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IP Video Surveillance and Wireless Networks - A Successful Partnership

IP Video Surveillance and Wireless Networks - A Successful Partnership

Editor / Provider: Submitted by IndigoVision | Updated: 3/28/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

Oliver Vellacott, CEO of IndigoVision, discusses the benefits, applications and technology involved when IP video surveillance is deployed using wireless networks.

A benefit of digital video surveillance is it is compressed and streamed across standard Ethernet networks using Internet protocol (IP). This is exactly the same protocol for corporate networks and the Internet. Digital video can therefore be transmitted across any broadband network connection, such as cable, fiber or wireless.

There are a number of wireless technologies that allow digital surveillance video to be transmitted across large urban areas and from remote locations. As far as the IP video system is concerned, the wireless interface is transparent and is a replacement or extension of the wired network. Connecting to a wireless network is the same as connecting to an Ethernet switch.

Wireless Benefits
Combining IP video surveillance with wireless networks can provide the user with benefits:
● No cable
●  Less disruption: With less cable to install, project time frames are reduced and business disruption is minimized
● Lower transmission costs: No expensive fixed lines required
● Expansion and migration
● Remote monitoring
● Mobile applications: Live and recorded video can be viewed over 3-G mobile phone networks
● Heritage protection: At historic sites where installation of cable is prohibited, wireless is the only alternative

Wireless Technologies
Wireless Broadband Networks Wireless broadband typically operates in the unlicensed frequency spectrum and provides high-speed wireless Internet and data network access over a wide area.

For IP video applications, wireless broadband networks can be deployed in a number of configurations:
● Point-to-point, often known as an Ethernet bridge
● Point-to-multipoint
● Mesh wide-area network

Different network technologies, both wired and wireless, are often deployed together to achieve wide area coverage. Chihuahua State, the largest state in Mexico, deployed such a distributed IP video system. Its capital is also named Chihuahua and includes eight other cities.

The distributed system allows an operator in the state capital to view video from any other city in the region. Surveillance in each city uses point-to-multipoint wireless networks, which is connected to the capital by fixed network links.

[NextPage]WiMAX
Worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) supports wireless broadband access over large distances as an alternative to cable and DSL. It is different from Wi-Fi, which covers hundreds of meters; WiMAX provides coverage over kilometers.

An example is the Acuicola Marina fish farm in Spain. Its offices and a warehouse are located 3 kilometers inland, with the fish farm facilities located 10 kilometers offshore. The valuable fish stock is a target for poachers, making it difficult to police offshore facilities.

To overcome this, Acuicola Marina deployed a wireless video system. Its network infrastructure consists of a local Wi-Fi network covering the offshore facilities, with a 7 megabits per second (Mbps) WiMAX link to the on-shore offices 13 kilometers away. Along with providing security for the fish stock, it also offered operational benefits with submersible cameras monitoring fish stocks and food distribution.

Mobile Wireless Broadband
This provides high-speed Internet access through existing 3-G mobile phone networks. It is an established technology used on phones to access the Internet on the go. It can be a tool for law enforcement officers to monitor live and recorded footage from surveillance cameras on laptops mounted in police vehicles.

This was demonstrated by the integrated public video surveillance system developed in Lansing, Michigan. Here, video is streamed at 30 fps across various network technologies including ShDSL's, fiber, mesh wireless and mobile 3-G broadband. The police department's 60 vehicles each have a laptop with 3-G, allowing officers to view and control any camera in the system.

Long-term evolution (LTE) is a fourth-generation (4-G) mobile broadband standard, aimed to be the successor to 3-G. LTE offer higher throughput and low latency,providing an ideal wireless platform for IP video streaming.

Satellite
Satellite broadband access is expensive, but is often the only option for remote areas. Since data has to travel approximately 35,000 kilometers to reach its destination, latency can be more of an issue than with standard radio-based wireless networks. It can be affected by weather and climatic conditions.

A wireless surveillance system is helping to cut crime and provide a safe and secure environment at the Grand Canyon West Resort, Arizona. IP video has been deployed at the popular tourist destination, operated by the Hualapai tribe. The resort includes Skywalk, which allows visitors to “Walk the Sky” on a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that overhangs the Grand Canyon.

Several sites, including Eagle Point (home of the Skywalk), Guano Point, a hotel, fuel depot and airport, are all centrally monitored from the airport terminal building. The facilities are located several kilometers apart and have no cabling or infrastructure between them. Each local IP network is connected using a satellite broadband network.

[NextPage]Bandwidth
Wireless networks typically have lower bandwidth than wired networks. A wired network can have an available bandwidth of up to 700 Mbps, while wireless networks typically offer no more than 25 Mbps.

It is paramount to minimize the amount of data that is transmitted wirelessly. This can be achieved by ensuring the video surveillance system deployed utilizes the best compression available, is operating on a distributed architecture and ensures the minimum amount of video is transmitted.

Compression
Deploying efficient H.264 compression can significantly affect the performance of the wireless IP video system. This is important when using high definition cameras. With the limited bandwidths available from wireless networks, this is an important consideration.

Architecture
There are two architectures used by IP video systems: centralized and distributed. A centralized architecture uses a master database, usually located in the central control room. A distributed architecture spreads the data around the security management system, generally keeping it close to where it is produced or needed.

Normally, more data is transferred across the network to the centralized video and storage servers than would be the case with a distributed system. Well-designed distributed systems reduce the need for large amounts of data to travel large distances.

Multicasting
IP multicasting is a networking feature that allows video from the same camera to be viewed and recorded by multiple operators simultaneously, using the same bandwidth as a single operator would. Using multicasting on a distributed system is a efficient solution for IP video systems.

Summary
The benefits of using wireless networks with IP video systems are clear and can sometimes be the only solution available for large or remote areas. However, the overall performance of the network and surveillance system depends on the performance, features and capability of the IP video system itself. Choosing the correct IP video technology that has good compression, the most suitable architecture and fully-featured network cameras is important.

IMS Research Examines Video Surveillance Trends for 2011

IMS Research Examines Video Surveillance Trends for 2011

Editor / Provider: Submitted by IMS Research | Updated: 3/25/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

IMS Research predicts wireless video, high resolution and 3-D will grow this year, among other key video trends.

IMS Research followed its “10 for 2010” predictions with a report covering its opinions on 2011's most exciting video surveillance trends. They are:
1. City surveillance looks to wireless video
2. HDcctv joins the fray in 2011
3. The mist clears on cloud-based video surveillance
4. Will India's video surveillance boom be as big as China's?
5. Video analytics: To security and beyond
6. From HD to 3-D
7. 2011: The tipping point for network video
8. The commercial thermal surveillance market begins to heat up
9. Looking into the HD crystal ball

1. City Surveillance Looks to Wireless Video
Wireless infrastructure reduces the cost of infrastructure compared with traditional cable. Second, wireless infrastructure offers networking in areas of cultural significance such as historical sites — sometimes, it is the only option.

Third, wireless technology can be used in temporary video surveillance installations to provide flexibility. Finally, wireless infrastructure is best suited to city surveillance, which happens to be the fastest growing vertical market for video.

A growth inhibitor is the knowledge and skill set of systems integrators who install wireless video. However, as opportunities increase in city surveillance, more integrators will get onboard with wireless technology.

2. HDcc tv Joins the Fray in 2011
The HDcctv Alliance was formed in 2009 to develop an open standard for the transmission of HD video using coaxial cable. HDcctv technology is built upon the HD-SDI standard.

In terms of sales, 2010 was a muted year for HDcctv products due to low product availability. However, IMS Research predicts HDcctv will be a strong trend in 2011 as vendors begin to release HDcctv-compliant products. Two key proponents, Speco Technologies and EverFocus Electronics, will ship HDcctv products in early 2011.

While IMS Research predicts HDcctv products will not impact the adoption of network video in the short term, there is potential for it to do so in the long term.

3. The Mist Clears on Cloud-Based Video Surveillance
Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) or cloud-based video surveillance was hot in 2010, resulting in more VSaaS providers. But can this hype be translated into market growth in 2011?

The hype around VSaaS is not unfounded; the recurring monthly revenue business model is attractive to telcos/ ISPs, central monitoring stations and installers. The ability to achieve remote redundancy of footage, true “plug-and-play” installation, remote monitoring, and lower-cost equipment are factors that will encourage this market to grow.

Certain applications of VSaaS are more likely to take off in 2011, such as customers with multiple sites that each require four or less cameras. End users will be more likely to adopt a solution with a strong value-add, rather than just a video surveillance or security application.

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4. Will India's Video Surveillance Boom be as Big as China's?
The Chinese video surveillance market is the largest consumer of equipment and one of the fastest growing markets. Can India, with its fast economic growth, huge population, and burgeoning middle-class; mirror its neighbor?

The Indian video surveillance market is one-tenth the size of the Chinese market — US$165 million in 2010.However, much of China's growth is fuelled by its government's desire to watch over its population. It is unlikely India has the political or financial motivation to deploy large-scale public surveillance projects, reducing potential video growth.

Video surveillance spending typically follows infrastructure projects, and India is no exception. There will be sustained investment related to roads, airports and railways.

The sad reality of terrorist attacks has heightened the need for security and protection. While it is difficult to assess the budget for video surveillance, funds will be earmarked for transportation and critical infrastructure.

India has potential for video surveillance. However, the Indian tiger will not slay the Chinese dragon for some time to come.

5. Video Analytics : To Security and Beyond
The video content analysis (VCA) market endured a difficult year in 2010. There were successes, with new VCA project wins in transportation and critical infrastructure; and there were failures, with a number of analytics vendors choosing to focus on other product areas and the news that Vidient went under.

New potential for VCA lies outside of traditional security. “Visually intelligent devices” describes the use of analytics in automotive, defense, medical, consumer and digital signage. IMS Research predicts 2011 will be the year that VCA looks beyond security.

6. From HD to 3-D HD
was the hot trend in the video surveillance industry in 2010. Could 3-D be the next hot technology trend for video surveillance in 2011?

The benefit 3-D offers security is depth perception. IMS Research does not believe that 3-D technology will gain mass acceptance among vendors or end users in the security industry in 2011. However, it is believed that 2011 will herald the start of a trend towards 3-D in video surveillance.

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7. 2011: Th e Tipping Point for Network Video
As 2011 begins, the video surveillance industry is no less compelling than it was five years ago. At a global level, the tipping point for network video is not until 2015.

However, this picture changes as you drill down — the tipping point is 2013 in the Americas and 2012 in EMEA. The Middle East market has already tipped, and the Russian market will tip in 2011.

Globally, the airport, port and utilities sectors are all forecast to tip in 2012; but education is the real leader, with the tipping point already occurring in 2010. The laggards are retail, commercial and banking.

8. The Comm ercial Th ermal Surveillance Market Begins to Heat Up
Thermal security cameras in surveillance are not new. However, thermal cameras have been costly and beyond the reach of most security customers.

“Affordable” thermal security cameras are a new phenomenon, predicted to continue during 2011.

9. Looking Into the HD Crystal Ball
2010 saw significant growth in the number of HD and megapixel network security cameras shipped. However, standard definition network camera shipments still outsold their higher resolution counterparts at a factor of four to one.

HD and megapixel cameras are forecast to represent nearly 30 percent of network security camera shipments in 2011. IMS Research forecast an increasing proportion of high-resolution security cameras will be HD rather than megapixel. By 2015, more than 60 percent of network security cameras shipped will be HD and megapixel resolution.

Bosch Security Systems Descends at the German Airport

Bosch Security Systems Descends at the German Airport

Editor / Provider: Bosch Security Systems | Updated: 3/10/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

Bosch Security Systems has received an order to install and put into operation the safety systems of the new Airport Berlin Brandenburg International BBI. The scope of the order includes the planning and installation for the fire alarm system, electro-acoustic emergency warning system, emergency exit door controllers, intrusion detection system, video surveillance, access control and building function control.

Berlin Brandenburg International BBI currently represents the most important infrastructure project in Germany's capital region and is Europe's largest airport construction site. It is being built to better connect Berlin and the entire region with major destinations in Europe and throughout the world. Further, it will be an important factor in the regional economy: BBI is expected to create up to 40,000 new jobs.

“Security is of upmost importance not only in the air, but also on the ground. We are proud to be able to share our expertise and implement highest safety levels for both passengers and workforce at BBI”, said Mauro Lima-Vaz, Head of Bosch's Berlin sales office.

Bosch has extensive expertise in airport safety and security. The company's technology has been installed in Terminal 2 at Munich International Airport, in Dubai International Airport's new Terminal 3, in the DHL freight hub in Leipzig and others.

Bosch local security network will be installed for optimum protection against fire hazards, with around 19,000 automatic and manual fire alarms and a whole host of fire control systems. They will be connected to a total of nine networked universal security systems. The networked public address and evacuation system with around 11,500 speakers is planned for passenger information and evacuation in the event of a hazardous situation. The public address will also be used for voice announcements for passenger information and for the gate paging stations.

In addition, an intrusion detection system will be installed that works with 150 local security network rings and six universal security systems. The information for surveillance is recorded using around 1,200 emergency call couplers. The video surveillance consists of 300 network dome cameras, 260 HD video cameras as well as another 900 video cameras of different types. It is managed by the Bosch VMS. Bosch will install more than 600 kilometers of copper cable for the fire alarm and intrusion detection systems as well as the electro-acoustics.

The new Airport Berlin Brandenburg International BBI will most likely go into operation in June 2012. With 280,000 square meters of terminal and pier space, a baggage sorting hall of 20,000 square meters, as well as a 9,500 meter conveyor line, it will be one of the largest European airports.

Maximizing DVR and NVR Storage

Maximizing DVR and NVR Storage

Editor / Provider: Submitted by Infinova | Updated: 3/12/2011 | Article type: Tech Corner

Mark Wilson, VP of Marketing at Infinova, discusses ways to utilize and manage storage effectively with existing technology.

Surveillance storage solutions bring many challenges, thanks to a myriad of DVR and NVR features and benefits, ranging from common specifications to helpful elements, such as intelligent PTZ control with preset positions and e-mail/SMS message notification upon motion detection alert from an event. Today, even organizations using analog cameras tend to have digital and network video recorders for storage and retrieval of surveillance video.

At the camera edge, security managers are also deploying secure digital storage cards. This is especially important in applications where loss of connection to the rest of the system could lead to lost images. Megapixel cameras are bringing new concerns — generating more data than lower resolution cameras by their very nature.

Therefore, how can one maximize D/NVR storage, especially as more higher resolution cameras are added to the surveillance system? There are several ways.

Lower Recording Rates at Times and in Areas of Low Activity
By controlling recording speeds, users can obtain recording savings of up to 80 percent. Typically, there is less activity in a building at night. Even during the day, many conference rooms have limited use. There is no need to record places with low usage at higher frame rates, such as 15 fps, which simply take up more storage space. These slower times and areas can be recorded at only 2-3 fps.

Basic motion analytics can be applied in case of detection, which increases the frame rate to normal recording speed, later lowering back to 2-3 fps when motion stops. Also, most systems have a user-definable buffer that records 3 to 15 seconds prior to the motion event at full frame rate so that the evidence is not lost.

Record What Is Needed Motion exclusion zones can save up to 50 percent of the recording of some of the cameras. Under normal circumstances, the application does not need a record of the cars speeding down the freeway or bushes swaying in the wind. These motions force the system to keep recording as the cameras watch over the assigned perimeter. To eliminate this problem, a basic motion analytics package will stop the unnecessary recording of cars and bushes.

Create Recording Schedules
In most organizations, security risks fluctuate throughout the day, where risks are typically higher during the day and lower at night. Creating a recording schedule to match the risk level, such as continuous recording throughout the day but activated recording at night by motion detection, often will reduce storage by up to 40 percent.

Old Videos
Decide first whether old videos are as important as the newer ones, and reduce the number of frames in the old video to save storage space. This is an effective way to preserve evidence while freeing up more space for newer videos.

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Watch Out for White Storage
Sometimes a camera generates massive amounts of video despite using motion detection and all the usual tricks aimed to minimize storage space. If the camera is developing a large volume of video at night, when activity level tends to be lower than in the day, the problem is noise.

At night when the building is dark, the lighting can be so low that the sensor generates white noise, which the motion detection algorithm interprets as motion, resulting in continuous recording. The solution is simple: use a camera that has a better low-light performance and will not produce white noise in darkness.

Choose the Right Codec in the First Place
Migrating from M- JPEG to H.264 can reduce storage use by 50 percent or more, because H.264 compresses video more efficiently yet maintains the same video quality when compared with MPEG-4.

H.264 is a temporal codec, meaning that it not only compresses data within a frame like M-JPEG, but compresses data between frames. H.264 works by transmitting a series of reference frames (R-frames), and only the changes in a scene are transmitted between each R-frame. In addition, H.264 can predict the path of moving objects, reducing the amount of data to be transmitted between R-frames even more. Using this technique, H.264 compresses a video stream more efficiently, generating less bandwidth.

However, those who use serverbased video analytics for forensic analysis of the video need to think twice, as video analytics packages often only analyze the R-frames. If the incident in search occurred between the R-frames, the analytics may not be able to find it.

This is true for most camera situations, such as a fixed camera with a low amount of motion. If there is a lot of motion, as in an airport lobby, or if the camera is moving, such as a PTZ, the number of the R-frames generated will increase. In some situations, the compression provided by H.264 may be only marginally better than M-JPEG. Nonetheless, in most situations H.264 will generate lower bandwidth and, as a result, less storage is required to archive the video.

Overall, in most surveillance situations, H.264 is a more efficient codec to use for both bandwidth reduction and storage. However, in busy locations with much motion, bandwidth may spike.

Megapixel Cameras that Don't Use H.264
M-JPEG does not yield the bandwidth and storage savings of H.264, as its compression is less complex, which means that M-JPEG does not require powerful computers or processors like H.264 does. For this reason, manufacturers still use M-JPEG in high-resolution megapixel cameras(such as 3-megapixel or 5-megapixel).

Although H.264 offers bandwidth and storage advantages, this has to be offset against the increased cost for more powerful computers for video management. When using megapixel cameras, especially when viewing multiple cameras simultaneously, integrators will need to configure the servers in the control room to cope with the more intensive processing requirements.

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M-JPEG Versus H.264
First, there are DVRs that record in H.264, functioning as both a recorder and a video server. This kind of DVR employs H.264 and features real-time compression of video and audio signals, compression code stream recording, video/audio signals switching, local recorded file playback, network transmission and alarm in/out, making it a highly cost-effective digital security product for those wanting to record in H.264.

Second, most cameras support dual streaming. One can garner the advantages of M-JPEG's clearer live monitoring with the lower storage consumption of H.264 simply by deploying dual streaming.

On the Horizon
Just like VCRs, at some point D/NVRs will be left behind for clustered storage. Larger systems in particular will start using clustered storage to communicate with servers over an IP network. The modular approach allows storage to be added over time with needs. One can start with a storage cluster as small as a few terabytes (TBs), to many TBs. However, the smallest cluster available is 4 TB, which might not be economical for smaller installations.

Nonetheless, 4 TB is about the amount of storage it takes to handle six megapixel cameras. As clustered storage prices start to emulate those of D/NVRs, they will become a reasonable alternative to review for almost any system.

Salto Systems Provides Visitors with Safe Environment at Dublin Hotel

Salto Systems Provides Visitors with Safe Environment at Dublin Hotel

Editor / Provider: Salto Systems | Updated: 3/9/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Dublin's newest designer hotel, The Gibson, has installed a bespoke electronic access control solution from Salto.

Part of the Choice Hotels Ireland Group, The Gibson Hotel is located in Point Village square, next to the O2 arena. It is seven miles from Dublin International Airport and the Luas, Dublin's light rail system, stops just outside the hotel. The city's shopping district is located only six minutes away via the Luas, and the River Liffey, International Financial Services Centre, Aviva Stadium, Grand Canal Theatre, Trinity College, The O2, The Convention Centre Dublin and many other attractions are all within walking distance.

The product needs no hard wiring and provides a totally wire-free networked electronic locking solution with a great range of features. It incorporates distributed intelligence in both the lock and in the key. Locks are networked to the computer via the hotel's own front desk management software, yet they need no wiring or WiFi infrastructure. The communication link is the intelligent key, it opens individual rooms and acts as a 2-way data transporter giving the hotel full control at all times while the key cards automatically store and convey information back and forth between locks and the controlling PC.

Hotel installations are normally based on flexible time-limited access which means that guests usually stay for short periods of time after which their access authorization is automatically withdrawn from the room lock and any further changes of the system require intervention at the lock with a “management card”. With Salto solution, this is controlled via the Salto Virtual Network (SVN) utilizing distributed intelligence in both the lock and the key card.

SVN allows The Gibson Hotel to read, receive and write information from/to smart cards and revolutionizes the traditional problems associated with ‘key' control by eliminating the need to replace locks if security is breached due to the loss or theft of a key card. And, in addition, SVN's built-in audit trail facility can also be used as a management tool if required to check easily check who accessed a room and when.

“The security of our guests and their belongings is paramount,” said Una O'Dowd, PM for The Gibson Hotel. “We chose Salto for their reputation as manufacturers of technology security solutions to the hotel and hospitality industry and the system for its reliability and sleek looks. It will allow us to run the hotel smoothly and securely while providing the hotel with what it needs most, total control.”

Sudanese Airport Deploys Axis Network Cameras

Sudanese Airport Deploys Axis Network Cameras

Editor / Provider: Axis Communications | Updated: 2/21/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

Khartoum is home to the largest airport in Sudan, Khartoum International Airport. The airport was originally built at the southern edge of the city; but with rapid growth and consequent urban sprawl, it is located in the heart of the city. With a growing numbers of passengers every year going through customs, a surveillance solution had to be flexible and scalable in order to keep pace with the growing operations while maintaining the highest level of security. The system also needed to be easily integrated into the existing airport infrastructure.

Based on the needs of the airport and nature of the site, Gitech Investment Company, an Axis partner in Sudan, designed and implemented the video surveillance solution. To monitor the activities at the customs areas and ensure the safety of passengers, Axis network cameras were installed. A camera was also selected and connected directly to the existing computer network of the airport.

Thanks to the network cameras, the customs department at Khartoum International Airport can instantly review images of incidents or fraud. “The video surveillance system fully supports the security personnel in their daily work. The Axis cameras have been instrumental in delivering the best IP solution in addition to reducing the time factor and costs for effective surveillance,” said Colonel Anwer Abdalla Ali from Customs Sudan owner of Project in Khartoum International Airport.

Axxon Management Platform Descends at Russian Airport

Axxon Management Platform Descends at Russian Airport

Editor / Provider: AxxonSoft | Updated: 2/21/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

The Universal-SB Advanced Technology Center (Universal ATC) has expanded the security system at the terminal of International Airport of Murmansk, Russia. The project was a continuation of collaboration which began in 2004.

Two years ago the Murmansk company Universal ATC equipped the terminal building with a security system based on the Axxon software package. The digital system replaced a technologically obsolete industrial analog television system, PTU-55. The first high-speed PTZ camera was also installed at that time.

In order to reinforce terrorism prevention measures, in May 2006 the administration of Murmansk Airport decided to expand the video recording system. It was necessary to place the zones for collection and transport of baggage under video monitoring. During development of the new project, the client defined the following tasks: receive quality color images from the airport concourse; monitor passenger registration zones; monitor baggage collection zones and implement surveillance of baggage transfer until it is loaded on the airplane; and monitor baggage unloading in the arrival zone.

At the request of the airport administration, it was necessary to implement the capability to transfer information from video servers to remote workstations in the air safety service, the transport division service, and the militia station. Those responsible for security needed to be able to conduct both operational surveillance and analysis of previously recorded events stored in the video archive. In all, the installer faced the task of creating a system with an architecture and the capability to be expanded in the future.

Taking into account the successful operation of the previously installed Axxon system, as well as the special requirements for reliability of the hardware, it was decided to install an additional video server and unite all the video servers via a local network. During project implementation, recording of video from existing video surveillance cameras used by the Yantar radiation control system was organized. This allowed the client to see the merits of the flexibility of the structure.

The part of the system implemented in the first year consists of two video servers and three remote workstations. The first video server records information coming in from the PTZ camera installed on the airport's apron, four analog cameras and four Axis IP video servers. In turn, there are four analog cameras connected to each Axis IP video server. 11 analog cameras are connected to the second video server.

Universal-SB ATC representative Vladimir Shchukin and airport representatives particularly noted the work of AxxonSoft's technical support service, thanks to whose prompt and detailed consultations technical issues related to the integration of the Axis video servers and the organization of PTZ camera control were quickly solved.

The collaboration of the installation company and the client's technical specialists allowed the expansion of the video recording system to 32 channels to be carried out in the course of one and a half months. In addition, testing of equipment for transferring data over a VDSL channel and controlling PTZ cameras both from video servers and from remote workstations was conducted. The software package's intuitive interface allowed operators to start working with the system immediately after brief instruction.

Murmansk Airport executives noted the high qualifications of Universal-SB ATC's employees at all stages: during planning, during preinstallation testing, and during the execution of the entire work project. Airport executives expressed gratitude to Universal ATC for its professional work and to AxxonSoft for supplying quality equipment and software.

At present the further development of the complex is under discussion. In particular, switching to network cameras in zones where there is a LAN is being considered. The task of installing two high-speed PTZ cameras in the apron zone and the local airline zone for event monitoring and three cameras for surveillance of the specialized machinery hangar has been set.

Currently the system includes four video servers, 11 remote workstations, 63 stationary cameras and six remote-controlled cameras.

Scouting Hidden Danger:CBRN Detectors on the Frontline of Public Safety Ⅱ

Scouting Hidden Danger:CBRN Detectors on the Frontline of Public Safety Ⅱ

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 2/16/2011 | Article type: Tech Corner

Detection Network
In a sense, a detector — handheld, mobile or stationary — is the frontline tool within a network of CBRN detection, analysis and identification instruments. Detectors provide information either as a single tool or as part of a network of tools that will contribute to the work in mobile and fixed-site laboratories by correctly classifying and identifying the threat materials. “When entering an area or a building suspected of CBRN activities, a handheld detector is useful in that it gives warnings and location of the substance in question,” Heyl said. “Detailed and confirmed identification of a substance in question can be determined later in a laboratory setting — mobile, modular or fixed — for further analysis.”

Detection or identification for substance specfic for legal and evidentiary purposes is based on the requirements of individual customers or countries. “Normally, separate samples are needed for laboratory analysis to verify the detection. This, however, is arranged by the users,” Anttalainen said. “The detector provider can help the users choose which method of sampling and analysis will be employed, and detectors are used to screen the area where sampling should be made.”

Transferring Intell igence and Samples Transfers of detected information to the central database are roughly separated into two methods. First, for immaterialized substance such as radiological threats, handheld radiological detectors have built-in space for storing spectra. “The purpose of such capability is to perform further analysis away from the radiation source or to send the spectra to teams or agencies better equipped for advanced analysis,” Koga said. Electronic information captured on detectors can also be transmitted back to the central database via wireless or wired connections for further reference and study. CBRN detectors can be connected to other security systems, if their communication interfaces are compatible.

The second type of transmission involves materialized substances, such as chemical, biological and gas threats. In addition to detecting threats, field engineers need to collect samples for further testing and analysis in laboratories. “Simply speaking, the samples would be collected and placed inside a pre-cleaned container before getting double-wrapped and transported in a second container to a designated laboratory,” Heyl said.

Mobile laboratories are gaining popularity as a convenient way to test and analyze samples immediately following sampling for faster results. “These laboratories are a significant advancement in on-site threat assessment,” said Keith Landy, President of Germfree.

Mobile laboratories are versatile, reliable and rugged even in extremely harsh weather conditions. “Providing information to incident commanders at the site of origin allows for timely decisions that lead to saving lives, infrastructure and the environment,” Heyl said. “Mobile laboratories present this capability in-situ by providing credible and defensible information to the incident commander.” Additionally, mobile laboratories are capable of archiving samples, later transitioning the samples and all relevant data to fixed-site laboratories for longer storage periods. Particularly when investigating law enforcement cases, the samples require proper storage under correct environmental controls to ensure appropriate conditions for forensic evidentiary needs later on. When it is conclusive that the sample is no longer needed, laboratory experts can destroy the samples right in the laboratory.

Samples can be stored properly in both mobile and fixed-site laboratories that are designed to preserve evidence while safeguarding the integrity of the sample given the right setup. Equipment like safes, surveil-lance cameras, environmental controls and recorders of controls are common devices used in laboratories. Biometric installments at designated access points, such as retinal and fingerprint scanners, are also used for additional security. “With newer technologies more available and affordable than before, it has become easier to integrate the safety features that are necessary for sample preservation into mobile and fixed-site laboratories,” Heyl said. “In order to preserve sample integrity, the samples and the associated information with samples, such as chain of custody documentation, must be tracked and retained under proper circumstances and in the appropriate way to have value within the law enforcement community.”

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Data Security
Gathering useful information on suspicious substances with a detector is only half the task. Once the substance is confirmed, the information must be shared with relevant bodies for correct identification and a further course of action. “There is a trend of integrating data from a number of detectors or reports in a single user interface to allow for optimal situational awareness for the proprietor of a building or first responder,” Gaasbeek said. “This trend is mostly visible in the field of integrated security systems for critical infrastructure and in first responder software, where models are used in combination with a geographic information systems environment for optimal situational awareness.”

Sometimes data that is relevant to CBRN response is information that is public knowledge, or is easily known. Once concentrated, integrated and correlated with other information it becomes confidential and is only shared within a designated network. “Data security is vital for agencies in order to effect a measured and coordinated response to CBRN incidents. To counter leaks, encryption and compartmentalization are common tactics,” Johnson said. Serial communication is also widely used when transferring data.

So far no database connectivity on a national or international level is known, although cooperation with individual government bodies exists. “In the U.S., organizations such as the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and Department of Energy often have agreements in place to provide reach back services for local, state and federal agencies,” Koga said.

Upgrades, Standards, Testing and Training
Technology upgrades are determined by the nature of what is offered by manufacturers. “For newly introduced technologies, roughly 5 to 10 percent of customers are willing to invest, while the rest of a given customer set relies on older technology, taking a wait-and-see stance to see how well the new technologies are accepted," Johnson said. "Exceptions are when a new technology addresses a long-standing problem, such as aroma sensing technology for cargo screening, and/or when the technology is mandated by authorities.” However, upgrades normally involve disposable or reusable kits with a fixed lifetime and software only; hardware upgrades are uncommon, as customers usually decide on the latest product when purchasing hardware. Some industry experts find military agencies are the predominant buyers of the latest hardware models.

There are currently no established standards for CBRN detectors. “In Europe, the EU CREATIF, a network of testing facilities for CBRN detection equipment, is trying to develop European testing standards,” Rothbacher said.

NATO also offers basic performance and environmental standards for detector testing. These standards are often developed for the military field, and might not be suitable for civilian environments, where threat levels are perceived differently. “When new testing standards are developed based on terrorist threat levels, the focus will probably be on higher sensitivity and higher accuracy (low false-positive and low false-negative readings),” Gaasbeek said. “It is unlikely that these new standards will develop in the short-term, and also improbable to shift toward lowering the threat levels, since the worst-case scenario in the military environment is still present — a full-scale attack.”

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Field testing protocols for CBRN detectors still need time to mature. “Since there is limited real-life experience with using the detectors in the field, it is hard for users to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a certain detector, and therefore difficult to adapt to or improve existing protocols,” Gaasbeek said. Customers should understand the full potential of the instruments procured and check if the instruments are working as they should be.

A solution to this problem is third-party laboratory tests, replacing on-site trials. An airport cannot come by nuclear weapons just to test equipment sensitivity, which risks the lives of innocent bystanders. “Normally a demonstration of device capabilities is a test report from an external research laboratory,” Anttalainen explained. “Quite often, customers conduct their own tests during the purchasing process in their national laboratories and also field tests by end users."

Facilities for detection testing are restricted to special areas, as users cannot readily test live CWA or radioactive materials in public or environmentally sensitive locations. Users can also use CBRN detection simulators for training. “Increasing numbers of detectors designed around a range of different technologies are procured to meet specific operational parameters, and to provide cross-confirmatory assurance requirements,” said John Saunders, Sales and Marketing Manager of Argon Electronics. “This has led to a requirement to deliver a multi-instrumented training capability that is not easily achieved using real detectors, but which can be provided by integrated simulation systems.” Simulator instruments have been procured as a cost-effective alternative to real and expensive detectors for training purposes.

Existing technologies will ripen for the CBRN industry, driven by market demand. Long-term R&D efforts will continue for further maturation of existing products, allowing even higher sensitivity levels and accuracy rates. Specialized detection technology will be adopted in the civilian world for better and faster diagnostic precision, particular in health care. “In the U.S., industry works closely with government, and together they keep technology on the cutting edge while supporting those at risk. For instance, the U.S. has been able to transition battlefield medical technologies into the practical sciences that directly apply to industry and commerce,” Heyl said. “Another trend is the way forward with robotic developments. Robots that have been developed specifically for battlefield applications are now transitioned back home for improved industrial and medical use.” As the world stands on tip toes for public assaults and dangers, CBRN detectors help keep watch for uninvited threats at all times.

Demystifying Wired Communications for IP-Based Security Applications

Demystifying Wired Communications for IP-Based Security Applications

Editor / Provider: Submitted by Veracity | Updated: 2/16/2011 | Article type: Tech Corner

Demystifying wired data communications for security applications initially sounds like a very broad topic, but if we assume a useful distance and reasonable data rates, plus the ability to deliver power, then in fact it can be narrowed down to just a few technologies.

Many common wired communications formats can be discounted due to their very short range (such as USB, SCSI, Firewire and others). Simple serial data connections such as RS232, while still a stalwart of the security industry, have data rates which are far too low to be considered for anything other than very slow-speed connections for simple devices and therefore lie outside the scope of this article.

We are discussing mediumrange systems, such as those which would be useful on a particular security site. This means long-range technologies such as DSL are excluded. Although fiber-optic cabling might be used within a large site, this, too, is excluded from our review as it is a specialist subject in itself and also because it cannot transmit power. As this is still a large topic in a short article, for t he re ade r who would like to know more detail, we have suggested some keywords for Internet searches in square brackets.

Thus, our focus is wired communications which can carry power, video, audio and other high-speed data for security systems. The common factor here is Ethernet, which in the last 10 years has become the dominant networking and high-speed data communications technology, so much so that it is hardly worth considering anything else. Even small, low-cost devices are being fitted with Ethernet connections, and access control systems are rapidly switching over to IP-based technology, as is surveillance. The main driving force behind all this is simplification: If all devices share a common Ethernet capability, the problem of integration becomes one of software, and the problem of incompatible and proprietary hardwired connectors and communication protocols disappears.

Having established that Ethernet is the almost universal standard, let us consider the transmission medium options. These include electrical power delivery cables, unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cabling (such as common CAT5e/6 network cabling), single twisted-pair (STP) cable (such as telephone cable) and coaxial cabling (such as that used for analog video in CCTV systems).

PLC
Power-line communications (PLC) systems have been developed by power utility companies with deregulation driving them to seek new business opportunities. Viewing their installed power cables as potential data communications systems, they funded or inspired the development of PLC technology. While long-distance, high data rate communications over power lines has

considerable challenges due to noise generation, local PLC systems are now quite common within domestic environments. The most common standard employed is that of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, and there are a multitude of manufacturers of these systems [search “HomePlug AV”]. However useful for domestic applications, it is doubtful whether PLC is particularly useful for security applications, especially in industrial or corporate settings, where other devices on the “network” are very likely to attenuate the signals and/or cause interference.

By definition, PLC systems are able to carry power, so that is hardly an issue. However, data rates are directly proportional to distance and again, while that data rate versus distance trade-off may be acceptable for a house, it becomes far less attractive in a larger office building or warehouse and completely impractical in a hospital, university, city center, prison or airport, to name a few [search “Power line communications”].

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CAT5e/6 ETHERNET
Standard networking cable is an ideal medium for wired data communications as it has been specially developed for the purpose of transmitting Ethernet network signals at high speed (up to 1 gigabit per second). It has the added advantage that so many systems are designed for CAT5e cabling with the ubiquitous RJ45 connectors. Almost everyone is familiar with this standard “network cable.”

However, for security applications and for video surveillance in particular, it does have a serious limitation: distance. After approximately 100 meters, the Ethernet signal is liable to dropouts and failed connections [search “Ethernet distance limit”]. This is never much of a problem in a structured, cabled office, where multiple switches and routers are on every floor and each network device is rarely more than dozens of meters away from such a connection. However, network cameras often need to be deployed at the peripheries of a site (fence lines, parking lots, entrances and exits, walkways, access roads and so on). These are usually more than 100 meters from the nearest switch. This also holds true, although slightly less so, for access control devices, VoIP phones and help points.

There is an easy solution to this distance problem, thanks to LAN and PoE extenders which have become available in the last couple of years. These are small network repeaters powered through the network connecting cable by PoE and are placed at or before the 100-meter Ethernet limit. They reconstruct and resend the Ethernet network packets (just like a switch) and so double the effective network cable transmission to 200 meters. Multiple devices can be deployed to reach 300 meters, 400 meters and so on. Depending on the power injected and the distance required (and indeed the power consumption of the repeater device), useful levels of PoE power can still be delivered at some distance [search “LAN and PoE extender”]. Such devices are becoming an essential part of an IP video system designer's toolbox.

These days, almost all Ethernet equipment runs at 100 megabits per second (Mbps) at least. Gigabit Ethernet is common, but requires high-quality cabling and is typically not supported by LAN and PoE extenders. However, this is rarely a problem, even for IP video using megapixel camera systems, as the long cable run sections usually carry only one, two, maybe four video streams at any point. In toward the center of the network (such as a main building) where the streams are aggregated at network switches, the switches and the rest of the network can run at Gigabit speeds, and the cable runs tend to be shorter from that point onward.

Thus, Ethernet over CAT5e/6 cabling is an almost universal solution and, with modern LAN and PoE extenders, is ideal for all types of security applications. Although this article is about wired communications, it is important to note that wireless network segments can seamlessly integrate with standard networks and greatly increase system design flexibility. However, the optimum siting of wireless access points for greatest signal coverage is often inconveniently more than 100 meters away from the nearest wired network point (switch). Again, LAN and PoE extenders can be exploited.

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STP
Typically, STP cable is only used (for high-speed data) when there is no other option available or where such cable is already in place and cannot be replaced (such as a telephone line). There are devices available to run Ethernet over STP [search “Ethernet over single twisted pair”]. Quite long distances can be achieved with DSL technology developed for broadband connections, but typically the data rates fall off quite sharply with increasing distance.

EoC
There are vast lengths of coaxial cabling installed all over the world, originally installed for analog CCTV cameras. Indeed, despite the dramatic surge in network camera sales, the vast majority of surveillance cameras are still analog, and most of them are connected with 75-ohm coaxial cable of varying types and quality. As these cameras are replaced with network ones, this legacy coaxial cable can be reused as a full-speed, 100-Mbps Ethernet link by using powered Ethernet-over-coax (EoC) adaptors.

There are a number of EoC solutions available on the market [search “Ethernet over coax“]. Many are designed for domestic applications (using TV cabling infrastructure), and these are generally unsuited to professional security applications (the units are too big, have wrong connector types, exhibit lower robustness, have specific/custom power supply requirements, and offer poor support and limited performance and diagnostics). However, a number of companies have focused on solutions for the surveillance market in particular, and many consultants, specifiers and integrators are taking full advantage of these.

Reusing installed coaxial cabling has a number of significant advantages: no new cabling needs to be pulled; installation time is reduced; business disruption for the customer is minimised; environmentally, it is good to “recycle” the existing cabling; even long cable runs of 200 meters or even 300 meters will still run at 100 Mbps without repeaters. Further, by using multiport EoC adaptors at the camera end, multiple network cameras can be streamed over a single coaxial cable, thus providing a very cost-effective way of increasing camera count with minimal extra cabling. Note also that these EoC connections can be used for any networking connection, such as IP access control, VoIP, IP alarm systems, building management or multiples of those, with or without concurrent IP video.

[Side note: In discussing coax as a medium which can be reused for digital video transmission, we should not ignore the technological approach of the HDcctv Alliance. However, to compare the very product-specific technology of HDcctv with the much more general solution of EoC requires more space than is available here and will be the subject of a future article].

NO SILVER BULLET
PLC is not a great solution for professional security applications and is more suited to domestic applications including home automation. Ethernet over PLC suffers from signal interference and can have unpredictable performance. Twisted-pair cabling is normally only relevant when better options are not possible for whatever reason.

Ethernet is an almost universal solution on CAT5e/6 cabling, with security-specific distance problems overcome by PoE-powered LAN extenders. Existing coaxial cables which were originally installed for analog video can also reused for fast Ethernet segments and removes a significant market restraint on the conversion from analog to IP-based video.

Bundled VMS Combines Smarts with Appliances

Bundled VMS Combines Smarts with Appliances

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 1/19/2011 | Article type: Tech Corner

How VMS-bundled DVRs and NVRs perform is explored in this third of three articles.

Scale dictates whethera software-bundled appliance or pure video management software (VMS) is called for. “A hardware-based, bundled solution usually works better for small to medium-sized installations with little need for scalability or future expansions,” said Jacob Loghry, Systems Engineer II, Adesta (a G4S company).

Dedicated VMS is open to all vendors, while hardware-based solutions are purpose-built for one manufacturer's video equipment. This makes the components in boxed VMS critical, with device support depending on processing power, said Alf Chang, Senior Consultant for a&s magazines.

Processing will affect how many cameras can be connected to the storage device. Installers will determine the number of cameras per box, based on frame rate and resolution, Loghry said. While integration and scalability are limited by the VMS' box, ease of use is almost guaranteed. A single vendor enables “deep” integration of all functions, making configuration smoother.

Ease of Use
Configuration is an issue for large projects, making flexible VMS a plus. “Installers care about configuration, as it takes time to set up 100 cameras,” said Charles Chen, Product Marketing Manager for EverFocus Electronics. “You can easily copy and paste schedules and event configurations for various cameras to save installation time.”

More NVRs replicate the plug-and-play ease of analog. “The NVR provides an auto-search function for network cameras, simplifying the installation process,” said Vincent Chen, Assistant VP of Product Marketing at GeoVision. Advanced features included remote viewing and analytics.

A simple approach will speed the migration to IP. “I'm very passionate about plug-and-play with video devices,” said Danny Petkevich, VP of Engineering, Next Level Security Systems. “Once you plug in a camera, it should auto-discover, configure and stream it. That's the experience people are used to in analog.”

The user interface should be intuitive, with contextual help for functions. “We understand our challenge is to make usage simple for both end users and administrators, rather than limiting features,” said Jakub Motycka, Head of the Technical Department for Koukaam. “That's why Koukaam incorporated automatic camera discovery and setup, as well as automatic router control, into our firmware.”

An uncluttered interface is easier to navigate for busy operators. “If you can use Windows, then you can use this VMS,” said Mark Wilson, VP of Marketing for Infinova.

Ease of use is a trade-off, since users will have limited choice. “Some features will be more complicated and have a more complex interface,” said Cardy Huang, Product Marketing Director for Nuuo.

Vertical-Specific
Some hardware-based VMS solutions are geared for specific applications, offering greater convenience. “A mom-and-pop store or SMB with four cameras does not need the same enterprise-level functionality of a casino or airport with hundreds of cameras,” said Matthew Clark, Marketing Manager at Instek Digital.

An application-targeted approach yields purpose-built software and hardware. “We offer VMS for mobile traffic applications and ATMs,” said James Tseng, Senior VP of Telexper. “For the traffic software, it includes fleet management.”

Some vendors offer tools that let users build their own interface. “If someone wanted a very purposebuilt retail solution with people counting and heat maps, they can expose all that functionality and make it simple to use in that context,” Petkevich said.

Owners can keep track of their business with remote monitoring. “It can set restrictions like at a daycare center, where parents can only view the classroom their child is in,” said Chen of GeoVision.

Browser-based remote viewers can support different operating systems. “It really frees up the developer to be on a PC, Mac, Linux or even mobile device,” Petkevich said.

Scalability Some boxed VMS solutions enable enterprise scalability. “We are installed at business parks, so we take a large system and then divide it into modules,” Tseng said.

Some VMS supports distributed architecture and allows unlimited recorders and cameras to be connected to the system, offering a one-stop shop for customers. “GeoVision offers a complete , integrated solution from cameras and recording to management , ” said George Tai , CEO of GeoVision. “This enables system integrators to fulfill more project requirements and benefit from learning only one solution, which is suitable for small and enterprise projects.”

New equipment should support existing devices. “We do larger installations, like the Panama Canal,” Wilson said. “About 60 percent of our business is in large projects with more than 64 cameras.”

Integration
Hardware integration is simple, taking anywhere from a day to weeks to fully support a third-party camera. “Our solution supports more than 600 models of network cameras with ONVIF, PSIA and other protocols from different manufacturers,” said Chen of GeoVision.

IP video standards are relatively young. “Everyone interprets the specification differently,” Petkevich said. “I hope a year from now it will be truly plug-and-play.”

However, even standards and camera APIs do not ensure a speedy installation. “We support more than 1,000 models, but the difference in time to add cameras is a magnitude of 10,” Huang said. While some cameras follow established interfaces, other cameras have insufficient documentation and do not perform as they are supposed to.

Users expect the box to work with any connected camera. “Our NVR doesn't require any special license or installation of paid third-party software — everything is in the box already, so customers get an ‘all-in-one' solution,” said Lubomír Kadaně, Marketing Manager of Koukaam.

Software
While hardware-based VMS tends to be closed, third-party software is being integrated more. “Integrating third-party analytics to the VMS isn't hard,” Huang said. “But accuracy is another issue.”

Other vendors examine the most useful software features and bake them into their VMS. “As far as thirdparty analytics go, since we provide analytics, we don't need to integrate with third-party software and don't need to pay installation fees,” Petkevich said. “We cover 80 percent of the market.”

VMS also works well with other systems. “For back-end equipment, we offer a management platform that integrates with BA systems, such as lighting, carbon monoxide detection and smoke detection,” Tseng said.

Processor Re quirements
As DVRs convert analog inputs to digital outputs, decoding will affect the VMS. “Software performance depends on processor testing,” said Chen of EverFocus. “We don't want our software to underperform, but we can't boost power beyond the processor's limits.”

Processors matter for what the VMS tries to accomplish. “Next-generation Intel boxes have better performance for video decoding, but do not have the things that Texas Instruments or Hisilicon has,” Petkevich said. “The latter have the added functionality of deinterlacing, compositing, resizing or alpha-blending planes.”

NVRs can work without the decoding hassle. “DVR chips do decoding, which is the reverse of an NVR with pure IP inputs,” Huang said. “Higher-resolution cameras, along with how many there are, will affect processing power.”

PC -Based
PC-based VMS boxes use standard computer components, which are not always designed for 24/7 surveillance operation. “Video display, both live and playback, puts a toll on processors,” Clark said. “The decoding process requires a lot of processing power, while features such as map or alarm display only account for a very low amount of processing power.”

Performance also depends on how the software is programmed to run on the processor. “We deploy a PC-based solution, so we use a CPU and RAM to make up for the front end's shortcomings from decoding and decompression,” Tseng said. This type of solution works on dual-core CPUs with 2 gigabytes of RAM, making it compatible with most hardware.

Payment Plans
Bundled VMS typically includes a number of camera licenses. However, if users wish to expand, they can purchase additional camera licenses instead of another box. Only cameras are licensed, while servers do not require licenses, said Chen of EverFocus.

The camera approach keeps pricing simple. “The VMS is licensed by video input, by any type of camera,” Wilson said. “There is no registration of the MAC address for each camera.”

Other vendors license the VMS and server, as well as the cameras. “We are more flexible and provide packages,” Tseng said. “If you have 128 or 256 channels, it will be cheaper than buying licenses by camera.”

A bundled solution can save on training fees as well. “We require no training or certification for our system,” said Jumbi Edulbehram, VP of Business Development, Next Level Security Systems. “Our strategy from day one is our product and interface should be as easy to use as a smart phone.”

SaaS
Most embedded VMS providers found remote monitoring an interesting trend, but took a dim view of its long-term prospects. “At this point in time, SaaS still costs more than an on-site installation for a long period of subscription,” said Chen of GeoVision.

Thus, adoption rates are slow for managed video. “Even if the advantages are quite clear — no one can steal it, permanent supervision — without a fast and reliable Internet network, it will be impossible or George Tai, Matthew Clark, Marketing Manager CEO of GeoVision at Instek Digital James Tseng, Senior VP of Telexper Product Exploration 8262 JAN 2011 www.asmag.com 22 difficult to handle,” Motycka said.

The market will need time to accept remote monitoring. “Remote storage for cameras depends greatly on bandwidth, which is something a telco or ISP wants to charge for,” Tseng said.

Residential prospects are hazy, as demand for video management functionality is low. “Homeowners just want to see video, so we're not sure if this is a market we want to be in,” Huang said. “There's not much opportunity for differentiation. It does have great camera volume, but the software doesn't offer great value to the customer.”

However, hosted video is a good fit for SMBs. Users can remotely manage sites, access information from anywhere and store video to a hosted site. “It's more efficient to store video locally,” Edulbehram said. Business owners can afford small systems for each location, which can be managed centrally.

Pros and Cons
Ease of use is one of the advantages for hardware-based VMS. “Usually, smaller projects in the SMB market prefer hardware-based VMS, as they need simplicity, basic functions and a low price,” Huang said.

Bundled VMS works on a single vendor's video lineup, with the added security of no viruses or spyware for a local network. “It is useful for small camera systems like in a home, small office or small shop, but I wouldn't recommend free software for critical or larger applications,” Motycka said. “Disadvantages of free software include less advanced features, with usually no alarm handling, archiving, redundancy or advanced user rights management.”

VMS deployments go faster when all devices work together. “The bundled approach simplifies things for installation, deployment and management, as opposed to having many different vendors,” Edulbehram said. “You have just one point of contact. It massively simplifies pricing.”

A comprehensive solution relates to ease of use, with the added benefit of accountability. “A turnkey system will cut down on installation headaches and costs, and the manufacturer will provide full support in the case of a problem to reduce the long-term cost of the system,” Clark said.

Hybrid Systems
Some vendors offer their VMS as software and hardware. “Previously, customers would use a CMS server to broadcast all the images, and the network would have issues, such as losing data packets,” Tseng said. A backup controller ensures images are captured, even if the main server breaks down. “We can manage 2,048 channels with our enterprise software and support 48 channels on our NVR.”

At GeoVision, a purchase of any network camera or video server is bundled with fully functional NVR software for 32 channels. “The solution is cost-effective, and customers can determine their own NVR hardware,” Tai said.

Infinova OEMs its VMS from Video Insight, for a best-of-breed solution utilizing existing equipment. “If you want to bundle all your solutions and mortgage your future on one camera, that's fine,” Wilson said. “Our VMS helps people migrate from analog to IP, but in a cost-managed way. We've enabled the software to actually manage analog equipment.”

Dedicated VMS works best with IP video, requiring analog control room equipment to be replaced. “We have seen pushback for legacy situations,” Wilson said. “We have an Ethernet interface on the matrix switch, so our software can manage matrix switches and video walls on an IP network.”

Challenges
VMS development is affected by camera breakthroughs and their growing processing requirements. “Currently, the drive to IP is for megapixel and its greater clarity,” Huang said. “As it grows, it affects transmission and storage. For all projects, storage for NVRs and cameras is a high cost. These things will be concerns in the future with megapixel surveillance.”

Storage will need higher efficiency to keep up with megapixel or HD video. “RAID has become a risky standard for video storage because of the stresses on hard disks — temperature, vibration and wear — thus producing a high probability of disk failure,” Clark said. Alternatives such as linear array of idle disks technology offer reliability and reduced risk of data loss.

Connectivity is also a trend. “Integration will increase in the market,” Chen of EverFocus said. Wilson agreed, saying, “What you're seeing in the industry overall is convergence at a high level.”

VMS delivers added value, making it essential for security. “The future challenge will be integrating on a larger scale with emerging standards such as ONVIF and PSIA,” Clark said. “As the industry gains confidence in the standards, the next shift will be how you leverage the data available.”

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