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How big data and IoT revolutionize the security industry (Part 1)

How big data and IoT revolutionize the security industry (Part 1)

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 6/24/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Big data is a buzz word. Many industries have tried to reply by analyzing big data to make good predictions on everything ranging from weather forecasts to decision making in different forms and subjects. However, why has the security industry also become so fascinated by “big data?” The reason could be traced back to the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing investigation. The United States successfully crowdsourced information from social media, like Twitter and Facebook, and multiple video surveillance cameras to quickly identify and locate the criminals. This lesson opened the eyes of the whole world to learn the power of using mass data provided by the public, and more importantly, the different resources from security systems.

However, many experts also pointed out current security systems do not provide much information before an event even though they are connected to an IP network. Therefore, the industry has been trying to figure out how to make security equipment get involved in pre-event management and also play an active role in preventing crimes or disasters, instead of merely acting as a tool for post-event investigation. Of course, first of all, networkability is definitely a must in security devices, then, each device must be connected, like multiple sensors, to provide data. Then, there is intelligent video (or VCA), which is getting more important since it helps to make security information meaningful. By using intelligent video, security systems can produce loss prevention data or heat maps for retailers. Whenever the video security systems are connected with “external” WiFi-enabled tracking devices, the shop can better prevent perspective shoplifters and plan their marketing campaigns. Secondarily, it needs a proactive situational awareness tool, something like physical security information management software (PSIM), to seamlessly integrate different security and non-security equipment and further provide an immediate response to events.

In addition, through cloud computing, all the data is processed in the cloud; therefore, people are starting to wonder who is able to access this data and how to protect the integrity of the data. In the physical security world, we may also care about who is in my space and where these visitors are going and what they are doing. Therefore, identity management may play a vital role in the trend of big data.

To sum up, when the world starts to look into “big data” and how IoT can benefit everyone, the trend forces the security industry to gradually switch their attention to data and content beyond product specifications to better fit the needs of a connected world. Major technologies providers have started to add more value to security information/ content with their unique approaches.

Ultra-high 4K Resolution and Wide-angle Cameras Provide More Details
Although the improvement to 4K resolution seems very natural in consumer electronics and security technologies, 4K-resolution, ultra-high HD security cameras still captured the limelight at major security shows this year. Whenever 4K starts to become the mainstream in the industry, security cameras can be expected to provide more detailed and clearer video images of the environment, events, and subjects than the past. More importantly, 4K resolution cameras can largely reduce the total cost of ownership of a project by doing more with less, compared to low resolution cameras. Companies such as Axis Communications, Arecont Vision, Bosch Security Systems, Hikvison Digital Technology, IQinVision, and Sony Electronics all pre-announced 4K cameras last month. Performing at 30 frames per second makes 4K cameras stand out. “Arecont Vision 4K camera produces high-quality image at 30 frames per second and delivers about 8.3 megapixels. Arecont Vision‘s10- megapixel camera delivers 7 frames per second. When it was released in 2010, it was the first dual mode 10-megapixel and 1080p camera in the industry,” said Scott Schafer, Executive VP of Sales, Marketing, and Service at Arecont Vision. It can be predicted that all these companies should have their 4K cameras ready for the market later this year. However, some experts still warn that 4K camera users need to pay extra attention to selecting compatible 4K NVRs and monitors. Without using a 4K monitor, the video quality might be compromised.

Pelco is focusing on a different approach to provide more details to situational awareness video with their latest 360-degree camera, which is a joint venture combining OnCamGrandeye's technology and Pelco's video managment applications. Coupled with Pelco's customer support and service, this adds an important tool to the market, said Craig Dahlman, Director-Analog Video Products of Video Line of Business at Pelco by Schneider Electric. Similar products can also be seen at other major network video surveillance vendors, like Panasonic System Communications. Panasonic‘s 360-degree cameras enable several different viewing options. For example, diverse image distribution modes, including four independent video streams for maximum flexibility.

Intelligent Vi deo Helps Deliver Meaningful Messages
It is not enough to have a high-resolution video only for generating data. In order to acquire meaningful information, rather than just raw data, and even provide timely diagnosis/response to an event, intelligent video is the best candidate, when talking about big data. What it influences in the security field now is how to use the accumulated data from intelligent video for different purposes. “The focuses of video surveillance innovations have evolved from video functionality, to video integration, and now to video enabling. By enabling processes with video, the open platform fosters many innovations to optimize business operations in different verticals,” according to Karl Erik Traberg, Head of Corporate Communications and Business Development at Milestone Systems.

For example, “A retail store uses multiple cameras enabling real-time analytics such as traffic counting, queue management, heat maps and demographics. The system accumulates all the information by date and time, and if associated with the POS information, can deliver key information, such as average sale and conversion metrics. Ultimately, and depending on the information, retailers can leverage these insights to adjust their marketing strategies and even staffing for different time periods,” said Masa Karahashi, Senior VP, Engineering at 3VR.

Hank Monaco, VP of Marketing at Tyco Integrated Security also further explained in a big picture, “For many retailers, we are also seeing a big move now toward leveraging multiple technologies working together to help drive higher store performance. For instance, retailers are finding that leveraging video services to gain visibility into POS activity helps to drive improved customer experiences and manage more accurately what is on the shelf which also can lead to higher sales. We see technologies working together, such as EAS used byond loss protection, and tied into POS register, RFID for inventory tracking, and also analytic video to understand customers‘ behaviors, such as dwell time — how much time a customer stands in front of the stock display without making a purchase or how fast a customer picks up a product(s) from a shelf and then makes a purchase. Essentially, retailers are seeing that technology that does more can also help them make decisions in the store on a more predictive basis and allows them to see farther ahead. This drives the store performance which helps them gain competitive advantage and improved bottom line results.”

We can imagine that, if the information is also shared with or connected to other non-security, external systems, it could be something really valuable even to city surveillance or other researches. However, how to reduce false alarms in intelligent video is always the focus for security. The latest motion sensor detection sensors by Mobotix are able to filter the objects according to directions of movement. Therefore, it only records video or triggers an alarm if an important event actually occurs. Interference caused, for instance, by trees moving in the wind, shadows, passing clouds, or snowfall is consistently ignored.

Thermal Comes to Intelligent Video for 24/7 Detection
In some particular scenarios, intelligent video might meet certain limitations and challenges. “The main drawback of standard CCTV systems arises from their reliance on reflected light — inability to operate at night, adverse effects due to shadows and lighting changes,” according to the research paper titled “Thermo-Visual Feature Fusion for Object Tracking Using Multiple Spatiogram Trackers,” by Ciaran O Conaire et al. For a critical environment, the combination of thermal cameras and intelligent video is a good match for 24/7 detection. After the partnership of FLIR Systems and VideoIQ in 2010, FLIR also recently partnered with PureTech Systems for wide area surveillance solution.

Another piece of good news for the industry is that the falling price in thermal technology will allow more security cameras to enjoy the benefits of thermal. FLIR announced the release of three new lines of its thermal security cameras starting at economical prices, which further demonstrates how the combination of thermal cameras and intrusion video analytics can actually be an affordable and also effective solution, said Andy Teich, President and CEO of FLIR Systems. At the same time, DVTel also announced its thermal cameras at an affordable price, also featuring intelligent video analytics.

FLIR also launched its cloud-based platform for users to remotely access their security cameras. In the future, thermal with intelligent video cameras will also start to provide more meaningful data to make our environment safer.

 

* Take a look into How big data and IoT revolutionize the security industry (Part 2)

 

 

EverFocus unveils 16CH universal DVR for HD-SDI and analog video inputs

EverFocus unveils 16CH universal DVR for HD-SDI and analog video inputs

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by EverFocus | Updated: 6/16/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

In the security market, cost is the major concern when it comes to transition from analog to HD. As the HD-SDI cost has dramatically decreased to an acceptable price-level, demand of the HD-SDI, on the other hand, has been increasing and reflecting the market boom. Regarding the ease of installation and outstanding image clarity, HD-SDI technology has absolutely been widely accepted by the market. Owing to this, EverFocus has never given up hope on the HD-SDI market; on the contrary, gearing up for further development and outlining market strategies for the HD-SDI products.

EverFocus UHDR16, a Linux-embedded universal DVR, comes with 16-channel HD-SDI and analog video inputs. This product supports video signals ranging from D1, 960H, 720P to 1080P in one single DVR and also features triple streams for live view, playback and recording.

The UHDR16 supports recording 480 (NTSP) / 400 (PAL) frames per second at 1080P, and can play back 16 channels of HD-SDI recordings simultaneously. The model also supports RS-485 serial interface, 2 USB interfaces and 1 RJ45 (10/100/1000) Base-T Ethernet interface. Other than that, the UHDR16 can be expanded up to 7 SATA devices (6 SATA HDDs and 1 eSATA), ensuring large capacity of the HD-SDI video recordings.

According to Aska Liu, Deputy Project Manager of EverFocus, “since EverFocus has already provided a comprehensive product lineup, including IP, HD-SDI and analog hardware devices, we also look into universal devices for mutual-beneficial purpose. The UHDR16 can take all signals – no matter it is HD-SDI, 960H, or D1.”

Moreover, EverFocus provides mobile apps, allowing users to view the HD-SDI camera streams via their mobile devices (iOS or Android platforms). The ease of high-quality and high-definition video is the most important piece. Users can take the HD-SDI video and record it in 1080P, and watch the HD-SDI video remotely or locally – EverFocus makes it easy and cost-effective. Everyone can benefit from this beautiful resolution in HD-SDI. EverFocus expects a substantial portion of our revenues to be attributed to HD-SDI going forward.

Since EverFocus has made the acceptable HD-SDI products to the market, applications of the HD-SDI solutions is no longer exclusive to the high-end markets, but can be widely applied in different sectors. In the early 2014, EverFocus built up the HD-SDI systems, including 20 DVRs (EPHD04+) and 50 outdoor IR dome cameras (EHH5101) on the NEXCO-West (West Nippon Expressway Company) highway toll booths located in Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Japan. According to the customer, the toll booths require a system that is reliable and can produce clear images both on the staff or the POS machine. Moreover, cameras with anti-raining/snowing and small-in-size features are considered as the key considerations in this case. Therefore, they chose EverFocus' HD-SDI DVR and outdoor IR dome camera.

At present, HD-SDI product lineup that EverFocus offers includes HD-SDI DVRs up to 8-channel, and HD-SDI cameras with variable types, including mini metal, bullet, dome, and box types. The outdoor HD-SDI cameras are also IP66-rated for weather resistance. Furthermore, EverFocus also provide HD-SDI accessories, including HD-SDI to HDMI converter, HD-SDI to fiber transmitter/receiver and HD-SDI repeater. The UHDR16 universal DVR will be soon released to the market in June, 2014. With the announcement of the UHDR16 universal DVR, users can benefit from its low latency, best-live-view HD-SDI signals over hundreds of meters of coaxial or Cat5e/Cat6 cables and easy installation with an affordable price.

EverFocus is committed to delivering powerful security solutions to the customers worldwide. Not just manufacturing reliable products to the market, EverFocus has been developing the enterprise-level central management system, Genie-XMS, which can support any IP-based devices and of course, all EverFocus' products.

The Genie-XMS is designed with an open and flexible architecture that is able to offer large-scale integration scalability. This surveillance management system is able to connect with any IP-based devices or systems including DVRs, access control, and LPR systems. Web pages or messages can also be displayed on the live view screen. The live view layout can be arranged in any form the end users desired.

With the full range of product lineup, plus the hardware manufacturing and software integration, there will be no gap among the IP, HD-SDI and Analog systems anymore. EverFocus has always been holding one concept to the security market, to focus on excellence, reliability and integration in our products.

EverFocus HD-SDI system secures NEXCO West highway toll booths

EverFocus HD-SDI system secures NEXCO West highway toll booths

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

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

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

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

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

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

C-Store chain keeps losses in check with March Networks

C-Store chain keeps losses in check with March Networks

Editor / Provider: March Networks | Updated: 3/26/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Digital video was still in its infancy when Quik-E Foods of Lynchburg, Virginia, began equipping its convenience stores with March Networks 3108 video recorders 10 years ago.

“I'm a bit of an IT geek, so for a small C-store chain, we've always been very proactive with technology,” said Vice-President Todd Burgess. Times have changed. Today, Burgess can pull up video from any of the company's 12 stores and five car washes on his iPad using March Networks' Cloud service, but several of those original 3108s are still in service.

“We have replaced some of our original recorders with March Networks 4208 and 8516 recorders, but I still have four 3108s,” said Burgess. “They've been up and running 365 days a year all this time. The only reason some of them have had to be replaced is because their power supplies have gone bad, but I guess nothing lasts forever.”

Quik-E Foods experience is consistent with March Networks' reputation for rock solid reliability.

“The thing that most impresses me about March Networks technology is that it's a piece of equipment that I never have to fool with,” remarked Burgess. “I'm the IT guy who has to fix every printer, every keyboard, every point-of-sale system. If it's plugged into a wall, I have to fix it, but I can honestly say that I never have to fool with a March Networks video recorder. I've never even had a hard drive go bad.”

Burgess was especially impressed when all of his March Networks recorders came back to life following a derecho, a wall of storms with 60 mile-per hour winds that tore through Lynchburg and area last summer.

“We all lived on generators for an entire week, but when the power was restored, all of my recorders came back up. I had no issues at all.”

Backward Compatibility
Equally important, the C-store chain's collection of 3108, 4208 and 8516 recorders illustrates March Networks' commitment to backward compatibility. There was never a reason for Quik-E Foods to replace its perfectly functioning 10-year-old recorders to take advantage of software upgrades or other enhancements in video surveillance technology. When Burgess powers up his iPad and goes to the Cloud to review live or archived video from his 12 stores, for example, it makes no difference if it's a 3108 recorder or a brand new 8000 Series NVR. All three generations of March Networks recorders co-exist across the Quik-E Foods footprint.

The effectiveness of Quik-E Foods' video surveillance system is also attributable to March Networks' user-friendly interface.

“Our managers use the Live Viewer, Evidence Manager and Investigator soft?ware on a daily basis,” said Burgess. “They all know how to use them as well as I do and they're all self-taught. I haven't had to do any training, which speaks to how easy it is to use.”

Five or six years ago, March Networks worked with Quik-E Foods to integrate its video surveillance and point-of-sale systems, allowing Burgess and the company's store managers to review recorded video with text overlay.

“It's invaluable to be able to pull up a camera and see what's being rung up overlaid on top of the video,” said Burgess. “It's the greatest feature ever because a lot of theft occurs when a friend comes in with a two-liter drink, and a pack of cigarettes, and the employee just rings up the two-liter drink.”

Searchlight for Retail
Quik-E Foods is now in the process of upgrading to March Networks' Searchlight application, which offers several advantages over the current POS integration.

“Before, with text overlay, I could only search for voided or canceled transactions by logging in at each recorder locally,” explained Burgess. “With Searchlight, all the transaction data is stored at corporate on a server, so I can go in and ask to see all voided transactions at all locations in a specified time range.”

Better still, Searchlight will automatically deliver a daily emailed report identifying suspect transactions with links to the corresponding video.

The integration of video and transaction data is critical for combating POS fraud in a C-store environment.

“Just recently,” said Burgess, “we caught a cashier who was ringing up sales, putting them on hold, collecting the money and then canceling the transactions when the customer left the store. So far, our losses from this one employee add up to $6,000. These transactions show up as voids in my system, so with an emailed report from Searchlight, I'll get a list of all the voids by store and click on a link to watch the video. There won't be a need to search for hours and hours. It's instant.”

Quik-E Foods is slowly transitioning to IP cameras for higher-resolution video of activity at its laser car washes as well as its gas pumps and parking areas.

An IP camera would have come in handy last year when a truck pulling a trailer with an asphalt paving machine decided to run through one of the company's car washes, knocking a $50,000 piece of equipment off its track.

Burgess posted the video on the Quik-E Foods Facebook page and the local media picked it up. Luckily, the contractor responsible for the incident saw it on the news and called Quik-E Foods offering to pay for the damage.

“If I had had an IP camera at that location, I would have known right away who it was because I would have been able to read the logo on the side of the truck or pick up the license plate,” said Burgess.

Each Quik-E Foods store is equipped with a microphone at the check-out counter and a centrally located speaker. Audio is recorded along with the video, and if absolutely necessary, Burgess or anyone else at head office can push a button and communicate with store staff.

Searches Made Easy
The audio came in handy one day when a gang of cigarette thieves used sledge hammers in the middle of the night “to beat the brick out of the back” of one of company's stores and made off with $18,000 worth of cigarettes. There was no camera outside the back of the store to record them, but when Burgess checked the video the next day he found an image of a suspicious looking character peering through the window at the front of the store.

“It was 3 a.m. and you could hear the beating on the back of the building, so we just put two and two together,” said Burgess. “We also went through archived video thinking they may have cased out the store in advance and, sure enough, there was the same guy. We also had an image of the car in the parking lot.”

While the system is primarily used for loss prevention, Todd's father and Quik-E Foods founder Wilton Burgess also takes advantage of its live viewing capability to make sure the stores are neat and tidy. Physically inspecting all 12 stores and five car washes would take him two or three days. With the March Networks system, he can sit in front of his computer and accomplish the same thing in 20 minutes or less.

Over the years, Quik-E Foods' video surveillance system has paid for itself many times over. It's also a valuable source of evidence for Lynchburg Police Department officers investigating credit card theft, car accidents and other incidents in the community.

“The local police have the March Networks player on their PCs, so it's a piece of cake for them, and I'm in court a lot, even for matters that are unrelated to us,” said Burgess.

Looking to the future, Burgess is resigned to the fact that his remaining 3108 recorders will eventually need to be replaced, but looks forward to standardizing on the more powerful 8000 Series hybrid recorder with additional IP cameras, web-based Command software and the investigative smarts of Searchlight for Retail's fraud fighting tools.

[Secutech 2014] EverFocus to showcase integration solutions

[Secutech 2014] EverFocus to showcase integration solutions

Editor / Provider: Everfocus | Updated: 3/19/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Everfocus is expected to highlight their latest developments at secutech International 2014 booth 6117, where the company will showcase their new Panoramic IP Camera EFN3320, 10X Auto Focus IP Cameras as well as NVRs, HD-SDI products, Mobile Solutions, and most of all, the whole new XMS and its integration.

EFN3320 camera is EverFocus' latest 3 megapixel panoramic IP camera. Based on an innovative technology, EFN3320 uses a fisheye lens to create a 360° view with an extremely large area of coverage. With proper placement, EFN3320 IP camera can replace two or more conventional fixed cameras for seamless coverage of an entire scene with no gaps or blind spots.

The XMS is a high performance management system that enables users to connect, work, and control all the surveillance products easily including cameras, portable devices, and also connect with ATMs, POS machine, LPR systems, access control, and alarm.

EZN3261 bullet and EHN3261 dome IP cameras provide up to 30 fps at 1920 x 1080 viewing resolution. Both two types of models equipped with an auto focus 10x optical zoom lens which provides the desired field of view with superior video quality in precision focus. EZN and EHN series come with 2 megapixel and 3 megapixel. Both types will be showcased during secutech from 3/19-3/21.

Mobile has always been Everfocus' strength. EverFocus EMN series mini mobile IP dome comes with 3 models, 1.3 MP, 2 MP, and 3 MP, providing up to 15 fps at 2048 x 1536 viewing resolution. With full EN50155 compliance, IK10 vandal proof housing and IP67-rated design, the camera can withstand shock, vibration, humidity, dust, and fluctuations, maintaining stable and reliable video during vehicle movement.

The zero latency HD quality image is another highlight of EverFocus versatile and high performing HD-SDI solutions! HD-SDI solutions allow users to monitor true “real time” HD recording images.

March Networks helps Virginia's Quik-E Foods cuts losses

March Networks helps Virginia's Quik-E Foods cuts losses

Editor / Provider: March Networks | Updated: 3/5/2014 | Article type: Security 50

March Networks, a global provider of intelligent IP video solutions announces that customer Quik-E Foods of Lynchburg, Virginia is upgrading to its next-generation retail solution for enhanced security and loss prevention. The March Networks solution integrates high-quality video, audio and transaction data to combat point-of-sale (POS) fraud and other threats to the business. The powerful solution has already helped Quik-E Foods improve operations and resolve serious incidents across its chain of 12 convenience stores and five automated car washes.

“We caught a cashier who was pausing transactions and then pocketing the money once customers left the store. The scam was adding up to more than $6,000 in losses,” explained Quik-E Foods Vice President Todd Burgess. “With the deep POS integration and search tools in our March Networks solution, those transactions showed up as voids, and we also had the video evidence to verify what was happening. There wasn't a need to search for hours and hours. It was instant.”

Working with March Networks certified provider Integrated Technology Group, Quik-E Foods is upgrading its existing March Networks NVRs to high-performance 8000 Series Hybrid NVRs. The recorders maintain the unparalleled reliability, centralized video management and scalability of previous generation March Networks NVRs. In addition, they deliver improved performance and video compression, expanded internal storage and the ability to support as many as 32 IP cameras or hybrid analog/IP configurations. This allows Quik-E to transition from 100 percent analog to 100 % IP video cost-effectively and at its own pace.

The convenience store chain will also upgrade to March Networks Searchlight for Retail software, which will be particularly helpful in optimizing operations at the family-run business. In addition to quickly investigating suspect transactions along with associated video, retailers can use Searchlight's automated reports to monitor operations, such as whether stores opened on time, shelves were stocked properly and employees were dressed as required. The daily reports will also help the retailer maintain compliance and operational standards. Searchlight accomplishes in minutes what formerly took hours of time and effort to adequately oversee.

Using the mobile video service March Networks Cloud, the Quik-E team also has convenient access to live and recorded surveillance videos on their smartphones and tablets. With full backward compatibility, the mobile solution allows the IT team to review video for all convenience store and car wash locations, regardless of technology generation installed.

The reliability of the March Networks recorders proved its excellence to Quik-E in 2013 when 60 mph winds tore through the Lynchburg area, forcing the business to rely on generators for power. After the power was restored, all recorders came back up, according to Quik-E's Burgess. March Networks technology has impressed its users with high reliability.

“Quik-E Foods is a long-time customer who proves how a growing business can rely on our complete retail solutions to provide a real competitive advantage,” said Net Payne, Chief Marketing Officer, March Networks. “They have used the technology to improve their operational efficiency, ensure security for their customers and staff, and protect their profitability. In addition, they have continued to add new, advanced capabilities without ever having to abandon existing recorder and camera investments.”

 

Increase Biz efficiency & profit with 360-degree cameras

Increase Biz efficiency & profit with 360-degree cameras

Editor / Provider: Tevin Wang,a&s Asia | Updated: 3/4/2014 | Article type: Tech Corner

Despite 360-degree cameras are mostly installed indoors. They are great fits for retails, especially. We take a closer at how business intelligence (BI) is achieved.

360-degree cameras are designed for areas with the need for more or less total coverage — an overview of all activities — and with tight budgets for surveillance, such as retail stores. Customers deploy 360-degree cameras for 2 main reasons: first, for situational awareness because 360-degree technology provides end users with coverage that has no blind spots and retrospectively analyzes a scene with speed and accuracy that no analog cameras could accomplish. Secondly, “this development is fuelled by network video enabling advanced video processing and analytics applications,” said Petra Bennermark, Product Manager, Axis Communications. “This is particularly true for the retail sector where panoramic cameras are used to monitor aisles, shelves and racks.” In other words, BI application integration is one of the most significant reasons for retailers to move to network video.

Improved Business Intelligence
Retails owners are no longer limited to counting people as customers come through the front door Through path analysis, queue counting, and dwell time, marketing and business intelligence is hugely enhanced. 360-degree cameras not only offer economic alternatives but also enhance sales and efficiency.

Profit first, security second
At any retailer, security cannot interfere with profitability. Explaining the business case for security must account for retail priorities. In retail, the loss prevention department is usually the main decision-maker who determines how budgets are spent on security technologies. The motivation for these decision-makers is to combat shrink. They do not put in a camera or an alarm because it's necessary. Instead, they invest in technology when it has a proportional impact on shrink or produces a return of investment (ROI) in a one- to three-year time frame.

Added-benefits Attract Attentions
Retailers reveals more interests when security proves to be an investment, rather than a high one-time cost. Reducing operational costs is one clear way security can provide benefits. In the longer term, ROI can be demonstrated through cost reduction of manpower, such as security guards and more.

For example, a great numbers of components make up the path to sales such as merchandising, adequate staffing, environment, and how long a customer must wait for assistance. By a holistic view of surveillance, 360-degree cameras, with the help of video content analysis combined, count customers entering pre-defined directions, calculating waiting time for customer service, and counting vehicles and their wait time in the drive-through area. Such video analytics provide data necessary to minimize wait times and maximize staff. In other word, the integrated analysis transforms video into a continuous stream of business intelligence such as daily traffic distribution, sales conversion rate and average service time. Such valuable Information on traffic, conversion, staffing levels and sales empowers strategies on how and when to staff. Stores can compare this information with the number of sales and adjust work schedules to ensure proper staffing for better customer service. The entire solution is beyond security system and evolves thereby as a management tool to optimize operations.

More than PoS Integration
Management efficiencies can also be delivered through security aiding business systems. Via the integration of point of sale (PoS) systems with surveillance systems, comprehensive and actionable information can thus be gathered. For example, there is a great tendency that more loss at the register than internal and external theft combined. These losses might not always be intentional, they can be generated from mis-scans on bar codes or ringing up a single item when it should be multiple. If the PoS improperly registers these incidents, it's a loss.

The integration of 360-degree cameras and PoS can correlate transactions from cash registers with the video monitoring. The combo also allows centralized management so all system administration can be undertaken from the headquarters while each store manager can leave the investigative work to central control and focus time on the daily management of the local store instead. Still store managers do have access to video evidence so that it can be used in connection with events such as shoplifting or payment disputes

Other Applications
“The best uses for panoramic is in which have a very large space to cover with minimum mounting points, for example, parking lots, campus quads and lecture halls, cafeterias and building lobbies, large industrial spaces, large retail space and storage yards,” said Becky Zhou, VP of Sales, Asia Pacific, Arecont Vision. “Compared with traditional monitoring, at those areas, we can use least camera and see the largest space. And as our panoramic camera has highest resolution (40MP), we can see the detail clearly. In some entrances, we can use the WDR panoramic camera, which can show the perfect panoramic image.”

Installation tips
As 360-degree cameras change the perspectives for security personnel who “see” video, installers should pay closer attention when deploying them. First, Installers must be conscious of where the camera is being mounted and of what type of material they are mounting a camera on. As certain 360-degree cameras are designed to blend into the decor and need to be mounted at harder ceiling material like drywall or sheetrock, plenum space where air circulation is used might not be a good option. In other word, aesthetics play an important part in many installations, especially when mounted at eye level or just above eye level in a wall.

Since a 360-degree camera covers a wide area in all directions, ceiling or mounting height is important and cameras should be positioned strategically to provide the best coverage for the area. Apart from this, how the camera is going to be powered with PoE and how it would connect to the management network should be given some thought.

Due to possible resolution drop at the edge of fisheye lens, user should make the area of interest the centre of the image. Thus, the height and location for installation should be carefully considered.

Another consideration for installing 360-degree cameras is light variations in a given scene with such a large field of view. Very bright lights often blow out a scene or create lots of shadows, and many 360-degree cameras cannot pick up information because the image is either too dark or too bright. The brightest and darkest areas will be a challenge for the camera to resolve. Installers should consider the entire scene when placing a camera — how much light will be visible and what in your scene is important to see for total situational awareness. When a 360-degree camera is installed under a bright environment which uses lamps with low frequency, flicker might occur. Low light sensitivity of 360-degree cameras should be put into agenda, and “the monitoring area better have sufficient lighting,” recommended Aaron Yeh, Director at Surveon Technology.

Hikvision solution secures Mac's convenience stores in Canada

Hikvision solution secures Mac's convenience stores in Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Smith retail stores upgrade to Milestone IP Video solution

Paul Smith retail stores upgrade to Milestone IP Video solution

Editor / Provider: Milestone System | Updated: 2/26/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Milestone XProtect Corporate open platform IP video management software (VMS) with XProtect Smart Client and network cameras from Axis Communications are being deployed across all of Paul Smith's 45 stores as part of the UK-based retailer's first comprehensive, company-wide IT refresh. Initially the new digital video system is being used for loss prevention but once it is fully implemented worldwide by the end of 2015, Paul Smith plans to use it for business intelligence to assist retail operations management.

Paul Smith is an early adopter of IP and cloud-based services. In 2001 it was the first large UK-based company to migrate to IP telephony, installing a Cisco IPT network. Embracing the latest IT management approaches (including use of open-architected and Microsoft-based systems), the company has been able to maintain a relatively small network services team despite very rapid growth. Paul Smith has a retail presence in 35 countries.

This approach means that when new IT challenges present themselves, Paul Smith's Head of IT, Lee Bingham, looks for standards-based solutions that are capable of scaling quickly and effectively. He specifies that new systems and services must last a minimum of 10 years because he simply does not have the manpower or budget to support continual replacements of devices and software.

Paul Smith's legacy CCTV had grown organically as the group expanded around the world. When the IT department was asked to take over running Paul Smith's video systems, Lee Bingham insisted that it must be moved to IP video and be visible on the corporate network: "If it's not IP then it's not IT, and therefore it made no sense to move it from our Facilities Management team over to the IT department unless the CCTV system was going to be accessible on the network by authorized managers from their desktops."

The company backed the IT department's three-year global migration plan from CCTV-to-IP video surveillance. The installation and networking of the new video platform is being carried out as part of a global IT infrastructure upgrade, along with new retail Point of Sale (POS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

Paul Smith's IT department researched the market for robust, scalable IP video hardware and software. After a painstaking evaluation process, they chose Milestone XProtect Corporate video management software and Axis network cameras. Axis video encoders were selected to bring some existing analog CCTV cameras onto the corporate network ahead of the full IT and IP video upgrade.

Lee Bingham said: "The fact that Milestone XProtect is built on an open platform architecture using Microsoft Active Directory makes rapid roll out possible, as well as cost-effective maintenance and support. Selecting Milestone enables us to migrate the whole CCTV estate onto a single platform to establish uniformity and consistency."

"Milestone fits our model perfectly. The open platform allows us to scale and add new services. We can control which managers can see cameras from which stores through our standard IT technologies. We can log in via the Milestone XProtect Smart Client front-end to view live and recorded video from all the cameras anywhere in the world. If there is a problem, we can generally fix it via the network from Nottingham without getting on a plane. This saves management time and reduces our company's carbon footprint.

In the future Bingham expects different managers in specialist areas like Visual Merchandising will want to proactively access the cameras to assess whether agreed store layouts are being observed and working well for customers. There will also be a higher demand for mobile device access to the video which Milestone Mobile can provide.

"Our objective, as the Milestone-based video systems have been rolled out globally, will be to build on this investment by extending its value beyond loss prevention," concludes Bingham. "We plan to work closely with our retail management team to explore the power of the new IP video system - potentially deploying techniques such as facial recognition, heat mapping and dwell-time analytics that enable us to better understand and serve our customers."

AxxonSoft introducing Axxon Next VMS at Intersec 2014

AxxonSoft introducing Axxon Next VMS at Intersec 2014

Editor / Provider: Axxonsoft | Updated: 1/16/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Intersec, the largest security trade fair in the Middle East.This year the event will be held in Dubai, UAE, January 19-21, 2014.

Intersec makes a perfect meeting point for buyers and sellers and a breeding ground for brave new projects.

AxxonSoft will showcase brand new technologies. The highlight of the exhibit will undoubtedly be the cutting edge Axxon Next video management software (VMS). The free version of this VMS for up to 16 cameras and 1 Tb storage made quite a splash on the market last year and around 500 powered by Axxon Next security systems are installed each week.

the latest major innovation to Axxon Next VMS will be showcasing the following:
* Interactive 3D Map that supports immersion view and Open Street Map;
* Time Compressor, a scene synopsis tool that compiles all motion detection events over a selected time period into a short video clip;
* Seamless integration with fisheye cameras that have ImmerVision lenses. The unique 360o panomorph optics technology from ImmerVision offers a much greater level of detail and situational awareness than traditional panoramic cameras;
* MomentQuest2, a forensic search tool that filters and retrieves video footage of interest in seconds.

The latest version of AxxonSoft's bestselling solution for Physical Security Information Management, Axxon Intellect Enterprise 4.9.0, breaks through to the next level of performance and efficiency. The Intellect PSIM platform now boasts multi-streaming support, the Green Stream bandwidth optimization tool and mobile apps for remote access.

And those interested in video surveillance applications on transport, at banks and retail will definitely flock to the Axxonsoft booth to see ready-made vertical solutions: Face-Intellect, POS-Intellect and Auto Intellect.

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