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Multi-channel retailing drives multi-faced retail models

Multi-channel retailing drives multi-faced retail models

Editor / Provider: Steve Chin, a&s International | Updated: 9/15/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

More and more, retailers are looking into better and more efficient ways to reach out to their customers and enhance their shopping experience. Traditional shopping rules are being set aside for technological advancements and multi-channel retailing.

Hi, may I help you?” will probably be the first few words a customer hears when they enter a retail store. At first glance, one might think that the way people do their shopping, be it at a high-class luxury establishment or a simple grocery store, has really not changed all that much. In reality though, the retail industry is constantly looking for ways to evolve and improve both the customer's shopping experience and the security of their stores.

As Alex Johnson, Senior Director of Retail Technology at Verint Systems pointed out, “retailers now have an increased focus on improving the in-store customer shopping experience, whether it's through improved merchandising, better informed store associates, or decreased wait times and other initiatives.”

Another factor to take into account is the Internet. Nowadays, Internet access is so prevalent and so easily accessible that almost all traditional brick-and-mortar stores offer some form of online shopping. In fact, because it is so widespread and so available, it is incredibly easily to purchase anything from furniture to luxury goods to even groceries, all delivered right to your front door. The downside for retailers is that because their customers are now able to purchase products directly from their living rooms, it is becoming more difficult to have any physical interactions between them.

It goes without saying, the World Wide Web has become a significant part of our lives, with the ability to look up and execute just about anything that comes to mind. In this living, evolving world, tools like social media, online advertisements, and the ability to reach out to customers on a global scale represents a gigantic leap for retailers relative to a decade or two ago. Smartphones have emphasized this point even further. “Shoppers are more and more often using connected mobile devices during their shopping journeys, and both ‘showrooming' and ‘webrooming' are opportunities for retailers,” said George Shaw, Head of R&D at RetailNEXT. What this means in essence is that from a retailer's point of view, opt-in guest Wi-Fi and mobile device detection are rapidly growing areas of interest, and are some of the foundation blocks for personalization of the in-store shopping experience. All this can also link up to a concept called omni-channel retailing, which is one of the recurring trends being observed in the current retail industry. With the need to continually connect with their customers, retailers are constantly looking for faster and better ways to offer not just a better customer shopping experience, but more efficient support and cross-platform promoting.

Omni-Channel Retailing
A big thing to take note of is the concept of omni-channel retailing. This is basically a culmination of traditional brick-and-mortar stores combined with online support and shopping through apps on smartphones and tablets. This also expands even further into support across multiple cross-platforms. By utilizing omni-channels, retailers are able to compound on the ease of accessibility that customers gain by making everything from shopping, returning items, price matching, and customer support, all available from a customer's living room sofa. Customers can also see a much simpler and efficient system when they wish to return or exchange items, as purchases made through online methods can also be honored in-store.

Expanding on this idea even further, this is also a very easy way to obtain valuable information through data mining in order to better the retail customers' experiences. For example, by utilizing in-store Wi-Fi and mobile devices, retailers can determine what areas of the store are getting the most traffic and what places are lacking. The retailer can then respond by promoting the most popular products even further through cross platforms, be it on their online stores or through mobile devices, such as a special promotion for their store prior to logging onto in-store Wi-Fi. Data mining also helps retailers determine customer buying habits, and retailers can then respond by advertising store promotions that they currently have. By utilizing omni-channel retailing, retailers are able to cross-promote across all their available systems, not just simply putting up a window poster in their brick-andmortar stores. “The Internet is having a huge impact on how people shop. I see Internet purchases being much more common these days. Offers like Living Social helps drives sales further. Big box stores like Costco are also experiencing significant sales growth, and everywhere there is much more in-store comparisonshopping being done by smartphones,” John Sullivan, President of 360iQ explained.

Delving Further Into Analytics
In line with omni-channel retailing, traditional security analytics are also a factor. No longer just a security tool utilized to prevent crime, its uses are also becoming catered towards business intelligence and retail improvements. Johnson also explained that one of the most significant advancements made recently is leveraging video infrastructure to provide incremental business intelligence to assist retailers in operating their business.

Determents to retailers are things like long queues, ill-informed associates, and mismanaged marketing for products. Brian Lane, Director of Product at 3VR, especially pointed out the queue issue. “It can make for a miserable shopping experience. So much so, that they may shop somewhere else next time.” Some ways to combat this that solutions providers are quick to emphasize are analytics like queue management software that can count the number of customers entering stores and the number that are leaving. As Lane explained in greater detail, “Software like this determines the average shopping times of each individual customer, and can properly alert staff to add more associates to the points-of-sales (POS) systems in the store.” He also added, “the software can also use people counting, in conjuction with POS systems to determine the conversion rate of customers.” Sullivan also explained another method: “surveillance cameras are not only tracking the bad guys but also keeping an eye on the good guys in order to make their shopping experiences better than ever. Video analytics can create ‘heat maps' that show the so-called ‘Golden Path,' the most popular areas of the store — and how that might change during the day, week, or year.” This leads to better product and shopping knowledge, and retailers can adapt to the various scenarios.

Another example Sullivan pointed out is a demographic analytic, normally used for forensic research on recorded video. What this basically looks to do is to narrow down a search of a subject by their age and gender. Usually, this is utilized to identify possible subjects in crime. But on the business side, this same analytic can be used in the retail environment to help retailers understand the demographics of their customers. “For example, if a store were to run an ad for a sale in the newspaper one weekend, and on social media the next, the information returned would most likely result in a younger demographic the second weekend. This analytic can be used to test this hypothesis,” Lane explained. “If the store's merchandise is aimed at a younger audience, the effectiveness of advertising can be tested to target a specific demographic.”

High-End Luxury and Big-Box Franchise Retailing Develop with Personalized Approach
The differences are obvious when stepping into a Louis Vuitton store and when stepping into a Costco or when you walk into a Cartier store versus walking into the Wal-Mart electronics section. Right away, as soon as you enter high-end luxury retail stores, you notice a much more personal approach. Traditionally, “high-end retail has always been about differentiation, either with products, customer experiences, or both. Savvy retailers are now looking at technology to empower customizable, personalized shopping experiences, with the aim at creating a sustainable competitive advantage,” said Shaw. In short, there's always the VIP approach when it comes to high-end retail. The “everything is possible” motto comes to mind when referring to these luxury markets.

Things are a little bit different for big-box franchise retailing, as it is centered in such a competitive market. With so many different major brand names, again, one of the solutions for retailers is to make their retail stores really stand out. Provisions such as reward programs, discounts, and promotions offer customers reasons to continually shop at the same retailer. One solution being explored right now is data mining customer shopping histories and looking at the demographical differences: gender, age, and location. A way to execute this would be to have a loyalty or membership program whereas by customers signing up, they would be able to gain access to exclusive coupons or specials. In return, customers would give access to their shopping histories and shopping patterns and enable retailers a way to personalize their shopping promotions i.e. Customer A purchases bananas and apples this week and oranges and celery a week prior; there would be little point in sending promotions for t-shirts and DVDs). The whole goal is to make it a more personalized shopping experience by utilizing the customer's information from multiple channels.

Again, the idea of omni-channel retailing is applied to both high-end luxury market segments as well as the big-box retailing industry. While the target audience might be different, the end goals still remain the same: reaching out to customers and bettering the shopping experience in order to achieve better margin gains.

Roadmap to Better Retailing
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to retailing is continual technological advancements. Some key features to look out for include things like RFID technology becoming more widespread, with its use in real-time inventory management becoming one of the future key features. It will also soon be a huge data source for retailers as they control inventories and better manage its effect on cash flows and working capitals, as Shaw explained. Another important factor is mobile and even wearable tech (including products like: Google Glass, Apple's iWatch, and Samsung's Galaxy Gear), and how to take advantage of it. One achieveable method seems to be the idea of utilizing the NFC and Bluetooth features and directly “beaming” it to customers as they enter the store. It becomes important as time goes on for better and closer customer interactions and feedback, as well as the ability to properly market and promote products to the right demographics. Keep an eye out for such things like Bluetooth connectivity to in-store promotional specials, and better, even faster, and more efficient cross multi-channel retailing. This also ties into the omni-channel retailing factor, as technological advancements will only make cross-channel retailing more and more efficient.

The last thing to point out is that the human factor in shopping will never really go away. That's another reason why not everything is online, said Shaw. People still enjoy social interactions when shopping, and conversing with in-store associates and being attended to is still a big driver. In fact, when it comes to specialty products, retail sales associates are the biggest drivers of shopper loyalty and retention.

Top Retailing Conundrums Facing US Retailers
A quick glance on the Internet still reveals a few worries that retailers have to face. According to publication by Market Watch, the following are the top 10 risk factors, based on the opinions of the 100 largest US retailers.

1. General economic conditions ― This is far and away the number one reason, and quite understandable;
2. Federal, state, and local regulations;
3. Competition and consolidation;
4. Vendor concerns ― recession has hit the manufacturers just as hard;
5. Labor costs ― Rising medical costs, staffing costs, minimum wage raises;
6. Consumer trends;
7. Maintenance of IT systems ― Things like security systems, POS systems,and registers, are all expensive;
8. Privacy concerns related to security breach ― This is another big one that has made news headlines recently. Hackers breaking into online databases to steal people’s information and blackmailing them for payment.
8a. Consumer confidence and spending;
8b. Legal proceedings

Security Road Show heats up Asian security market

Security Road Show heats up Asian security market

Editor / Provider: Michelle Chu | Updated: 8/27/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Taiwan Security Road Show 2014, held by Messe Frankfurt New Era, hits the second stop in Taipei today, gathering more than a thousand of visitors and some of the leading suppliers based in Taiwan and China.

The Road Show has been regarded as the most important display show in Asian security market, marking current mainstream solutions and displaying some of the most iconic and latest technique in the surveillance market. The manufacturers in Asia have become more influential than ever in the global market; therefore, visitors from various verticals have taken this event as a key to the market trend.

As expected, the fierce competition between CVI, AHD, and TVI is the focus in this Road Show. However, in this year, providers brought out not only the most up-to-date high-definition technologies but more value-added solutions to be better fit different requests from the end users.

Dahua and Hikvision both presented their latest tribrid DVRs, in order to provide the end users an option to keep existing analog cables, new-built IP equipment, and upgraded HDCVI/HDTVI video inputs all in one recording device. According to Hikvision's exhibitor, it is believed that tribrid DVRs actually offer an ideal solution to end users who appreciate and demand the advantages and benefits from analog, IP, and TVI/CVI but have no intention of immigrating the surveillance system to one of them at once. For more information about AHD/CVI/TVI from this display event, please have a look into: AHD, TVI, and ccHDtv see different analog security markets

Advantech, one of the most well-known industrial computer suppliers in the market, has officially stepped their feet into video content analysis, combining POS systems with surveillance video images and consumer's data. This new generation POS system will be able to provide retailers not only security surveillance footage but more valuable data about consumers' behavior pattern – it can even calculate what a return customer may be interested in according to his/her previous consuming records. It is said that this new set POS can be seen in this October in the well-known chained convenience stores both in Taiwan and China.

Brickcom presented Hydra Series, the world's first triple extendible convert IP camera, as the supplier suggested, which is able to connect three cameras with the transmission cables, configuring one unit of video box, VB-03, with up to 3 super-mini cameras, PH-100Ah. This mini-cam kit is a perfect match for surveillance in ATM and areas demanding discrete monitoring. Click here for more detail about Brickcom Hydra Series

UK Security Market(2-2): Hot and crowded

UK Security Market(2-2): Hot and crowded

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 8/27/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

The UK security market carries some special features; the most notorious is its large number of legacy analog systems. In addition, bearing the consideration over extra cost of re-cabling and labor, complexity of different projects, and requirement toward high quality, UK customers naturally take extra caution in making purchases and adopting new technologies, such as IP. Over the years, the IP adoption speed has picked up dramatically for a country with high resistance to IP; however, it is still comparatively slower than the US, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian regions. According to different vendors' comments, the ratio of analog to IP installation in the U.K. is around 50-to-50 or 40-to-60. Steve Carney, Director of Video Product Line Management at Tyco Security Products, dissected the IP growth momentum and said, “The price of IP security products has become more challenging over the past 12 months. It pushes the higher-end IP market to generate more values, such as embracing more intelligent video and mobility in security systems. It also helps stimulate the traditional, cost-driven, analog market (such as the U.K.) to adopt more IP.“

Fully Supports Different Technologies
In a country with widespread legacy systems, companies in the U.K. pay extra attention to developing different technologies, such as encoders/ switchers or hybrid systems to fulfill the requirements for fusing analog and IP systems together. Gerard Otterspeer, Regional Marketing Manager of Video Systems for EMEA at Bosch Security Systems, suggested, “The U.K. has a large base of legacy systems. So, there is always a need to make sure if your systems are able to integrate with legacy systems. We feel that the UK market is going IP quite fast; roughly, 60 percent of our projects here use IP. When providing the IP products here, we also have to ensure they connect with other analog systems too.” In addition, “It is very important to have full product portfolios to support the large legacy market. We do have a wide range of products, such as encoders, and also HD hybrid cameras supporting IP and analog,” he highlighted.

This was also echoed by Axis. Andres Vigren, Product Manager for Axis Communications said, “The U.K. has a history of analog. We are coming from IT. It is very important to have a complete portfolio also including encoders and media converters, to make sure that customers can easily upgrade from analog to IP. Media converters are easy to deploy which you can still keep your coaxial cables.”

Looking to another group of companies, they bring a different statement in appropriate solutions to this market by highlighting the major benefits of using hybrid systems. Carney said, “We have heavily invested in the migration solutions, particularly hybrid solutions that employ a mix of analog and IP technology. I think the encoder market has disappointed some people in some aspects since it costs more for hardware and software for further upgrade. Some people expect encoders could be the transition point, but I would say the transition actually begins with hybrid NVRs and DVRs.” He further explained, “Tyco's American Dynamics and Exacq hybrid NVRs have IP and analog inputs. So, just because in the future the customer fully upgrades to IP, the processing power remains the same whether the device is handling analog or IP video."

March Networks also focused on hybrid NVRs, Stefano Torri, European Sales Director at March Networks said, “Inside the hybrid NVR is a box of encoders, so you can connect it with IP cameras and of course support analog. It is one well set-up alliance, embedded with video management software and added in video analytics. We develop our own video analytics, which we called ‘business intelligence.' We provide a very strong video analytics and value-added software for transaction integration with POS and ATM systems, particularly for big commercial, retail, and banking sector.”

End-to-End Solutions to cater to SIs
Due to the aforementioned considerations of UK customers and extra cost over installation, companies usually have to cater to what systems integrators really need and also bring more added values. Therefore, the total cost of ownership (TCO), return on investment (ROI), and ease of installation are most often evaluated when selecting products and designing systems.

The number of companies who provide end-to-end solutions rise in the market to further ensure systems have seamless compatibility and interoperability. Andrew Myung, Director of Strategy & Planning Team for Global Business Division at IDIS emphasized, “To optimize the values of total video surveillance solutions, education to customers is very important. The obvious example is especially when the retail customers have chain stores around the country; it carries extra time and cost to upgrade their systems within all their branches. Therefore, what we propose is the simplicity of IP systems with the idea of ‘plug-and-play,' which is very similar to the old, analog systems. Since what we provide is a very wide, end-to-end product line, the hefty increase of installation and maintenance time, labor and difficulties can largely be alleviated.” In the U.K., brand awareness and quality are important. What is worth noticing is IDIS, well-known in the OEM business for a long while, spent a very short timeframe preparation to complete its full IP video product lines and market its own brands in the U.K. and other European regions. This year, it has already launched 4K cameras, NVRs, and also monitors.

Full Video & Access Control
Integration to Simplify Work for SIs Solution providers are also working on developing integrated systems. Avigilon, another end-to-end solutions provider, this year, further demonstrated its integrated access control platform, which is able to manage an alarm from access control and video in one single platform. “Our most recent version of access control software includes the introduction of an appliance, which is an ideal solution for up to 32 readers, to address the physical security needs of small to mediumsized sites. It simplifies security with a cost-effective, all-in-one appliance,” said Ian Povey, Director of Product Marketing and Product Management for Avigilon, in a press release.

Carney continued, “Tyco also invested very heavily in integration of our video and access control systems. Both of our video and access control now are able to be integrated into one single platform, which we see as being a requirement for the middle to high-end market. These integrated solutions can better manage the work flow and cost, and provide better service.”

Since the UK market is quite crowded, companies are looking for more added values to differentiate their security systems. Meanwhile, end users no longer want standalone products but integrated solutions from a single company. Andrew Dicken, GM of System Solutions Group of Panasonic System Communications Company Europe said, “The market trend we have seen over the past five years across the EU, not just the UK, is a move toward integrated systems. Panasonic's System Solutions Group has engineering teams working globally on projects that integrate numerous products with proprietary or third party software and total security technologies.”

On the manufacturers' side, forming partnerships over technologies or strategic alliances is a common approach to develop integrated solutions. Panasonic's entrance into the European access control market is a very obvious example. To become a total solution provider, Panasonic Europe expanded its access control product line by forming a strategic alliance with Bravida Fire & Security, a leading access control and intruder alarm company based in Scandinavia. Dicken commented, “Through this strategic alliance, Bravida is able to use Panasonic's video surveillance and fire platform, and Panasonic uses Bravida's access control and intruder platform. Two companies are forming an alliance, a synergy of two major brands in Europe. We are designing products together and also are integration partners. Besides, we are able to share the market intelligence as well as engineering and sales resources.”

Third-party Partnership Calls for Open Platform
To cater to what systems integrators and end users need, some companies work on third-party integration and partnerships. Peter Ainsworth, Head of Product & Marketing at Samsung Techwin Europe said, “What we are highlighting this year is the processing power of our latest DSP chipset that is incorporated into our latest generation of video surveillance cameras is such that we can offer customers complete freedom and flexibility to choose the edge based video analytics App, which best matches their individual requirements. The DSP chipset has the ability to run multiple applications simultaneously and so, in addition to utilizing video analytics for security or business intelligence purposes, customers have the option to run a wide range of other types of Apps such as, for example, cloud storage.”

Another example is PSIM, which benefits most large enterprises, is able to integrate more non-traditional security sensors into the solution to get more operational benefits and save money to increase ROI, according to Jamie Wilson, Marketing Manager of Security of EMEA at NICE Systems. One case is PSIM collocates with VMS in building management systems to control lights, ventilation systems, and lift management. The integration enables the data from other systems to come in PSIM.

Constructing Security ecosystems
Telling from the latest development in the UK security market, it won't work if companies just follow the traditional way to do security business. Even manufacturers need to leverage the strength from other manufacturers to create new business and markets, not to mention other channel players. We can expect in the future for many security ecosystems to be built up. Again, companies working hard in the U.K. provide valuable examples for other markets, too.

Related Article:
UK Security Market(2-1): Hot and crowded

EverFocus to showcase brand new solution at Security Essen 2014

EverFocus to showcase brand new solution at Security Essen 2014

Editor / Provider: EverFocus | Updated: 8/8/2014 | Article type: Security 50

EverFocus is prepared for exhibiting at Security Essen from 23rd – 26th September 2014. On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, Security Essen broadcasts more than 1,000 exhibitors from 40 countries and trade visitors from 115 countries are expected to meet in Essen.

This year, EverFocus plans to demonstrate open platform Central Management Software (CMS), Genie XMS, which is designed with a flexible architecture to offer large scale integration scalability. This surveillance management system is able to connect any devices or systems including IP cameras, DVRs, NVRs, access control, LPR and POS systems. Web pages or messages can also be displayed on the live view screen. The live view layout can be arranged in any form end users desired. Any systems can be modularized and integrated into Genie XMS as the customer wish!

The newly unveiled technology, eZ Tracker, will also be highlighted at EverFocus' booth. The eZ Tracker is designed for wide-area surveillance without compromising optimal image quality. Combining EverFocus network fisheye camera (EFN series) and EverFocus network speed dome camera (EPN series), this technology can be easily operated using a mouse. Click a desired location on the 360° surround view from the fisheye camera and the speed dome camera will be exactly triggered to track the location. Users can then utilize the smooth PTZ function on the speed dome camera view to zoom in or focus on a region of interest. Meanwhile, users can also monitor all the movements from the 360° surround view.

Moreover, EverFocus will showcase the innovative gadget, IP Sidekick (ESK1000), which is a simple, quick solution for IP-based camera installation. Equipped with PoE and Wi-Fi networking, the Sidekick allows users to view any PoE IP camera live views through browsers over iOS / Android mobile devices for camera adjustment. Users can also install EverFocus Sidekick App to instantly display the live views of all EverFocus IP cameras.

Another highlight will go to the Universal DVR. EverFocus EPHD16+U, an embedded Linux-based universal DVR, comes with 16-channel HD-SDI and analog video inputs. This product supports video signals from D1, 960H, 720P to 1080P in one single DVR and also features triple streams for live view, playback and recording. The EPHD16+U supports recording 480 (NTSP) / 400 (PAL) frames per second at 1080P, and can be played 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 EPHD16+U can be expanded up to 7 SATA devices (6 SATA HDDs and 1 eSATA), ensure the 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. The EPHD16+U can take all signals, no matter HD-SDI, 960H, or D1. Moreover, EverFocus also provides mobile apps, which allow 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, see the HD-SDI video remotely or locally.

Except the above solutions, EverFocus will also demonstrate the Mobile and Access Control solutions on-site at EverFocus' booth, Hall 2.0 Stand 215.

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.”

 

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