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Parking Efficiency Augmented by Smart Security Solutions

Parking Efficiency Augmented by Smart Security Solutions

Editor / Provider: By a&s International | Updated: 4/21/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

Today, more than a billion cars are on the road, and this figure is expected to double within the next couple decades. Often ignored is the fact that much traffic comes from drivers cruising for a vacant or cheaper parking spot — recent studies indicate drivers hunting for parking account for roughly 50 percent of traffic. Traffic congestion leads to driver frustration, which may increase the number of accidents and excessive carbon emission, which impacts air quality and raises environmental issues. Smarter parking facilities and measures ensure the security of parking facilities and quality of life for local residents, as well as relieve environmental stress related to automobiles.

There are several points in a parking scenario where modernsecurity and automation equipment can help. People are getting more concerned about environmental issues, and the ever-increasing fierce competition is forcing parking lot operators to take a closer look at a variety of methods that enable cost savings and increase customer satisfaction, said Dirk Fox, Product Management for Car Access, Skidata.

When an end user is planning a new project where parking represents a large portion of the project, such as a stadium, it is important to plan the parking facility before construction, said Chris Yigit, AutoVu Senior Product Manager, Genetec. “ALPR is a viable option when deciding how to manage parking. For example, just recently a new entertainment facility was planned, and the choice for parking was to implement a concept called pay-by-plate. The details of the technology were left to the parking operator to decide and propose. However, the concept had to be agreed upon upfront as this had a direct impact on revenue, manpower and flexibility which varies greatly from facility to facility. The specific requirements of a shopping center, stadium and airport are all very different.”

RESERVED
Parking spaces can often be as scarce as seats in a popular restaurant, especially in urban areas. “Reservation can help the driver avoid driving around aimlessly,” Fox said. Smart parking systems can facilitate reservations of parking spots, but this can require an additional effort of real-time space enforceability within the lot, said Elliot Martin, Postdoctoral Research Engineer, Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. “That generally increases costs and today still requires on-site manpower. However, in environments where reserving a spot demands a premium, such costs could be retrieved with the additional revenue earned from reservations.”

The ability to reserve a parking space can be enabled through space counting, single-space recognition and connecting to online services. “The information collected by the smart parking facility can broadcast availability within and outside the lot. When delivered to travelers, it enables more efficient trip planning and can increase revenue for parking operators through better capacity management of the lot. While permitting reservations can also increase management costs, in appropriate markets, reservations can earn revenue that ultimately exceed those costs,” Martin said. With exact counting and single-space recognition in combination with a guiding system, a car driver can be directly sent to the correct parking area, Fox added.

[NextPage]GUIDANCE
An area in which technology could increase efficiency is by assisting visitors in locating vacant parking spaces. This would be especially useful in larger, more crowded parking facilities in which searching for parking is time- and energy-consuming, Martin said. “Technology such as changeable message signs could tell visitors at which level there exists available parking. The challenge with this, however, is that accurately determining whether specific spots are available is still difficult for prevailing sensor technologies. It requires either an accurate and clever algorithm based on strategically located vehicle counts, or spot-specific sensors, which are more expensive. Camera technology could also support this function, but it can also be expensive, and requires sophisticated image-processing algorithms that still offer less than 100-percent accuracy.”

PAYMENT
Faster payment would be automated with RFID technology, similar to that used for FasTrak in the Bay Area or EZPass on the East Coast, Martin said. “Payment-wise, this would remove the need for a gate at the entrance and exit, but only if it can be universally applicable to all cars.”

A more feasible modification would be to use an item that most people already have, such as credit and debit cards, Martin continued. “Some banks are beginning to embed RFID chips into credit cards, and a terminal can pull information off of the card when the card is waved close. This technology, if more widely applied, could speed up the payment process at the gate, and does not require universal adoption to work. Consumers would just have to wave the card as opposed to swiping it.”

Consideration can also be given to eliminating paper tickets and their associated hardware, using only the license plate as the means of record, said Jim Kennedy, President of Inex/ Zamir. With pay-by-plate, there are no stalls to paint and maintain, and simple enforcement is possible, Yigit added. “Pay-by-plate is a concept that seems to be catching on these days. Basically, the patron is identified by his plate; the advantages are that the plate is unique and is fixed to the car. The concept is simple, but the ramifications and benefits are huge.”

The idea of a fully-automated ticketing system can be daunting to many. “Many in the parking industry have expressed concerns over a ticketless payment system as they do not fully understand the capabilities of ALPR. They worry about such things as misreading a license plate and even duplicate license plates within the facility,” Kennedy said. “While it is possible to misread a license plate — anyone in the ALPR field will readily admit that — the difficulty it might cause is minimal to nonexistent. What has to be remembered, particularly in parking, is that you have a finite number of license plates to which the one sitting at the exit could correctly be linked; it did, after all, enter the facility at some point, so it does exist in the database in the facility.”

However, there are also psychological issues to consider. “A ticketless system could be argued to be better, but industry people have told me that drivers are more comfortable when they get something in return for their car, even if it is just a ticket. It is sort of like a receipt for their vehicle and gives them some recourse to prove they indeed have a car in the facility,” Kennedy said.

With a ticket, you have yet another number to reference and virtually zero opportunities to make an error, Kennedy said. Adding license plate numbers to tickets can also prevent car theft, Fox added.

If the number is captured and read just after the ticket is issued, the license plate number is tied to the ticket number on a server, and that means a unique identifier and transaction number are tied together on that server, Kennedy said. “The benefit of having the license plate number captured prior to the ticket being dispensed and thereby allowing the number to be printed or encoded on the ticket itself, is the ability to see if the ticket presented at exit belongs with that particular vehicle even in the event of communications failure with the central server. Swapped tickets are caught out at this point, and lost tickets can have a fair and accurate tabulation of charges made, as it is known when that vehicle (license plate) actually entered the facility.”

[NextPage]THREATS
A parking facility is unpopulated by nature, and the safety of lone patrons should be taken into consideration. “Kidnappings or physical attacks against key facility personnel continue to be a concern with corporate entities,” said Orlando Carrasco, President of Perceptics. “A company has a responsibility to protect its employees against attacks rendered by disgruntled groups or former employees, and prescreening tools such as ALPR and driver cameras serve to qualify the vehicles and drivers coming into a facility.”

Since 9/11, there has been an ever-growing concern over the threat from terrorists. There have been many cases in which vehicles are used as weapons of destruction, said Dave Bartlett, VP of Smarter Buildings, IBM. “Deploying solutions by tagging authorized vehicles with smarter sensors such as RFID with video surveillance systems, as well as integrating smarter parking software with tenant identity management, helps maintain security and order for tenant-reserved spots. Smarter parking solutions assist in sending alarms when abnormal parking violations arise.”

More and more parking facilities at mission critical infrastructures are deemed as potential targets of terrorism and are placing a greater emphasis on security and data capture at the point where a vehicle and driver enter, Carrasco said.

“ALPR coupled with an under vehicle inspection system (UVIS) will provide necessary data that allows a gate guard to determine if that vehicle is a threat. UVIS provides a color, line screen image of the vehicle's undercarriage, so security personnel are able to identify foreign objects or alterations made that could indicate a concealed threat.”

The rationales behind using video surveillance, ALPR and UVIS are different. “Video surveillance serves to monitor the movement of vehicles and occupants as they arrive and move about the premises. However, they aid more in documenting a threat in progress, so security personnel can react,” Carrasco said.

“ALPR coupled with UVIS are preventative measures that allow security personnel to assess the potential threat and create a more proactive response strategy.”

“ALPR and UVIS systems can be integrated with bollards and gate arms once the data and the security personnel have cleared the car and its driver as a potential threat. These systems can also integrate with RFID, vehicle/occupant or scene cameras, which serve to aid security profes-sionals with their security assessments,” Carrasco said.

[NextPage]ALPR CONSIDERATIONS
An ALPR system worthy for consideration should not have difficulty with either brightness, as in direct sunlight, or darkness where there is no ambient illumination. IR illumination is used for the sole purpose of capturing the best possible images for ALPR processing, Kennedy said.

“Looking at the specifications of equipment offered as license plate cameras, it can be seen that some have LED illumination that is always on, while others may have it pulsed," Kennedy said. "By being pulsed, they are several times brighter than leaving them in the always-on position, and when pulsed they are on probably 5 percent of the time, which gives them an extraordinary life cycle.“

Some suppliers offer cameras that are aimed at low-cost security applications and are repurposed to capture license plates. These cameras have always-ON LED illumination and incorporate only a small number of LEDs, which generally have a life span of less than three years, Kennedy said. “In addition, many of these lower-cost devices need to keep a fan constantly running within the camera enclosure because of the heat problem generated from LEDs which are always ON. This prevents a truly weatherproof housing.”

Pulsing the LEDs requires circuitry and logic that guarantee the pulse takes place when the shutter is open, Kennedy said. “In addition to pulsing LEDs for longer life and greater illumination, the brightness of each pulse can be altered by varying the pulse width, and this is synchronized with the amount of time the shutter is open; the ‘shutter open' time is varied in a repeatable pattern, and this provides the ALPR engine images of varying contrasts from which to make a positive read. This is no simple task, but reaps great benefits regarding the overall ALPR accuracy, as well as eliminating many of the missed or unqualified plates encountered by camera systems of lesser quality.“

Distance is another item of concern in purchasing. Lower-price cameras can claim a useable distance of up to 40 or 50 feet, while higher-end cameras can be used at distances greater than 100 feet. However, the further the camera is from the license plate, the weaker the IR illumination that reaches the plate, Kennedy warned. As illumination drops off, the shutter must stay open longer to allow enough of that light to be reflected back to the image sensor, opening a window for motion blur.

The speed of the vehicle is another consideration to account for. For parking applications, a camera that can read the license plate of a vehicle traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour, in any light, at any time of the day or in any climate may seem like overkill, Kennedy said. However, it also means the “red line” will not even be approached by most users, guaranteeing a long life expectancy for the equipment.

[NextPage]“A proper ALPR camera by design should do a number of dynamic adjustments, such as performing a series of contrast-stretching techniques on each of the multiple images taken at various contrast levels to further aid the ALPR algorithms,“ Kennedy said. “With ALPR cameras, we are not dealing with video as much as we are looking for a single clear shot of the plate,” Yigit agreed. “Adjustment of the camera, utilization of multiple exposure algorithms and IR illumination ensure top read rates in spite of environmental conditions.”

Environmental conditions are considered in the early planning stages, and camera positions and illumination sources are tuned to optimize performance under these specific circumstances.

Not all ALPR is created equally, Yigit said. “There is more to ALPR than just algorithms, although that is a key component. Image quality is just as important, because when dealing with optical character recognition, garbage in often means garbage out.”

In some regions, license plates are not entirely composed of alphanumeric characters. “Different suppliers of ALPR systems can optimize the system to read license plates in different countries and can provide on-site support,” Fox said. “There is a lot to consider in choosing a strong ALPR system, and there are only a handful that are up to the task. Those who want to employ this technology should seek suppliers who can provide the after-sale service, and who will be around for the long haul,” Kennedy added.

IndigoVision IP Surveillance Takes off at Indian International Airport

IndigoVision IP Surveillance Takes off at Indian International Airport

Editor / Provider: IndigoVision | Updated: 4/12/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

IndigoVision's IP video solution has been used for a surveillance system with more than 3700 cameras in the new terminal 3 at Delhi International Airport (DIAL). The project is believed to be the largest single installation of an IP video system in Asia. The new terminal was built as part of the massive infrastructure development for Delhi ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Delhi is India's second largest airport and with the recent expansion can handle 34 million passengers per year.

Airport's created one of the most demanding security environments, with multiple operators from different agencies and departments requiring access to live and recorded video 24/7, from different locations in and around the terminal building. This requires the surveillance system to be flexible, reliable, easy to use, and low maintenance in order to avoid any delays or problems in the operation of the airport. IndigoVision's distributed serverless IP video architecture provides the airport with such a solution, being scalable, resilient and through a virtual matrix easy to operate, even for a project of this scale.

“The control room and all cameras run extremely well and without any problems. The video quality is excellent and the software is easy to use by our operators,” said an Operations Manager at DIAL's Airport Operation Control Center ( AOCC) control room. “Due to the high number of cameras and amount of activity in the airport, it was important to have a system that provides a smooth user experience and no downtime, IndigoVision has exceeded all of our expectations.”

IndigoVision's security management software is at the heart of the system and is used by operators throughout the airport. IndigoVision's distributed architecture allows workstations to be used at any point on the network. The software provides identification authentication management features, which ensure only the operators with the correct permissions are allowed to access the video. This allows the various cameras to be partitioned into groups for various departments and agencies. For added security, 120 cameras for the immigration department have been allocated to a separate site database, with recording on their own dedicated NVRs.

A total of 80 workstations have been installed in three separate control rooms; situated in the terminal; the airport security building, located offsite 250-meter away; and in the air traffic control center, where aircraft ground movements are monitored. The AOCC, which is the main monitoring center for the airport, boasts the biggest video wall in Asia. The 10 by 5-meter wall holds 28 70” screens that display the information inputs from all the airport departments through live camera feeds. Each screen can display up to 25 multiple camera images, providing the AOCC with the capacity to display 700 images at one time.

Monitoring so many cameras in such a complex building is a major task for any security team. DIAL has extensively deployed IndigoVision's real-time analytics, which run at the network-edge in IndigoVision network cameras and encoders, to help operators improve efficiency and incident response. Analytics are configured to create alarms when certain conditions in a camera scene are met, automatically alerting operators to potential problems. Examples of the analytics include alerting entry into secure areas and identifying luggage stuck on a conveyor belt in the baggage handling system. Operator efficiency is further enhanced by the use of IndigoVision's integration modules to interface to the access control system with more than 3000 card readers and the series of travelers and escalators. Again the operators are automatically alerted if for example, a forced entry alarm is triggered by a door or an emergency stop button is pushed on an escalator.

Another area that is vitally important for the airport is the quality and reliability of recorded video; operators and law enforcement agencies need to rely on high-quality evidential video to aid investigations and cannot afford to lose video through missing frames or unreliable equipment. IndigoVision is unique in the ability to deliver high-quality full frame rate video with a guarantee to never drop a frame under any circumstances. This coupled with its recording solution provides DIAL with the archive security they require. The airport uses a total of 57 IndigoVision NVRs for recording video continuously for 30 days from all of the cameras. Ten of the NVRs are used as backups, automatically recording video from any of the primary NVRs that go off line.

Codestuff Digitalizes Manchester Airport Surveillance System

Codestuff Digitalizes Manchester Airport Surveillance System

Editor / Provider: Codestuff | Updated: 3/29/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

Codestuff, a provider of video management systems, announced a project helping Manchester Airport to upgrade its aging analog surveillance system to a fully digital core. The eight-month project will improve a wide range of surveillance-related tasks from baggage system monitoring, car park customer service, aircraft stands and pedestrian safety management across a 625-hectare site used by more than 18 million passengers and staff each year.

Keen to update its existing surveillance network, Manchester Airport chose Codestuff platform for video recording, playback, management and archiving alongside a new fully digital core.

The platform was selected based on its scalability and depth of features as well as Codestuff's ability to provide custom modification to allow the existing management and control systems to interface directly into the upgraded surveillance system.

“The new digital core and platform will provide the airport with many more capabilities and give us the flexibility to simply deploy new monitoring PC workstations, simplified architecture and the ability to upgrade to network cameras in the future,” said Geoff Densham, PM at Manchester Airport. “We originally ran into difficulties working with a third-party supplier so we approached Codestuff directly and this has accelerated the design and implementation phase and the first stage will go live in May.”

Nice Systems IP Surveillance and Information Management Deployed by DFW

Nice Systems IP Surveillance and Information Management Deployed by DFW

Editor / Provider: Nice Systems | Updated: 3/29/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

Nice Systems, a provider of intent-based solutions that extract insight to impact business performance, reduce financial risk and ensure safety and security, announced that the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) has placed a multimillion-dollar order to expand its implementation. DFW will be deploying Nice's IP video surveillance solution and the Nice inform incident information management solution. The expansion is part of a strategic modernization initiative to strengthen DFW's security, threat detection, emergency response and risk mitigation capabilities. The solutions will address DFW's growing security requirements while providing a foundation for DFW to migrate to IP video surveillance. As part of this initiative, the airport will also be expanding its audio recording capabilities, adding the inform multimedia solution which enables authentic incident reconstruction through synchronization of voice recordings and video.

DFW ranks third among the busiest airports in aircraft movements and eighth with respect to total passenger traffic, serving more than 56 million passengers a year. The DFW airport covers more than 29.8 square miles, an area roughly the size of Manhattan, and encompasses five terminals, seven runways, three control towers and 155 gates. Nice's video surveillance solutions have been an integral component of DFW's security surveillance system for eight years. With its plan to substantially increase the number of cameras and add modern IP video cameras into the mix, DFW will deploy an IP video solution from Nice. The solution will give DFW scalability for its security expansion, while enabling the airport to leverage its existing infrastructure investments as it migrates to IP. When the project is complete, DFW will be able to centrally monitor, record and manage all IP and analog cameras in one system.

DFW will also be upgrading its recording and incident management capabilities with the inform multimedia incident information management solution. The addition of Nice inform means that DFW, for the first time, will be able to synchronize voice recordings and surveillance video for authentic, 360-degree incident reconstruction.

The security offering addresses the needs of governments and enterprises with intent-based solutions for fighting crime and terror, by anticipating, managing and mitigating safety, security and operational risks. The offering enables capturing, analysis and correlation of data from multiple sensors and systems, including audio, video, radio, geolocation and web, providing a framework for fusing data silos into a single, holistic operational view. Nice security solutions empower organizations to act effectively in real time to prevent, manage and investigate incidents, ensuring fast resolution and debriefing and continuous security improvements.

Russian Duty-free Shops Have Integrated Security System On-Sale

Russian Duty-free Shops Have Integrated Security System On-Sale

Editor / Provider: AxxonSoft | Updated: 3/24/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

In cooperation with technicians from Insystems, technicians from the company Videoglaz set up a surveillance system in the departure area of Russian and international airlines within Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow, Russia. Surveillance systems were installed in 15 duty-free shops owned by Aer Rianta International.

The Irish company Aer Rianta International opened the duty-free shop in Ireland's Shannon Airport in 1947, and Russia's duty-free shop opened in 1988. Currently Sheremetyevo International Airport houses Aer Rianta International shops with a total area of more than 2,200 square meters. After the duty-free zone of the terminal D was put into operation, the need arose to equip the shops with an effective video surveillance system. Design work, equipment delivery, installation and start-up operations were tasked to technicians from the company Insystems, which was subcontracted by the company Videoglaz.

The IP video surveillance system installed by technicians from both companies included a monitoring station and more than 150 Axis network video cameras. The project deployed central server equipment based on ready-made Videoglaz video servers running Axxon software and Videoglaz monitoring equipment running remote workstation software.

The integrated solution developed by the technicians for this project enables the customer to reduce costs associated with theft and also provides the capability to monitor each PoS terminal from the monitoring station while automatically recording all events and saving them to a video archive.

This solution is deployed at a total of 15 shops, an office and storage areas. Technicians from Videoglaz are still working at Aer Rianta International shops and are completing a project to set up the PoS transaction control system, which will be deployed at more than 30 PoS terminals.

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.

[NextPage]

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.

[NextPage]

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.”

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