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AXIS: How to improve camera usability with image stabilization?

AXIS: How to improve camera usability with image stabilization?

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by Axis | Updated: 9/23/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Sometimes it doesn't take much to render an otherwise perfect video stream practically worthless. Gusts of wind tearing at a surveillance camera can make it shake or vibrate enough to make images come out as useless blur. A heavy truck, or a train, passing close by can have similar consequences. Most viewers will find it tiring and irritating to watch even a short video clip if it is constantly shaking or wobbling.

A number of different techniques have been developed to cope with the problem, with varying degrees of success. However, the introduction of efficient and affordable gyroscopes in combination with cutting-edge software programming has accelerated the process towards robust, real-time image stabilization.

Vibration impact on video output Improvements in video quality have, somewhat paradoxically, made the problem with blurry images more apparent. Increasing pixel density, higher resolution and more powerful zooms have not only made cameras more sensitive to vibrations but have simultaneously made viewers more susceptible and prone to noticing them.

Naturally, operators and integrators are aware of these challenges and are trying to address them. Vibration may, for instance, be reduced by choosing sturdier mounts or less exposed locations for the installation.

Image stabilization not only brings great improvements in the surveillance operator's working conditions by providing smooth, comfortable live viewing at all times, but also makes an entire video surveillance system more versatile and cost efficient by making better use of each camera's potential, for example by maintaining image quality in zoom shots when vibrations otherwise may have affected the video quality.

At left: A snapshot from a video frame without Electronic Image Stabilization.
At right: Electronic Image Stabilization is activated. Above images demonstrate how Electronic Image Stabilization equalizes the motions from frame to frame resulting in stable motion video.

Benefits and applications in video surveillance
A surveillance camera mounted in an exposed location such as on a high pole or a street sign near a busy road, can be shaken by winds or passing traffic, which will blur the video. Electronic Image Stabilization works excellent regardless of camera lens type. When using a powerful telescopic zoom which zooms in on a distant object, the field of view becomes narrower and any shake or tremble will be amplified in the camera – and the amplitude of the shake will increase proportionally to the amount of zoom used. For a standard lens the challenges can be equivalent, if the camera is mounted in an environment with a high level of vibration. Regardless, image stabilization should be regarded as a prerequisite, so the cameras can be used optimally also in all kinds of circumstances.

Having cameras that are less sensitive to vibrations also makes installation more flexible and allows for multiple mounting options. In the prerequisite end, fewer cameras may be needed to satisfy surveillance requirements.
Further, stabilized images will save bandwidth use and storage space. Advanced video compression formats, such as H.264, are based on motion compensation. In short, this method uses the image of a single frame as a baseline and then only saves information about changes in the picture. A well stabilized image will contain comparatively less movement and thus require less bandwidth and storage.

For operators monitoring the video, Electronic Image Stabilization will make an important difference. Not only will the video material quality be improved, making it easier to see details and use the material to take action or make further analyses. It will also make the time in front of the monitoring screen more comfortable, eliminating fatiguing issues resulting from watching a blurry or vibrating video image.

Today, shakes and vibrations reflect on the results from most of the analytic applications available. However, using Electronic Image Stabilization could have positive effects. For instance, Video motion detection (VMD) is a way of defining activity in a scene by analyzing image data and differences in a series of images, a feature that can be built into a network video product or made available with video management software. Shakes and vibration increases the risk for false alarm, but can be amended by using Electronic Image Stabilization.

Finally, a perhaps less obvious advantage of image stabilization is that privacy masking can be made more precise. On a camera without any stabilization system, the effects of possible shakes and vibrations would have to be compensated by increasing the masked of area in the image.

Making efficient video stabilization affordable
Hardware and software development are making efficient video stabilization techniques affordable for an ever-increasing range of network cameras. This progress not only secures smooth, comfortable video monitoring in real time. It also enhances image usability, improves camera operability, makes installation more flexible and finally, improves the overall cost efficiency of a network camera surveillance system.

 

Hospital in India kitted out with VIVOTEK cameras

Hospital in India kitted out with VIVOTEK cameras

Editor / Provider: VIVOTEK | Updated: 9/23/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Protecting patients and caregivers
As one of the leading healthcare delivery providers across the pan Asia-Pacific region, Fortis Healthcare Limited is committed to not only sustaining, but also bettering the lives of those in need of clinical care. The company's operations span many borders – countries such as India, Singapore, and Sri Lanka, all the way to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and the island nation of Mauritius – and its services reach some of the world's fastest growing markets. As a provider of integrated health care in the areas of diagnostics, primary care, and specialty day care in hospitals, Fortis Healthcare is a major force in the industry and poised to take on a leading position globally. With expanding operations comes the responsibility of protecting not only patients' physical health, but also the environment in which they and their caregivers work on a day-to-day basis. Such was the case with one of the hospital locations in Ludhiana, India, and they sent out a call for help that VIVOTEK answered wholeheartedly.

Outfitting the medical center without interrupting the hospital daily operation
As hospitals never close, the greatest obstacle to outfitting the medical center was laying cables for the relocation of cameras without interrupting business as usual. The hospital in Ludhiana remained in full operation throughout the process, and the system integrator deftly managed to do the cabling without disturbing patients or damaging anything. It took a lot of manpower and hours, but in the end the installation was completed seamlessly. Computer Services Integration – a company with experience and specialization in IP surveillance, network infrastructure projects, wireless and video, and data and audio communication systems – together with VIVOTEK worked to bring the project to fruition, and all systems were up and running by October of 2013.

Choosing the right hardware to build a seamless security Guarding expensive medical equipment and the safety of staff and personnel was the primary concern of this project. When it came to choosing the right hardware, there were four main aspects of surveillance that played into the decision: patient movement, patient security, employee security, and grounds security. Inside the hospital 54 units of the IP8133 model were mounted. This camera allows users to simultaneously receive multiple streams and is an ideal option for keeping a remote eye on patients and staffs. The camera features tamper detection, 32-channel recording software, and a built-in PIR sensor for human detection, all packaged in a compact design. Five IP8332 units were used for monitoring goings-on outside of the hospital. The bullet-style network camera performs well in outdoor settings, with a removable IR-cut filter for day and night functionality, IR illuminators effective up to lengths of 15 meters, and multiple stream capabilities.

All video streams captured by VIVOTEK's cameras are fed through video management software called ST7501, enabling the user to fully control and manage the streams from a single location. Using ST7501, real-time remote monitoring, recording, playback and event trigger management functions can be operated by the user. Ultimately, the solution chosen by Fortis Healthcare guaranteed patient and visitors tracking, grounds surveillance, and general security of the hospital.

Completely satisfied with the Installation and performance
Mr. AP Singh, regional IT head of Fortis Hospital, commented on the overall efficiency of VIVOTEK's IP surveillance solution. “The system integrator did a really good job setting up the surveillance system despite the challenge of working in a hospital open 24-hours. Once the system was in place I was really impressed with the user friendliness of it all, particularly the way in which ST7501 software integrates everything into an easy to operate system.”

VIVOTEK creates secure environment in a Polish hotel at Tatra mountain region

VIVOTEK creates secure environment in a Polish hotel at Tatra mountain region

Editor / Provider: VIVOTEK | Updated: 9/22/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Creating an Atmosphere of Security and Relaxation for Guests
Located in Bialka Tatrzanska Mountain Resort in the central Tatra Mountain region, Bania Hotel is among the most luxurious hotels in Poland. An excellent location, top quality service, and numerous attractions make Bania Hotel truly exceptional. Bania Hotel is a perfect destination for families and couples wishing to enjoy peaceful leisure and an ideal location for adventurers seeking intense experiences.

Customers, staffs, and hotel facilities require sound protection. Feeling relaxed and not worrying about security problems are critical for guests during their stay at Bania Hotel. Therefore, an array of indoor and outdoor surveillance solutions is required throughout the complex. To satisfy the end user's needs, features such as megapixel image quality, round-the-clock surveillance, intelligent IR illumination, and Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) functionality are essential. The system must also be user-friendly, thereby enabling immediate response to any potential incidents.

Quality Service, Quality Surveillance
Bania Hotel management has chosen VIVOTEK products, which provide optimal cost-to-performance ratio among numerous surveillance solutions available on the market. VIVOTEK is a widely known brand with prestigious deployments worldwide. VIVOTEK's surveillance solutions consist of top-quality products built with state-of-the-art technology while being cost-efficient - a characteristic lacking in other leading brands.

For indoor surveillance, security specialists recommended the reliable fixed dome network camera VIVOTEK FD8134. This high-quality megapixel camera comprises a compact and discreet design, and is equipped with IR LED illuminators required for nighttime monitoring. This device is powered by PoE technology, and features a slot for SD/SDHC memory cards that enable local recording; thus, no data will be lost in the unlikely instance of malfunctions. VIVOTEK FD8134 is an excellent choice for locations such as corridors, storage rooms, and staff-only areas. In Bania Hotel, VIVOTEK FD8162 was employed in areas requiring special attention, such as lobbies, entrances, and places frequently visited by guests. This full HD image quality model features a vast array of additional functions including a PIR (Passive Infrared Sensor) sensor for enhanced motion detection, WDR for processing highly contrasted scenes, and Focus Assist for quick and easy focus adjustments.

For outdoor areas, the advanced VIVOTEK IP8335H bullet camera was employed. In addition to superior image quality and rock-solid reliability, this model offers a series of advanced features including powerful WDR Pro for high contrast environments, P-iris technology to achieve sharp images under changing light conditions, and Focus Assist for quick and easy focus adjustments. VIVOTEK IP8335H also features IP67 weatherproof housing, an SD/SDHC memory card slot for local storage, PoE support, IR LED illuminators, and removable IR-cut filter for securing surveillance quality and image clarity around the clock.

Excellent Surveillance System Fulfills Customers' High Expectations
VIVOTEK surveillance is, without doubt, Bania Hotel's optimal choice. Both the installing company and end-user acknowledged the high quality and exceptional value delivered by VIVOTEK products. With the assistance of specialists from SUMA, VIVOTEK's key partner and distributor in Poland, an excellent surveillance system was delivered, thus fulfilling the end user's high expectations.

“With excellent image quality and reliability, VIVOTEK cameras are the key to this successful deployment,” said Pawel Dziubasik, owner of the Bania Hotel complex. “In addition, the designs of VIVOTEK cameras fit the elegant style of our hotel in both indoor and outdoor areas. The entire system is discreet yet stylish while maintaining harmony with the hotel's traditional mountain region look.”

Hikvision amps up security coverage in Bahrain's Ramez Hyper Market

Hikvision amps up security coverage in Bahrain's Ramez Hyper Market

Editor / Provider: Hikvision | Updated: 9/29/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Located throughout Persian Gulf counties is a quickly growing chain of stores known as Ramez Hyper Market. Currently there are 39 individual stores in this region. However, with an aggressive expansion strategy, this total is projected to balloon to 90 total stores within 5 years.

Reflecting this is the chain's presence in the country of Bahrain. Currently, this island nation has three relatively new stores that were opened progressively, one shortly after the other. Additionally, the Ramez Group is set to open its fourth Hyper Market within a matter of months. This chain's growth can be attributed to a number of factors, including the type of store it is, and the services it provides to its customers.

Ramez Hyper Market is a one-stop shop offering customers everything from home furniture to fresh products over multiple floors of retail space. Additionally, with amenities such as convenient outdoor or underground parking, and with the doors open for approximately 16 hours each day, shoppers have a convenient option to efficiently get anything they need, whenever they want.

However, unforeseen to most customers, this convenience comes with a security responsibility for Ramez ownership. Specifically, the Ramez Group's goal is to provide:

* the ability to monitor cars in close detail the moment they enter parking facilities
* the ability to closely monitor customers the moment they leave their car until the moment they return to it
* the ability to monitor each and every individual rack of goods within the store
* the ability to eliminate camera blind spots on retail floor space

IR Eyes Outside
Of the four Bahrain Ramez Hyper Market stores, each store uses a different parking strategy based upon its specific location and the logistical requirements of that store. One uses a combination of both outdoor and underground facilities; the others offer either open or underground, depending on their situation.

As noted, the Ramez Group wanted the ability to see detail, specifically license plate numbers. To achieve this goal, as well as the other aforementioned points, Al Wardi Security Trading Co. W.L.L. was chosen to act as integrator to not only Bahrain's Ramez Hyper Markets, but for all Ramez Hyper Markets throughout the Gulf Region, as well.

To provide Bahrain's Ramez Hyper Market with the ability to see license plate numbers and other similar detail, Murali Nambiar - Managing Director at Al Wardi Security Trading Co. W.L.L. - selected Hikvision's DS-2CD854FWD-IR5 3MP WDR Network Box Camera. This model was chosen for a variety of its technical capacities, but at the top of this list is a 50M IR range combined with a vari-focal lens. The IR range provides the needed distance to survey individual automobiles, while the vari-focal lens provides the means to see specific detail, such as license plate numbers.

The 2CD854FWD-IR5 3MP is placed on Hyper Market external walls, overlooking parking. Additionally, it provides quality overall perimeter security. While lights are present to somewhat illuminate the evening hours, the transition from day to night can be markedly different from one side of the building to the other. In this capacity, not only is IR important, as is a true day / night feature to automatically switch to infrared, and also wide dynamic range to take into account the glare of the sun at particular hours of the day.

Interestingly, this box camera is not designed as an outdoor camera. As such, it doesn't have an IP66 rating to protect it against the elements. However, Mr. Nambiar felt this was the camera for the job, so Hikvision designed a custom external housing unit to provide this needed protection.

Piggybacking the 2CD854FWD-E 3MP for parking is the DS-2CD2632F-I(S) 3MP Vari-focal IR Bullet Camera. Placed in underground parking structures, this bullet camera also takes advantage of many of the same technical specs such as the previous Hikvision box camera to provide coverage. However, in this case, the DS-2CD2632F-I(S) 3MP comes equipped with an IP66 rating.

Rounding out the external camera solution is the DS-2DF7284 Series 2MP IR Network Speed Dome. Utilized at only one Hyper Market location, this dome camera is placed on the corners of the building to help with particularly heavy customer flow, traffic congestion, and parking concerns. Programmed with a preset search scan, the DS-2DF7284 provides 180° of coverage on all four corners of the property location. If anything should catch the security operator's interest, this speed dome's 20x optical zoom provides the specific detail if further investigation is warranted.

Every Inside Inch Has Camera Coverage
The Ramez Group puts great onus upon internal camera coverage. For example, in the first two Hyper Markets, each rack of goods - regardless of type or location - has its own individual DS-2CD753F-E(I)Z 2MP Vandal Resistant Network Dome Camera covering it. In total, 188 units are dedicated to this approach.

As these racks are approximately 20 - 30 meters long, the DS-2CD2732F-I(S)'s 30 meters of IR range is perfect for this application. Additionally, while the store may be open to customers for two-thirds of the day, it is actually in use 24/7. This is due to the fact that "off hours" are dedicated to restocking, cleaning, and any other issues that may need address. During these eight nighttime hours, lighting is significantly dimmed, hence IR functionality comes into play. Additionally, should an unexpected power outage occur, this solution incorporates UPS as a one-hour backup. Furthermore, since store ceilings are not particularly high in many of these areas, this dome's vandal-proof housing also provides proactive insurance against customer and/or employee manipulation.

For the two newer stores, this function is being covered by the DS-2CD2732F-I(S) 3MP IP66 Network IR Dome Camera. Almost 230 units are utilized in this fashion. Essentially identical in function, this camera provides 3MP of high-resolution, where the former provided 2MP. However, this model is used in all stores to cover critical areas, such as the main entrance and cashier registers, to take advantage of the increase in resolution.

To eliminate blind spots and help provide "coverage of the customer the moment they enter the store until they return to their car," as Mr. Nambiar explained, is the DS-2CD8253F-EI(Z) 2MP IR Bullet Network Camera. However, this unit is more singular in purpose. Placed in corners, where architecture does not allow convenient access for a dome, this bullet camera fills in the coverage blanks of the overhead domes.

Wired In for Added Security
Utilizing Hikvision's DS-9632NI-ST Embedded NVR, each store has a central security room and is responsible for its own security needs. However, all four stores are tied into the Bahrain's Ministry of the Interior with a high-speed Internet connection. This allows not only store manages to remotely live monitor their stores via a LAN connection, but also authorities through the Internet. Mr. Nambiar notes this has substantially cut down on both response times to incidents, and efficiency in how they respond to them.

It is this Hikvision performance that the Ramez Group and Al Wardi Security Trading Co. W.L.L. plan to replicate in new Hyper Market locations throughout the larger Persian Gulf region.

Cracking down on camera hacks

Cracking down on camera hacks

Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 9/17/2014 | Article type: Tech Corner

Recent reports on baby cam hacks raised new concerns over malicious intrusion into networked security devices. The threat is even more imminent for home and small business users who are not as well protected as their enterprise counterparts. Luckily for them, most of today's network camera manufacturers work hard to keep flaws to a minimum and equip their products with various security features.

Two recent incidents where baby cams were attacked by hackers caught the attention of vendors and users alike. One happened in Ohio just in April, when a couple was awoken late at night by strange sounds coming from the baby cam in their toddler's room, only to find that the camera had been taken control over by a hacker. A similar incident happened last year, when a Houston couple heard a man swearing through the baby cam in their infant's room and found out the Wi-Fi-connected device was hacked. In both cases, it was found that the cameras, made by the same vendor, contained security flaws that could easily be exploited.

In fact, hacking can happen to not just cameras but also practically any device on the Internet. Last year, the NAS device of a particular vendor was found to have a vulnerability potentially allowing attackers to execute arbitrary commands on the system. The vendor has since released a patch to solve this problem.

The above incidents illustrate the danger facing users of network cameras and other security devices, which may be targets for malicious intruders. That danger is even more imminent for home and SMB users who, unlike their enterprise counterparts, are not protected by firewalls or advanced perimeter defense software. What they can do to protect themselves has therefore become an urgent issue. Luckily for them, today's network camera makers work hard to minimize flaws and equip their products with various security features, which users should take advantage of to reduce the risk of these devices being hacked. “In general it is not possible to guarantee that computers and network devices do not contain flaws that may be exploited for malicious attack. However, there are measures that can be taken in order to reduce the risk considerably and eliminate the obvious flaws,” said Fred Juhlin, Senior Consultant for Solution Management at Axis Communications, whose Companion series targets home and SMB users.

Access
Unauthorized access to a system can be prevented by a simple yet effective method called password protection. Most network cameras today allow users to create their own usernames and passwords, which can be secured through various means. Zinwell, which makes power line-based home security cameras, has patented a technology that keeps passwords from being sent out to the Internet. “In that case, hackers won't be able to get passwords from the Web,” said Ben Huang, Senior Marketing Supervisor at Zinwell.

Encryption of passwords is another protection method. “The user has the option to let the system remember passwords, and if so the client protects the password with encryption,” said Juhlin.

Once a user accesses the camera, it's a good idea for the device to have multilevel access control based on the user's privilege. For example, a regular user may only view streaming video, while an administrator may access the camera's storage or control the device. In fact, most network cameras today offer this functionality. “This means users can control exactly who can see what in their system, and that their video is safe from any form of third-party manipulation,” Juhlin said.

Encryption
Many IP cams also allow encryption. The videos can be encrypted before being sent over to the network to make sure that unauthorized persons cannot view or tamper with the data. Different encryption technologies are used. One of the most commonly used is SSL/TLS, which encrypts contents with special codes that can be deciphered only by pairs of public and private keys, the latter of which are hidden in the computers of the communicating parties. As private keys can be obtained in a security breach, Bosch, whose Advantage line also targets home and SMB users, makes sure that this will never happen.

“The SSL private key of the device is stored securely on the smart card chip that is directly involved in the SSL connection setup. The private key never leaves the chip and cannot be read out even if the user has complete access to the device,” said Konrad Simon, Product Manager for IP Video at Bosch Security Systems. “This way no access is possible to the private key, even in a hostile approach someone would have achieved to read sensitive data from internal memory.”

Advanced encryption standard (AES) is a protocol that encrypts contents with 128-bit, 192-bit, or 256-bit keys, making encoded messages harder to decipher by untrusted parties. Among camera makers that use AES is Amaryllo, another home security camera maker. It uses 256-bit encryption, at the same time ensuring that video latency is less than 0.5 seconds.

Keeping Flaws to a Minimum
Vendors who are security-minded keep exploitable flaws to a minimum. One way to achieve this is checking third-party software regularly to make sure problematic software isn‘t incorporated into their products. As an example, to implement SSL encryption, many camera makers use OpenSSL, which drew huge attention in the security world in April when it was found it contained a bug called Heartbleed. If left ignored, Heartbleed could lead to the leak of sensitive data, such as usernames and passwords. One camera maker that managed to avert this disaster was Bosch. “We do not use OpenSSL as SSL implementation on our IP cameras, encoders, and decoders. The SSL implementation in our devices is not OpenSSL, nor is it related, so Heartbleed did not affect us at all,” Simon said.

Crowdsourcing, where users in a community share their collective wisdom, is another way to identify flaws and get them fixed. “We monitor discussions in the network community to quickly identify possible vulnerabilities which may impact our products. If a vulnerability is discovered, we will provide patches, firmware, risk analysis, or recommendation to our customers,” Axis's Juhlin said.

User Awareness
While camera vendors may have included a range of security features in their devices, users should also do their part by taking advantage of these features. For example, it's often the case that users simply use the camera maker's default username and password settings, which are easily obtainable. It is also important to check for notices on firmware updates or security patches, which are normally sent via e-mail. Moreover, users may consider isolating their cameras from a local network, since hackers may attack other devices in the network through the camera.

A Two-Way Street
Keeping hackers at bay requires a commitment by both vendors and users. The vendor should build their products with the concept of “security” in mind, while users should familiarize themselves with security features included in cameras and use them whenever possible. It's only through this two-way street can security camera users achieve their primary objective — keeping safe — without being harmed in the process.

4 hotel security highlights provided by 5 leading suppliers

4 hotel security highlights provided by 5 leading suppliers

Editor / Provider: Michelle Chu | Updated: 9/12/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Hotel security deployment has become even prominent than ever as a strong growth has seen in the international tourism industry over the past decades. It is projected that in 2030, international tourist arrivals worldwide will reach the gate of 1,800 millions, compared to around 500 millions arrivals back in 1995, according to Statista.

The requirements from hospitality vertical are no longer merely focusing on traditional surveillance and access control deployments, despite it is widely recognized that blending in the surrounding decoration is the baseline for hotel security installation. In today's market, a unified solution that effectively assists hotel operation and staff management is much more popular and desirable.

In this article, asmag.com would like to show our readers some of the latest and the must-know considerations provided by several professional global suppliers in the terms of deploying hotel solution in the up-to-date market:

1. Guests' comfort and safety always come first
In the hospitality security market, guests' requirements have to be the highest consideration. Despite the fact that the most important thing for video surveillance is capturing clear monitoring pictures possibly needed, in a hotel, the foremost function of surveillance systems should be providing guests peace-in-mind feeling.


“For guests, the hotel rooms as well as the public areas of the hotel are used for their purposes and comfort. But for the hotel staff, it is seen as their workplace, which also brings a different aspect of video surveillance into mind,” according to AXIS Communications. “A video surveillance system will contribute to the guest safeguarding since it can help hotel security management to detect incidents and intrusion and act upon it as well as preventing it from happening.”

The luxury boutique hotel, La Suite West, located in London has deployed a discret surveillance system consisting of Axis network cameras that blend in with hotel decor.

2. IP gets an upper hand for its flexibility, remote monitoring, high-quality image, and cost-efficiency
Undeniably, compared to analog system, network systems is more flexible and, generally, cost-efficient when system expansion is in need. “We are definitely seeing a trend of more hotels adopting IP cameras as opposed to analog, due to the ease of integrating IP cameras with current security or control systems, and the cost saving achieved by using less cabling,” according to SONY Electronics Asia Pacific.


Not to mention the high image quality delivered by IP systems which makes it easier to spot details such as suspects' facial features. More importantly, network recording can be forwarded to related authorities conveniently as emergent incident taking place. Network systems also imply that remote monitoring via smart devices has become a real possibility.


Dahua Technology has also provided an alternative option for end user who desires for HD image resolution without immigrating from analog to IP systems. “HDCVI provides full HD and 720p image resolution based on the exsisting cabling, while it's cheaper than IP solution at the same time, so it is very natural for HDCVI to gain the favor from owners who run places with analog surveillance systems,” as Sancha Xia, Overseas Sales at Dahua Technology indicated. Earlier this year, Dahua has provided in-house HDCVI solution to 5-star hotel in Shanghai better securing the hotel and guests.

3. Extreme light and low-light condition make image unrecognizable – WDR & 3D DNR
For the end users in hotel vertical, it is inevitable to deal with surveillance under extreme light or low light condition. The entrance is one of the most important locations to watch over carefully 24/7. However, the surveillance could be challenging at the entrance and areas with varying light condition making people and incident too hard to recognize.


“Wide dynamic range (WDR) technology is a network camera feature that handles a wide range of lighting conditions in a scene…WDR enables objects to be visible in both bright and dark areas by applying various techniques,” as AXIS Communications suggests.


On the other hand, noise reduction is a necessary technique when it comes to hotel surveillance systems adoption. Under low-light or no-light condition, increased noise in the monitoring picture may lead to misjudgment, taking image noise as a true motion. “IP cameras provided by LILIN are equipped with 3D digital noise reduction (3D DNR), and, at the same time, incorporate spatial noise reduction. The entire image processed with 3D DNR technology is clear and noise-free,” according to Merit LILIN. One of the most established chained hotel in Beijing deployed LILIN's video security systems with advanced technologies such as WDR and 3D DNR to reach total situational awareness.

4. Security systems as added value for hospitality – branding and operation management
Due to the increasing terrorism incidents in the past decade, security has become a main concern for the tourists and business trip travelers as many are aware of possible security threats during trips. Therefore, a high-level and stringent security system can often drive hotel revenues and boost occupancy, as Pavel Petrov, Solution Consultant of Business Developement of EMEA at Bosch Security Systems convinced. “Therefore, more and more hotels worldwide do opt for voluntary certification procedures, marketing themselves as safe hotels. On the other hand, a major security breach can have devastating effects on hotel's brand, which is usually its most important asset.”


Moreover, security systems deployed in hotel can be further used as part of the hotel management. For example, not only biometrics access systems can be installed in guest rooms and staff offices, it can also be used for time attendance management. Surveillance monitoring, other than its security purpose, can be used as food and beverage management and staff training material in order to improve hotel services.

 

 

Full Content of Hotel Feature 2014 
                     - 8 selected case studies and 3 solutions

 

 

Hikvision ensures Fun Safe Philly Summer in Philadelphia

Hikvision ensures Fun Safe Philly Summer in Philadelphia

Editor / Provider: Hikvision | Updated: 9/12/2014 | Article type: Government & Public Services

Hikvision teamed up with the City of Philadelphia to ensure success of their “Fun Safe Philly Summer” initiative. The program connects youth and their families to free and low-cost summer activities, including many events at the recreation centers spread throughout the city. With the safety of the community in mind, the city council has pledged significant budget investment to outfit all 140 centers with CCTV by 2016. After careful evaluation of all the products on the market, Hikvision's high-performance cameras, NVRs, and VMS technology were selected as a cost-effective solution to protect the city with cutting-edge video surveillance.

With over 600 facilities serving thousands of people each year, the Department of Parks and Recreation worked closely with City of Philadelphia Engineer Pedro Pinto to develop a high standard for CCTV design criteria. A primary concern was finding a system that could stay intact as existing infrastructure was gradually upgraded throughout the city.

“The system needed to be scalable and had to be networked at some point in the future,” explained Sheeba Money, Special Systems Designer at Arora Engineers, Inc., a firm involved with CCTV design for the City of Philadelphia. “With every department of the city operating on a different system, it was crucial to provide a video surveillance solution in the rec centers that could be linked into a central management system.” Because Hikvison's Video Management Systems easily communicate with each other and with systems made by other manufacturers, the feature-rich, reliable, VMS 4200 was the choice.

The video surveillance systems have been hugely successful in keeping the centers safe. In most cases, the presence of the cameras alone has been enough to prevent crime. Susan Slawson, Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, noted: “Where we were faced with vandalism, loitering, and burglaries before, the numbers decreased immediately once we outfitted our facilities with cameras. We don't just want a ‘fun, safe, Philly summer;' we want a fun, safe, Philly. With introduction of Hikvision video surveillance equipment, not only are we covering our sites, we can tell what's going on in the streets and coordinate with the police department if need be,” Commissioner Slawson, herself a 20-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, affirmed. Superior image quality from the Hikvision cameras plays a key role. “We have good video,” Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey confirmed, “that should help us a great deal.”

Fidelity Alarm installed the DS-2CD7254FWD-E 3MP Outdoor Network Camera in several of the rec centers due to the camera's wide dynamic range and true day/night functionality. “In addition to gathering footage from the immediate vicinity, it captures clear images from as far away as across the street,” explained Pat Phillips, Sales Manager at Fidelity Alarm. This month's shooting at the Dell Music Center is a tragic example of criminal activity dealing a blow to the community, but the police had a head start on the investigation due to cameras stationed on the building's exterior by Fidelity Alarm. Footage was provided to the police and images were released to the public so that the perpetrators could be swiftly identified.

Jeffrey He, president of Hikvision USA, remarked, “Hikvision is proud to provide versatile, convenient, and efficient video surveillance solutions to the City of Philadelphia. Hikvision technology protects our society's most invaluable asset – our young people – in municipalities across the U.S. and Canada. As we continue to rapidly expand, we look forward to bringing even more success stories to the North American market.”

Axis network cameras monitor construction of remote fish farm

Axis network cameras monitor construction of remote fish farm

Editor / Provider: AXIS | Updated: 9/9/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Mission
AgriMarine Technologies Inc. of Comox, B.C., is a producer of innovative aquaculture fish-farming technology. The company uses proprietary, solid-walled floating tanks to meet the public's growing demand for sustainably raised seafood. However, the fish farms are built in remote marine locations, making it a challenge to monitor their construction. The company also wanted time-lapsed videos of the construction for marketing purposes.

Solution
AgriMarine turned to full-service media integrator Tremain Media to provide monitoring and daily timelapse video of its construction site at Lois Lake, where it was assembling four fish tanks. To provide optimal coverage, both a fixed Axis network camera and a pan/ tilt/zoom (PTZ) network camera were deployed onsite. The PTZ camera allows AgriMarine to remotely adjust the camera's angle of view when the location of the tanks change, and the HDTV 1080p resolution provides detailed zooming when needed. Real-time images are stored at the edge on the cameras, on local FTP servers and pushed via satellite to time-lapse processing and storage system in the cloud.

Result
Prior to implementing the Axis network cameras, AgriMarine staff needed to travel for hours to retrieve video footage. With remote access, that time is saved, and AgriMarine can use the time-lapse footage and daily recaps to manage the project. Additionally, they can also use the clear and detailed images to support their marketing efforts.

Remote monitoring
AgriMarine has been involved with fish aquaculture since the 1980s using traditional net systems. In 2000, they became involved with land-based systems on Vancouver Island and discovered that, while the fish thrived within the tanks, the pump-ashore land-based farms were far too costly. Instead, the company deployed a team of designers and engineers to develop a solid-wall marine tank for finfish farming in the species' natural habitat. The eco-friendly, in-water tanks are 3,000 m3 in size and designed to reduce energy use, curb environmental impact and improve management of animal health. Originally, AgriMarine installed analog cameras to monitor the tanks' construction, but the tanks were being built in the remote Lois Lake on Vancouver Island. Accessing the site required a three-hour ferry ride followed by another hour of driving, and this significantly limited how often their head office could retrieve footage. “During the pilot project, we had to spend half a day getting to the site, so we could only do it every six days,” says Robert Walker, President of AgriMarine Technologies. “This wasn't acceptable, since we needed more timely information.”

Eyes on the ground and water
AgriMarine turned to Tremain Media for help. The Vancouver Island-based company provides remote video monitoring and daily time-lapse solutions that can be accessed over the Internet. They installed an AXIS Q6035-E PTZ Dome Network Camera and an AXIS P3364-VE Network Camera to monitor tank construction through timelapse images taken at 10-minute intervals. The high-resolution HDTV 1080p time-lapse video allows the design team to analyze specific details of construction without making additional trips to the site. Because of their ease of installation, the cameras can also be moved without hassle in the case of drift or tidal changes. Both cameras target different locations to give a wide view of the farm: the PTZ camera follows tanks as they move, while the fixed camera is installed on a pole with a concrete base that can be moved if required.

Covering the distance
AgriMarine originally wanted to employ a real-time feed, but a constant data stream was too costly to transmit over satellite Internet, and they opted for time-lapse video instead. They can, however, activate a live video feed for special events or emergencies. Each camera has a 32GB SD card onboard for local edge storage. This data is also backed up to two FTP servers on location and sent via satellite to Tremain Media's cloud-based visual data system, where it is managed by the company's Render Engine video management software. From there it is processed into daily time-lapse footage provided to AgriMarine in whatever size or format is needed. “We have a lot of redundancy built into the system. We're dealing with a mission-critical implementation, and there's only one chance to get the footage,” Tremain says. “We only use Axis cameras for our time-lapse and monitoring systems because of their reliability and quality. As a videographer by trade, quality is key to me.”

Marketing in high definition
Beyond the ability to monitor construction, AgriMarine found the videos could also be used as an effective marketing tool to raise their profile in the industry. “It's very exciting. At the same time as we're building the tanks, we can now show investors and prospects what we're building,” Walker says. At a trade conference in Abu Dhabi, the time-lapsed video was the focal point of their display. “They found it really drew people to their booth,” Leah Tremain, owner and CEO of Tremain Media. “That type of ‘booth bait' is really important, because their product isn't necessarily easy to understand if you don't see the size and scope of these projects.”

 

Hikvision helps secure operations at a leading Food Distribution facility

Hikvision helps secure operations at a leading Food Distribution facility

Editor / Provider: Hikvision | Updated: 9/9/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Hikvision partnered with Imperial Surveillance, a full-service security company, to protect operations at Midwest Foods, one of the North America's largest food distributors. The project allowed the end-user to upgrade the existing technology to create a hybrid system and a gradual upgrade to digital without significant capital investment. The new technology offered by Hikvision also allowed for increased operational efficiencies, enhanced security, and additional cost savings.

Hikvision's technology was brought in when Midwest Foods called upon Imperial Surveillance to integrate their existing analog cameras into a state-of-the-art digital network. When they decided to add IP cameras in key areas, Hikvision's 3MP EXIR Turret Network Camera, with long-range infrared and three-axis lens adjustment, was the only sensible choice. Hikvision's 960H Hybrid DVR and the eight-channel 7608 Embedded NVR with built-in PoE switch rounded out the installation, making a seamless connection between analog and digital on the production line.

“Hikvision's products have more features and functionality than the competitors',” explained Domenic DiPietra, security consultant at Imperial Surveillance. “The communications capabilities between the cameras and the NVR are impressive, especially when working with a hybrid system. What's more, Hikvision offers ‘plug and play' functionality like nobody else, which makes for a smooth and straightforward installation process.”

Midwest Foods began to notice the benefits of their new system immediately. “The new security system prevents basic theft in a way that the old system couldn't have done.” Dan Tingle, IT Manager for Midwest Foods, affirmed. The new system has also given Midwest Foods a more effective way of monitoring food safety concerns. Midwest's strict guidelines guarantee that their products are void of biological and physical hazards. Video surveillance prevents everything from allergen contamination to potential terrorist activity.

“I also appreciate how I can check in on things using an app on my phone,” Mr. Tingle added. Hikvision's iVMS-4500 app, available on iTunes and the Google store for smartphones and tablets, includes powerful, user-friendly capabilities such as playback and live view at the tap of a button. Features like this are another example of how Hikvision empowers security directors to utilize advanced technology in a simple and skillful way.

Jeffrey He, president of Hikvision USA, remarked, “Hikvision provides proven and tested video surveillance solutions for a diverse array of markets. We are thrilled to be able to show measurable improvements in security operations for our customers. Success of our project with Imperial Surveillance serves as a great example of the kind of benefits our technology provides to the end-users like Midwest Foods.” Mr. He continued: “As we continue to rapidly expand in North America, we look forward to bring even more success stories to the marketplace.”

Axis secures sport center with modern and integrated HDTV IP solution

Axis secures sport center with modern and integrated HDTV IP solution

Editor / Provider: AXIS | Updated: 8/26/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Mission
The one and only task the client set for the installer was to create an integrated security system at the new Ice Arena site in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Like any sports complex, the ice arena has a large number of people continuously moving throughout the site. For this reason, the main requirements for the system were: full video camera coverage, high image detail, precise analytics and integration with the entry monitoring system.

Solution
The set objectives demand that the video has high definition, which is why the installer used three Axis HDTV network camera models when designing the system: AXIS Q1604 and AXIS Q1604-E Fixed Network Cameras and the AXIS Q6034-E Dome Network Camera. A total of 140 cameras were installed, both inside the facility and outdoors. A reliable back end using Cisco equipment was needed to process data from so many cameras. Intellect software from ITV was chosen to analyze images.

Result
The project is now completed. The client received a modern security video surveillance system integrated with the access monitoring and ticket sales systems. Although the arena is new, the video surveillance system has already repeatedly helped law enforcement authorities find people who have committed crimes at the facility.

Site description
Sakhalin's Kristall Ice Arena was built as part of the region's long-term program for “Development of Physical Education and Sports in the Sakhalin Region for 2010– 2018” with support from off-budget sources: funds from Gazprom Transgaz Tomsk LLC. The ice arena has a 60x30-meter ice rink with stands for 1,526 spectators, aerobics and general exercise halls, a fitness center, canteen, as well as auxiliary and utility rooms. The ice arena is primarily aimed at children. The arena hosts classes for local youths in all types of sports: hockey, figure skating, boxing, weightlifting, gymnastics, competitive ballroom dancing and chess. However, children's sports are not the only use of the new complex. The ice rink hosts performances on ice, concerts, regular-season and Sakhalin Region championship hockey games, as well as Russian championship volleyball games.

Project parameters
Like any sports complex, the ice arena has special security. The large number of visitors, excited crowds during games or concerts, numerous small auxiliary rooms — all of this requires heightened attention from the security service and law enforcement authorities. For this reason, an integrated arena security plan was developed when the facility was still under construction.

Implementation
The three key objectives of the video surveillance system at the facility are: general observation, tracking selected targets and facial recognition.

Toward these ends, 98 AXIS Q1604 Network Cameras were installed in enclosed rooms and 27 outdoor AXIS Q1604-E Network Cameras (for observation) and 15 high-speed AXIS Q6034-E Dome Ntwork Cameras were installed outdoors. In addition, the ice arena has clearly delineated access zones, which can be changed depending on the current event. For example, visitors to a concert or game should not go further than their seating areas; athletes should not enter service rooms for the arena's administration, and so on. This division requires an easily adjustable multi-level access monitoring system, as well as full integration of the access monitoring and control system with the video surveillance system. Another argument in favor of Axis cameras here was the high integrability of cameras using standard open protocols.
One hundred and forty video cameras create a serious load on the network, which is why a separate structured cabling system was installed for the video system to transmit data and to power the cameras via PoE. This helped avoid extra expenses for routing electrical cables to the camera installation sites.

 

The facility's high traffic requires significant computer capabilities from the analytical back end of the video surveillance system. Furthermore, equipment reliability and dependability are important. For these reasons, the installer and client chose to use Cisco server equipment. Intellect software with analytical functions from ITV was selected as the video management system. The Sakhalin Region government paid meticulous attention throughout the entire construction of the arena. As a result of the very first system tests, the region's internal affairs authorities approved Axis equipment for use within the “Safe City” program. The outdoor cameras installed at the site will be included in the internal affairs administration's network this year.

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