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[GDSF Secutech 2014] VMS works wonders for verticals

[GDSF Secutech 2014] VMS works wonders for verticals

Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 4/18/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

VMS is demanded by any vertical market that needs video surveillance to keep facilities and premises safe and secure. Operators from different verticals, however, look for different things in their VMS based on the specific demands and needs of their respective industries. The topics of VMS and its applications in different vertical markets took the center stage during this year's Secutech Taipei and were a main theme discussed by panelists in the Global Digital Security Forum (GDSF) held alongside the exhibition. During the event, industry experts shared their insights into VMS requirements for different verticals and what they considered to be good video management software.

Airports/Public transportation
Scalability is one of the first things operators of airports and public transportation facilities look for in choosing the right VMS solution. As the number of cameras increases with the construction of new airport terminals or new subway stations, the ability of VMS to grow with the system becomes critical.

“When we first did the Taipei subway system, we had 1,000-plus cameras and 17 stations, but the numbers have increased to more than 10,000 cameras and more than 100 stations,” said Isabella Lin, Sales Manager of Overseas Sales Division, Instek Digital, which was chosen as a partner of the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. to deploy video surveillance solutions. “Scalability has become an essential thing.”

Reliability, or the ability of a system to maintain stable, steady operation even in the event of system failure, is also crucial. Every piece of video is vital in accident prevention or post-event investigation and is too precious to be lost during any time. Management software that enables continuous system access and uninterrupted video streaming is therefore another important factor that airport and public transportation operators look for.

Finally, video management software nowadays must include a certain level of intelligence, which analyzes abnormalities in videos and responds to those abnormalities accordingly. When someone intrudes into an off-limits area or loiters on the subway platform, a solution with good analytics will detect those scenarios and send an alert to the security personnel. This way, tragedies may be prevented, and lives saved.

“Analytics is becoming a lot more mature, and we're seeing new applications,” said Justin Schorn, Co-Founder of Aimetis, which has deployed VMS solutions in major international airports in the world, including those of Brasilia, Munich, and Perth. “With no analytics, a solution is a very much passive, not a very reactive one. But with analytics, it's more of a proactive product.”

Safe city
Surveillance plays a critical function in keeping cities safe, livable and responsive to crime, terrorist threats and attacks, accidents and disasters. According to a previously released whitepaper, Milestone, a leading VMS provider, said after a city in Brazil installed a video surveillance system, it noticed a 6 percent reduction in crime. A Nevada police department installed cameras in a high crime area, and within a year research showed that 52.7 percent of the residents felt there was less drug dealing in the area and 77 percent felt that the surveillance system had enhanced their quality of life.

“A safe city project aims to protect citizens and assets. It involves technologies providing situational awareness to various stakeholders, and enables overall operational picture to all relevant agencies,” said Sunny Kong, Director of Sales of Asia, Milestone.

Yet meeting those objectives entails more than installing a bunch of cameras on street lamps or traffic signals. It also has to do with monitoring a gargantuan amount of video footage and identifying people, objects or behaviors that are suspicious. Again, this is where analytics comes in, said Wilson Chin, Marketing Vice President, Verint Asia Pacific.

“It's not so much about (the solution) identifying a license plate. It's more about recognizing that the license plate is supposed to be assigned to a white Honda minivan, and now it's on a black four-door sedan Toyota. That's an alert that someone has switched the license plate,” he said. “As the analytics gets more sophisticated, that's when its value in a big city solution becomes apparent.”

Chin also mentioned the importance of open web monitoring in a safe city solution, which relies on the collective wisdom of the people to identify suspicious individuals or fight crime.

“For those of you who followed the Boston Marathon incident a couple of years ago, you know that one of the ways they tracked down the individuals was analyzing thousands of thousands of photos taken by people through their smartphones,” he said. “It wasn't just the monitoring points of the cameras that was deployed by the city. It was people with smartphones. They would put things on Facebook or Twitter, which greatly expanded the number of images available for analysis. This is the power of crowdsourcing.”

To enable that kind of connectivity between citizens and government agencies through smart devices, an enabler is needed, and according to Milestone's Kong, that enabler is the open platform.

"An open platform enables the use of best-in-breeds in technologies,” he said. “It allows freedom of choice, future-proofs investments, and ensures third-party integrations easily."

No vertical needs security more than the banking industry, which processes a tremendous amount of money on a daily basis. Yet a surveillance installation can get complex and sophisticated when it comes to banks, which operate different sites including corporate buildings, branch offices, ATMs and cash depots. Monitoring these sites to ensure that they are always safe has thus become a priority for security operators.

“The main purpose for a bank in having a video surveillance system is two-fold,” said Jukka Riivari, CEO of Mirasys, which has done business with five out of the top 50 banks across the world, four out of the top six Nordic Banks in Europe, and three central banks. “One fold is to make sure that the premises are intact; there is no intrusion to the premises after the office hours or during the office hours. The other is how can you reduce the false alarm rate so you only have real alarms.”

To manage videos from different locations the VMS must have strong centralization features that can, for example, alert local authorities on irregular banking activities at a specific branch office. Intelligence must also be included in the video management software to reduce false alarms. A complex alarm list, for instance, may be built into the system to make sure that people suspected of intrusion or loitering match the criteria on the alarm list.

At the same time, banking VMS should be able to interface with other technologies, for example access control, intrusion alarms and transactional systems, to prevent and reduce fraud and other financial-reduced crimes. According to a survey conducted by the European ATM Security Team, ATM card skimming resulted in losses of nearly 111 million Euros across Europe during the first half of 2011. Meanwhile, a study released in 2011 by the Aite Group estimates that card fraud costs the U.S. card payments industry US$8.6 billion annually. Against this backdrop, VMS integrated with transactional systems allows instant revelation of transaction irregularities that may result from card skimming.

“It's the specific solutions, not just the DVRs and cameras, that keep the hundreds of branch offices safe,” Riivari said. “You need to be able to detect someone trying to put a skimming device into the system. That is the purpose of one of those solutions needed, not just tools.

Safe and sound
While VMS works differently across verticals, experts at GDSF all reached the consensus that VMS should allow scalability, reliability, integration and intelligence no matter which vertical it is deployed in. These requirements help ensure normal and safe business operations, which are ultimately needed for the end user's sustainable growth.

[Secutech 2014] Hikvision presents total solution going Smart

[Secutech 2014] Hikvision presents total solution going Smart

Editor / Provider: Hikvision | Updated: 3/21/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Comprehensive solution provider
Hikvision as a total surveillance solution provider offers a comprehensive product line from cameras and DVRs to video management software. The company products share great competitiveness in terms of cutting-edge technology, reliability, price concern and customer service etc. on the solid bases of R&D capability and state-of-art manufacturing facilities, Hikvision provides both entry-level and professional products and solutions to meet the market demand. The introduction of Hikvision HiWatch product line and the recent Smart Solution for entry-level and professional market respectively is the manifestation of this dedication.

Bedsides, Hikvision is capable of versatile solutions. Taking an example of intelligent application, Hikvision recent team-up with ObjectVideo to accelerates the promotion of intelligent video analytics solutions in the global market.

Market overview
It is expected that SMB demands for HD surveillance have matched with security manufacturers' production. This entry-level market segment will continue the rapid growth this year.

On the other hand, the combination of video surveillance and physical management in large-scale vertical projects also drives the trends for high definition, intelligence and solution-oriented.

Showcase of latest solutions
At Secutech2014, Hikvision presents the latest total solutions for SMB, professional markets, and other various vertical markets. The latest line-up of end-to-end solutions for all SMB surveillance needs - HiWatch Easy IP solution, 960H solution and HD-SDI solution - will be displayed as much easier and simpler ways for home and business safety.

Additionally, the latest Fisheye camera and super low-illumination camera, HD command center solution, “Smart” HD IP solution and video surveillance management solution will also be on hand as current examples of Hikvision's cutting-edge professional surveillance applications. Furthermore, visitors also can explore the company's vertical solutions for the IP alarm, retail, vehicle, and ATM markets.

Hikvision releases new easily blending camera series

Hikvision releases new easily blending camera series

Editor / Provider: Hikvision | Updated: 3/12/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Hikvision introduces its series of miniature-sized IP cameras: the DS-2CD64 series. This new mini series provides both flexibility and ease of installation - especially in areas of very limited space - and makes it ideal for discreet surveillance applications (such as ATMs, access control, and upscale retail locations, among others).

As the overall HD IP surveillance market continues to boom, IP adoption in vertical markets has taken on even more importance by seeking out products that meet the specialized requirements for every vertical market. Hikvision's DS-2CD64 series covert camera is designed with this vertical market concept in mind.

“This series is comprised of a palm-sized main unit and thumb-sized lens unit. This small size allows the camera to blend into a variety of environments where space may be an issue, or where an intrusive-looking conventional camera adversely affects the desired environment of the location. Furthermore, beside its small size, this camera packs a bevy of additional features," explained Adler Wu, Product Marketing Manager at Hikvision.

An Abundance of In-House Features
Hikvision's DS-2CD64 series is the first of its type to incorporate true 120dB WDR, as well as other powerful image processing functionalities like 3D DNR and BLC. Features such as these allow the DS-2CD64 to capture crystal-clear HD (1280x960) images under any lighting conditions.

When in a vertically-shaped environment, such as a corridor or hallway, this camera adjusts to “Rotate Mode” to deliver better vertically-oriented images. This further maximizes image quality while concurrently eliminating bandwidth and storage waste. Besides, the ROI (Region of Interest) codec is also included to provide additional savings on maximum bandwidth and storage.

Additionally, the DS-2CD64 series supports on-board storage of up-to 64GB, which serves as a backup in case of network disconnection. Equipped with Alarm I/O and Audio I/O interfaces, these cameras allow users to connect to a variety of external audible & visual alarm devices for additional security control purposes. Furthermore, triple streaming is supported to perform live monitoring with up-to three independent streams.

Choice of Lens and Mounting Type
Designed with flexibility in mind, the DS-2CD64 series supports various lens types for different application scenarios. For example, a pinhole lens (DS-2CD6412FWD-10) with covert mounting is particularly suitable for ATM surveillance. However, for stores, hotels, and offices, an L-shaped lens (DS-2CD6412FWD-20) with wall mountings, or a tube lens (DS-2CD6412FWD-30) with brackets, make excellent solutions for perfectly discreet surveillance. Available in these three styles, customers are sure to find an option that best fits their specific needs.

Coupling the DS-2CD64 series with Hikvision DS-7608/16NI-VP plug & play embedded NVR makes a high quality and easy-to-use solution for both ATM and any other covert surveillance in vertical markets. The DS-7608/16NI-VP NVR is small in size (130× 236× 180mm), which is very suitable for adoption in limited space.

Hikvision's DS-2CD64 series will be on display in the upcoming exhibitions: Secutech Taipei, ISC West, and ISC Brazil. Customers are encouraged to stop by the official Hikvision booth to take a look and ask for more information.

2014 security industry growth driven by customer service

2014 security industry growth driven by customer service

Editor / Provider: Memoori | Updated: 3/5/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Financial results for the major manufacturers of security products in the Q4 of 2013 and Q1 of 2014 show a steady growth in revenues and profitability. There is also confidence to forecast that this trend will continue for the rest of 2014.

Few had forecast growth rates much above double figures through organic growth, only  those that are intending to grow faster through acquisition or have annual revenues below $100m. Sifting through their annual reports there is little to find about major new innovative products that will allow them to rapidly increase market share; but a steady flow of incremental improvements showing that product performance will improve to meet customer needs.

The recent annual report on the Security Business showed that the first 3 quarters of 2013 outperformed what most stakeholders had forecast; despite setbacks in economic fortunes in the western developed world. In the first 3 quarters of 2013 it grew by 8% and this marginally increased for the remainder of that year.

This performance was built on the same factors that delivered growth in 2012 – a combination of strong growth in IP Video Networking products, buoyant markets in Asia, solid growth in North America and higher levels of penetration in vertical markets such as transport, retail and health and education.

A little more light at the end of the tunnel would suggest better trading conditions in 2014 right across the developed world causing security equipment buyers to have more confidence that 2014 is the time to replace their old systems; provided they can be sure that their replacements improve the effectiveness of security, reduce operating costs and deliver an improved ROI on the investment.

In this article, 3 leaders are examined in their field; Axis Communications in IP Video Surveillance, HID Global in Access Control and the current fastest growing Video Surveillance company Avigilon, showing how they have created strong robust companies through different business models that should deliver winning performances in 2014.

Axis Communications founded in Sweden in 1984 pioneered the development of IP Network video cameras and brought it to market in 1996, maintained a strong R&D programme since then. It has so far grown solely through organic growth. It is the only company that we have identified in the security industry of its size that has achieved year on year growth without acquiring its rivals.

Even when it recently diversified into Access Control it did not do this through acquisition. Throughout the last 10 years it has gained a reputation for reliable high quality products, which sell at a premium. Its products get to market through all distribution channels and it spends a lot of effort in working with those channels to make sure that the benefits of their products are delivered to the end customer.

With such a large number of manufacturers in the video surveillance business it is hard to produce product differentiation across the whole range but Axis is regarded as supreme at the higher end of the market in the enterprise class where maximum security is vital. In the middle market they face challenges where “OK” cameras at lower prices are regarded as good enough by a lot of end users.

Avigilon founded in 2004 with sales currently running around $200m is approximately a quarter of the size of Axis but its growth in 2013 was 100% and has a market capitalization of around $1 Billion.

This is, to say at the very least, a remarkable performance. Currently they operate at the other end of the size spectrum to Axis with some 95% of customers being in the small to medium size category with only 5% enterprise class clients. They do not sell direct and have a very strong relationship with dealers and system integrators. Their phenomenal growth has to be more than a good product and marketing. It is most likely to be a combination of faster growth in midmarket and building up loyalty through their distribution channels by not selling direct. They have forecast revenue of $500 million by 2016.

In 2013 they acquired 2 companies. RedCloud Security, an innovative provider of web-based, physical and virtual access control systems. Through the acquisition, Avigilon adds a complementary product line to its end-to-end high-definition surveillance solution and provides the Company with access to a growing segment of the global security market. Despite it being a different product it fits in neatly with their existing distribution network.

Avigilon announced a definitive agreement to acquire the video analytics company VideoIQ, for cash consideration of US$32 million. Founded in 2006, VideoIQ has grown to become a leader in real-time intelligent video analytics solutions for security and business intelligence applications. VideoIQ has a developed portfolio of video analytics intellectual property, with 23 patents granted or pending, trade secrets and know-how.

It fits in directly with their existing business. Both of these acquisitions should deliver much more revenue than both companies achieved in 2013 and at the same time will provide their system integrators with a more comprehensive solution.

HID Global, a major subsidiary of Assa Abloy, a global leader in door opening solutions. Founded in 1994 Assa Abloy has grown from a regional company to an international company with annual sales of $7.2 billion (2012) a 12% growth on the previous year, mainly achieved through an astute acquisition programme involving 150 acquisitions. HID Global sales in 2012 are estimated at £3.3 billion having increased their contribution.

Assa Abloy acquired HID (Hughes Identification Devices) in 2000 and over the last 13 years has incorporated some 15 companies into the HID organization. Starting with Access Control products through Motorola Indala they have progressed to identification technologies with Active Identity being a major acquisition in 2010.

Since then major acquisitions have included LaserCard, IdenTrust, Lumidigm and Codebench. The combination of the companies' has made HID Global a worldwide leader in secure identity solutions that use multispectral imaging technology, software, and biometric fingerprint sensors to authenticate identities with a high degree of certainty.

HID Global have delivered growth over 12% in the last 2 years despite difficult trading conditions and are now have a strong cash flow and good financial stability to continue growth through organic means and acquisition.

Hikvision and ObjectVideo sign patent licensing agreement

Hikvision and ObjectVideo sign patent licensing agreement

Editor / Provider: Hikvision | Updated: 3/4/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Hikvision, the provider of video surveillance products and solutions, announced the signing of a world-wide patent licensing agreement with video analytics provider ObjectVideo.

"Hikvision has a rich intelligent video analytics product line. This line plays an important role in both data mining and data service,” said Yangzhong Hu, President of Hikvision. “With this cooperation with ObjectVideo, Hikvision is able to accelerate the promotion of intelligent video analytics products and solutions in the global market to better serve our customers and partners.”

“We are very pleased to have Hikvision join our patent licensing program,” noted Raul Fernandez, Chairman and CEO of ObjectVideo. “Hikvision is our first partner from China. We believe Hikvision's continuous investment in the video analytics field will reinforce its already impressive market position.”

"Hikvision intelligent video analytics product lines include network cameras, PTZ dome cameras, NVRs and video servers. These products have been successfully applied worldwide in city surveillance, transportation, financial institutions, commercial, and industrial vertical markets,” said Shiliang Pu, R&D Director of Hikvision. “We will continue to dedicate ourselves to the development of cutting-edge technology for richer solutions."

“As the IP security market continues its rapid growth, video analytics stands out as an important piece of this global solution,” noted Chris Capuano, General Counsel of ObjectVideo. “Hikvision's ongoing investment in intelligent products with video analytics is further evidence of the importance of this technology.”

Hikvision is one of 18 companies joining ObjectVideo's patent licensing program. Others include Panasonic, Sony, Pelco, Bosch, Tyco / American Dynamics, Flir. ObjectVideo holds 55 U.S. and international patents in the field of video analytics and also has 40 additional U.S. and international patents pending.

EverFocus surveillance products deployed in W Hotel Qatar

EverFocus surveillance products deployed in W Hotel Qatar

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by EverFocus | Updated: 2/10/2014 | Article type: Residential & Consumer

The increasing numbers of worldwide terrorist attacks and thefts have become the driving force in explosion of surveillance systems to protect lives and assets. Every newly built public or private building now requires a complete security and safety plan.

As desert dunes soar next to towering skyscrapers, W Doha Hotel & Residences dazzles by the Arabian Sea. As more and more high-end hotels are built in Qatar, W Hotel wanted to provide more secured experiences for their employees and their valuable guests during their stays in W Hotel. Therefore, W Hotel turned to EverFocus for a well –planned surveillance system.

In order to provide a complete safe environment for its guests, W Hotel chose EverFocus's cameras and later installed around 450 EverFocus advanced surveillance cameras in their main entrances, lobby, hallways, stairs, and at the front desk. In order to satisfy W Hotel's requirements, EverFocus worked with the system integrator Genius Vision Digital (GVD) for a complete solution. Installed EverFocus surveillance cameras include EHN3260 IP IR dome, EPN4220 speed dome, and EZN3260, EZN3340 bullet type cameras.

Taiwan Excellence Award winner EPN 4220 is a network-based speed dome camera specifically designed for professional applications. It offers 2 megapixel resolution and a built-in 20x optical zoom, aimed at guaranteeing impeccable image quality, in addition to cutting-edge features, such as digital slow shutter (DSS), wide dynamic range (WDR), and dynamic noise reduction (DNR). Equipped with an IP66-rated housings and true day/night function with a removable IR cut filter, the EPN 4220 is certainly designed to withstand all environments. The advanced motion detection function also meets the needs of almost every end-user.

EHN3260 is a 2 megapixel IP wide dynamic Day/Night outdoor IR dome that is perfect for both indoor and outdoor environment. W Hotel installed 398pcs of EHN3250 cameras in the hotel because its P-IRIS Lends, WDR, high performance noise filter, True Day/Night function provide high quality image and meet the vandal proof needs that the hotel required at the same time.

EZN3260 and EZN3340 bullet type IP cameras are also used in this project. EZN3260 is a 2 Megapixel Wide Dynamic Outdoor Bullet IP camera patented algorithm for expert exposure control in dynamic lighting environments. Its highlight suppression backlight compensation/Control (HSBLC) intelligently masks the extreme blooming effects from high-contrast light sources such as car headlights. EZN3340 is a 3 Megapixel outdoor bullet IP camera with the same design as EZN3260 but higher performances that can monitor further distance in darker areas.

Hotel surveillance has become more important than ever. A well organized and installed surveillance system can not only protect the hotel itself but also the guests. 441 EverFocus cameras are installed for complete surveillance and protection in W Hotel. With the installation of the hotel video surveillance, not only it can keep guests safe from thefts, violence, but also provides evidences, prevents crimes and thus creates a better and pleasant stay for all the guests visiting W Hotel.

Video surveillance is the perfect security solution for hotels and resorts. EverFocus surveillance solutions have been widely used in different vertical markets including businesses, housing, banking, retail.

Security outlook 2014: Products and technologies

Security outlook 2014: Products and technologies

Editor / Provider: Editorial Department, a&s Asia | Updated: 2/4/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

In 2014, there are few product trends and technologies that will be heavily addressed, including intelligent surveillance, higher resolution technology, growing demands for entry-level market, upgraded analog, steady growth in access control and biometrics and video verification applications.

Intelligence is the breakthrough in surveillance
In the early years when video content analysis (VCA) was introduced to the market, it created a ripple of excitement. However, when the high expectation was not met by the technology, the excitement was chilled quickly. In the recent years, we have seen many applications been adapted to different vertical markets. For example, people counting is highly used in the retail sector for flow management or distinguishing out the hot selling products in malls. Another practical usage is to use VCA as a filter, to isolate suspicious activities for further determination by people. This application can be programmed to the cameras at the front end as an activity detector. If it is to be used at the back end as an intelligent analytic tool, then the pictures will become information-rich tool or further applications.

As to the improvements of VCA, there are 2 ways to go. One is through adding in the three-dimension (3D) technology--- by incorporating determining factors such as height measured from the ground, the accuracy of the image analysis could be highly enhanced, becoming a more reliable application. Another improvement is through self-learning technology. The precision of VCA is dependent on how well the VCA corrects its mistakes through multiple trial-and-errors.

Cameras are like the human eyes. If the image registered by the eyes is not just “seen” but “comprehended,” then the application will become more valuable to the system. The hottest topic in IT now is the big data. If combing intelligent surveillance and big data, security will definitely be brought to a higher level.

Higher resolution, clearer images
Recently, we have heard the coming of 4K images or H.265 compression technology – the revolution of visual demands is stimulated by the consumer market. As a product, HD can be described as mature; however, if we are talking about a system or an environment, then it is yet to be accomplished. From my point of view, it is very difficult to find new marketing topics for the IP market that is heavily competed for. In order to stay ahead in the industry, many manufacturers will pioneer into incorporating the 4K and H.265 technologies into their products despite that the environment is not mature yet.

Entry-level markets' rising demands
As mentioned, security has become more affordable and much accepted in the consumer markets. Many leading players such as AXIS, BOSCH, and SONY continuously introduce new entry-level products specially designed for this market. Similarly, the cost-downed made-in-Asia products from both IT and security industries all have something to offer to the entry-level market. To offer a stage for manufacturers to showcase their consumer-defined products, the 2014 Secutech International Expo, organized by Messe Frankfurt New Era Business Media (a&s company), is going to launch a concurrent SmaHome show, to greet the coming of age of the new security market.

Analog – bullish with upgrades
The analog technology still dominates the security market in terms of quantity with an 80 % share even in 2013. Although the competition is so intense that little profit can be generated, the cheap pricing will still affect the market for another while. However, if manufacturers can take advantage of the large need for analog upgrades and produce some innovation for improving the existing technology, profits can certainly be yielded. Hence, we should pay attention to those solutions designed for the upgrade of the existing analog systems, such as the highly developed 960H, HD-SDI to be lowered in price, or the 800TVL products hot in China. These upgrades will aggressively seize the large analog market.

Access control onto a steady rise
Access control applications has followed closely with the IP trend, and can go along with other mature technologies such as biometrics, RFID, wireless electric lock, IP video door phone. As IP continues to excel, access control is definitely going on a stable growth for the following years.

Biometrics be lifted up outside security
In the previous issue, we have picked out iPhone 5s as the product of the month due to its selection of fingerprint technology. Biometrics will definitely be riding an upward spiral with consumer 3C products--- free from the constraints of the security market. Applications such as facial recognition, voice identification, and many more will also be in demand. Some of the technologies that were unable to be supported by the surveillance industry could possibly find a new stage to shine through 3C.

Video verification enhancing applications
False alarm has always been a headache for the alarm providers. Some of the countries now have regulations requesting all alarm services to add in video images to enhance verifications that alleviate the burden of police on duty. Some alarm service providers add in the video verification to reduce the unnecessary dispatch of guards. This is even more appreciated in Asian countries, where people are accustomed to image viewing. Although alarm is not highly requested in India, perhaps more can be secured through the combination of alarm and video.

Looking ahead the transition phase of security
The most exciting trajectory of security is pointed towards to follow the path of 3C, as the value of surveillance becomes tangible through mobile devices. The untapped opportunities in the security industry will lure both geniuses and funds as how it is in the Silicon Valley! There is going to be a fiery image revolution changing the old professional security. I myself am very curious, just how will the core value of professional security---“trust”--- be redefined in the consumer-driven new markets? Maybe we can hold on to this thought, and come back to examine it in 2016.

Security outlook 2014: Eyes on the game-changing trends

Security outlook 2014: Eyes on the game-changing trends

Editor / Provider: Editorial Department, a&s Asia | Updated: 2/3/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Looking ahead at the game-changers for the security and safety industry, we can expect that there be more changes coming from the industry itself than from the market. In other words, new business operation strategies will soon come into play. From manufacturers to SIs and distributors, all need to stay high-on-alert in the game. Without making themselves versatile enough to respond to the changes quickly, there will hardly be any chance for survival.

Coming from a spectator's viewpoint, the products or technologies that came out in the recent years could barely be called innovative. Market-wise speaking, even though the demands from the emerging markets had been high, the growth somehow hit a plateau in 2013. Therefore, we can only expect a slow growth in 2014, but there will not be anything too exciting from the products or the markets.

The 2 turbulences shaping the new rules in the industry
The excessive supplies and low demands directly cut down the profit of manufacturers, distributors, and SIs. To stand strong and offer professional consultation and services in this unprofitable environment, the key players need to give a thorough consideration on what their core competence is, and what are the necessary adjustments to redefine their position in the industry, including scale, position, and the involvement of people.

As more applications become network based, suppliers in the market cannot purely sell products or simple systems alone. Instead, they are often forced to provide “total solutions” to meet the complex system needs with IP technology. From manufacturers to channel players, everyone should invest in the know-how of network technology, system application, services, and the special needs of different vertical markets.

In addition, as the new survival rules are being structured, the trial-and-error stage could cost a great amount of resources. It is also a critical time to see if companies can reflect how well they have grasped the new needs of the market through their marketing strategies. If the players are not careful enough with their management, they could be easily knocked out of the game altogether.

The 3 new markets to look forward to:
The first market to look forward to is the small and medium business (SMB) market. Judging from the present economic situation, the high-end markets are rather loaded, forcing the battleground to be fought in the SMB level. The manufacturers could now be working with SIs who may not be exposed and equipped with the knowledge of IP application. To ease the transition and deployment for the new SIs, plug-and-play products became ultimately important at this level. Only then, clients would request the total solutions covering from the front to the back ends be provided by the same manufacturer. All leading international manufacturers are taking eager approaches to secure a piece of the SMB pie, such as sector-featured product-lines or expanding partnerships with new channels. The manufacturers in Asia especially are advantageous in this field, because they offer better price performance product. I am certain that the SMB will be the combat zone for the security industry; let us keep an eye out for who stands or fades out in this heated competition.

The second market highly sought-after is the consumer market driven by the widespread usage of smart phones and smart devices in the past 2 years. Before then, the concept of Smart Home was not an easy one to promote to consumers because the link between the application on a computer and its value was not apparent. But ever since smart phones and smart devices became a tangible part of our lives, video surveillance can also be tangible, allowing customers to appreciate the intrinsic value of monitoring shops or homes in their palms. Hence, remote surveillance suddenly becomes a desired tool to protect and manage properties and valuables. This is such an exciting new territory for the security solution providers to shine and prosper. Going from “professional” to “consumer” security means going from “high customization & small quantity” to “low customization & large adaptation.” In consumer security where the concept of 3C applies, a particular security function could be used in quantities 10 times or 100 times larger than that in professional security. The trajectory of the consumer security market is still full of uncertainties; however, new business ventures will certainly offer exciting changes to the industry.

Last but not least, the video-surveillance-as-a-service application (VSaaS) market is rising on a similar cause. For those smaller-scale businesses that lack professionals to design and maintain the system, VSaaS could be an ideal solution to solve the need of securing and protecting assets easily from afar. For example, VSaaS will keep the video recordings on file during a robbery situation; owners of retail shops do not need to worry that evidence could be compromised due to damages to DVRs by the perpetrator. Furthermore, by incorporating VCA to VSaaS, intelligent analysis could be done more conveniently and promptly. In malls, this analysis results can be used in decisions regarding marketing and management--- security solutions can actually help businesses improve their sales strategies, generating a larger return of investment.

Thermal cameras: Place for thermal in verticals

Thermal cameras: Place for thermal in verticals

Editor / Provider: Editorial Department, a&s International | Updated: 2/3/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

The fact that thermal has mainly thrived and been utilized in military applications is no secret. However, the idea that it can only be used in this application is far from the truth.

Thermal in Military
Military applications for thermal is the most well known with the highest acceptance of thermal technology. However, many consumers are not aware that from a sensor perspective, the technology used in commercial applications is essentially the same, sometimes even identical, to that used in military applications. The primary difference between military and commercial products, as pointed out by Hickman, is the “mission-specific configuration and level of ruggedness/hardening performed by the housing assembly.”

Industry specialists pointed out that the military is developing advanced software inputs and fiber-optic sensors that enhance thermal technology. Among the most popular thermal products for military use are thermal night vision goggles and thermal infrared cameras, which are incorporated in transportation on air, land, and sea. Also, as adoption for handheld thermal devices picks up, homeland security patrol officers are now relying on thermal detectors to discover vehicles, intruders, and weapons to mitigate illegal activities and crimes.

Thermal in ITS
In addition to major military applications, thermal cameras have been widely adopted in intelligent transportation systems (ITS). Flir explained that thermal imaging in the traffic market is primarily used in two applications: detecting the presence of cars at intersections for the control of traffic signal lighting, and along highways and roadways for automated incident detection applications. The fast maturity of the front-end device market has facilitated this adoption. Since thermal cameras are superior to regular visible cameras under a wide range of difficult weather conditions such as lowlight, direct sunlight, and shadows, using thermal devices for inspecting vehicles and passengers on the roads not only ensures better accuracy, but also meets 24/7 real-time surveillance requirements.

Seeing a lot of potential in ITS, Flir acquired Traficon International at the end of 2012, a leading provider of video-based intersection control and roadway incident detection products. Through this acquisition, Flir has been able to combine their thermal camera technology with Traficon's video analytics capabilities.

Thermal in Security
Thermal in the security market is growing. Mostly used in perimeter detection applications, thermal cameras have been called the “perfect human detector” by many thermal security camera players. Although thermal images may lack detail, the one thing it does that visible cameras do not is differentiate humans from the background. This ability to detect intruders 24/7 regardless of lighting conditions, along with the ability to discriminate between the target and the background, makes thermal cameras an ideal solution for those looking to secure locations.

“Thermal will be playing a vital role in actually creating security because security is all about detecting,” said Romanowich. Because the line between security and surveillance is often blurred consumers often confuse security with surveillance. This confusion has created problems for the thermal market in security, as people forget that the fundamental role of security is to detect and protect, not just monitor and survey.

In addition to detection benefits, thermal imaging has overall total cost benefits as well. The higher price tag of thermal cameras often scare off many consumers; however, when weighted against the overall costs “thermal is actually a more affordable solution than visible and infrared-illuminated solutions when you factor in thermal's reduced need for lighting and power infrastructure,” explained Klink.

Thermal in Others
Flir's overall objective is to bring infrared imaging into home, workplaces, and the lives of people everywhere. Klink noted that the coupling of thermal cameras with video analytics makes it a good detection sensor for perimeter intruder applications. Areas such as rooftops, car impound lots, and waterways such as sea fronts, harbors, and other vast expanses of open water can benefit from thermal imaging where thermal cameras can create a virtual perimeter. Integrating thermal cameras into the surveillance systems of waterways can improve the utilization, management, and protection of water resources, providing flood prevention capabilities to protect human life and property in times of emergency.

Thermal imaging also has a strong presence in fire fighting and law enforcement. For example, in forest fire prevention thermal can be used for site surveillance at night, as well as efficiently discover potential fire hazards and locate their positions.

Thermal imaging technology for commercial applications has surpassed that of traditional military use, according to industry specialists. For energy management, thermal imaging instruments present new opportunities for preventative maintenance. Automotive, commercial, and mechanical industries are using thermal instruments to perform system diagnostics by taking advantage of vehicle mechanics, thermal conductivity, and UV goggles to identify flow and air leaks in motors. Onsite technicians in these applications can use handheld thermal cameras to easily find gaps in heat preservation in architecture, severity of leak damage on the rooftop, and identify problems in electrical wires.

There are also medical applications for thermal equipment such as thermal readers, which helped control the SARS epidemic and avian influenza. Thermal monitoring systems are the best option for automatically detecting the body temperature of passengers, enabling fast and efficient customs clearance.

Other applications like home and small business security, as well as building automation, are also becoming popular as prices continue to drop. “These markets are perfect for thermal applications because thermal cameras create high-contrast signals that make analytics perform better, and because intruders cannot hide their heat so they cannot hide from a thermal camera,” said Klink. Flir believes that thermal imaging will become a stand component in all security systems, including home security systems.

Romanowich sees thermal cameras everywhere outdoors in the future. “Everywhere you have visible cameras today that you care about detecting people will be thermal,” said Romanowich, “because thermal is the perfect human detector.”

Future of Thermal: Standardization and Integration
According to Romanowich, standards like ONVIF and the ability for analog and digital systems to interoperate are important considerations for integrators when choosing to deploy systems from different manufacturers. Flir offers free software development kits for integrating their cameras into other systems — their complete line of IP cameras is also ONVIF compliant, noting ease of integration as a key factor in many large projects. While standardization will definitely play a certain role in thermal, companies have recognized integration as a key factor in thermal growth.

Since older generations of thermal products necessitated the use of non-standard power supplies, connectors, mounts, and integration techniques, the difficulty of integrating and using older generations of products with the new has proven to be a challenge for the thermal industry, according to Hickman. Deeper integration, on both the camera level and system level, is what many believe will help the market size of thermal in security. Romanowich noted the need for manufacturers to design a thermal camera that has been pre-integrated out of the box to adapt to the challenges of detecting intruders with accuracy in outdoor environments. “This means that the thermal imager, image processing, and video analytics have been pre-engineered into a total solution to detect intruders, even in the presence of bad weather, reflections from water, and movement of the camera from wind and vibrations, while presenting a good, clear thermal image at all times of the day and night.” Solving these fundamental hurdles will allow for a dramatic increase in the adoption of thermal in security.

Thermal cameras: Smart thermal soars across verticals

Thermal cameras: Smart thermal soars across verticals

Editor / Provider: Editorial Department, a&s International | Updated: 1/31/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

The drop in price for thermal sensors and cameras has helped the thermal industry cross over into more commercial applications, as well as gain more momentum in security applications.

As a technology, thermal has been pigeonholed in terms of where consumers think it can and cannot be used. Although, thermal imaging technology was originally developed for military use, where it is still primarily used today, its applications have expanded into other fields. With the addition of analytics to thermal, new smart thermal cameras have emerged, finding a space in more verticals.

Marriage of Thermal and Analytics
“Analytics optimized for use with the video signal that comes out of a thermal camera is the biggest factor in helping people to get the most out of their cameras,” said Bill Klink, VP of Security and Surveillance at Flir Systems.

The idea of video analytics standard “on the edge” inside thermal cameras is a growing trend in the thermal industry, as noted by Jeremy Hickman, Business Development Manager, Thermal Imaging at Pelco by Schneider Electric. “The addition of video analytics provides an ability for security to be notified in real-time of a threat, allowing the guard force to concentrate on active response where needed, rather than spending countless hours monitoring a video feed that may contain no threats.” Furthermore, Hickman added that thermal imaging cameras are the superior choice to be used with video analytics, due to the use of contrast associated with heat signatures rather than reflected light.

As a company, SightLogix focuses on thermal with video analytics specifically designed for accurate perimeter security, day and night, in zero light, and all weather and geographies. John Romanowich, CEO and founder of SightLogix addressed the issue of people looking at image processing and analytics in thermal cameras as an afterthought; however, “it cannot be an afterthought because in order to process the data you need to be tightly coupled to the thermal camera.” Romanowich further noted, “the amount of data you need to actually process a thermal image is actually not even available outside the camera.” Absolute tight coupling for image processing is required for stable analytic detection and a good image. And, in order to achieve either of those things they must be done inside the camera.

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