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Int'l Sochi Airport monitored by Artec 3D facial recognition and XProtect Milestone system

Int'l Sochi Airport monitored by Artec 3D facial recognition and XProtect Milestone system

Editor / Provider: Artec | Updated: 9/14/2013 | Article type: Infrastructure

Elektronika, LLC has developed and implemented an integrated security system for the International Airport of Sochi that is to host the upcoming Winter Olympics 2014.

The network was designed in compliance with Aviation and Transportation Security legislation referring to Class I airports. It provides a wide range of functional capabilities including security monitoring and alarm situation detection, as well as its rapid response.

The entire airport premises are covered by the system network. There are over 550 HD video surveillance cameras working non-stop. The security system also involves united checkpoints and automatic alert detection. The object is monitored by a sole dispatch center collecting data from the entire airport zone.

The project is tailored to utilize intellectual capabilities of various technologies. The system is able to detect alarming situations and alert all on-duty airport security workers, as well as to facilitate required scenario execution. In case of emergency, dispatch operators receive verified and prioritized information.

Built on a singular software platform (ESM), the network combines the security technologies: video analysis, biometric access control systems based on fingerprint and 3D facial geometry recognition, electronic passes, situation management in accordance with various scenarios.

Nikolay Ovchenkov, Elektronika LLC CEO: “We have spent over a year engineering the security system of Sochi airport. One of the top-priority goals was to design a highly effective system that could be easily adapted into existing high speed work flow of the airport and become a trusted security solution. To achieve this goal we have selected the best technologies and solutions that function as a centralized network”. Victor Shesternin, Asset Protection Director Deputy, Bazel Aero: “The level of airport infrastructure security will hugely increase with installation of modern security systems, as it is highly important for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The whole project engages innovative approaches and solutions. Now, the airports of Sochi and Krasnodar are equipped with new generation systems.

More on technologies:
Incident management scenarios based on ESM platform (developed by Elektronika) ESM-based dispatch center manages the security network. ESM works with scenarios that imply certain responses to various threats, meaning that it provides event analysis and incident management with exact directions.

Benefits and innovative capabilities of ESM:
* No human factor mistakes. Each operator's performance is assessed and controlled.
* The system controls each stage of threat management.
* Capable of rapid response while complex situations
Security management system based on ESM software unites all resources offering full scale monitoring and level security automotive management, ACS algorithms and video surveillance support.

Airport access control with Broadway 3D Face Recognition System by Artec Group :
Broadway 3D, installed for airport workers access control, provides the highest security level available on the market. The system uses geometry of a human face – one of the most precise biometrics that is impossible to fool or fake. Broadway 3D was selected to be installed in the Sochi airport for its safety and fast performance. The system eliminates access of an unregistered person or unauthorized employee. In less than a second the system captures surface information, having analyzed about 40 thousand points on a user's face it builds a mathematical model and compares it to the database. It is capable of identifying a person on the walk, in hats or sunglasses. It can also tell apart identical twins. Moreover, the system offers a high throughput that is quite crucial while rush hours. Registration takes up to 2 seconds; throughput is 60 people per minute. The system of 3D facial recognition is integrated into the network under ESM management and works in a verification mode. A biometric template is stored in the database and its numeric number is assigned to each access card.

When a person enters though a checkpoint, he presents his card to a card reader. After that Broadway 3D performs facial recognition and compares it with 3D template in the database. If the information matches, Broadway 3D grants access to the person. The information is stored in ESM software. In addition, the solution is able to change work modes and algorithms of particular checkpoint per dispatcher's order.

Intellectual surveillance by XProtect Milestone system developed by Milestone
Xprotect Milestone system offers all the functions required for highly effective video surveillance, including live and recorded video view, dome and rotary IP cameras management. Milestone virtual matrix can direct video streams to any PCs which is quite important for multichannel systems of video surveillance. The solution is extremely functional, safe and has vast integration opportunities.

Morpho biometrics to defend US law enforcement agencies

Morpho biometrics to defend US law enforcement agencies

Editor / Provider: Morpho | Updated: 8/2/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Morpho is the provider of biometric and identity management solutions in the United States. Every day, a number of US law enforcement agencies rely on Morpho designed and developed automated biometric identification systems for their work.

One of the latest to come onboard is the Orange County Sheriff's Office in California. One of the top law enforcement agencies in the US, it joins a long list of others to put their trust in Safran subsidiary Morpho, the leading provider of biometric identification solutions (fingerprints, iris, facial recognition) today. Morpho's key strengths include its high-performance algorithms, which in a mere few seconds can match digital fingerprints taken on site to records in law enforcement databases. As Clark Nelson, Morpho Sales & Marketing Director, explains, “our Automated Fingerprint Identity Systems (AFIS) are light years ahead of the competition. That's what makes us at Morpho number one in our key markets. It is extremely difficult to accurately identify one digital fingerprint from a database with several millions of entries.”

Simple and accurate
Law enforcement officers take fingerprints using scanners, which then cross-check them against the AFIS databases. “We recently developed a portable terminal no bigger than a cell phone so it can be used on the go – like for ID checks in the street and at emergencies, etc. – without compromising the system's speed or accuracy,” says Nelson. “The police officer just asks the person to place a finger on the scanner surface. Then, it takes a digital copy of their fingerprint and searches for any possible matches in local and nation-wide databases.” While Morpho's AFIS currently boast 99.99% accuracy, Nelson assures us that “we're planning to invest so we can keep improving the system. A 0.01% improvement can make a huge difference in the amount of criminals caught.”

The FBI has also migrated to the latest generation of Morpho's digital fingerprint matching solution. Three times as accurate as the FBI's former system, the Morpho solution will make it possible to cross-check fingerprints from old crime scenes, potentially solving a backlog of cold cases.

Customer still comes first
“While we obviously appreciate the technology's performance, we're also especially receptive to customer service, and Morpho has always been extremely responsive and efficient,” says Karl Wilmes, Deputy Director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. And Clark Nelson, for whom customer service forms the very core of Morpho's commercial strategy, could not agree more: “we're here to build long-term relationships with our customers, and giving them the attention they need is one of the absolute fundamentals of our business policy. It's not just our technological prowess that wins us practically all of our calls for tender. We also owe it to the excellent relationships we have with our customers. Like the FBI for over 40 years and the Central Bureau of Investigation for over 20 years!”

Samsung SNP-6200 dome wins CCTV Product of the Year Award

Samsung SNP-6200 dome wins CCTV Product of the Year Award

Editor / Provider: Samsung Techwin | Updated: 7/26/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Samsung Techwin's SNP-6200 Full HD 20x PTZ network dome camera has been voted 2013 CCTV Product of the Year by the readers of PSI (Professional Security Installer) Magazine.

The prestigious award was announced at the PSI Premier Awards dinner which was attended by over 150 representatives from the security industry at Brocket Hall, Welwyn on 23rd July 2013. The awards are given in recognition of innovation and quality with the individual products both being nominated and voted for by professional security installers.

The ONVIF compliant SNP-6200 2 megapixel Full HD 20x PTZ network dome utilises Progressive Scan technology to provide sharp edges on moving subjects and vehicles. It supports dual-streaming of video using either H.264 and MJPEG compression and can therefore be simultaneously used for real-time monitoring, mobile monitoring, high quality or high-efficiency recording, SD memory recording and for E-mail notification purposes. It is also equipped with license-free Intelligent Video Analytics (IVA) and incorporates Samsung's Smart Codec technology which provides facial recognition and for specific areas of interest within a scene to be captured at a higher resolution than the rest.

“We are naturally delighted that one of our most popular dome cameras has been recognised by PSI readers for its high performance and reliability, as well as its long list of technically advanced features,” said Simon Shawley, General Manager, UK and Ireland for Samsung Techwin Europe. “The award coincides with the imminent launch of the SNP-6200RH which shares many of the features of the SNP-6200 but also has built-in IR LEDS which can illuminate objects at a distance of up to 100m by focusing the beam as the camera zooms, resulting in clear imaging even when the field of view is in total darkness.

Morpho biometric SmartGate secures passenger processing in Auckland Airport

Morpho biometric SmartGate secures passenger processing in Auckland Airport

Editor / Provider: Morpho | Updated: 7/24/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Morpho (Safran) launched the SmartGate Plus trial at Auckland International Airport in New Zealand in June 2013. SmartGate Plus is Morpho's next generation automated border control solution based on the use of biometric technology. New Zealand Customs Service (NZCS) will be testing the system during an operational trial at Auckland Airport with over 2,000 passengers per week expected to trial SmartGate Plus.

Since 2009, New Zealand's Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports have been using SmartGate to give eligible travellers the option of self-processing through passport control. The system uses facial recognition technology to compare facial images of the traveller against the data contained in the e-Passport's chip. The project has been a great success with the travelling public, with six millions travellers having used SmartGate, and over 70 % of eligible travellers currently using the system.

SmartGate Plus brings additional convenience as it speeds up traveller processing with a one-step process, eliminating the kiosk and ticket part of the current system. It uses e-gates that have a smaller footprint to meet the space constraints of airports whilst also having Morpho's latest workflow and biometric matching software. In addition to this, is the solution's ability to add other biometric capabilities such as fingerprint and iris recognition at a future stage.

“The success of SmartGate in New Zealand has been phenomenal with 6 million people having successfully used the technology since it was introduced in 2009, says Geoff Wilson, Customs Manager Passenger Facilitation at New Zealand Customs Service. “The biometric self-processing technology has streamlined passenger processing and provided a secure, efficient way to clear passport control and we are pleased to be involved in testing the next generation SmartGate Plus.”

“SmartGate Plus is a clear reflection of our collaborative approach with New Zealand Customs to create, build and deploy the next generation in border control solutions”, stated Bruno Pattyn, Managing Director of Morpho's local subsidiary, Morpho Australasia. This new technology has the capability to further simplify and speed up border processing in order to meet ever-evolving border challenges across the region.”

UK access control sees above-average growth

UK access control sees above-average growth

Editor / Provider: Alyssa Fann, a&s International (with reporting from John Shi) | Updated: 7/17/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

The global access control market is set to top US$2.3 billion globally by the end of 2013, up from $2.1 billion in 2011, according to a recent report by IMS Research (an IHS company). In terms of regional markets, however, the European market is slow as a whole, but that is not reflective of the entire region. For instance, in Assa Abloy's Q1 report, the company found positive growth in the Americas and Asia, but the European economy continued to weaken, which produced a negative outcome for its EMEA market and for the entrance systems product categories. However, while some southern parts of Europe experienced organic decline in the first quarter, other parts such as Russia, East Europe, Turkey, the Middle East, and Africa experienced satisfactory growth, driven by the introduction of new products, emerging markets within the EMEA region, specification of projects, and acquisitions.

Nevertheless, the access control market is growing amidst the tough environment. “Europe is challenging, especially the southern part of Europe, such as Italy and Spain. However, I think the access control part of the business is growing much faster than the average. In other words, even though the overall market is not growing, access control is still growing, and we are seeing a huge demand for all the new locks and technology, in spite of the sluggish market conditions,” said Tzachi Wiesenfeld, Executive VP and Head of EMEA at Assa Abloy.

Market Drivers
Several factors are driving the access control market. According to market intelligence provider Key Note, governments and businesses now hold an increasing amount of information about the public, consumers, and personnel. Together with the continuous threat of crime and terrorism, the need for more reliable and intelligent security systems to allow only authorized personnel into a particular site at a specified time becomes paramount.

The complexity of daily operations in an urbanized society has also driven the trend towards the integration of access control systems with other security systems.

“Over recent months we have seen a clear move from our clients and prospects towards a need for a more integrated approach but also with a view to taking advantage of new technology when it arrives over the coming years. This means that end users are starting to realize that they need to consider a solution that easily integrates with other devices. Being able to adapt access control and video to work together is still the main criteria,” noted Daryn Flynn, UK Sales Director at Nedap.

The U.K.
A European region where the access control sector is defying the general economic slowdown is the U.K. According to Key Note, the 2010 UK access control market was worth an estimated $476.3 million at the 2011 end-user prices. It further estimated that the UK access control market will grow by 12.7 percent between 2011 and 2015, driven by the recovery within the construction industry. This growth is expected to be subdued at first, due to construction output being hampered by public sector spending cuts. Growth is expected to be more significant as public sector spending recovers.

In the U.K., construction output and orders increased since 2010, generating demand for access control systems. In addition, the upgrading and refurbishment of old systems is also driving the market. “Upgrading is key driver of the market. We have a lot of projects where we upgrade old products with new products. This is not new to us though, because we estimate that two-thirds of our global business is from recurring revenue from the after-market, and only one-third is coming from new projects. Of course there are still new projects, but there are less of them compared to the past. However, the influence on us is only one-third, but on the other hand, the after-market is still going strong," noted Wiesenfeld.

Education
Even though the U.K. economy has remained relatively flat, the government increased spending in education, noted John Davies, MD of Time and Data Systems International (TDSi). The U.K. has an abundant number of old universities, many of them being the first few universities in the English-speaking world. Access control in these universities is updated as new technology is introduced into the market, such as electronic locks or integration.

According to Wiesenfeld, the education vertical has always been exciting in the U.K. “It's not new. There are hundreds and hundreds of universities and schools in the U.K., making it a huge vertical. Also, in the U.K. it is very common for students to live away from home. In dormitories, for example, the solutions required are very similar to hotels, and this makes electronic locks a natural application for them because it is easier to control, more flexible and a huge advantage over and above mechanical keys. So whilst it is not a new vertical sector, it is one that is still growing.”

“For example, universities and higher education institutes would likely install traditional electronic access controlled locks around the perimeter and main entrances of buildings, but use wireless electronic locks indoors. This enables the students to use the same smart card embedded with their credentials to access all the areas they need. Hence, for an education institute project, there might be 500 sets of locks secured via “traditional” access control, and 2,500 sets of wireless electronic locks which would be installed in halls of residence for example,” commented Davies on the education vertical.

NFC Uptake
The uptake of NFC technology for access control in universities is growing. “Unlike hotels, where there is high turnover of guests staying for a relatively short period of time, universities are more of closed environment, in that you know how many students there are and who they are. Therefore, despite the large population you can allocate access rights to each student for a term/ semester and there will be relatively few changes thereafter," said Peter Romanov, EMEIA Sales Leader of Standard EAC Solutions at Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.

In the future, as the technology becomes more mature, TDSi plans to incorporate it into their product offering. “In the next two or three years, we plan to incorporate NFC technology into our family of readers. In addition, facial recognition is becoming more prevalent as it identifies who you are, and then you could use your mobile phone and credential to access premises and facilities,” said Davies.

Currently, the NFC infrastructure is still developing. “In order to facilitate wide market adoption, universal NFC-enabled handsets to support the existing primary operating systems will be required. Network operators will intrinsically become part of the access control equation and, ultimately, the provisioning process. Solutions will also need to support open standards to foster the availability of interoperable products and future-proof the access control infrastructure, ensuring that in investments in today's technologies can be leveraged in the future. However, given the complexity and diversity of the mobile landscape itself, all development work will be a big undertaking,” said Antony Gibson, Channel Sales Manager for the U.K. and Nordics at HID Global.

Government
The wider economic environment has tightened government budgets, and the increase in energy costs have also prompted governments to look into energy saving methods. In Europe and the U.K. in particular, government buildings are starting to set targets on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. This calls for the integration of access control and building management. For example, the lights may only be triggered to turn on when the access control system sends a signal. Seeing a trend in this, TDSi, for example, began integrating access control with building management, video surveillance, and intruder alarms five years ago. While the governments have not specifically enforced emission reduction rules, there is still growing demand due to the rising costs of energy in Europe.

SMB
SMBs require access control too, but often lack the funds to take advantage of technology that is available to their larger counterparts. Salto Systems developed a solution to bring electronic access control systems to SMBs. “A cloud-based access control solution gives SMB owners the opportunity to install a wireless solution at the fraction of the cost of a hard wired access system. They only need to pay a subscription fee and with the system, they can easily manage their access control system in real-time and remotely, thus eliminating the problems and limitations of mechanical solutions,” said Marc Handels, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer at Salto Systems.

The access contorl market outlook is relatively positive. It is forecasted to grow slowly in the immediate future, but significantly in the long term. Improvements in technology, integration, and interoperability will drive competiveness in the market.

Safran/Morpho and Interpol enter into strategic biometric partnership

Safran/Morpho and Interpol enter into strategic biometric partnership

Editor / Provider: Safran | Updated: 7/12/2013 | Article type: Security 50

A partnership agreement will see Morpho (Safran) provide INTERPOL with a range of innovative biometric solutions and other technical support to enhance global security. The partnership covers the supply of automated biometric identification systems to INTERPOL, provision of state-of-the-art security solutions for the future INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI), as well as collaboration on the subject of border security.

Under the five-year partnership, Morpho's cutting-edge facial recognition technology will also be provided to INTERPOL as an additional criminal identification tool.

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said the constant and fast-moving evolution in biometric technology meant that private sector expertise and support through partnerships such as with Morpho were essential.

“As criminals employ ever more sophisticated ways to avoid detection, so too must law enforcement benefit from the latest advances in technology, especially in biometrics, to more effectively combat all forms of transnational crime,” said Mr Noble.

Since 1999, Morpho has provided INTERPOL with its Automated Fingerprint Biometric System (AFIS) enabling officers in all member countries to conduct checks and identify internationally wanted persons via INTERPOL's global network. Under the partnership, this system will be replaced with Morpho's latest-generation AFIS which includes enhanced capabilities and offers even greater speed.

Smart and Smarter?

Smart and Smarter?

Editor / Provider: Christine Chien, a&s International | Updated: 7/31/2013 | Article type: Tech Corner

Standard vs. High End
General functions of VCA include abandoned object detection; congestion detection; counter flow; motion detection; behavior recognition; trajectory tracking; shape-based detection/object tracking; theft detection; virtual tripwire; people/vehicle counting; face recognition; ALPR/LPR.

Some of these functions are common and standard while others are only available in high-end or advanced VCA. “The most common VCA systems base their alarms on motion detection (frame difference) or pixel analysis (background modeling). These systems often rely on characteristics such as object height and width, and require manually fine-tuning the VCA to achieve desired performance levels,” according to Mahesh Saptharishi, President and CTO of VideoIQ. Meanwhile, high-end VCAs are more universal and multi-faceted and offer a wide range of evaluation, analysis, and storage possibilities. “They can include advanced features such as conditional alarming or combination events such as ‘Alarm if Event A in Camera-1 and Event B in Camera-2 happens' and ability to send device triggers on VCA alarms,” said Sadiye Guler, Founder President of  intuVision. Advanced VCA incorporates background/foreground separation, auto-learning, and auto-calibration, on top of frame comparison; special-purpose analytics or high-end analytics go one step ahead and use recognition techniques in the image such as 2D and 3D face recognition and optical character recognition for ALPR/LPR to compare to existing database, according to Sumit Aggarwal, Founder of i2V Systems. “High-end VCA also has special features for accurate counting: including simultaneous bi-directional counting for people walking in groups or side-by-side, ignore suitcases, children's carriages, and shopping trolleys, shadow filters for front of store applications where sunlight and shadows coming through windows can cause problems, on-screen counters, in-camera counting database, count reporting, etc.,” added Geoff Thiel, CEO of VCA Technology.

Depending on user preference and application requirements, video intelligence in the front and back end has its demand across different sectors. Edge devices can be used in locations where standard VCA is enough, while server-based VCA can be used to analyze areas in need of more precise calculations due to the changing environment. With the different features provided by both high-end and standard VCA, operators are able to more efficiently monitor areas under surveillance.

Future intelligence aims to decrease false alarms

Future intelligence aims to decrease false alarms

Editor / Provider: Christine Chien, a&s International | Updated: 7/22/2013 | Article type: Tech Corner

False alarms are inevitable with current VCA technologies, and will probably continue to remain an issue for some years to come. What's important is minimizing the rates of false alarm in the VCA system for smoother operations and prevent wasting resources to address false alarms. False alarms can be set off by falling leaves, weather conditions, lighting reflections, and other common factors, especially in crowded settings where there are constant movements of people and objects. The more complicated a setting is, the more likely there will be false alarms. Multiple approaches – rule-based and/or artificial intelligence-based – can be taken to provide a solution. Different demographics will require different calibrations and sensitivity settings. Technologies such as continuous image learning to tackle light and background changes, object classification, or defining shape and size of zones, minimum and maximum of object size, time intervals, and time schedule to apply analytics can all help to reduce false alarms. “Self-learning algorithms are important and are the major tools to reduce false alarms. Most false alarms are created by non-alarm movements, such as waiving trees or rippling water,” said Achim Hauschke, CEO of Riva.

VCA can be trained to disregard non-essential scene activities and learn the difference between human, vehicles, and animals based on the database the companies have in possession. “The more information the system is armed with, the better it can be at producing positive results. Our technology uses forensic searches of recorded videos to improve active analytics rules, so the operator is able to learn from his or her own testing. The system can help determine the proper configuration for each camera's field of view and specific rules can be created by simply pressing a button,” said Shahar Ze'evi, Senior Product Manager at American Dynamics (Tyco Security Products).

Sensitivity settings also vary in different applications, depending on the flow and threat level. “In an airport, it is better to have more false positives, whereas in a retail environment, where staffing is low, perhaps missing a positive is acceptable,” said John Sepassi, Account Executive at IntelliVision. Using technologies such as camera shake cancelation and 3D calibration help to lower the rates of false alarm. The former “stabilizes the image before video analytic analysis and provides a steady picture in an unstable environment,” said Vito Kuo, Integration Product Manager at Nuuo. The latter defines the size of a person, vehicle, or other objects. Many times, VCA companies only go as far as testing their products in labs, but providing different scenarios and applications will help to improve and increase the accuracy of the algorithms. “We provide different modes for different scenarios to reduce false alarms, such as shadow mode and crowd mode for people counting. We have accumulated lots of sample data from different scenarios, thus we can tune our algorithms continuously. The 3D vision technology is another new technology we adapt to reduce false alarms because more information is available, such as the depth and height information,” said Jamie Wu, Marketing Manager at Huper Laboratories.

Current Technology Barriers and Future Trends
Though VCA technologies and algorithms continue to mature, they are still faced with several impedances. Users still hold high expectations for VCA, especially its use in crowded areas. The limited processing power, once surpassed, will create opportunities for advancements as higher computing power equates to higher accuracy. This can include being able to detect and track specific targets across multiple cameras and correlating them into a single investigative picture. “There will always be a tradeoff between the quality of detection and the available computer resources required,” said Ze'evi.

Though some requests can be carried out in the future, certain problems can only be addressed by human logic and analysis. While this feature is still unable to be carried out by current updates of VCA, some users hope to have color or pattern recognition as a feature, where they are able to use it to search and pull up all relevant information that concerns it. “For instance, if a person dressed in a striped blue shirt, with black pants were to appear on the screen. If the security guard touches this subject with the mouse, then the system will automatically search for any time it has seen this pattern on any live view stream and create an alert,” said Kuo.

“VCA in its current maturity could not automatically for example identify a person carrying a rucksack in a crowded scene. However, this and many other capabilities will appear with time as processing ability improves,” said Andrew Eggington, Director of Ipsotek. The “abandoned object” feature continues to pose as a problem. Customers want to accurately identify a backpack or bag left behind in a crowded area. This can be easily detected in a controlled or deserted area, but in an environment with constant flocks and movement of people, it can be difficult for VCA to make accurate decisions with no false alarms. Between the thousands of people, their baggage, children, trolleys, and trash they leave behind, the analytics must decide for everyone whether it is an abandoned object or something innocent.

The image quality and the positioning of the cameras also play a huge role in the accuracy of such analytics. “The problem will only be solved when analytics can identify every object from its shape and movement like a human being does,” said Geoff Thiel, CEO of VCA Technology. Some cameras still have difficulty with addressing issues such as insufficient lighting, direct sunlight, reflections off water, weather, fog, etc. this can probably be addressed in the future with low light imagers with wide dynamic range. “Facial recognition is highly required in many verticals, but this technology hasn't yet reached full maturity in crowded environments where it is most requested. It can provide great value if correlated with additional sensors, or deployed in more sterile environments,” said Illy Gruber, Product Marketing Manager at Nice Systems. Soft biometrics through VCA such as gender, age, and race classification are increasingly being seen in VCA, however it will most likely remain an unreliable feature for VCA. “Some customers expect VCA to accurately detect scenarios and situations where a person cannot even detect the abnormalities or exceptions,” stated Zvika Ashani, CTO of Agent Video Intelligence.

The current way of using VCA, where analytics filters and reduces the amount of information for human assessment, will most likely continue into the foreseeable future. “I don't see us handing the decision making over to computers anytime soon,” concluded Thiel.

Network cameras and NVRs at the next level

Network cameras and NVRs at the next level

Editor / Provider: Alf Chang | Updated: 7/22/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

In this round of testing, we are seeing the maturation of network cameras, much like a teenager becoming an adult overnight. During our test phase, several functions improved noticeably and stability increased. These functions included the following:

1. High dynamic range (HDR): From basic view dynamic range or HDR, most network cameras support 1080P or 720P resolution with 70 to 90 decibels of dynamic range. Some chip makers, such as Sony, support up to 120 to 130 decibels of dynamic range for true wide dynamic range (WDR) in the Ipela Engine or Xarina processor. Especially during the live shootout, a spinning colored pinwheel tested different shutter speeds, contrast and color saturation. Light and dark areas were restored to look sharper, greatly increasing image quality for megapixel imaging. This is the first overall improvement for network camera performance.

2. Support for 60 frames per second (fps): Currently, most of the Generation Six network cameras can support 60 fps in Full HD at 1,920 by 1,080 pixels for live output. The imaging efficiency is even better than the previous generation for 30 fps.

3. New intelligent video software (IVS): Compared to the last generation of network generations, the newest models all have front-end analytics. They include tamper detection, intelligent voice detection, tracking, zone monitoring and other features that have come a long way. In basic preset processing and real-time analysis, both support alarm functionality. More providers offer proprietary facial recognition, able to distinguish a face in a frame and work with backend management software to build a database of faces to compare.

4. High-definition digital noise reduction (DNR): From single-frame noise reduction and multiple-frame noise reduction, even images with insufficient illumination can dial down noise in an image for the clearest images, without suffering lag and jagged edges around moving objects.

5. Intelligent bit rate control: While during testing we set the cameras to a constant bit rate (CBR), network cameras also deal with night imaging or environments that have little change. Variable bit rate (VBR) can automatically lower the bit rate, intelligently reducing the amount of storage needed and controlling costs. This improvement for CBR and VBR was seen in all entered network cameras, making them far better than before.

6. Multiple profiles, multiple streams: Apart from bit rate management, network cameras have better support for multiple profiles and streams. For example, LILIN supports four different profiles and each profile can output four different video streams. All cameras entered could handle at least two to four streams of video, showing that support for different file formats and multiple streams is being taken seriously by camera makers.

7. Greater ease of installation: The network cameras of old never failed to give traditional installers fits. The main pet peeve was complexity, as many lacked familiarity with IP setup and IT know-how. But today, that has changed. During testing, auto back focusing has become a standard feature, allowing us to get a camera up and running in under three minutes. In terms of user friendliness, network cameras have made a huge leap forward.

The above are several notable developments and improvements in this year's Secutech Excellence Awards. One thing that is worth noting is that cameras in Europe and the United States must meet UL list Class II requirements for surge protection. This is not limited to simply the product itself, but includes other safety measures, such as double insulation or reinforced insulation. This does not cover grounding or compliance to installation requirements, so it does not affect camera manufacturers directly. However, it is worth noting for sales or distribution, depending on the region.

NVR storage woes
From the beginning of our Awards three years ago, we have found on-going NVR issues for interoperability with third-party cameras and ONVIF compliance. The 10 entered NVRs were connected to 16 cameras from Taiwanese, American, Japanese and Chinese manufacturers, with every NVR found to be sorely lacking in terms of interoperability. To take a different tack by plug-and-play standards, hooking the cameras up to the NVR should be no problem, given we provide the right camera password and both devices support ONVIF. In reality, the cameras were either too new or too old, partly because different versions of ONVIF are not interchangeable. It may seem depressing, but initial testing shows that plug-and-play is still more of a dream than a reality.

For the final live demo, with each network camera being connected one by one to the NVR, we realized that there is a direct relationship between a brand's global reputation and its openness. Any NVR maker serious on capturing worldwide market share must welcome more network cameras with open arms. Integration is a must. In comparison, some NVR makers only look at domestic markets and support their own camera lines or the most popular network cameras in their region. This strategy reflects blind spots in their sales. For users, they can easily distinguish and select a more complete and open solution for future expansions.

NVR setup and use easier than ever
In the past, security installers have found network storage maddening, simply because they required too much IT expertise. Otherwise, the NVR needed many complex steps to be successfully set up, frustrating many installers — especially those used to traditional surveillance systems. But from this round of testing, NVR operation today has became far simpler. The rich and intuitive Linux interface allows installers to control all of the NVR's setup and functionality. Even getting to the more advanced features and entering data has gotten easier to access, which do not require keyboards like before but can be done on the user interface alone. A significant improvement is phased setup by steps, making NVR setup foolproof. If done correctly, an NVR can be up and running in three to five minutes for all camera feeds. As more NVRs support camera connection previews, this makes the installer's job much less painful.

NVRs have gotten better at smart searches and playback. Backup has also become simpler and more convenient. More NVRs feature solid-state disk storage, freeing up processing power for troubleshooting and checking equipment connectivity. Nearly all NVRs display each channel's image flow and frame rate for network management purposes. Although the frame rate for recorded footage depends on the NVR's CPU and the camera's decoder, NVRs still play a significant role in storage.

From this year's Secutech Award entries in network cameras and NVRs, we can see how different components and applications affect the finished product's performance. As we expose flaws, we also urge the industry to uphold quality control standards and implement greater openness for software. This is only fair to all the installers and buyers who demand the best in their network surveillance equipment.

Seeing your face everywhere

Seeing your face everywhere

Editor / Provider: Christine Chien, a&s International | Updated: 6/12/2013 | Article type: Tech Corner

Seeing the noninvasive, face-capturing benefits, different verticals are incorporating face recognition into their settings, acting as access control devices or identification tools. In each different setting, users must be perfectly aware of their environments and the dynamics surrounding it. Users need to know that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Each environment requires its own customized settings and calibrations in order to guarantee maximum accuracy and security.

Most of the time, a correct selection, planning, installation and configuration of the cameras in a given scenario drastically reduce the sources of failure, said Carles Fernández Tena, R&D Project Manager of Herta Security. Common failures are also caused by incorrectly operating the system, such as the wrong adjustments of parameters and thresholds, or enrolling subjects with low-quality images. “In this regard, some sophisticated facial recognition systems currently incorporate automatic quality control modules and self-healing techniques to detect and rectify such misuses,” Fernández further explained.

The biggest problems are related to the lack of knowledge from users which can create frustration and anxiety, turning what could be a quick process into a time-consuming task. “The use of graphic aids, including video animations, can drastically improve the overall experience,” said Marc Spiegel, Regional Head of APAC at Vision-Box.

Matters of privacy can be an area of high concern for some users; this accentuates the importance of educating users on how biometric templates are stored, as they are often misled and think their data are open to theft. “Sometimes, users fear their biometric information will be stolen, but chances of that are unlikely because their raw data is actually configured to a digital code and saved in the database, instead of just the raw data,” asserted Raj Venkat, VP of Cards and Credentials at Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.

City Surveillance
Employing facial recognition alleviates the work load of operators by simply sending out an alarm once a wanted criminal or target has been identified from the crowd. India's safe city project intends to cover several of its cities extensively by surveillance systems that can recognize faces and detect wanted criminals or terrorists, and flag off a centralized control room. Other surveillance systems put up by the police, other agencies and third parties, such as hotels and retail multiplexes, will be integrated as “databases.”

Even though the Tsarnaev brothers, responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing, were actually in the FBI database, the facial recognition software failed to recognize the perpetrators due to the poor picture quality of their faces that were mostly angled away. With rising awareness and installations of HD cameras, facial recognition for similar situations in the future will prove to be much more successful.

Law enforcement agencies can further take advantage of mobile devices, such as handhelds or smartphones, performing recognition on-the-go to further facilitate accuracy improvements and calibrations.

Event Security
Large-scale, open events — often sports-related — are prone to terrorist attacks; employing the right level of security measures is crucial. The capacious area increases the difficulty for the human eye to make out specific targets among the sea of faces. By utilizing facial recognition, security guards will be able to locate those on the blacklist or VIP list at an accelerated rate.

The upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup, scheduled to take place in Brazil, portrays the scenario perfectly. The country was determined to make the tournament “one of the most protected sports events in history,” shelling out US$900 million for the event. With the hefty fund, the country bought US military robots, Israeli-made drones, high-tech surveillance, and facial recognition glasses that can capture up to 400 images per second to be stored in a database of up to 13 million faces. The system is designed to match known criminals and terrorists. Currently, the guards are already being trained to properly operate these devices.

Airports and Border Control
Not only are facial biometrics used as part of the identifying process for national IDs and biometric passports, they are used in airports and border control as well. Now, biometric recognition is incorporated into solutions that are “designed to automate the secure and fast flow of passengers through restricted areas such as security and border checkpoints,” said Jim Slevin, Aviation Business Unit Manager at Human Recognition Systems (HRS). Recently, HRS deployed its system at Edinburgh Airport to assess the flow of passenger traffic through its security screening area to help address the bottleneck queues, though it was initially used as a performance measurement tool that anonymously measures how long people spend in queues and dwell areas of the airport.

“The same solutions when designed sympathetically can offer benefits for both security and passenger differentiation — the ability to identify and tailor journeys on an individual traveler basis,” Slevin added. Facial biometrics are used in airports to facilitate the passenger's check-in to departure experience. After recognizing passengers who are enrolled in the service, texts will be sent to the passenger and guide them through the process of self check-in and baggage drop-off, all the way until the passenger arrives at the correct departure terminal and goes through the gates. Enrolled passengers are often frequent flyers who are offered this opportunity as a part of the perks, in a sense, treated like VIPs by being able to avoid long wait time.

Other e-gates allow for integrated or a combination of facial, fingerprint and iris recognition, and can be used at any country entry/exit point, Spiegel added.

Retail, Banking and Gaming
Operators will be able to analyze their customers based on their facial expression. Retailers will be able to register and create a watch list for shoplifters or VIPs. Shoplifters will be immediately escorted out of the stores when they are identified, while VIPs will be treated with the greatest shopping experience that can be provided. “As soon as you walk into Macy's and get to a certain area, they already know what you like and your buying preferences. I think there will be a lot of great technologies introduced in the next five years!” said Mizan Rahman, founder and CEO of M2SYS.

Banks will be able to use facial recognition for identifying criminals in order to prevent robberies. Customers can also be identified for better services and accessing ATMs and safety deposit boxes. As for online transactions, Facebanx has developed a new online facial recognition solution that will enable banks, payment processors, and insurance and ID verification companies to dramatically reduce fraud and ID theft. Users simply need to add their face to their account via the camera from their electronic device, such as a mobile phone or laptop webcam. Each individual's face is recorded by a video stream (rather than stills), and the technology compares the multiple images taken throughout the recording to confirm the person is real and not a spoof by a photo.

In the gaming sector, a few years back, certain Canadian and Singaporean casinos started to use facial recognition to track down and identify gamblers who have put themselves on a self-exclusion list. The facial recognition software instantly scans photographs taken by a dedicated camera as visitors pass by a security desk, looking for matches with pictures of gamblers who have put themselves on the self-exclusion list. If a match is found, a silent alarm goes off, the matching photos pop up on a computer screen, and security guards compare them. Once the guard verifies the match between the visitor and the image on the screen, they will ask for the identification of the individual before escorting him or her from the facility. For those who have not been placed on the list, their photographs are instantly discarded. The cameras with facial recognition are also used for identifying VIPs, cheaters, as well as authorized personnel in the cashiers and vaults.

Automobiles
Facial recognition for automobiles has been heavily researched and tested so it can be incorporated into onboard cameras in order to track the driver's pupils and facial orientation to detect head movement, eye direction and blinking patterns. If the system senses the driver is about to fall asleep, it will issue an alert for drivers to pull over to the side of the road. For driver convenience, BMWs use facial recognition to adjust to each driver's customized settings, such as steering wheel height, seat position, mirrors, and even turn on his or her favorite radio station. However, there are some problems to tackle, such as where to best position the camera to capture the face again immediately after being obstructed by the driver's hands and steering wheel. Adapting to changing lighting conditions is no small feat either, since cameras have to be able to continuously capture the driver's face even as she drives through a tunnel, into the sunset or after dark.

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