VMS ties one to the manufacturer's hardware and tends to lock one in to higher costs perhaps initially and in terms of support in the long term, it does at least guarantee that the software and hardware work properly together,” said Phil Ridgeon, VP of Sales for Vigilant Technology. Its VMS runs on thirdparty approved hardware, but is usually bundled with D/NVRs.

Dedicated VMS can add new functions at any time, while DVRs have limited upgrade options. “Stand-alone, open-platform software means that the VMS is decoupled from the hardware it runs on, allowing users to choose standard off-the-shelf devices of their own brand, price and feature preferences to suit their individual needs best,” said Christian Bohn, VP of Marketing and Head of Product Development for Milestone Systems.

Pure software can be cheaper in some instances. “Professional VMS pros include no initial hardware costs if existing computers and free software are used,” said Jakub Motycka, Head of the Technical Department for Koukaam.

Features Galore Flexible software
increases video's usefulness. “Intuitive and comprehensive IP-based VMS provides valuable data that can be used in numerous ways and, broadly speaking, can provide a useful new asset to the enterprise as well as a solid ROI,” said Gadi Piran, President of On-Net Surveillance Systems.

Bundled VMS features are limited. “What we find in larger projects is they like to standardize hardware like Dell, so free software is increasingly not where the market is going,” said Marc Holtenhoff, CEO of Aimetis. “For people looking for basic features, there's a lot of competition, and free is a nice price. But there's value in paying for software.”

The functionality of a DVR, NVR or free software does not match enterprise demands. “For an airport with 1,000 cameras, you're looking for scalability and a support structure — it's a different ball game,” Holtenhoff said.

For comparison, a DVR cannot handle the complexity of large projects, said Tuhin Bose, Chief Engineer of Videonetics.

VMS delivers more integration, compared to hardware. However, licenses are expensive, require servers to run and can be difficult to install. “Dedicated VMS offers comprehensive functionality to enhance common video surveillance tasks, such as virtual matrix support, automated ‘patrols' of cameras, integrated maps, video wall and more,” said Oliver Vellacott, CEO of IndigoVision.

Some providers offer both software-only and NVR-bundled VMS. “There's not really a pro or con to either one, as it depends on the customer,” said Jesse Frye, Product Line Manager, IP Video Management Systems, March Networks. “The NVR is very successful because it's a purpose-built solution. The con is it is perceived as a closed solution.”

The Nedap VMS solution is based on its access control platform, which was designed to be vendoragnostic. “We introduced a security management platform in which we separated the software from the hardware,” said Hans Schipper, GM of Security Management, Education and Locker Management Systems, Nedap. “We use generic hardware and deploy software components to give it a certain behavior.”

While dedicated VMS offers strong functionality and maximizes existing hardware, a potential downside is it generally has to be purchased whereas vendor-based VMS systems tend to be included with the device, said David Aindow, Product and Technology Director for Synectics (a Quadnetics company).

Payment Plans
Most vendors license by device. Instead of charging for the software, the user is charged for licenses per camera, said Alf Chang, Senior Consultant for A&S magazines. When the system grows, the customer buys more licenses instead of replacing servers and software, saving installation time and cost.

However, not everyone likes paying for software, whether upfront or annually. “Because of the resentment felt in much of the security industry about annual license charges, our model has always been a one-time license charge made at the time of purchase,” Ridgeon said.

Most dedicated VMS providers license by camera count, but others include servers and users for large installations. Discounts for bulk purchases are usually set by distributors, rather than the providers.

Digifort charges by camera license for software, but offers a base license per server, said éric Fleming Bonilha, Technology Director of Digifort. Each base license includes a certain number of camera licenses.

As VMS vendors are comfortable in the network space, remote monitoring deployments through software as a service (SaaS) have generated buzz. While this business model could generate new business, hosted video targets SMBs and homes rather than enterprise projects. Some vendors already have partners deploying SaaS, while others are hedging their bets.

Some vendors have put video in the cloud. “In my opinion, hosted video will be driven by IT-centric video surveillance companies and not by the telcos,” said Steve Lewis, COO of ipConfigure. “AT&T tried unsuccessfully to launch a video surveillance offering with its ‘remote monitor ' service. It eventually punted the service back to Xanboo to run.”

The security industry is cautious about new technology and business models. “Video stored by a third party brings security and privacy issues,” Holtenhoff said. “Architecturally, there are reasons for it and it makes sense, but the adoption rates aren't great.”

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