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Casinos looking for extra values from network video surveillance

Casinos looking for extra values from network video surveillance

Editor / Provider: Michelle Chu, a&s International | Updated: 5/26/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

The mindset of casino operators toward new technologies is generally more conservative, compared to other market sectors. Casinos are reluctant to risk adopting new surveillance technology until its reliability is proven, due to the costs involved in shutting down VIP tables or alienatingwealthy players during retrofiting. “Almost all are migrating to hybrid or pure IP. New ‘greenfield' installs might be pure IP but most are expansions or retrofits, and those favor hybrids,” explained Mike Scirica, President of WavestoreUSA.

“Casinos are more likely to make new investments at high budgetary figures; however, slow to update existing systems — they generally try and maximize their investment over long periods of time and update as necessary. Casinos look for systems that can be upgraded and modernized over time rather than invest in a system that will become insufficient for their security requirements and have to be replaced [if this information is known at the time of purchase],” according to Kim Loy, VP of Global Marketing and Chief Product Officer, DVTel. But, just like other sectors, none of the casino operators want to fall behind either, even though the latest security technology is very expensive.

“It is easier to promote IP-based surveillance in Western and Northern Europe, as these are two of the markets that started to go for IP-based products in the very beginning. They want to be able to record high resolution pictures, and easily distinguish the color of the chips; therefore, they are very willing to adopt new technology such as 60fps, etc. in their casinos,” explained Tom Li, Technical Support Manager of Europe at Hikvision Digital Technology.

It does not matter if it is a retrofit project looking for upgrades and migration to IP-based, or a newly-built casino considering adopting full-IP surveillance, all the casinos' operators want to make sure that other than high-resolution images, the investment in network video surveillance can bring them extra values. As a matter of fact, there are some new security technologies, such as video analytics and video-centric integrated systems that are about to be used by some current casinos, along with the adoption of network video surveillance.

Since high-resolution pictures are widely available now, casino operators have the option to adopt analytics software into their surveillance systems. “This could involve using license plate recognition to flag when high rollers have arrived at the casino, or point-of-sales analytics to monitor employees and card-monitoring technology to manage tables, dealers, and gamblers, which could greatly reinforce casinos' ability to manage the business,” suggested Joshua Phillips, Director of Marketing of Enterprise and Critical Infrastructure of Video Intelligence Solutions at Verint Systems. Similar to license plate recognition, analytics can be used to identify card values and suits with a high degree of accuracy, John Katnic, VP of Global Gaming at Synectics commented.

“A casino operator could use video todetermine pedestrian traffic patterns to see if a particular bank of slot machines were getting played or if there was any pedestrian traffic actually stopping to look at the machines and then move on,” said Scott A. Bartlett, CEO of Southwest Surveillance Systems. “In a customer service role, the operator could use video to detect lines for a cage to ensure the line did not get too long, once the line reached a certain number of patrons, it could trigger an alarm and alert the cage manager to add another cashier.”

Operators in the casino industry are often looking for an efficient way to single out flagged recordings from hundreds or thousands of cameras, because certain kinds of crimes cannot be spotted by human eyes, but can through data analysis.

In fact, there are numerous systems generating data in casinos constantly. If all that data could be integrated with video, it would be much more efficient to spot suspicious events. For example, with all the time attendance, access control, and gaming data available, the operators can set up the systems to send out an alert and trigger nearby video monitors if someone tries to swipe their cards three times in-a-row unsuccessfully.

“Today's surveillance operators want ways to bring enterprise-wide alarm, transactional and video data together, filter out benign activity and then quickly drill into suspicious activities that matter or indicate a true threat,” Katnic stated. “When access control, player, slot-to-time clock data, for example, are directly linked to video in one fully integrated system, operators can observe, analyze, and react more efficiently and appropriately. That saves, time, money, and even lives.”

“Gallagher Security has been working closely with a number of casinos in Macau utilizing the Gallagher central management platform. This platform enables customers to interface and integrate a number of different systems and applications including digital video surveillance. The developments in control centers have become very important to reduce risks and manage information with effective process mechanisms and appropriate training in place. The scale and flexibility of the access control and alarms event management with digital video surveillance enables staff to keep areas secure, monitor key areas, and respond quickly to potential or actual incidents,” according to Peter Francis, Regional Manager for Asia and Middle East in Gallagher Security.

Although the casino industry is one of the vertical markets that is more hesitant on migrating to full-IP surveillance systems, they have come to realize that IP-based products can offer numerous added-value functions, making management more efficient. This should help the security industry see a robust increase in network surveillance systems adoption in the casino industry in the coming years.


# What they say about surveillance market in casino industry #

How IP Storage Benefits Casinos
“Casinos undertake high volume financial activities that are similar to financial organizations, but in an entertainment context. A lot of criminal interests such as money laundering and cheating are aroused and casinos need to protect themselves from the vulnerabilities and they are more willing to adopt new technologies such as casino chips, casino cheques, currency exchange, employee complicity, high-end surveillance systems, etc. IP SAN best fits into video surveillance application for the perfect balance among cost, manageability, and performance. Due to the increasing need for longer retention time and higher resolutions for video recordings, it's becoming crucial to provide high performance IP SAN with scale-up capacity,” mentioned Daniel Lin, Sales Director of Qsan Technology.

Network Video Surveillance Keeps Improving Latency Time
“In the gaming world the ability to view live video and effectively trace a suspect through a property is a vital product feature set – gaming is primarily about surveillance, rather than security application,” explained Jason Oakley, CEO of North American Video. “It is worth noting that many of the leading technology providers have invested heavily to find a solution that reduces latency time with IP PTZ's. Some manufacturers claim that their latency rate is less than 100 milliseconds, which is noticeable to the untrained eye, this can reduce the demand for analog PTZ's in certain applications.”

 Panoramic and 360-Degree Technologies
“Casinos are looking for more panoramic and 360-degree technologies. Because they can cover more area more efficiently with less staff. Now casinos on the forefront of technology have mixed megapixel panoramic technology and PTZ cameras with instant access to recorded video that cut down on review times and time spent figuring out how someone went from a known location to an unknown location,” said Mitch Fagundes, Director of Global Business Development at Arecont Vision.

Milestone releases integration platform software development Kit 2014

Milestone releases integration platform software development Kit 2014

Editor / Provider: Milestone System | Updated: 5/23/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Milestone Systems has released the Milestone Integration Platform Software Development Kit 2014 (MIP SDK 2014) for its updated suite of XProtect VMS products.The MIP SDK 2014 provides flexible access to video, events, metadata (data connected to video), configuration data and optimized functions for access control integration. This offers an even wider array of integration possibilities for the Milestone partner ecosystem.

A new integration framework in the MIP SDK 2014 enables fast and easy integration of access control systems with XProtect VMS through XProtect Access Control Module 2014. The framework allows access control systems to use video functions in the XProtect Smart Client interface, simplifying the user experience.

New metadata framework
Milestone introduces an ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) compliant framework for handling and storing video-related metadata for its XProtect advanced VMS product range that includes XProtect Corporate 2014 and XProtect Expert 2014. Metadata is any data adding an information layer to video and audio streams.

"As a cornerstone in Milestone's open platform concept, the MIP SDK enables the unique and seamless integration of third-party applications and systems with XProtect. This empowers Milestone Solution Partners to extend the functionality of XProtect VMS to meet specific vertical or customer needs with complete video-enabled solutions, says Christian Bohn, Milestone Systems VP Corporate Marketing & Alliances. "With this 2014 release of MIP SDK we are giving our partners the opportunity to integrate with XProtect using metadata. This paves the way for innovative uses of video in business or security contexts. The new metadata framework in the 2014 release is a groundbreaking, future-oriented foundation for data-centric integrations with XProtect," he continued

Examples of new possibilities created by the use of metadata are:
* Automatic presentation of bounding boxes around objects identified by camera-embedded video analytics. A bounding box is a frame that highlights an object in a video image. The box is based on the specific video analytics algorithms in the cameras to highlight objects of a specific type or color, objects moving in a certain direction and more. The XProtect Smart Client has built‐in support for displaying bounding boxes based on metadata generated by supported cameras.
* GPS location information can be included when using Video Push in Milestone Mobile, which has the option to include location metadata in Video Push. The location metadata in Video Push significantly enhances the validity of captured video recordings. It opens up an array of integration possibilities because the location metadata is available for third-party applications via the MIP SDK 2014.

Camera manufacturers and Milestone Solution Partners can use the metadata framework to tie metadata from video analytics (or any other metadata source) with specific video sequences, as long as the metadata is stored in ONVIF format. The MIP SDK 2014 also introduces the ability to make changes to configuration settings in the XProtect VMS. This enables Milestone Solution Partners, video service providers and end users to remotely control settings in the XProtect VMS from any third-party solution.

Suprema reaches record highs in Q1 2014

Suprema reaches record highs in Q1 2014

Editor / Provider: Suprema | Updated: 5/23/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Suprema, a leading global provider of biometrics and ID solutions, announced a quarterly financial report highlighting that revenue in the first quarter had hit record highs.

The quarter's revenue reported at $18.3 million, an increase of 69.1% from the same period last year. Net profit jumped 169.4% from the last quarter and increased by 40.3% from the previous year's first quarter.

Suprema was recognized as one of the fastest growing companies with double-digit Compound Annnual Growth Rate (CAGR) and named to the Top 10 Revenue Growth companies in global physical security markets, as evaluated by A&S International Magazine in 2013. Its revenue has increased in CAGR by more than 35% since 2007, beyond the market growth rate of around 20%.

“We consider these results as owing to our success in aligning business strategies this year, such as pioneering new markets, including Russia, Brazil and some parts of Europe, and focusing on key business opportunities around the globe” said James Lee, CEO of Suprema. “From this point of view, it is even more meaningful to report such positive results early in the year.”

It is expected that the company will continue to grow as it undertakes further initiatives in the security business including access control, in addition to its ID solution business, which holds a top position in global markets.

Alpro shearlocks deployed in UK Hills Sport Parks

Alpro shearlocks deployed in UK Hills Sport Parks

Editor / Provider: Alpro | Updated: 5/23/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Shearlocks from Alpro Architectural Hardware are being used to secure the Three Hills Sports Park in Folkestone, Kent, England. The  $11.8million park is a centre of sporting excellence providing national-standard facilities for hockey, cricket and netball.

The Alpro units have a shear holding force of 1,200kg and are securing doors on the main pavilion and indoor training facilities. They were installed as part of a $11.8M  scheme to convert a dilapidated recreation ground into inclusive community facilities which have increased public participation in sports activities.

Independently tested to 500,000 cycles, the shearlocks are easy to install and include a built-in PCB controller. Installers and end-users benefit from adjustable time delay (0-30 seconds) and a multiple relock facility.

Keith Parry, Divisional Sales Manager at Alpro, said: “Our EMS 1200 shearlock magnet is available in mortice or surface-mount models including glass mount as used on the pavilion at Folkestone. The design is compact which meant that the aesthetic appeal of the impressive main building with its connected viewing terrace was not compromised.”

The shearlocks offer multiple autorelock x100 in the event of misalignment. Dimensions are 230mm (l) x 51mm (w) x 51mm (d). There is a fully monitored hall effect and built-in transient and reverse polarity protection with a continuously-rated solenoid.

Three Hills Sports Park includes a cricket pitch, floodlit artificial turf pitches, gym, conference rooms and a multi-use games area. It is one of the largest multi-sports sites in the coastal area of Shepway and was opened last year by Kent-based MP the Rt Hon Hugh Robertson who at the time was Minister for Sport.

In addition to attracting small groups of users on an occasional basis, the Three Hills Sports Park hosts community club-based sports and is the home of the Folkestone Cricket Club and the Folkestone Optimist Hockey Club. The hockey facilities are of international standard.

Milestone presents XProtect Access Control Module 2014

Milestone presents XProtect Access Control Module 2014

Editor / Provider: Milestone System | Updated: 5/23/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Milestone Systems just made another new product launch—XProtect Access Control Module 2014— an add-on product for partners and customers using Milestone video surveillance solutions.

This add-on product enables easy integration of third-party access control systems with Milestone video surveillance solutions. The XProtect Access Control Module offers a new and more efficient way to operate access control and video surveillance systems through a unified interface, XProtect Smart Client. The ability to tie video and access events together greatly enhances the investigation of incidents.

"With XProtect Access Control Module 2014 customers now have the freedom to choose from a wide array of access control vendors and have the peace-of-mind knowing it will work seamlessly with the XProtect software," says Christian Bohn, Milestone Systems VP Corporate Marketing & Alliances. "Milestone partners have the advantage of a pre-integrated solution that only requires on-site configuration - this is a major time saver for our integration partners. And it is easy to integrate new third-party access control systems due to the MIP SDK 2014. The Milestone partner ecosystem is responding very positively to these new possibilities. A highlight here is that a key security manufacturer, Bosch Security Systems, has just announced support for XProtect Access Control Module 2014, showcasing industry uptake of open platform technology."


Providing the primary and most commonly used access control functions as an integral part of XProtect Smart Client, XProtect Access Control Module 2014 eliminates the need for users to work with multiple independent systems.

Besides, it makes it possible to integrate different access control systems within the same customer installation. XProtect Smart Client provides a consolidated interface for operating integrated access control systems with functions to effectively monitor access events, manually assist passages and conduct investigations of specific access points or cardholders.

Dedicated functions make it easy to export video evidence and generate reports, further easing incident investigations. The extended integration capabilities in the Milestone Integration Platform Software Development Kit (MIP SDK) 2014 are the enabling factor behind the easy and flexible integration between third-party access control systems and Milestone video management solutions.

At launch XProtect Access Control Module 2014 is supported by the following Milestone Solution Partners, with more than 25 additional partners to follow:
AXIS CommunicationsA1001 Network Door Controller
BOSCH Security Systems – Bosch Access Professional Edition 
* IMRON – IS2000
* ISONAS – IP Access Control 
* Open Options – DNA Fusion 
* Bolid - Orion Pro (integration is available through MM Communication)

Milestone XProtect 2014 reaches new-level integration and user experiences

Milestone XProtect 2014 reaches new-level integration and user experiences

Editor / Provider: Milestone System | Updated: 5/23/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software (VMS), has just released the Milestone XProtect 2014 VMS product suite for partners and customers.

The XProtect 2014 product suite addresses the entire security market regardless of the size, complexity or location of the installation. The Milestone XProtect clients are also optimized and updated to take advantage of the new XProtect 2014 capabilities.

Bjorn Eilertsen, Vice President of Corporate Products Business Unit at Milestone Systems, says: "I am very excited about this 2014 release and the possibilities it gives both our customers and partners. If you look at the major enhancements we have done to the workflow around evidence handling, you will find that the new Smart Search, combined with Evidence Lock and the new storyboarding capabilities, shorten the time dramatically for producing evidence material. Add the new security capabilities that will make our advanced VMS products even more attractive for large and high-security installations. And this is just half of the story!

We have also taken the open platform to a whole new level, introducing ONVIF-compliant support for metadata and a framework for integrating access control systems with our new XProtect Access Control Module. Both these initiatives empower our ecosystem of partners to develop new solutions and meet our customers' needs."

XProtect 2014 introduces several new advantages for Milestone customers and the Milestone partner ecosystem.

New smart integration abilities
The Milestone add-on product, XProtect Access Control Module 2014, makes it possible to integrate different access control systems within the same customer installation. XProtect Smart Client provides a consolidated interface for operating integrated access control systems with dedicated functions to effectively monitor access events, manually assist passages and conduct investigations of specific access points or cardholders.

Intelligent video handling with metadata
Milestone introduces an ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) compliant framework for handling and storing video-related metadata for its XProtect advanced VMS product range that includes XProtect Corporate 2014 and XProtect Expert 2014. Metadata is any data adding an information layer to video and audio streams. The metadata framework can enable new possibilities for high-level integration: integrators can use metadata to connect with all types of IT systems and Milestone Manufacturer Alliance Partners can use the metadata integration to support cameras with built-in analytics.

More efficient evidence handling workflow
Video handling in XProtect 2014 is enhanced with new features to streamline the user experience:

* The Smart Search function utilizes the motion metadata generated during the motion detection analysis in the recording server. By searching on this generated metadata, sequences with motion in specific areas of a camera view can be found quickly and accurately, reducing the time required to conduct investigations.
* Evidence Lock is a new function in XProtect 2014 VMS that secures the availability of video recordings for investigations by allowing the retention time for selected video sequences to be extended beyond the defined retention policies.
* The Storyboard function turns video into evidence by documenting a sequence of events. Piecing together video sequences from multiple cameras into a structured flow makes object tracking easy for logical, objective and straightforward review.

Extended system security
A new security feature in XProtect is tiered administrator rights where administrative staff can be granted access to functions based on responsibility levels. Dual authentication provides an option for an additional level of system security, where a log-in or access is successful only when a second user approves it.

Ease-of-Use features for partners and end users
New ease-of-use features in XProtect 2014 VMS are centered on both Milestone partners and end users to ensure a simple and optimized experience working with a Milestone solution. For example, the product upgrade processes are enhanced to reduce time spent on maintaining the system.

End users will benefit from a new interactive map functionality in XProtect Essential and XProtect Express that provides a graphical overview of the entire installation. Tooltips and customization possibilities are added to the XProtect Smart Client to lessen the need for end-user training.

Video Push with GPS metadata in Milestone Mobile enables first responders and security personnel to use a smartphone as a mobile camera for video coverage of incidents not viewed by stationary cameras. The GPS coordinates together with the video stream are pushed from the smartphone to the XProtect VMS system.

Also of note is the Milestone Customer Dashboard, an online system monitoring service that enables Milestone resellers to obtain real-time system status of their customers' installations. This enables proactive alerts and service to improve the customer experience.

Janne Jacobsen, Vice President of Professional Products Business Unit at Milestone Systems, says: "The 2014 update of the Milestone XProtect VMS suite reflects our dedication to provide solutions that are optimized for different market segments and customer needs. For small to mid-sized installations, the 2014 edition of the XProtect Professional VMS product suite is focused on simplifying every step in the deployment and use of our products. The goal is to provide solutions that meet our customers' demand for easy-to-use video solutions that are also cost efficient to install and grow."




Brisbane City Hall deploys Genetec VMS for integrated security operations

Brisbane City Hall deploys Genetec VMS for integrated security operations

Editor / Provider: Genetec | Updated: 5/22/2014 | Article type: Government & Public Services

Largest local government organization in Australia depends on powerful Genetec VMS with multiple security systems integrations to improve security operations.

Business Challenge
BRISBANE City Hall, presiding over bustling King George Square with entrances at King George Square and on Ann and Adelaide Streets, is one of Australia's most stately public buildings. While it opened in 1930 and is now listed by the Register of the National Estate, Brisbane City Hall was built on wet ground which over decades led to subsidence, concrete cancer and problems with corrosion in aging wiring.

So the site closed at the end of December 2009 for a ground-up restoration where the City Hall was completely gutted and rebuilt as closely as possible to Hall & Prentice's original specifications. As part of this process, a $3 million integrated electronic security system was installed, which is monitored from an in-house control room.

"First of all, Brisbane City Hall had to be open to the people, it had to be a place for the people," said Paul Rishman, Corporate Security Manager of Brisbane City Council. "This meant that we needed to be able to keep the site open or lock it down to the last door. And finally, we needed to be able to track people throughout the building. That really was the essence of this solution, operationally. From these basic needs we moved on to the systems we should use and how should we integrate them to achieve our goals."

According to Rishman, another key operational element of the site is that it's large, complex and busy, yet it only has 2 security officers 24/7. Running at this level of efficiency, it's vital that these officers be empowered by technology to work as effectively as possible. "This system is very much designed so that the entire building can be managed by this very small team and that meant we needed an intelligent solution with proactive detection and reporting capabilities."

With these requirements in mind, Brisbane City Council worked alongside Genetec-certified integrator, Blake Systems, to find the right solution for the job: Omnicast video surveillance with key integrations to other systems like access control, asset management and video analytics and more.

Maximising Efficiency with Leading-Edge Surveillance
At the heart of the new CCTV solution is the Genetec video management system, Omnicast, which manages 120 channels of AgentVi video analytics in real time. Omnicast also manages a selection of around 200 Axis Communications 720p HD IP cameras. The cameras include fixed domes, mini domes, nine of those teeny people counting cameras and many flexible Axis 5534 720p PTZ domes. Another system handles access control alarms while Rishman says a key proactive capability of the solution involved the installation of Ekahau, an RFID-over-Wi-Fi real time location system that is used in conjunction with tags that can be carried by staff or attached to assets. This provides them the ability to track the movements of key personnel (and assets) across the site.

"Genetec has a Map Manager interface and the next-gen will be 3D so we'll be able to put the Ekahau into it and literally the camera will alert us to an intrusion, show an image and show a 3D representation of the room. We can also do a lot with the access control system," explains Anthony Brown from Blake Systems, the integrator overseeing the project. "Sometimes we use the third-party access control system as the pull and feed it to Genetec; and sometimes we use the Genetec as the pull and feed it to access control system. It just depends whether it's a CCTV-heavy or an access control and alarm-heavy application."

In terms of efficiency, their security operators are reaping the benefits of their new video management system: "We have a monitor pre-loaded with preset tabs so during specific events, our operators can hit the tab and the Genetec system will populate the screen with pre-selected camera views," Rishman says. "And we have another monitor that allows our security operators to select the views they consider most important, depending on events of the day. At the moment, it's set to the entry but it might be any group of camera views our security team decides will help. It's drag and drop - very easy to use."

It's Future Proof: Extending Capabilities across Council Buildings
An interesting aspect of this site is the nature of Brisbane City Council as one of the largest local government organisations on the planet. Because Council is homogeneous, it gives the team a lot of scope for integration of other Council buildings and surveillance systems in the future, as well as allowing redundancy of operations between multiple sites.

Thanks to Genetec's flexibility and a unique feature called Federation which bridges independent systems under one, future plans are being considered. According to Rishman "This control room has the ability to be used as a backup for our operations centre which is 5-6km down the road should this be required. We have a number of control rooms monitoring around 900 cameras at buildings across the city and the plan is to integrate them."

From a visitor's perspective it's impossible not to be impressed with the renovations and the new security solution but does it give Brisbane City Council everything it wanted at City Hall?

"Absolutely," says Rishman. "This system does exactly what we hoped it would do and it's future proof, so we can build on it and integrate multiple sub systems. From here, the challenge is going to be taking this model and expanding it into the rest of our portfolio of sites, while integrating all these sites into our full ITC infrastructure. All in all, everyone is very happy with the outcome. I've done a few big projects in my time. This is one of the bigger ones and from the point of view of system capability, it's definitely the best."


IndigoVision strengthens integration with Gallagher access control

IndigoVision strengthens integration with Gallagher access control

Editor / Provider: IndigoVision | Updated: 5/22/2014 | Article type: Security 50

The IndigoVision Gallagher Integration Module allows seamless two-way communication of alarms and events between the Gallagher access control system (formerly Cardax) and IndigoVision's Complete IP Video Security Solution.

Trigger live video, move PTZ cameras, start recordings and send notification emails automatically in IndigoVision's Control Center software from any event generated in the Gallagher access control system. Manage events, alarms and view live video from the IndigoVision system in Gallagher's Command Center software - all helping to dramatically decrease operator response time.

exacqVision partners with Connected Technologies

exacqVision partners with Connected Technologies

Editor / Provider: exacqVision | Updated: 5/21/2014 | Article type: Security 50

exacqVision is now integrated with Connect ONE, a web-based physical security information manager (PSIM). This provides end users with a platform to manage all video security applications including video, access control, analytics in one, comprehensive user interface.

Live video from exacqVision video management system (VMS) software is linked to events within the Connect ONE interface. The integration of exacqVision with the Connect ONE interface allows users to view live video associated with events from one or more locations, generate customized reports, set up alarm or event alerts for instant notification of security concerns, manage users and access privileges and more.

This integration was tested with exacqVision server 6.0 and uses webAPI.

Residential video doorphone goes IP and wireless

Residential video doorphone goes IP and wireless

Editor / Provider: Editorial Dept. | Updated: 5/20/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

The video doorphone, also called the video intercom, is evolved into a multifunctional device in conjunction with network capability and home automation. Video doorphones for smart home are integrated with security, intercommunication and home automation features. With enhanced importance beyond entry management, it is moving from home entryways to the home center.

Integration of security, communication and automation
The video doorphones in the smart home combine intercommunication, access control, alarming and home automation into a single platform. No doubt, users are benefited to have easier and more manageable home security. We conclude four major trends, including wireless connectivity, digitalization, trendy outlook, and integration with home automation.

The video door phone system for the smart home, generally comprises control monitors, and door stations with built-in megapixel cameras. There are models called peephole door viewers supporting wireless connectivity with mobile devices like mobile phones or tablets instead of indoor stations. Popular features consist of remote intercommunication, access control and monitoring. With increasing demand of connected home, home owners want their video door phone systems to be smarter. Therefore, we can see more and more models supporting alarming and home automation features over the next few years.

Easier and more manageable home security
The video doorphones pair up wireless or fixed monitors and built-in or external security cameras for remote control and monitoring. The system connects visitors to the user's smartphones or tablets, used as the mobile control center, when the user is not at home. Users can view and allow access of visitors remotely with mobile phones. Aside from unlocking doors remotely, some of them are accompanied with alarming function like PIR detector and event alerts for enhanced home security. They support motion-activated recording and image capture of approaching visitors in a SD card or built-in DVR. The built-in camera can automatically take photo and record video when motion is detected via the built-in PIR sensor. Like most surveillance cameras, some video door phones with built-in cameras support nighttime and pan-tilt operations. To offer wider viewing angles, fish-eye lens can be integrated at times.

There are another solutions offering extended home security by connection with the door camera, smart door lock and magnetic door sensor. In addition, some complicated systems incorporate security sensors to detect fire, gas leakage and burglar intrusion with alarm notification to the management center.

To cater for smart home users, ease of use is more appealing apart from affordable pricing and trendy outlook. The intuitive interface of control monitor offers easy operation on intercommunication, photo viewing, alarm setup, and home control. Also, easy installation is attractive for the DIY market.

TC P/IP favored over wireless connection
The smart intercoms for home use feature Internet connection. Current offerings consist of wired and wireless solutions. Products provided by Asian suppliers are mostly wired solutions. For home users, the wireless solution, free from wiring problems, is considered to be more appealing in terms of easy installation and interoperability with mobile devices. The wireless indoor units typically come with LCD displays, and some of them are portable models used as mobile phones.

RF2.4GHz and Wi-Fi are two major adoptions for wireless connectivity with mobile control monitors. Wi-Fi connectivity is getting popular due to its high compatibility with smartphones for consumers; however, it has unstable signal transmission when traveling the wall. Regarding RF2.4GHz compliant devices, they support intelligent frequency hopping from 2.4GHz to 2.4835GHz to change RF channel automatically in order to avoid interference from other 2.4GHz devices like WLAN router, microwave and cordless phone.

Regarding the wired solution for smart home applications, digital TCP/IP models are major promotions though wireless models could be more attractive for those who prefer DIY systems. For more stable solutions, the systems that adopt internet TCP/IP technology to void complicated wiring installation are highly promoted by suppliers. The digital intercom system is easy to install, manage and upgrade than traditional analog models. Supporting SIP protocol, the video doorphones allow free communication between SIP and mobile phones. It is a cost-saving solution to offer video communication.

Home automation gaining interest
Though integration o f home automation still belongs to the high-end market, we can see more and more new products integrate with simple home control features, such as control over lighting, shading, HVAC, TV, elevator and home appliance controls. The common communication protocols adopted consist of RF433, RS485, ZigBee, Z-Wave, KNX and Wi-Fi. In China, RF433 is a popular and cost-saving adoption for home automation and for connections with alarm sensors.

When it comes to home use, visually appealing becomes a nice-to-have feature. The sleek design and thin form factors are stressed. We can see those trendy products with metal-casing and slim form factor measuring less than 15mm.

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