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Axis unveils Intelligent Transportation Systems with IP video technology

Axis unveils Intelligent Transportation Systems with IP video technology

Editor / Provider: Axis | Updated: 6/5/2014 | Article type: Security 50

With summer vacations and their inevitable traffic jams soon to be on the minds of many, Axis Communications announced how Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) with IP video technology are playing an increasingly important role in helping state and local governments reduce congestion, improve safety and make roadways more efficient. Not only does ITS help create happy travelers, it can also alleviate pressure on municipal budgets by offering a cost-effective alternative to physical roadway construction projects.

Axis will be showcasing its latest camera technologies for the ITS market at the 21st ITS World Congress in Detroit, Michigan, September 7-11, 2014.

Even though drivers may not see workers with hard hats and heavy trucks digging up a street, traffic engineers are often busy working behind the scenes to improve roadways with IP technology. In Iowa, the City of Dubuque has been engaged in a large-scale effort to build a citywide ITS that connects traffic signals, intersection cameras and other IP-addressable technologies to an Ethernet over fiber optic network. This provides traffic engineers with dynamic, centralized control over traffic flow throughout the town.

“By using cameras and other IP communication technology, we have been able to push thousands of more vehicles onto our busiest roadways at a tenth of the cost of physical construction,” said David Ness, traffic engineer for the City of Dubuque.

Axis network cameras, supplied by systems integrator and Axis partner RACOM Corporation, have been deployed at 80 key intersections and along major roadways and bridges in the City of Dubuque to date. The video footage, managed through Milestone XProtect video management software (VMS), helps city engineers analyze traffic patterns and make critical adjustments such as changing the timing of signals when accidents push vehicles onto alternate routes and adjusting signage and lane markings without engaging in costly construction. The video also helps police determine the nature of accidents, while traffic engineers can use that information to improve safety and reduce accidents in the future.

Traffic managers accelerate use of IP video
Intelligent, IP-based video is fast becoming an integral component of traffic management systems across the country. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a comprehensive survey of ITS deployments indicating that the number of freeway miles covered by video surveillance increased from 15% in 2000 to 45% in 2010.

In recent years, advances in digital, IP video technology from Axis Communications have added even more functionality to today's systems, including HDTV quality resolution, powerful processors ready for advanced analytics and flexible, open IP standards. These features let traffic departments assemble best-in-class systems that can be controlled remotely over a fiber optic, Ethernet or wireless network.

The design of Axis cameras also makes installation simple and efficient, which is essential for high traffic areas, and the self-health assessment features of Axis Camera Management software helps reduce the number of trips needed to maintain the cameras. IP cameras such as the day/night AXIS P1355-E Network Camera maintain excellent image quality even in low-light conditions, and features like Wide Dynamic Range – Dynamic Capture in cameras like AXIS Q1604-E Network Camera help fight glare from traffic lights, headlights and the sun. This produces clear, unobstructed images to aid police in investigations of accidents, crimes and other incidents.

“No one likes getting stuck in a traffic jam on the way to their favorite vacation spot,” said Anthony Incorvati, business development manager, Critical Infrastructure & Transportation for Axis Communications. “Using IP video as part of an ITS solution is another great example of how this technology is enabling a smarter, safer world.”

Chinese home camera makers' aggressive moves for exports

Chinese home camera makers' aggressive moves for exports

Editor / Provider: Weili Lin, a&s SMAhome | Updated: 6/5/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

China makers deem the home security camera industry to be uprising in the following years. Being export-oriented, they smell a business opportunity in the global market demand of usability and trendy outlook. They also addressed importance of the emerging domestic market where surveillance kits are still in high demand and the sales of affordable own-brand models has been growing.

China is the largest sourcing base for home security cameras with hundreds of direct manufacturers and traders, offering both OEM/ODM and own-brand business. There are large companies like Foscam, Hikvision, Dahua, and SMART EYE (Wansview), along with much more small and midsized suppliers. The China camera suppliers are clustered in Guangdong and Zhejiang. They consider Europe and North America to be two major markets. They rely on distributors and resellers for export business. A few of them like Foscam put their own-brand cameras to physical or online stores like Amazon. Langshixing exports part of its products under its own brand Slinda. The majority of the China-made cameras are distributed worldwide under their customers' brands nevertheless. For example, Yiant offers OEM and ODM services to worldwide branded companies, mostly in Europe, Asia and the US.

EXPORT-ORIENTED
About export markets, Keen Yao, International Marketing Director of Hikvision sees the US as the largest and most potential export market due to its mature network infrastructure. Asia is a promising area over the next few years to China makers. I Vision, whose major export markets are in Europe and the US, regards Southeast Asia as the fast-growing area. As for the domestic market, China market is still at the introduction stage, having relatively lower growth rate over the next few years. The penetration rate seems to grow at a slow pace due to low consumer acceptance and incomplete network infrastructure.

COMMON FORM FACTORS, DIFFERENT APPROACHES
The major three types of home security cameras offered by China makers are cube, PTZ and all-in-one (robot-type) models of wireless IP cameras. The latter two are generally called the robot type. The cameras from China offer diversified and security-oriented designs. Integration with other features like push alarming is China makers' next focus.

Hikvision, Dahua, Lingshi, Yiant and Langshixing pointed out the importance of a total solution containing network cameras, software and cloud or NVR storages. It is a trend to sell home security cameras via surveillance kits to residential communities and complexes. Most of them are surveillance companies who offer both NVRs and security cameras. A few of them are NVR suppliers to offer surveillance kits by working with IP camera companies. For example, Yeastar, a NVR provider, offers surveillance kits with an IP network camera company Milesight.

It is an emerging trend for China makers to sell their own-brand products via the online stores like tmall.com and Amazon, or via physical channels like Walmart, JCPenny and Auchan.

FOCUS ON USEREXPERIENCE AND WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY
User experience is an emphasis for China makers, referring to application-oriented design and ease of use. They try to offer products with easy setup and user-friendly experience that are important for home users. Yao of Hikvision indicated that ease of use is a major design direction for the consumer market. Jimmy Cai, Sales Director of Huanso indicated that wireless systems are more suitable for home users than those wired solutions without complicated wiring. Cai added that plug-n-play is essential for the DIY market. So far, Wi-Fi and RF2.4GHz are two major wireless standards. Wi-Fi connectivity is the major adoption for new products.

We can see application-oriented solutions like baby monitors which can also be used to watch the elderly and pets. The cameras usually come with cute shapes and wireless connectivity with small-sized monitors or wireless mobile devices. In terms of functionality, users can setup configuration within minutes by the mobile phone or control by the remotes. Besides, Huanso's IP cameras features non-stop vibrating alert to notify users more effectively unlike most systems sending solely message alerts. Regarding ease of use, Milesight's mini dome features a click-open enclosure to offer easy maintenance.

Multifunctional or integrated design is kind of China's innovation. Milesight, one of a few companies to offer integrated function, releases cube IP cameras supporting remote surveillance over SIP phones besides smartphones and PCs. Moreover, JMC Electon offers JMC-WF28 Wi-Fi home security camera, resembling alarm sensors and featuring wall-mounting and remote control. The sensor-like outlook is designed to warn intruders and avoid sabotage. EAZZYDV bulb-shaped IP cameras work as both Wi-Fi cameras and LED bulbs. The device can just be screwed in like a bulb and comes with the rechargeable backup battery for emergency use. The product supports universal AC voltage range from 100 to 240V, applied for worldwide markets. Those two are kind of hidden-type cameras.

Axis, Grantfen and Genetec watch over Manchester City Council offices

Axis, Grantfen and Genetec watch over Manchester City Council offices

Editor / Provider: Axis | Updated: 6/5/2014 | Article type: Government & Public Services

Axis partner, Grantfen Fire and Security Ltd (Grantfen), won a competitive tender to implement an efficient IP- based video and access control solution for Manchester City Council following the redevelopment of its central accommodation, which comprises Manchester Town Hall Extension and Manchester Central Library. The council specified that the project must include cameras that not only delivered clear picture quality and advanced feature applications, but that were also aesthetically pleasing and did not diminish or detract from the historic buildings. The system must be futureproofed, support multiple third-party integrations, and have a single user interface with centralized control.

Solution
A state-of-the-art solution was developed that combined Axis network cameras and Genetec's Security Centre video management software (VMS). To effectively cover the 680,000 sq ft area of both sites, the surveillance specification for the project included over 200 Axis network cameras.

Result
The integrated solution featured intrusion detection, fire alarms, a building management system, emergency lighting protocols, flood and leak detection, lift alarms and network-enabled intercoms. Thanks to the unique scalability of the Axis network cameras in combination with Genetec's software, Manchester City Council has room to grow the system as its requirements develop over time. Further integration is also on the horizon, with the possibility of adding mobile connectivity and automatic number plate recognition systems.

Updating an aging system
Manchester Town Hall Extension is Grade II listed and of distinct architectural significance. It was built between 1934 and 1938 to provide additional accommodation for Manchester City Council services. Along with Manchester's Central Library the buildings comprise the main seat of local government in the city. The civic nature of the sites means that they are required for public access – for meetings, enquiries, transactions and admission to other facility services.

Over time, both the Town Hall Extension and Central Library buildings had been fitted with an assortment of mismatched analog CCTV systems, controlled by various incompatible management software packages. Concerns were raised that, as the current security system aged, its vulnerabilities were becoming pronounced and it was essential that archived video footage is appropriately safeguarded.

Grantfen, led a proof of concept trial at the start of the project in which Axis was chosen as the preferred supplier. The palm-sized AXIS M3005-V Fixed Dome Network Camera tested best in the line-up: it met all of Manchester City Council's requirements, combining HD-quality video, with a modest, unobtrusive footprint and robust reliability in a wide variety of applications. The camera's broad-spectrum of feature-rich functionality was also crucial.

Adaptability in every environment
Graham Cole, operations director at Grantfen, said: “Thanks to their broad product range, partnering with Axis meant that we could use one manufacturer throughout, with one consistent user interface to achieve a high degree of synergy across the system.” Custom integrations between the Axis and Genetec systems meant that alarms would be relayed to the centralized control area in case of emergencies, with detailed procedures added to instruct security operators how to proceed in the event of an exception alarm.

For the Central Library, one of Manchester City Council's specific surveillance requirements was the ability to accurately monitor visitor numbers and ‘people count' those entering and exiting the building. To do this, Grantfen specified the use of the AXIS M3005-V IP camera, which has an exceptional range of view and the ability to look straight down onto entrance doorways. In the case of the main entry way, this proved to be a challenge because of the door's unusually narrow transom, which was too small to accommodate most surveillance cameras. To account for the discrepancy, Grantfen selected Axis' P1214 Miniature HDTV pinhole camera for discreet surveillance, which encompassed the required technology and performance to run the video analytics application.

Effectively safeguarding staff and visitors
Ian Jackson, sales director at Grantfen, said: “This technology is steering Manchester City Council towards greater efficiency and improved customer service. Despite more access being granted to the public, the new security system has made the buildings feel more secure and the management team confident in the knowledge that Manchester City Council staff, visitors and important archive documentation are all being effectively protected.” Discussions are now underway to replicate the success of the installation to cover the main Town Hall building.

VIVOTEK IP security solution deployed to manganese mine in South Africa

VIVOTEK IP security solution deployed to manganese mine in South Africa

Editor / Provider: VIVOTEK | Updated: 6/4/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Background:
Mines are challenging environments. The terrain where mines operate is cruel and the working conditions are perilous. Every element in a mine can impact the operation. The safety and security are of paramount importance. Hence, the regulations and requirements are extremely stringent. To construct a safe working environment for mine workers, the utilization of effective technology is important. A new manganese mine in Kuruman, which wasn't yet operational, recently installed a site-wide network of IP-based security cameras for monitoring the safety of construction workers and to secure the site. The security system had to be able to cover the mine's needs once mining got started.

The installation, done by specialist company I3S Security Solutions, was simple, but with few challenges. In addition to the nature of the harsh operating environment, the extensive regulations and approval processes for each element installed are quite strict. Besides, there was no communications infrastructure in place at all. The communication infrastructure with a wireless connectivity solution was constructed from scratch. I3S Security chose RADWIN point-to-point and point-to-multipoint solutions to work with the VIVOTEK IP cameras for meeting the mine's needs. John Gerber, Shareholder of I3S Security, indicated: “This manganese mine is situated in relatively flat terrain, so there was bound to be some radio noise. With implementing a wireless network that covers 12 square kilometers, allowing us to effectively utilize the camera network as well as provide infrastructure for the Access control system.”

Solutions:
Partnering with VIVOTEK's local distributor Miro, the installation of communication infrastructure and security system was successfully completed. Miro has provided professional advisory services and technical expertise along with VIVOTEK's network camera products, making the installation process exceptionally smooth. In this project, over 150 varying types of VIVOTEK high end network cameras were installed, including bullet network camera IP8362, IP8331 and IP8332, fisheye fixed network camera FE8171V, speed dome network cameras SD8321E and SD8322E, and P/T/Z network camera PZ8121. These cover all areas of the mine, from the construction village, to the shaft, to the entry turnstiles, and everything in between. VIVOTEK's cameras were selected due to the high-resolution 2 to 5 megapixel video recording and the ease of integration with other equipment such as smart phones, access control systems, safety systems and surveillance software. Moreover, VIVOTEK's cameras were perfectly suited for outdoor environments with auto-iris lenses and IR cut filters to ensure superior video quality under challenging lighting conditions, which is essential to securing the mine.

Customer Feedback:
“We chose the VIVOTEK range because these cameras provide clear imagery and are IP-based, so the data can be sent back to the central control room in real time. This not only provides security, but will be invaluable for safety monitoring when the mining starts,” John Gerber, Shareholder of I3S Security added.

Makro retail stores deployed Hikvision IP surveillance solution in South Africa

Makro retail stores deployed Hikvision IP surveillance solution in South Africa

Editor / Provider: Hikvison | Updated: 5/29/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is the largest retailer in the world. In many regions across the globe, the brand Wal-Mart is synonymous with large, discount, and customer savings.

In South Africa, Makro retail stores share this same reputation. This should come as small surprise, since Makro's parent company is Wal-Mart.

Also not surprisingly, Makro stores share a similar business model; a membership-driven, low-cost / low-margin selling philosophy. With this model, Makro is able to focus on the high-volume distribution of merchandise at extremely competitive prices. This even includes "luxury" products, such as computers and tablets. The end result is that Makro has built one of the largest retail customer bases in all of South Africa.

As can be guessed, Makro relies on a similar warehouse distribution model. For example, located within the greater-Johannesburg area are 14 Makro stores. Servicing these Makro stores' stock needs is a centrally-located distribution center. This Makro distribution warehouse is located in a metropolitan suburb of Johannesburg, Midrand, to serve the larger Johannesburg area.

Lourens Wessels of Secure - a South African security installer - explained, "Marko officials wanted a new IP multifold solution that:
* reduces theft, establishes excellent overall security, provides better warehouse management, and a means to monitor workers in sensitive areas; as well as concurrently reducing shrinkage (loss due to employee malfeasance, etc.)."

Bringing It All Together
This is a big task, both literally and figuratively. "This Johannesburg-area Makro distribution warehouse is extremely large," explained Mr. Wessels. "So, we developed a complete Hikvision IP solution that makes use of PTZ, bullet, vandalproof domes, speed domes, and cameras with great zoom functionality ... and all on a fiber-optical network that is operated in a centralized control room with Hikvision NVRs."

Each of these Hikvision products was specially-chosen for a purpose. An example of this ethos is the DS-2CD754FWD-E(I)(Z) 3MP WDR & Vandalproof Network Dome Camera, and its ability to monitor merchandise coming and going at the loading and distribution docks.

For the DS-2CD754FWD-E(I)(Z), it is a combination of features that provides this functionality. Since this model is used to positively identify specific merchandise, resolution and focus are paramount. Not only does this have a theft-prevention aspect, it also greatly enhances Makro's ability to maintain accurate product inventory. Thus, the DS-2CD754FWD-E(I)(Z)'s up-to 3 megapixel resolution and motorized VF lens are very important for its success.

Additionally, since this area opens up to the outdoors, "Lighting conditions are very difficult ... it's dark inside, and when these large doors open, bright sunlight pours in. We nera that can compensate for this effect," said Mr. Wessels. The DS-2CD754FWD-E(I)(Z)'s 120dB wide dynamic range answered the call, as did its vandal proofing.

Interestingly, this vandal proofing is beneficial for potential accidental occurrences, rather than deliberate ones. In this area, there are a stream of forklifts carrying large pallets from one location to another, so the possibility that one of these may accidently bump into a camera is high. Hence, this vandal proofing protects these cameras from potential damage.

Strategic Points and Strategic Uses
Manning strategic locations in the warehouse is Hikvision's DS-2DF7284 Series 2MP IR Network Speed Dome.

The DS-2DF7284 monitors general loading and distributing areas and the tall racks of merchandise pallets. This model's 20x optical zoom is able to "read serial numbers on moving merchandise pallets for better logistical efficiency," and its IP66 rating "helps because distribution centers have a tendency to be very dusty with extreme temperature conditions due to the frequent opening of large doors," noted Mr. Wessels.

Placed outdoors to take advantage of its up-to 30m IR range and 2 megapixel resolution is the DS-2CD8253F-EI(Z) 2MP IR Bullet Network Camera. Add in its motorized VF lens and the sum of these features make it an ideal perimeter security camera. Additionally, if there are any power failures, Secure has placed a UPS at every field switch to ensure outdoor security is never compromised.

In the Control Room
Connecting these cameras to the IP system is Hikvision's DS-9632NI-ST Embedded NVR. Mr. Wessels explained, this model's 8 SATA interfaces perfectly fit one of the key NVR requirements - massive storage capacity. Furthermore, the up-to 5 Megapixel (2560x1920) of recording resolution guarantees that these images will be sharp and clear, regardless of when they are accessed.

Placed in the central control room, as is the DS-1100KI Network Keyboard, is Hikvision's iVMS-4200 Software. This software provides security personnel the ability to view 62 separate channels on each of their 2 "quad-view" work stations - and a simultaneous view of the overall facility. In sum, this entire solution has already brought efficiency and logistical benefit to this distribution facility. "This solution really is a value-add for Makro. As well as improving security, we have already greatly lessened shrinkage, which was always one of Makro's primary goals," summed up Mr. Wessels.

Asia, a sourcing hub for smart home cameras

Asia, a sourcing hub for smart home cameras

Editor / Provider: Weili Lin, a&s SMAhome | Updated: 5/29/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Asia is the largest manufacturing base of home security cameras and surveillance kits, with hundreds of competing suppliers. For these suppliers, the major export markets for smart home security cameras and surveillance kits are areas with well-developed network infrastructures, such as Europe and the U.S.

Asian suppliers at the SMAhome International Conference & Exhibition 2014 (powered by Secutech) are primarily traditional surveillance, telecommunication and multimedia companies. For them, it is a new business opportunities. However, it is a whole new market, with different priorities and demands. Therefore, no player in each industry has an extreme advantage. The smart home market is new for the surveillance industry in terms of applications and user experiences. From the interviews, no killer application is mentioned so far. Not all surveillance companies are enthusiastic about this market. Nevertheless, some companies plan to enter the smart home market with DIY offerings and a new brand for their smart home product lineup.

Home security cameras require network connectivity and easy-to-use software in addition to reliable hardware. The telecommunications-based companies like Sercomm, Zinwell and Senao Networks boast their strong cloud services or high Quality of Service (QoS) for networks. As for the companies who are experts in audio and video processing, like DXG, Compro and PiXORD, they aim for high-quality images through IC, digital image processing and optical designs as their core competencies. Those companies are strong competitors to traditional surveillance companies in the smart home market. As for brand-centric companies, foreign companies like Bosch, Axis and ADT may be their greatest competitors.

We explore export markets, business models, sales channels, and major applications along with major product features we've seen at SMAhome 2014.

US LEADS THE MARKET
North America is still the largest export market for Asian manufacturers, followed by Europe. Market acceptance, mature network infrastructure and consumer affordability are three major factors to boost the market. For some interviewees, more than 50% of sales revenue is contributed by the US market. In the U.S., the DIY market is booming. Alan Chang, Vice President of International Sales & Marketing Dept of DXG, whose major export markets include Europe and North America, thinks that the ubiquity of smartphones and proliferation of 4G network are two driving forces of the market.

William Ku, Vice President of International Business Div. of Vivotek mentioned that TV and door are two key areas for the smart home market.

Russia, Brazil and Southeast Asia are viewed as 3 export markets with a lot of potential. Emerging countries are considered to be the next promising areas. Russia and Brazil are said to be 2 fast-growing regions over the next 2 to 3 years. The improved network infrastructure, strong buying power, and conversion from analog signals to digital are 3 major factors. "Russia is a potential market due to its high consumption capability," said Bruce Wang, Marketing Manager of Compro.

China is another promising area, but will likely see less growth compared to the above-mentioned regions, some exhibitors said. In China, India and the Middle East, home security still caters to the high-end market. As for India, wealth inequality and low profit from channels can be 2 reasons that make foreign suppliers reluctant to enter the market.

BUSINESS TYPES DIFFER BY REGIONS AND CUSTOMERS
Asian manufacturers' security cameras are distributed under their own names or customers'. OEM, ODM and private label businesses are major types for manufacturers of electronics products. For home security cameras and surveillance kits, OEM and ODM are 2 major business types. A few companies emphasize on own-brand business. For example, 3S PocketNet emphasizes its own-brand business, selling its network cameras and bundled software to end users and SIs. With strong design and manufacturing capabilities, Asian suppliers work with SIs and distributors via private label business for global project cases. Of course, there are also companies that offer only OEM and ODM services, like Sercomm and Zinwell.

To stay competitive, some Asian suppliers strengthen their vertical integration capability via in-house design capability or upstream subsidiaries. For instance, Vatics, a spin-off from the SoC solutions department of Vivotek, offers SoC for network cameras. PiXORD, a subsidiary of ELAN Microelectronics, prides itself on image processing from the side of IC design.

Due to geographical differences and consumer behaviors, own-brand products are distributed via distributors or companies' local branch offices. Some companies of professional surveillance products offer smart home products under new brands—for example, Hikvision thinks this is a better approach because it sees the smart home market as a new market, rather than an extension of traditional surveillance. The company released smart home related products and solutions under its EZVIZ brand so that consumers can differentiate its smart home business from its professional surveillance segment.

MAJOR CHANNELS
When it comes to product distribution, online and retail stores are 2 major sales channels of branded products for the DIY market, especially in North America and Europe. For DIY users, online stores are important channels due to the convenience of direct ordering. In the U.S., there is a large market of DIY consumers who prefer to shop online or at retail stores.

Distributors are important to enter the European market. Own-brand products from Asian manufacturers are mostly sold to European online shops and retailers through distributors. The distributors are also important for Asian makers to enter the South American market. Dylan Tseng, Senior Sales Manager of Sales Center Business Unit of Pixord stated that the company entered the Brazil market through partnerships with local distributors.

As for manufacturers, home security cameras are distributed all over the world primarily by branded companies, SIs, telcos and distributors. Most of the manufacturers rely on SIs, value-added resellers (VAR), dealers and distributors to distribute products overseas. Allan Chien, Associate Vice President of Branding Business Dept of Senao Networks said VARs could be major partners.

Telcos like AT&T, SFR, Qivicon and Verizon offer home monitoring and control, as well as home security and automation services. Offering home surveillance services with free or rented network cameras is one of the approaches for telcos to spur market growth. Apart from European and US telcos, there are also opportunities in emerging markets like Southeast Asia and South America. Southeast Asia is one of Zavio's major export markets. Shauchau You, Vice President of Zavio indicated that it is common for manufacturers to sell home cameras or solutions to telcos in Southeast Asia through local SIs and distributors.

To approach telcos, most Asian manufactures work with SIs, distributors or branded companies by private-label business for telco projects. They take the same approach as they do with alarm monitoring and security service providers. Only a few large-sized companies like Sercomm or those whose specialty is in telephony or set-top boxes, like Zinwell, can approach the telcos directly by offering value-added services like free small cell or provision of total solutions. Almost all of their products are sold through OEM and ODM projects.

SECURITY TAKES THE FIRST PLACE
The smart home market comprises home security, automation and energy management. For suppliers at the show, the home security market is their main battlefield, generating the most profit. Home automation is a space they are targeting next, although they position these products and services for the high-end market.

Network cameras are major contributors to the home security market, in terms of sales revenue. The products can also be used for small offices and retail stores. Ben Huang, Digital Product Marketing Specialist of Product Dept of Zinwell Corporation indicated that the home security camera is the first product line to target for entering the smart home market.

Interviews conducted at the show reveal that Chinese companies tend to offer surveillance kits that consist of cameras and 4-channel NVRs or home NAS for the home security market. Moreover, the consumer-centric smart home market forces manufacturers to focus on user-friendly software and user application to make their products more appealing in a highly competitive market.

Home automation is the next focus for Asian makers after security. Bruce Wang of Compro said that home automation is a value-added feature for home security cameras. Compro offers a cloud camera based on ZigBee technology, featuring power saving features and a long life cycle. So far, home automation solutions are considered as the high-end segment of the smart home market. Most Asian network camera manufacturers enter the market by providing video door phone cameras, peephole cameras or indoor cameras with motion detection. Products like Brinno's PHV MAC feature easy DIY and senior-friendly setup. Video surveillance, video recording and DIY alarm monitoring are common features. They co-work with leading companies like Control4 to enter the market.

The other way to enter the market is to release network cameras with simple home control functions. The providers are required to have design capability in software integration and wireless networks. Take Compro for example, its cameras are bundled with C4Home software to enable home automation by remotely controlling home appliances with the built-in IR remote control.

Energy management is becoming more important, too, especially in Europe. Only a few companies offer simple functions like indoor temperature alarm and control through PIR or temperature sensor. For instance, StarVedia released its Temperature Alarm System (TAS), which offers intelligent surveillance for homes and stores. Users can ask the babysitter to turn off the air conditioner through the built-in speaker and infrared thermometer of its network cameras. We can expect more and more new network cameras that support simple energy management functions like temperature control as value-added features.

USER-FRIENDLINESS IS KEY
Smart home product features are simple, useful and affordable. For home users, user-friendly software and experience are two decisive factors before making a purchase. Home security cameras, mostly referring to those network cameras, are ranked as entry-level products, in terms of hardware specs. Makers don't emphasize on advancements in technology, but on practical and fascinating user experiences.

Cloud services are a selling point when talking about storage among Asian makers. At present, both local and cloud storage media are available. SD memory cards can be one major adoption for alarm-triggered recordings. Some choose 2CH or 4CH NVRs as the recording bank, although a home NAS may be a more affordable alternative. Cloud storage saves costs for the user, with many manufacturers offering free-of-charge storage. However, privacy can be an important issue to notice when it comes to any free service. Therefore, they offer secured personal cloud storage, including free space at Amazon server, Dropbox and Google Drive for privacy. Traditional surveillance companies prefer to promote surveillance kits with local storage solution; new entrants like telecommunications-based companies tend to promote cloud storage solutions.

Of course, any home device requires a trendy exterior, and home security cameras are no exception. Sleek design and compact size are 2 distinguishing features for the home use models among network cameras. Regarding form factor, cube models are currently the mainstream. This year, suppliers promoted models that support PTZ functionality, along with mini dome and bullet models for outdoor use. Models with fish-eye lenses are also promoted.

Moreover, Asian manufacturers promote new value-added features, such as waterproof (IP66) and ROI (region of interest). ROI offers bandwidth and storage optimization through targeted image capturing of specific important areas for preview and recording.

H.264 is the mainstream video streaming format. Models supporting H.265, which was approved by ITU in 2013, can be seen as early as late 2014.

VIVOTEK launches compact-designed mobile dome camera

VIVOTEK launches compact-designed mobile dome camera

Editor / Provider: VIVOTEK | Updated: 5/20/2014 | Article type: Security 50

VIVOTEK is pleased to announce the launch of its next-generation compact-designed 1.2MP mobile dome network camera, MD8531H, which is especially designed with several unique features ideal for transportation applications such as cars, trucks fleet, freight wagon, buses, trains, and other vehicles.

The transportation, no matter for the public use or for the commercial operations, facilitates the connection of people and business activities and supporting a nation's economic growth. Serious transportation accidents, which could be caused by drivers' or passengers' dangerous behavior, unpredictable terrorists' malicious attacks, the mechanical errors and the artificial delay, may cause damages and loss to the social and economic development. Therefore, the transportation with comprehensive and seamless security system is important. The surveillance device especially plays a pivotal role in the security system. With high quality and intelligent surveillance devices, the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians can be well monitored. Besides, combining with GPS (Global Positioning System), the surveillance system can further enhance the tracking of truck fleet. The truck fleet dispatcher and managers can get real-time information like drivers' behavior, location, speed, fuel consumption, routes and conditions on the roads. Dispatcher or managers are able to send out alerts directly and take immediate actions if needed, significantly avoiding the loss, reducing the cost and improving the efficiency and productivity.

VIVOTEK, bearing the market need and based on its profound R&D resources, developed the compact mobile dome network camera MD8531H with several outstanding features, making it a robust choice for vehicle surveillance. With full EN50155 compliance, the camera can withstand shock, vibration, maintaining stable and reliable video during vehicle movement. The vandal-proof metal housing and IP66-rated housing effectively provides robust protection from vandalism and resist from humidity, dust, and temperature fluctuations. The intelligent tamper detection feature makes MD8531H a truly robust camera that keeps security staff notified once it suffers video loss from being blocked or spray-painted. More significantly, in order to facilitate on-board storage and data portability, the camera is also complete with a MicroSD/SDHC/SDXC card slot for local recording. In corridor scenario, video rotation feature can provide wider vertical coverage for more depth. More uniquely, VIVOTEK designed MD8531H with WDR Pro technology, which enables the camera to be able to capture clear image around the vehicles under extremely high contrast environment, like in-and-out a tunnel.

Steve Ma, Executive VP at VIVOTEK, stated, “For years, we have completed numerous success transportation projects around the world, including in Hungary, Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan and more. With accumulated professional experiences and R&D capacity in transportation surveillance, we developed MD8531H, the excellent choice of camera for transportation applications.”

Axis cameras bring zoo live web-streams to the living room

Axis cameras bring zoo live web-streams to the living room

Editor / Provider: Axis | Updated: 5/20/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

The Zoological Society of Milwaukee provides support for the Milwaukee County Zoo in southeastern Wisconsin. The zoo features a wide variety of animals including brown bears, jaguars and penguins. To expand its reach, the zoo wanted to stream live video of its most popular and charismatic animals. Yet, each animal enclosure was a unique environment due to the diversity of needs presented by different species. The zoo needed a flexible camera solution that could work in a range of habitats.

Solution
Digital Design Services, Inc., along with Axis partner Camera Corner Connecting Point, recommended Axis network cameras due to their easy, plug-and-play installation capabilities and versatile product line. Outdoor-ready AXIS P5512-E PTZ Dome Network Cameras were used in the low temperature penguin exhibit and high definition AXIS Q6035 PTZ Dome Network Cameras were used to give intimate HDTV-quality views of animals such as brown bears.

An AXIS M5014 PTZ Dome Network Camera was fitted with a custom underwater mount for an exhibit featuring local fish. The high degree of customization was made possible by Power over Ethernet features enabling the ability to plug directly into the network without additional hardware.

Result
The web-streams became a hit, and the zoo continues to bring more animals online. After a landing page was created, the zoo was averaging 24,000 views per month. Following the birth of two jaguar cubs, the zoo used the cameras to give fans a behind-the-scenes view of the first months of their lives. The jaguar stream received 100,000 views over two days following a newspaper article. Zookeepers also use the footage to help them monitor the animals remotely and discover critical information should an animal become sick or injured.

Curling up on the couch with a tiger
The Milwaukee County Zoo is home to over 2,500 animals including tigers, lions, jaguars and bears on 200 acres in southeastern Wisconsin. To reach a wider audience, the zoo wanted to stream videos of their most charismatic animals on the web. “We wanted to bring the animals we have here to people at home or further away from our region who aren't able to attend,” said Dominic Schanen, Director of Technology and Membership Services. But with a variety of enclosure environments, the zoo needed a flexible camera solution to address a range of needs. Based on past experience, Digital Design Services, Inc. knew the ease of installation offered by Axis network cameras would be the perfect fit.

“The zoo and I agreed that the Axis products made it much easier for us to set them up on the zoo's system,” said Joe Rugowski, president of Digital Design Services, Inc. “They are plug-and-play easy, and they work.”

Up a pole, underwater and in the cold
The ease-of-install features allowed Digital Design Services, Inc. to design custom mounts and enclosures to meet the unique requirements of each animal holding area. To stream video of local fish from the “Lake Wisconsin” exhibit, Digital Design Services, Inc. engineered a custom underwater enclosure for an HDTV 720p-quality AXIS M5014 PTZ Dome Network Camera. They selected outdoor-ready AXIS P5512-E PTZ Dome Network Cameras for the chilly Gentoo and Rockhopper penguin exhibit because the construction could withstand the constant 40 degree temperatures. For the brown bear exhibit, the zoo wanted a crisp, intimate view of the massive animals, so Digital Design Services, Inc. attached an HDTV 1080pquality AXIS Q6035 PTZ Dome Network Camera onto a ten-foot high steel pole at the edge of the exhibit. “We mounted the camera so that we are looking almost into the eye of the bear,” Rugowski said. The various feeds are connected to a Dell PowerEdge 2900 rack mount server by fiber through Cisco 3500-CG switches. They also use Ubiquiti wireless access points to connect to the polar bear camera. For streaming, they push the video out to a Dell PowerEdge 2950 server running streaming software.

Keeping watch after dark
The Zoo uses AXIS Camera Station software to record on motion detection, and footage is saved for two weeks. Zookeepers often use this footage as a resource to monitor the animals or verify incidents. The cameras also perform well in low-light situations, so zookeepers can check in with their charges at night. “I've been surprised by the zoo's interest in using it more as a monitoring device to remotely observe the animals' behavior,” Schanen said. The zoo also utilizes cameras for security purposes.

Jaguar cubs meet the world
The most popular web channel they opened documented the birth and development of a pair of jaguar cubs. When the feed went live, the cubs were not ready to be put on public view, so the web streams provided a rare behind-the-scenes look at the first months of their lives. Following a news article, the live stream received nearly 100,000 views in a two day period. To deepen the connection with fans, the zoo added a link to an online store with a list of toys and enrichment items for the cubs. The zoo then placed purchased items in the enclosure, so the buyers could see the cubs play with their new gifts.

In the two years since their launch, the streams have become a web hit. The zoo is averaging 24,000 views per month, and they continue to open up new channels on a regular basis.

“We get a lot of feedback with people saying, ‘Thank you for providing the cameras and allowing us to be able to view these animals at home,'” Schanen said.

 

Samsung Techwin adds 6 new 3MP IP cams to WiseNetIII family

Samsung Techwin adds 6 new 3MP IP cams to WiseNetIII family

Editor / Provider: Samsung Techwin | Updated: 5/19/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Samsung Techwin has further expanded its WiseNetIII network camera range by adding six new 3 megapixel models.

The new ONVIF compliant day/night network cameras and domes are all able to capture high quality colour images when lighting levels are as low as 0.1 Lux at an ultra fast frame rate of 30fps at 2048 x 1536P. They are designed for retail, education and healthcare applications as well as for any environment where evidence grade images are required, such as airports, ports car parks and other transport facilities.

“We can now offer a family of WiseNetIII 1.3, 2 and 3 megapixel network cameras and domes which collectively provide customers with the flexibility to specify the ideal high definition model to match the requirements of each individual camera location,” said Tim Biddulph, Product Manager for the security solution division of Samsung Techwin Europe Ltd. “We are confident that the outstanding quality of the images captured by the new 3 megapixel cameras will attract the attention of installers and systems integrators across Europe, whilst our high definition 1.3 and 2 megapixel models continue to offer outstanding value for applications where bandwidth limitations and storage requirements are important considerations, as well as image quality.”

All of the models in the new WiseNetIII 3 megapixel series utilise P-iris technology which optimises clarity and depth of field, whilst enhanced Wide Dynamic Range, which with performance greater than 120dB, overcomes the challenge of monitoring areas such as receptions or lobbies where there may be strong external lighting and large amounts of glass.

Utilising bandwidth friendly H.264 compression with the option to also use MJPEG compression, all of the models incorporate a multi-crop feature, enabling users to highlight and crop areas of interest in order for the camera to only send the images within that area at a preferred resolution and frame rate. A full overview, as well as multiple cropped images from the whole area, can if required, be transmitted simultaneously with this flexibility in the video's resolution and frame rate, allowing a much smarter and efficient use of the available network bandwidth.

Built-in Intelligent Video Analytics(IVA)
The new models are also equipped with Intelligent Video Analytics (IVA) which can assist in the detection of activity by various means, such as face detection, tripwire and enter/exit direction, object appear/disappear and ‘tampering', which creates an alert if paint is sprayed on a camera lens or there is unauthorised movement of a camera away from its usual field of view. Alternatively, the motion detection technology built into the WiseNetIII DSP chipset can greatly reduce the false alarm rate by learning what the normal motion of the scene is and ignoring, for example, the fluttering leaves of trees.

Other key features include Digital Image Stabilization (DIS), which negates the effects of vibration, and Defog which can be used to help improve the clarity of images captured in poor weather conditions such as rain, smoke or fog. A built-in SD/SDHC/SDXC memory slot provides the opportunity for authorised users to remotely access and download video that has been recorded onto a memory card.

The 6 new models in the WiseNetIII network 3MP series
* SNB-7004 – 3 megapixel network box camera
* SNO-7084R - 3 megapixel network weather proof IR bullet camera
* SND-7084 - 3 megapixel network dome camera
* SND-7084R - 3 megapixel network IR dome camera
* SNV-7084 - 3 megapixel vandal-resistant network dome camera
* SNV-7084R - 3 megapixel vandal-resistant network IR dome camera

Axis releases M3027-PVE 5MP 360-degree dome camera

Axis releases M3027-PVE 5MP 360-degree dome camera

Editor / Provider: Axis | Updated: 5/16/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Axis Communications newly released a fixed dome network camera, the AXIS M3027-PVE. The IK10 vandal resistant camera features 5-megapixel resolution and provides 360° or 180° overviews of wide areas. Users can select from de-warped views such as panorama, double panorama and quad views, as well as view area modes where they can digitally pan, tilt and zoom in on areas of interest.

The AXIS M3027-PVE offers multiple video streams in H.264 and Motion JPEG, Power over Ethernet (IEEE 802.3af), I/O ports for connecting external devices and supports the installation of intelligent video applications on the camera itself. It can be mounted on ceilings, soffits or under porches for a 360° overview and on walls for a 180° view.

The camera's built-in microSDHC card slot enables several days of recording to be stored locally on a memory card. The AXIS M3027-PVE has been designed for indoor as well as outdoor use. Typical installations include hotels, boutiques, restaurants and offices.

 

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