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Smart lock: Unlocking a smarter, more secure home

Smart lock: Unlocking a smarter, more secure home

Editor / Provider: a&s SMAhome | Updated: 8/18/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

According to a survey by Consumer Reports, 67 percent of Americans rely on deadbolt locks as the primary mean to secure their homes. However, the survey also revealed that 20 percent of Americans leave the front door unlocked at least occasionally. Another problem is that door keys are small infrequently used objects that are easily misplaced. Smart locks set out to solve these problems, with some extra twists.

With the Internet of Things picking up momentum, its residential applications allow device makers to cheaply add wireless connectivity to everything in a home. Wireless connectivity, in conjunction with a strong focus on user experience, sets the stage for new types of residential access control systems. According to a recent report by NextMarket Insights, the global smart lock market will grow from $261 million today to $3.6 billion by 2019.

“The mainstreaming of the smart home is driving innovation in previously forgotten categories of home hardware and systems,” said Michael Wolf, Chief Analyst with NextMarket Insights. “Established security and home hardware companies increasingly face competition from upstarts who are introducing a new breed of smart and connected locks into the market.”

What is a smart lock?
A new type of wireless door lock that allows a user to use mobile devices to remotely lock or unlock the door, send permanent or temporary virtual keys to guests to grant access, and receive push notifications when the door is accessed. Some also integrate with smart home systems. These locks are generally affordable, rather than luxury items.

CURRENT OFFERINGS
At the moment, six smart locks have garnered the most media attention because they show the potential of a reimagined residential access control system that can be easy to install and use, and provides additional convenience compared to conventional deadbolt locks like remote access and integration with smart home systems. Push notifications and visitor logs also help boost security. The main theme is to make smartphones the primary key to the door, and a key fob, mechanical key or PIN code as backup plan. However, each company took a different approach with their smart lock designs.

Earlier smart locks, such as those made by Schlage and Yale were based on Z-Wave and Zigbee and were integrated into smart home platforms. However, multiple newer types of smart locks began appearing in 2013, offering direct control and user authentication from a smartphone app. These locks use Bluetooth Smart and WiFi connectivity to make the authentication process more convenient; the protocols are supported by most smartphones, which makes it easier to detect proximity with users carrying key-replacement devices.

The August Smart Lock was funded by angels and designed by Swiss designer Yves Behar. Users can control and manage the lock with an iOS, Android, or web app. Guests who have received a virtual key are able to unlock the August Smart Lock with their smartphones. Users can set the duration for which a virtual key is active, or manually disable them at any time. In addition to recording a visitation log, the lock also send a push notifi cation to a user's smartphone when guests go in or come out of the house.

Lockitron was the first smart lock to be successfully crowdfunded, although multiple design and manufacturing problems have delayed its shipping date long past its originally scheduled one, during which multiple competitors have sprung up and some have beat them to the market. It is a simple smart lock that fi ts directly over an existing deadbolt on the back of a door and is unlocked with a smartphone.

Users can also grant access to friends, family and guests through the app. The lock itself connects to a home network using WiFi, so it can send you notifi cations no matter where you are. Users with smartphones supporting Bluetooth Smart will see the door unlock automatically when an authorized device is in its range of detection. Goji was successfully crowdfunded on Indiegogo. When released, it will offer an additional option to open one's door through customer service representatives, who will be available 24/7. Aside from sending virtual keys, proximity-based unlocking and smartphonecontrolled operations, the smart lock can also snap a photo whenever someone is at the door and sends photo and text alerts to a user's smartphone; it also records all activities and makes the logs available through the Goji smartphone or web app. The Goji Smart lock replaces an existing deadbolt rather than retrofi t onto one and has high-tech-looking units on both the interior and exterior sides of the door.

The exterior-facing unit can display text and be opened to reveal a keyhole for physical keys. Kwikset Kevo debuted on the American reality competition series Shark Tank. Powered by UniKey and back by lock incumbent Kwikset, Kevo was the first of newer types of smart locks on the market. Kevo detects ekeys through Bluetooth, and its tap-to-open feature is a convenient way to open doors. Users do not receive notifi cations each time the door is unlocked, but can look up the lock's complete access history on the smartphone app. “A simple touch of the lock initiates verification between the smart device and the lock, unlocking or locking as a result. The user is no longer required to fi sh for keys, unload packages, pizzas or children from arms, said Dirk Wyckoff, VP of Sales and Marketing of UniKey Technologies. “On top of that, an administrator of the lock can send and delete additional eKeys for access to other people, determine the parameters of usage for those people (time or day, etc.), all without ever surrendering a physical key.”

Smart locks released by two other lock giants Schlage and Yale take a more conservative approach, but then they have been offering these locks for a much longer time. Both feature touchscreen number pads that look bulky and old-school, and do not provide flashy features like the other smart locks do. Both companies offer ZigBee and Z-Wave versions of their locks, which work well with many smart home systems. “We believe that while the smart and connected lock market today is largely Z-Wave and Zigbee based,” said Wolf. “There will be strong demand in coming years for newer direct-connect smart and cloud-connected locks using other radio interfaces."

IS NFC BECOMING A NONFACTOR IN THE SMART HOME?

NFC technology is highly secure and has a better overall power management profile than low energy Bluetooth, and there are clear use cases for the technology in a variety of security, access control, authentication and identification. A few years ago, it seemed like NFC was a serious technology to watch across a number of different segments. The most obvious was retail and payments, where Google threw its support behind NFC as a key technology for contactless payments. As a result, many retailers installed thousands of contactless payment systems with NFC technology over the last five years.

While Google was supportive, the other half of today's modern mobile duopoly has not been. Apple hasn't integrated the technology, at least not yet, and hasn't made clear whether they have any plans to do so anytime soon. Big retailers have been cautious about the technology without Apple's support, and some retailers, like Starbucks, have opted for alternatives like Square card readers. New alternatives and Apple's lack of support has led to waning interest in NFC as a retail payment technology, and recently some retailers who had installed it have actually started to disable the NFC capabilities.

In 2011 Yale, one of the big-three lock makers, announced they would integrate NFC into one their electronic locks and even demoed it at CES 2013, but they never released a NFC-integrated lock and based on my conversations with the company, it doesn't look like one is imminent.

Lockitron, a smart lock startup does have NFC in its forthcoming smart lock, but this is the only one of the new-generation smart locks that I know of with NFC integrated. However, the company is struggling to get locks out to its crowdfunded backers, and even if they do its not clear that this will give any momentum to NFC as an authentication technology for smart locks. Still, even with these few bright spots, it doesn't look to me like we're seeing significant interest in NFC in today's smart home. News in January that Apple had filed a patent for an NFC/Bluetooth LE/Wi-Fi usage in unified mobile payment implementation is a dim sparkle of hope on the horizon, because I think if Apple moves into NFC it could revive the technology. And, by extension, widespread adoption of NFC into iOS devices could give some much needed momentum to NFC in the smart home as well.

CONSTRAINTS
While advances in mechanical door locks have made them more secure over the past few thousand years, the relationship between people, doors and door locks have not changed: person + key = entry. With residential doors locks now incorporating IT and wireless connectivity, it seems possible that this relationship can be more convenient, efficient and secure. Perhaps locks can even be built-in to the doors, removing the need for a door knob. However, even though locks are no longer constrained by the complications of mechanical designs, it will be a while before radical changes will be affordable to most people.

The idea of futuristic doors that automatically open and close are nothing new; they can be seen in retail stores, hospitals, offi ce buildings and more. The problem is they are still too expensive for most homeowners, more so when security is added into the mix. “An automated system of your front door opening automatically on your approach in the manner you live your life with the affordable technology present today is not reality,” Wyckoff said. There are also other problems that have yet to be solved in products that cater to the average consumer. “Can every front door be aligned and insulated properly? What are suitable jams and thresholds? How about power availability?” Wyckoff asked. “Yes, but not at an acceptable cost to the masses. When addressing the mass market, we must respect what their front door looks like; in North America, it's a traditional door with a deadbolt cylindrical tubular lock. That door may swell with the seasons. That door may not quite latch properly and the deadbolt may even be used to simply hold it shut from a gentle breeze.”

“If I had a lot of extra money, there are materials and craftspeople that could install a very fancy entry system for me,” Wyckoff continued. “That system may not have UniKey's touch-to-open entry making it simple, but I bet it would be nice; I may just need to take out a second mortgage in order to pay for it. One of my kids may even have to forego college.”

MOVING FORWARD
The trade-off between what is possible and its cost of implementation places a limit at the front door, so it is safe to assume that the door itself will not go through any radical changes in the near future. However, the locks that are fitted onto the doors will see some interesting developments over the next few years. The standard key has worked for hundreds of years and is based on mature technology and manufacturing processes, making them cheap to produce and easy to replace. Smartphones, on the other hand, are much more expensive to replace—although opening the front door would probably be the least of a user's worries if the smartphone is misplaced. While it is unlikely that smartphones will replace mechanical keys in the near future, the introduction of smart locks show a glimmer of hope for better residential access control systems going mainstream.

 Video Doorphones Move Beyond Access Control
Video doorphones, or video intercoms, have evolved from mere entry management systems into into multifunctional devices that support network connectivity and home automation features. Video doorphones for smart home serve as the core of a smart home, integrating security, communication and home automation features. Video door phone systems generally comprises control monitors and and door stations with built-in megapixel cameras. Popular features consist of inter-building and remote communication, access control and guest monitoring.

However, manufacturers have a hard time differentiating their products from those of competitors because the industrial design needs to be conservative to be compatible with many types of decor and cannot follow design trends because product life is often tens of years. New features are also difficult to introduce because the system needs to be reliable. According to Amroad, “when functions are very similar, establishing a positive emotional connection with users is the key. Hence, design and quality are an important driver to differentiate a brand from another. Making durable products, from the aesthetical and material point of view, is essential. “Deployment is another big differentiation factor. Right now, installing these products is difficult, time-consuming, expensive. It is a task that can be completed only by highly trained technicians. However, in the next few months well designed systems will allow for quick and reliable installations in a matter of minutes, resulting in lower prices for clients and more efficient maintenance.”

TOP10 most popular security products for July 2014

TOP10 most popular security products for July 2014

Editor / Provider: Michelle Chu | Updated: 8/15/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

asmag.com is honored to disclose the TOP10 for July 2014, as the summer has hit the record-high temperature all around the world!

Let's go through the award list in July quickly:

There are 7 manufacturers making it into the TOP10 ranking in July. Although this is not the first enter for most of the companies, every product on the list is definitely new face in town!

Bosch, Dahua, and Hikvision are taking two seats respectively, while others go to ioteo, Nextchip, Samsung, and VIVOTEK. Among these awarded suppliers, most of the suppliers are coming from Asia – Dahua and Hikvision from China; VIVOTEK from Taiwan; Nextchip and Samsung from Korea. On the other hand, couple of leading European providers, Bosch Security Systems and ioteo, are seen in this list, taking three seats in total.

Taken as a whole, the TOP10 for July has shown a wide and diverse interests from the visitors; nevertheless, it is obvious that smart home applications have made up half of the list, suggesting that the Internet of Things and smart home market show a promising aspect. Camera wise, dome cameras, mini-cam, and devices come with PTZ function are most favored. Interestingly, this is the first time that a Wi-Fi camera included in TOP10. Apart from cameras and DVR, touch screen keypad, AHD, and smart home solution can also be seen in the ranking in July.

1. Dahua Smart Home Solution


Drum roll please, ladies and gentlemen! The crown of the TOP10 for July has finally given to a different player! Dahua Smart Home Solution took a total of 462-click in one month, climbing to the top of the ranking in July. Asian visitors has contributed almost half of the credit with 201 clicks; readers from America takes up about one third of the crowds.

Dahua Smart Home Solution adopts TCP/IP protocol, integrating video intercom, home security, remote control, and alarm systems altogether. This product enables the users to remotely control the systems via smart devices and watch real-time monitoring.

*While smart home market becomes blooming, Dahua Smart Home solution, the new comer in smart home business, is definitely a big challenge to players in the industry. For the review of smart home seminar held by a&s SMAhome Magazine in August, please check here.

2. ioteoCam Wi-Fi camera


With 434-clicks in total running behind as the second place, ioteoCam Wi-Fi camera got the second place in July, showing equal popularities from America, Asia, and Europe areas – Asia received 138-click; America 134; Europe 131.

ioteoCam features cloud management, cloud storage, inccidents notification, and 5-miniute easy setup, allowing users to view live streaming video and play-back recording from smart devices directly from anywhere anytime. This intuitive device is perfectly made for users from homes and small businesses verticals.

3. VIVOTEK FD8168 Ultra-mini Fixed Dome Network Camera


The thrid place of the TOP10 for July goes to VIVOTEK FD8168 Ultra-mini Fixed Dome Network Camera, taking an amount of 403 clicks from all around the world – 35% coming from American area; 28% and 29% from Asian and European countries respectively.

This VIVOTEK 2-megapixel ultra-mini fixed dome provides real-time recording under a resolution of 1280x720, and 15 frames per second at 1920x1080. It may be super-mini, but nothing comes less within it. Featuring easy installation, and other than that, this camera is also embedded with MicroSD/SDHC/SDXC card slot for on-board storage.

4. Samsung Techwin SNP-6320H 2MP Full HD Network PTZ


The 2-megapixel full HD network PTZ by Samsung, SNP-6320H, is seated at the fourth place with 319-click in July. This Samsung's latest full HD PTZ draws a wide interest from the american visitors, taking up almost half of the overall click-through rate. Falling right behind is Asia (31%), as the readers from European countries only take up 17%.

This IP66-rated network PTZ is equipped with 32x optical and 16x digital zoom lens and embedded with H.264 dual codec, fearuting functions not only Day & Night mode, wide dynamic range, but also auto tracking, intelligent video analytics, bi-directional audio support.

To get a&s‘ latest collection of high speed dome cameras, please click here.

5. Dahua 7224/7232L 24/32CH 960H Standalone DVR


Falling slightly behind, Dahua 960H Standalone DVR, the second triumph of Dahua in July, takes the fifth place with 315-click, gaining the most click-through rate, 147 clicks, from American readers; whereas 33% comes from Asia and 21% from Europe.

This Dahua 960H standalone DVR features 1080p realtime preview, supporting all channel real time recording and simultaneous realtime playback and multiple network monitoring. This 960H DVR model has 3D intelligent positioning with Dahua PTZ dome cameras.

6. Hikvision DS-2CD2Q10FD-IW 1MP Mini IR PT Camera


The sixth place goes to Hikvision Mini IR PT Camera, DS-2CD2Q10FD, obtaining a popularity of 310-click from the visitors all around the world – American areas take up 44% by 134 clicks; 38% is coming from Asia; 15% is dedicated by European.

This adorable-looking cam from Hikvision features HD720p real-time video recording, PIR detection (line-crossing detection etc.), IR LEDs at a distance up to 10-meter, and motorized pan/tilt rotation.

7. Bosch AUTODOME 7000HD Dome Camera


The seventh honor of the TOP10 for July 2014 goes to Bosh AUTODOME 7000HD Dome Camera. Clicks-through rate from American region accounts up to 50% of the total 307-click; whereas Asia and Europe share other 43% with 130 clicks.

This high-resolution full HD PTZ camera by Bosch delivers real-time surveillance video at 1080p, coming along with 20x dome just in case the users need more detail in the picture. Furthermore, this PTZ camera is equipped with intelligent tracking with on-board Intelligent Video Analytics (IVA).

8. Nextchip AHD(Analog High Definition)


Nextchip Analog High Definition has aroused high attention of the Asian visitors with 161 clicks, marking more than 50% of the total click-through rate; in the mean time, guests from American and European countries got about other 140 clicks in total.

Analog High Definition (AHD) is an alternative standard for HD data transmission solution which is trending now. AHD1.0 Tx/Rx transmits data of 720p at 25fps or 30fps with minimized data loss, supporting COMET and CVBS simultaneously.

*AHD, along with HDCVU, and HDTVI, are seen as the popular potential solutions for analog market. Just early in this August, Dahua makes a significant step, partnering with HDcctv Alliance to promote its patented HDCVI technology, which is expected to increase its interoperability among brands of devices. For story of Dahua's strategic decision, please see here.

9. Hikvision DS-2DF1-57A 1.3MP Network Speed Dome


The ninth of TOP10 ranking for July is taken by Hikvision DS-2DF1-57A 1.3MP Network Speed Dome, Hikvision's second awarded product in July, with a total of 281-click. As a majority of 45% of the click-through rate is coming from American areas, visitors from Europe and Asia take up even more as a whole with 48%.

This 1.3MP Speed Dome is embedded with H.264 video impression techonology, coming with wide dynamic range function and enabling the end users to record pictures of 25fps at 720p. Meanwhile, users have options of 18x optical or 12x digital zoom.

10. Bosch B942 Touch Screen Keypad


Only couple clicks behind the previous awardee, Bosch B942 Touch Screen Keypad, as the second product by Bosch included within the ranking for July, received 279 clicks in last month. A definate majority of the visitors are coming from American areas; Asian and European regions take up about 40%, while Africa and Oceania is less than 10% in total.

This keypad by Bosch gives prominence to its beautiful modern design and color graphic touch screen display, and with the built-in presence detector, the light gose on automatically when user approaches the keypad. Instead of merely using pass code, this system allows use of a token as replacement; or for use with dual authentication for higher security.

 

* Please note that the above statistics are not based on the sum of clicks but the accumulation of IP addresses. 
For last month's TOP10 products, click here.

Thermal imaging cameras: A cost-effective solution for perimeter protection

Thermal imaging cameras: A cost-effective solution for perimeter protection

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by FLIR | Updated: 8/11/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Today, the challenge for CCTV professionals is to make sure that video footage is effective on a 24/7 basis, 365 days a year. Securing an area during the daytime is one thing. But what happens during the night? And in weather conditions like fog, rain and snow? What can be detected if CCTV cameras are blinded by the sun?

As CCTV systems become more advanced, the security industry will increasingly focus on CCTV installations for 24 hour surveillance, not just day-time operation. To be truly secure, a site must be protected day and night.

A number of tools are available to help detect potential intruders in the dark. Often different technologies are being combined to create a secure perimeter. Fences can be complemented with Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) systems with or without active infrared illumination or old fashioned light bulbs, Radio Frequency Intruder Detection (RAFID) systems, thermal imaging cameras and/or walking patrols. Whatever solution or technology is chosen for securing an area, they all have their advantages and disadvantages and some technologies are more expensive than others. To get a full picture of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for a certain solution, not only the initial purchase cost, but also the installation and maintenance costs need to be considered. Some solutions consume a lot of power and need a lot of spare parts. Environmental and energy consumption issues are high on the global agenda today. Given that $1 from every $5 spent globally is used on lighting, and much of this is spent on inefficient and unnecessary lighting, particular attention should be paid to this area. Saving energy by looking at running costs will become increasingly important. Local authorities and private industries are all looking at methods to save energy costs and lighting is one area that will receive due attention.

Quite a number of technologies are available to help detect potential intruders in the dark before they become a real hazard. Let's compare some of them:

The total cost of seeing at night

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) combined with traditional lighting
CCTV systems have been an effective tool for security and surveillance applications. However, just like the human eye, CCTV cameras do not see too much in total darkness. So in order to detect intruders at night they are often complemented with traditional lights by mains driven bulbs. Although some bulbs (fluorescent lamps, HID lamps) are more efficient than others, the operational cost remains very high. Light can only penetrate a certain distance and completely illuminating an area, so that it can be kept under surveillance of CCTV cameras, is not always possible. Powering and maintaining the lights can even be more costly.

CCTVs with traditional lamp lighting require lamp replacement every 2,000 to 4,000 hours or about every 8 months. Significant labour and material costs are associated with lamp replacement. Light pollution is a global problem caused by inefficient, intrusive and unnecessary use of artificial light. Symptoms include glare, clutter over-illumination and sky glow. Light pollution is an increasingly hot political topic given recent government legislation to control and punish light pollution. In some locations light is also considered to be too intrusive.

Furthermore, lighting essentially lays out a route of attack for intruders, creating shadows in which they can hide and access undetected.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) combined with LEDs
Compared to any bulb, LEDs provide significant savings on electrical consumption. LEDs also provide long life performance with little ongoing maintenance costs.
Infrared illumination with LEDs, sometimes also called active infrared, beams infrared radiation into the area in front of a camera. The LEDs are often placed around the lens of the camera.
LED illumination is compromised by limited range performance. Also, providing lighting for domes has long been a challenge for CCTV professionals as the lighting cannot be fitted to move with the camera.

Electrified fences
In order to keep intruders out of certain areas, fences can be constructed. To further increase security, fences can be equipped with sensors that generate an automatic alarm when someone touches the fence. Or they can be electrified, to keep intruders away.
In all cases, fences need to be complemented, for example by CCTV cameras or walking patrols in order to see what is happening around the fence.

Radio Frequency Intruder detection (RAFID)
The simplest description of RAFID is to consider a system using two specially designed cables – one transmitting a radio wave, while the other receives that wave.
Changes in the amount of signal passing between the transmitter cable and receiver cable are analyzed by a signal processor. These changes indicate that someone or something is between the two cables, which will make an alarm go off. Due to the difference in signal strength, the system can detect whether these changes are due to the presence of a human, or a small animal. Note that in a lot of cases CCTV cameras still need to be installed in order to see what is generating a real, or false, alarm.

Thermal imaging 
A new tool for seeing in total darkness, and in extreme weather conditions, is thermal imaging. Thermal imaging is the use of a thermal imaging camera to "see" thermal energy emitted from an object. Thermal imaging cameras produce images of invisible infrared or "heat" radiation. Based on temperature differences between objects, thermal imaging produces a crisp image on which the smallest of details can be seen. They work both during daytime and nighttime. Thermal imaging is today widely recognized as the most effective detection solution and when used in conjunction with video analytics it is confirmed having the lowest false alarm rate and most accurate intrusion detection solution in the market.

Most FLIR Systems thermal imaging cameras contain an uncooled Vanadium Oxide detector. Not only does this produce excellent quality thermal images, since it is not containing any moving parts, it needs virtually no maintenance. Thermal imaging technology requires no additional lighting or illumination and has no regular maintenance costs. The FC series camera is now available with it's own onboard analytics, this creating a true edge detection device , both benefits of Thermal imaging and Video analytics are housed in the same camera.

Deciding which technology to use

Before making a final decision about which technology will be implemented to secure a perimeter at night, security managers should have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each technology. This is outlined in the table below.  

 

Advantages

Disadvantages

CCTV with traditional

lighting or LED

- Good visibility during daytime

- Relatively low initial cost

- A lot of cameras need to be installed to cover a large perimeter

- Limited detection at night. Light illuminates only certain small area.

- Limited capabilities in fog, rain,

- Civil works need to be carried out to install light poles

- High power consumption

- High maintenance cost for replacing the lights: material and manpower

Electrified Fence

- Creates a physical barrier

- Allows to stop intruders

- Works during the night as well

- High installation cost

- Full civil works needed

- Power consumption

- Needs to be complemented with CCTV to see if alarm is false or not.

Light or infrared illumination needed during the night to do this.

RAFID or Sensor Cable

- Fully automated system

- Works in total darkness

- High installation cost

- Full civil works needed

- Troubleshooting and maintenance after installation

- Many unwanted alarms

- Needs to be complemented with CCTV to see if alarm is false or not.

Light or infrared illumination needed during the night to do this.

Thermal imaging

- Full awareness

- Can be used day and night

- Works in practically all weather conditions.

Can see through light fog, rain, smoke, ...

- No downtime, low maintenance

- Low power consumption

- Extremely difficult to hide from since thermal contrast is practically impossible to mask

-Excellent cueing sensor for high powered zoom PANT TILT SYSTEMS

- No physical barrier

- Potential intruders are easily spotted but not identified

Case study : lower investment for thermal imaging
As is shown in the advantages and disadvantages table on the previous page, thermal imaging cameras have many advantages for perimeter protection. To make a final decision, however, the purchase cost of the system needs to be considered. Below you'll find a comparison between the required number of units for perimeter protection systems based on CCTV cameras versus systems based on thermal imaging cameras. In this simplified example, the cost of personnel and equipment during the installation and the cost in maintenance and power bills are not included, as they might vary strongly depending on available infrastructure, local power rates and local wages. In all cases these costs will be directly proportional to the amount of equipment and on the usage of lighting. Even though the price of one single thermal imaging camera might be higher than the price of a CCTV camera, the overall investment costs for a thermal imaging camera perimeter protection system is actually lower, in this case 28% lower. The larger the perimeter, the bigger this difference will become. Since thermal imaging cameras require no lighting to function and given the fact that fewer cameras are needed with the thermal imaging perimeter protection solution, this system will also consume less electricity than the CCTV solution, making the thermal solution less expensive in its upkeep than the CCTV solution.

Assumptions:
- An industrial perimeter of 700 meters needs to be protected with the perimeter protection system.
- The perimeter needs to be secured day and night, in all weather conditions. This means that CCTV cameras are limited in terms of distance that can be covered by the infrared illuminators.

Even though the price of one single thermal imaging camera is higher than the price of a CCTV camera, in this example the total investment costs for a thermal imaging camera perimeter protection system is 38% lower.

Conclusion
Although all technologies have advantages and disadvantages a small calculation makes it clear that thermal imaging is a very good and a very cost effective solution for protecting a perimeter, especially if this perimeter, like in practically all cases, also needs to be protected during the night.
In this technical note, we have demonstrated that for thermal imaging systems, not only maintenance costs are lower (power, spare parts, etc.), but already the initial purchase cost of a thermal system is lower than a CCTV system.

Although a single thermal imaging camera is more expensive than a CCTV camera, fewer cameras need to be deployed to cover the same area. The civil works that need to be carried out are minimal. In some cases, the cameras can even be mounted on existing structures. Furthermore, since thermal imaging cameras produce a clear image in the darkest of nights, no complementary technologies like lighting or infrared illuminators need to be installed. Not only does this limit the amount of civil works that needs to be carried out, it also reduces the maintenance cost.

Thermal imaging cameras also generate fewer false alarms which is a common problem with CCTV cameras combined with Video Motion Detection or Video Content Analysis software.

 

 

Banking on enhanced security, business with intelligent video

Banking on enhanced security, business with intelligent video

Editor / Provider: Willam Pao, a&s International | Updated: 8/7/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Security has long been the primary focus of management at banks. But security aside, banks are also looking for ways to reach out to more potential customers and get business from them. Intelligent video offers a solution for both objectives: modern video analytics helps banks fight crimes more easily, at the same time enabling them to identify who their potential customers are and how to get to them.

No other verticals need surveillance more than banks, which process a humongous amount of money daily and are constantly faced with the need to secure themselves against robberies and fraudsters who steal money with more complex schemes. In fact, fraud has become quite costly for banks around the world. According to the European ATM Security Team, total ATM-related fraud incidents increased from 20,244 in 2011 to 22,450 in 2012, and losses resulting from these incidents rose by 13% from US$318.2 million to $360.4 million. As for the U.S., the Secret Service reports $8.5 billion is lost annually through credit card fraud schemes, including ATM skimming.

Fraudulent activities are indeed issues that banks have to deal with on a regular basis. Skimming, or the capturing of users' bank card and PIN numbers via skimming devices and pinhole cameras strategically installed on ATMs, is quite rampant. “Catch Me If You Can” type of deals, where fraudsters cash fake checks at different bank branches, also happens from time to time.

While banks have been using video surveillance for quite a while, traditional technologies only offer a reactive solution — investigating events after they happen. But now, with more intelligence in video solutions, banks can take a more proactive approach for crime detection and prevention. For example, through VCA, or analytics, bank security personnel can detect loitering, objects left behind in a facility, unauthorized personnel entry, ATM skimming, and other security breaches and do something about it. “Banks are becoming more aware of these benefits.

Security directors and other stakeholders are exploring how they can leverage these benefits to other departments and users within their organization,” said Jim Moran, Product Management Director of Intelligent DVRs at Verint Systems.

CRACKING DOWN ON FRAUD
As fraudulent transactions at ATMs happen frequently, VCA solutions are available to help banks deal with them. For example, someone loitering at the ATM area but not making any transactions may be up to something, for instance trying to pull a skimming scheme. An alarm would then be sent to relevant authorities who can take actions. “A video analytics solution can effectively monitor people or vehicles loitering in a specific area around the ATM. The solutions now also have the intelligence to detect people running through a scene, which can be a sign of suspicious behavior following an incident,” said Daniel Wan, Channel Marketing Manager for UK & IRE at Honeywell Security Group.

By linking surveillance video with transaction data, stealing money from ATMs can be investigated with more ease and facility. Just enter the account number from which the money was stolen, and the system will return images of all ATM withdrawals associated with that account number over a certain period. This will enable fraud investigators to easily spot withdrawals by someone not associated with that account. If facial recognition is included in the solution, the system would immediately pull all images of the suspect visiting the branch over a period, say a month, instead of having the investigator examine piles upon piles of videos. “Supposed there are 36 cameras at a branch, times one month, that's about 26,000 hours of videos,” said Masa Karahashi, Senior VP of Engineering at 3VR. “If I didn't have facial recognition, there's no way I could look for videos where a specific person comes up.”

And intelligent video solutions do not just end at the ATM vestibule. What's going on inside the bank can also be monitored and analyzed by VCA to guard against fraud. Typically, fraudsters cash bogus checks in amounts too small for banks to take further actions. The fraudster then goes to other banks and does the same thing. Again, incidents like these underscore the importance of VCA with facial recognition, which can capture the face of the suspect and call up all videos in which the suspect has appeared over a particular period of time. This will facilitate the investigation and prosecution procedures by law enforcement officials.

What's more, video surveillance at banks not only clamps down on fraud, the mere presence of it serves as a visual deterrent that tells potential fraudsters “We're watching you.” “For example, some banks use public view monitors that display the camera images to show customers they are being recorded,” said Moran. “There is also signage advising customers of video surveillance.”

DRIVING BUSINESS
Besides security, video analytics also helps banks in another major way — driving business. Thanks to VCA, video solutions at banks can analyze the length of queues, the gender and age of ATM users, and other behavior exhibited by customers. These data can help banks reach out to more people and enhance the overall banking experience.

It goes without saying that banks have a pretty good idea of who their customers are. But what about ATM users who are not customers? With ATMs so seamlessly connected to each other across the world, it's quite common that customers of a particular bank withdraw money from another bank's ATM. This represents a good opportunity for banks to reach out to potential customers through ads that appear on ATM screens, yet oftentimes these non-customer ATM users are left ignored and untargeted.

“Without the age and gender information of the customers, they would be showing an advertisement randomly. When I use ATMs from another bank, I've seen ATM showing me an ad for reverse mortgage,” said Karahashi. “I'm not even done paying for my primary mortgage, so I don't need a reverse mortgage. But if they know my approximate age and gender, then they could be showing a more relevant ad like ‘would you like to refinance,‘ or that kind of advertisement.”

This is where analytics comes in. VCA-enabled solutions can determine ATM users' gender and possible age. Ads or messages that the system considers are suitable for them would then either pop up on the ATM screen or show up on their receipts to get their attention. Customer behavior can also be analyzed by VCA to help banks develop better sales or marketing strategies. “If there are promotional signs or offers on display in a particular branch, such as home equity loans advertisements, intelligent video can be used to observe whether customers are viewing and responding to these in-store promotions or walking right past them,” said Matt Frowert, Director of Marketing, Financial Services, and Government at Tyco Integrated Security. “With this type of data, banks can re-position in-store advertising and monitor if these locations receive better response rates.”

Last but not least, the overall banking experience can improve with intelligent video solutions, which, for example, can determine when a line is too long. “Nothing puts off customers like a snaking queue up the middle of the store. Again, video analytics normally applied for security purposes can provide a bank manager with a way of tracking the buildup of queues and alerting the relevant staff accordingly in order to ensure customers are served in a timely fashion,” Wan said.

INTELLIGENCE MATTERS
Intelligent video, with its advanced analytical capabilities, is the perfect fit for banks, which need these capabilities to pinpoint and track down criminals. On top of that, intelligent video solutions help banks reach out to more people and enhance the overall banking experience. The next time you see a promotional message popping up on the ATM machine that somehow fits you perfectly, chances are that's analytics at work.

Dahua roadshow in Italy strengths local presence with Videotrend

Dahua roadshow in Italy strengths local presence with Videotrend

Editor / Provider: Dahua | Updated: 7/28/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Dahua Technology  held a road show in Milan, Italy, partnering with local distributor Videotrend S.r.l. in early July.

The event attracted more than a hundred installers attended, coming from or at the adjacency of Milan. At the event, Dahua and Videotrend jointly introduced to the audience the latest products, including complete HDCVI solution, eco-savvy network cameras and video door phone system. During the event attendees also had hand-on experiences.

Dahua's complete HDCVI portfolio, which includes cameras, Tri-brid DVRs, transmission devices, converters as well as matrix, had attracted high attention. Besides, Tri-brid DVR is compatible with three signals — analog, IP as well as HDCVI, allowing HDCVI to be integrated with more possibilities and solving interoperability issue to facilitate the technology adoption in the industry.

“We are very satisfied about results that we reach with our partner Dahua,” said Mr Pasquale Totaro, President of Videotrend. “It's a natural result for company that work with passion and right cooperation and this 100 people think the same with us.”

“Exactly,” said Elmer Zhang, Sales Director of Europe at Dahua Technology. “We appreciate this good partnership and will continue to go on the tour this summer in Italy, next stop is Naples, after that, we will try to reach more cities, to let more people know Dahua by talking to them by face to face meet-ups.”

LILIN IP camera range integrated with iDefender VMS from Selcom

LILIN IP camera range integrated with iDefender VMS from Selcom

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by LILIN | Updated: 7/14/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

One of the most significant LILIN CCTV systems has been deployed in the city of Pescara, Italy (Italian: Montesilvano). This set of LILIN video surveillance system was widely applied for city surveillance and traffic monitoring in Montesilvano. LILIN, a 33-year-old global surveillance camera manufacturer, is in a partnership with Selcom, one of the leading systems integrators in Italy who offers the best-in-class Video Management Software (VMS) – iDefender – providing a user-friendly and intuitive design that is able to manage cameras with optimal operating experience. iDefender VMS software delivers centralized video management which is capable of managing cameras located across multiple locations. ANPR License Plate Recognition technology can be integrated into iDefender as well.

The project
A total of 60 Pro series IPR-438ESX3.6 network cameras were installed based on strategic points. These electronic eyes are meant to safeguard the city center and are therefore positioned at the border areas in the city of Montesilvano, Città Sant'Angelo and Pescara to monitor city traffic.

Furthermore, another 18 cameras were installed in the waterfront touristic area to monitor nocturnal activities around the hotels, station and surrounding areas.

Installed products
* 60 pieces of Pro Series camera, IPR-438ESX3.6, were installed to deliver quadruple streaming at 15 frames per second;
* iDenfender VMS video management software;
* ANPR License Plate Recognition software, ID-PLATE;
* External storage system NAS.

How the system works
The iDefender VMS platform provides the recording of high-definition streams and the storage Smart car plates reading with a direct management of each individual camera device. The IPR-438ESX3.6 cameras offer a high-quality streaming output of 3 megapixels at 15 frames per second, which allows both a direct registration on camera board. With handy internal SD card in each camera, the server featuring centralized registration that can effectively perform analysis. The integration between iDefender VMS software and LILIN cameras enabled the end users to use license plate recognition and store a huge amount of data. The system will then be cross referencing the 2 lists of data (White List and Black List – these are the two lists provided by local municipality). LILIN Italy is proud to participate in this project to improve the safety of people for the city of Pescara in Italy.

 

Sponsored by: 
LILIN is a global IP video manufacturer with over 30 years of experience. Throughout the years, the company has maintained its dedication to Creativity, Progress, and Excellence providing expertise in digital video with a strong focus on innovation moving forward.

Samsung Techwin unveils 2MP Full HD 32 x PTZ speed dome

Samsung Techwin unveils 2MP Full HD 32 x PTZ speed dome

Editor / Provider: Samsung Techwin | Updated: 7/9/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Samsung Techwin has further strengthened its formidable family of open platform WiseNetIII cameras and domes with the launch of the SNP-6320, the 2MP Full HD 32 x optical zoom PTZ speed dome.

In addition to its powerful 32 x optical zoom, the ONVIF compliant SNP-6320 is also equipped with a 16 x digital zoom making it an ideal IP network based video surveillance solution for airports, ports, car parks, industrial estates and retail parks, as well as a wide range of other environments where high performance PTZ functionality is required.

“The SNP-6320, together with the vandal-resistant and weatherproof SNP-6320H, which incorporates a heater that is powered by PoE+ to allow it to operate in extreme weather conditions, represent a significant addition to our extensive range of open platform WiseNetIII 1.3, 2 and 3 megapixel IP network cameras and fixed domes,” said Tim Biddulph, Product Manager for the Security Solution division of Samsung Techwin Europe Ltd. “Collectively they are enabling Samsung Techwin to change the way you work with IP. One of the key reasons for this is the open platform capabilities of the WiseNetIII DSP chipset which provides users with complete freedom to choose their perfect combination of video analytics and video management software (VMS) to best match their individual requirements.”

The enhanced Wide Dynamic Range built into the WiseNetIII DSP chipset, with performance greater than 120dB, can accurately produce images in scenes that simultaneously contain very bright and very dark areas. The SNP-6320 and SNP-6320H's other key features include Defog which can improve the clarity of images captured in poor weather conditions such as rain, smoke or fog and Digital Image Stabilization, which negates the effects of vibration. Both are specifically important in the perimeter protection environments such as ports and airports. The models also feature bi-directional audio that allows them to be interfaced with local PA systems. All of these features have been designed to save installation time and cost.

The SNP-6320H and SNP-6320 can capture high quality colour images when the lighting level is as low as 0.03 Lux and have an ultra fast frame rate of 60fps at 1080p allowing the domes to send multiple streams at multiple frame rates and resolutions, depending on the receiving device, e.g. recorder, viewing software or mobile app. This can be particularly beneficial at sites where different stakeholders are involved. Samsung's WiseNetIII utilisation of bandwidth friendly H.264 compression improves the network control latency of the domes, making the manually tracking of objects simple and straightforward.

A built-in SD/SDHC/SDXC memory slot provides the opportunity for authorised users to remotely access and download video that has been recorded onto a memory card.

The new models are also equipped with Intelligent Video Analytics (IVA) which can assist in the detection of activity by various means, such as face detection, tripwire and enter/exit direction, object appear/disappear and ‘tampering', which creates an alert if paint is sprayed on a camera lens or there is unauthorised movement of a camera away from its usual field of view.

As is the case with all Samsung Techwin video surveillance solutions, the SNP-6320H and SNP-6320 are offered with full support services from Samsung Techwin Europe Ltd, including free system design, free technical support and a full three-year warranty.

The future of video surveillance is in the cloud

The future of video surveillance is in the cloud

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by ioteo | Updated: 7/9/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

The global market for cloud-based video surveillance, also known as Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS), will continue to grow in the coming years due to an increasing demand for simple and affordable solutions that provide exceptional safety and security features.

Large companies are already making big bets on this burgeoning market through acquisitions and other initiatives. Recent acquisitions show that the market is indeed moving toward fee-based premium services and products, while mediocre “free” solutions that offer minimal value propositions to end users are becoming increasingly unviable from both a business model perspective and a customer retention perspective.

“The IP video surveillance market has to evolve its business model to better adapt to changing market dynamics. Remember Kodak? Your children won't. It dismissed digital photography as a passing fad, and its arrogance prevented it from seeing a world where photographic films was becoming increasingly irrelevant; as a result, the company itself became irrelevant,” said Luc Deleu, President of ioteo. “Hardware prices are dropping with each passing day, and camera manufacturers need to devise new strategies to ship more units and build recurring revenue. In mature markets like the EU and U.S.A., consumers welcome new technologies that can improve their lives and are willing to pay for superior service—this represents a huge opportunity for camera manufacturers.”

“We offer an innovative cloud-based video surveillance solution that can help camera manufacturers capitalize on their strengths and take advantage of this opportunity. Our firmware empowers an IP camera with more efficient bandwith optimization, enhanced security and more reliable motion detection, not to mention 30 days of continuous recording stored in a highly secured environment,” added Henry Ho, VP Asia of ioteo. “It is easy to install and even simpler to use. In fact, installation is so simple that even analog surveillance installers love it! The much lower acquisition cost also means more sales to end-users.”

ioteo is a leading provider of IoT solutions in Europe. Beginning 2014, ioteo will further strengthen its relationship with camera manufacturers around the world. A new office in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan, will support the company's expansion strategies; the company also has plans to upgrade its infrastructure in major European markets to support a larger user base—up to 150,000 cameras. Furthermore, the company is constantly establishing stable distribution channels to drive business growth and has recently rolled out a multilingual web portal and call center to more effectively support professional installers.

Looking for new hardware and channel partners
Is there real business value in cloud-based video surveillance services? In short, yes. Many manufacturers have already integrated ioteo's firmware into their cameras to support the use of ioteoCloud. With ioteo's solution and an optional ioteoCloud subscription, IP cameras can incorporate cloud-based features and services that replace expensive video surveillance systems and all the troubles that come with them, such as the use of NVRs and complicated installation processes.

“We are continuously looking for new hardware and channel partners,” Luc said. “Our technologies provide our partners with access to cloud-based services free of charge, while revenue sharing opportunities create a win-win situation where everyone can benefit from this transitioning market.”

Sponsored by: 
ioteo was founded by Luc DELEU, Hans BOOT et Jean-Luc LENART; with a vast experience in online services they are the people behind success stories at Atos and MagicPhone / Tellme.

LILIN security solution deployment empowers SMBs do more with less

LILIN security solution deployment empowers SMBs do more with less

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by LILIN | Updated: 6/23/2014 | Article type: Tech Corner

In today's economy, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and their IT organizations need to “do more with less.” The migration from traditional analogue to IP is underway in the SMB sector. We see the migration to IP growing relatively fast in the past 2 years since IP systems provide better resolution, pictures, and overall delivery of the features of video products.

LILIN provides great ways to cut cost and complexity for SMBs. SMBs have considerably smaller budgets in terms of security needs compared to their larger enterprise counterparts. Typically, the sales cycle of SMBs is much shorter than those of large enterprises, as there is less inter-departmental decision making needed. In general, it will take less than 3 months from point of enquiry through quotation, site survey, and, lastly, to when the installation is complete.

In regards to product requirements, SMB sectors typically deploy up to sixteen cameras with storage needs of up to one month depending upon individual business nature. LILIN's compact L series, Pro series, and Auto Focus Z series IP based cameras were designed to target retailers as well as SMB users. In order to accommodate a range of storage requirements, it is very significant for video solutions to have future-proof scalable storage options.

Simplicity in installation is also essential requirements for the SMB sector. LILIN developed its SMB solution based upon a plug-n-play approach to simplify installation and operation. The plug-n-play approach enables installers with only basic IT expertise to easily deploy an IP video solution.

LILIN NVRs are able to record at 1080P and footage stored on the NVR can be remotely playback on handheld devices including iOS and Android platforms. Standalone NVR Touch series comes with plug-n-play usability, which auto detects LILIN network cameras through IPScan utility with built in WS discovery technology is especially beneficial for SMB users who are not necessarily tech-savvy.

 

Sponsored by: 
LILIN is a global IP video manufacturer with over 30 years of experience. Throughout the years, the company has maintained its dedication to Creativity, Progress, and Excellence providing expertise in digital video with a strong focus on innovation moving forward.

Quadra: A technology hallmark for analog cameras by CP Plus

Quadra: A technology hallmark for analog cameras by CP Plus

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by Aditya Infotech | Updated: 6/23/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Analog video is a universal standard and has been in the industry for several decades. However, systems integrators (SIs) often face several challenges with analog cameras such as power fluctuations, burnt cameras, poor resolution, poor clarity, overheating, and much more. These hindrances can compromise the quality in analog solutions and become a problem for SIs later on. The R&D team at CP Plus TeknoLogix Lab carried out in-depth research and analysis on the limitations which are affecting the overall growth of the analog surveillance market. Considering the barriers, the CP Plus TeknoLogix Lab developed Quadra, a technology committed to advance the performance of analog cameras. Features such as bright view image, heatless design, and anti-IR reflection front glass are built into all CP Plus analog cameras to deliver quality performance in any environment and under any lighting condition.

Quadra Features: Extra Wide Voltage Range
Each camera offers a functional voltage range, for example, from 6 to 24 volts. The shorter cable length installations allow the lowest voltage draw. This wide voltage range ensures the cameras stay active through power fluctuations that may shut other cameras with different voltage range down. The other advantage offered is the ability of the camera to work safely with a faulty input power supply with variable voltages.

Powerful Surge Protection
The surge protection feature defines the ability of an electronic device to safely work under electrical surges that are prevalent in cases of short circuits and lightning.

BrightView Image
The BrightView feature enables cameras to produce crisp and clear images even in extreme lighting conditions — both dark and bright.

Heatless Design
Cameras with the heatless design feature have a high dissipation mechanism that allows users to be worry free of cameras overheating in a wide temperature range. The surface of the camera is build with a material that behaves like a conductor and starts radiating the heat. The camera material effectively conceals its temperature.

Anti-IR Reflect Front Glass
This feature improves light transmission by 90 percent. The anti-IR coating reduces brightness and sharpness to achieve improvement in the image quality. A thin layer of dielectric material causes the out-of-phase reflected waves from the anti-reflection coating and glass surface to result in zero net reflected energy.

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