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Axis secures sport center with modern and integrated HDTV IP solution

Axis secures sport center with modern and integrated HDTV IP solution

Editor / Provider: AXIS | Updated: 8/26/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Mission
The one and only task the client set for the installer was to create an integrated security system at the new Ice Arena site in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Like any sports complex, the ice arena has a large number of people continuously moving throughout the site. For this reason, the main requirements for the system were: full video camera coverage, high image detail, precise analytics and integration with the entry monitoring system.

Solution
The set objectives demand that the video has high definition, which is why the installer used three Axis HDTV network camera models when designing the system: AXIS Q1604 and AXIS Q1604-E Fixed Network Cameras and the AXIS Q6034-E Dome Network Camera. A total of 140 cameras were installed, both inside the facility and outdoors. A reliable back end using Cisco equipment was needed to process data from so many cameras. Intellect software from ITV was chosen to analyze images.

Result
The project is now completed. The client received a modern security video surveillance system integrated with the access monitoring and ticket sales systems. Although the arena is new, the video surveillance system has already repeatedly helped law enforcement authorities find people who have committed crimes at the facility.

Site description
Sakhalin's Kristall Ice Arena was built as part of the region's long-term program for “Development of Physical Education and Sports in the Sakhalin Region for 2010– 2018” with support from off-budget sources: funds from Gazprom Transgaz Tomsk LLC. The ice arena has a 60x30-meter ice rink with stands for 1,526 spectators, aerobics and general exercise halls, a fitness center, canteen, as well as auxiliary and utility rooms. The ice arena is primarily aimed at children. The arena hosts classes for local youths in all types of sports: hockey, figure skating, boxing, weightlifting, gymnastics, competitive ballroom dancing and chess. However, children's sports are not the only use of the new complex. The ice rink hosts performances on ice, concerts, regular-season and Sakhalin Region championship hockey games, as well as Russian championship volleyball games.

Project parameters
Like any sports complex, the ice arena has special security. The large number of visitors, excited crowds during games or concerts, numerous small auxiliary rooms — all of this requires heightened attention from the security service and law enforcement authorities. For this reason, an integrated arena security plan was developed when the facility was still under construction.

Implementation
The three key objectives of the video surveillance system at the facility are: general observation, tracking selected targets and facial recognition.

Toward these ends, 98 AXIS Q1604 Network Cameras were installed in enclosed rooms and 27 outdoor AXIS Q1604-E Network Cameras (for observation) and 15 high-speed AXIS Q6034-E Dome Ntwork Cameras were installed outdoors. In addition, the ice arena has clearly delineated access zones, which can be changed depending on the current event. For example, visitors to a concert or game should not go further than their seating areas; athletes should not enter service rooms for the arena's administration, and so on. This division requires an easily adjustable multi-level access monitoring system, as well as full integration of the access monitoring and control system with the video surveillance system. Another argument in favor of Axis cameras here was the high integrability of cameras using standard open protocols.
One hundred and forty video cameras create a serious load on the network, which is why a separate structured cabling system was installed for the video system to transmit data and to power the cameras via PoE. This helped avoid extra expenses for routing electrical cables to the camera installation sites.

 

The facility's high traffic requires significant computer capabilities from the analytical back end of the video surveillance system. Furthermore, equipment reliability and dependability are important. For these reasons, the installer and client chose to use Cisco server equipment. Intellect software with analytical functions from ITV was selected as the video management system. The Sakhalin Region government paid meticulous attention throughout the entire construction of the arena. As a result of the very first system tests, the region's internal affairs authorities approved Axis equipment for use within the “Safe City” program. The outdoor cameras installed at the site will be included in the internal affairs administration's network this year.

Tamron explores new territories

Tamron explores new territories

Editor / Provider: a&s Asia editorial team | Updated: 8/22/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Tamron, a well-known lens company, in security, has made several new changes in its R&D, marketing, and services to better fit current customers' lens needs. In this article, Tamron discusses specific business strategies concentrating on their OEM business and how to stay ahead in technology and market shares.

Korean and Chinese lens manufacturers have brought on cutthroat competition in the global market, pushing many leading Japanese lens manufacturers to transform and widen the technology gap. Tamron is a role model here, exploring new technologies and markets. Over the years, Tamron has strengthened itself by developing high-end technologies such as 1,080P full HD and future 4K or even 8K lenses. The company also began business in India two years ago, seeking new business opportunities, such as safe city projects, for its expansion in South Asia. Finally, Tamron is also preparing to reach out to more vertical markets, especially in the transportation sector — city surveillance and ITS — and even non-security applications. Now, with all these new changes, Tamron is ready for another turning point in its business.

Increasing Focus on OEM Business
The lens industry has changed quite a bit. The increasing sales from lens and camera bundles have led to the rise in the lens OEM business. “Besides the C/CS mount type lenses, Tamron has shifted more to OEM business. Now, we have around two thirds of our business in OEM, mainly dealing with camera manufacturers,” said Koji Masunari, GM of Tamron. “To collaborate with camera manufacturers, it is important to stay flexible to match their specific needs.” Masunari elaborated that Tamron is able to provide 20 to 30 types of one single product model to tailor to a camera manufacturer's requirements. In addition, “to achieve the greatest picture quality with IR cut, for instance, communication and engineering supports in mechanical and software parts become very crucial. We work very closely with our customers around the world with stationed technical support staff in each of our subsidiary offices in Japan, the U.S., Europe, and China. What we provide are very instant service, technical support, and sales communication in each local market.”

To stay price competitive in price sensitive markets, such as in Southeast and South Asian countries, Tamron moved its lens production mainly to China and more recently to Vietnam. “The R&D and all the assembly jig preparation will still stay in Japan,” he said, to keep a good balance on quality and price of Tamron's products.

Expansion In South and Southeast Asia
Besides OEM business, another focus for Tamron right now is to actively penetrate more new emerging countries. The company set up a subsidiary office in India two years ago. Masunari said, “We are right now developing business customers directly and proceeding marketing activities in Indian market. Since India has a high demand from many government projects, such as transportation and banking, we hope to work more closely with some major systems integrators with our high-end products.” He continued, “However, the necessity of high-end products has not been understood by customers yet and it will probably take a long time for Tamron to gain the large business in this market. We now promote aggressively the value of high-end products by participating in exhibitions, roadshows, and products seminars in that market.” Starting from India, Tamron then continues expanding to other countries in South Asia. Among Southeast Asian countries, Tamron will put great effort into well-developed countries like Singapore and Thailand to stimulate sales. Additionally, emerging countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia will be Tamron's next targets.

Staying Ahead In Technology Advancement
The standard requirement from the security industry for picture resolution is getting higher and higher. A few years ago, VGA resolution was still the norm, but 1,080P full HD has since become the standard. Today, 4K products are just coming out, but there have already been talks about 8K in the market. “We need to contribute more for picture quality and try to eliminate the error rate in the best possible way. To support this, the lens quality is very important and it is required for lens design to eliminate all the color bleeding, flare, and ghost,” said Masunari.

The product design has to be advanced, and so do the production facilities. “We also have invested in more precise part measurements and high assembly techniques,” he emphasized.

To gain more market shares, it is also essential for a lens company to have a complete product portfolio to support camera manufacturers and systems integrators for different projects. “What we try to do is make the product design very simple to use and easy to understand for our customers. For instance, Tamron has the double vari-focal solution, which covers all focal lengths from wide to tele with just two 3-megapixel lenses,” Masunari said.

Keeping ahead in technologies, “Tamron's R&D will definitely focus on developing megapixel lenses, such as 2K, 4K, or 8K, and special lenses for panoramic or wide-angle view and a low-light environment, in the near future,” he emphasized.

Exploring new Verticals and Applications
For its future development, it is important for Tamron right now to explore more new applications and vertical markets for security lenses in all different regional markets. The transportation sector, especially for city surveillance and ITS, is an important business segment for the company. “The ITS market has strong opportunity in the Asian market as the growth ratio of automobile ownership is rapidly growing. Regarding city surveillance, we expect business possibility not only in the emerging Asian market but also in Japan as well, especially due to the coming Tokyo Olympic Games,” Masunari said.

Generally, in the field of ITS, fixed focal length lenses have been the main selection for their sensitivity; however, Tamron has developed a large aperture zoom which realizes high sensitivity from wide to tele and the company is now promoting it in the market. As for city surveillance, which requires continuous 24-hour recording, the tendency was that night recording would lose picture quality under infrared lighting. However, Tamron has created a lens that will keep its quality day or night — no matter what the lighting is the image quality will not be affected. As sensitivity is an important factor, the company has also developed a zoom lens which the F number of wide and tele zoom position has minimum difference. With this lens, Tamron can provide clear and sharp images for 24/7 surveillance.

Tamron particularly promotes these products to new companies that have been targeting transportation and expects to form more good partnerships, in order to penetrate these new market segments together. Finally, in the future, Tamron sees more applications in biometric products such as facial recognition and thermal cameras. For the non-security product segment, Tamron also sees potential in wide-angle lenses for video conferencing and some special lenses for medical usage.

New changes, Big growth
Tamron definitely serves as a good role model in the lens industry having made so many new changes in its latest technological development, production, and market expansion in order to take the lead in the market. Now, all that is needed is time for the company to reap all the positive results as a result of their effort, positive results we can expect will come soon in Asia.

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.

Australia's security industry

Australia's security industry

Editor / Provider: STEVE CHIN, a&s Asia | Updated: 8/4/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

In recent times, Australia has developed into a premiere market for the security industry, with both production and manufacturing at new highs. We take a deeper look into the Outback and examine why Australia is such a major player in this industry now.

Australia may be better known for kangaroos, koalas, and deadly animals, but it is actually considered a fully developed country and one of the wealthiest in the world, possessing the world's 12th-largest economy. As of 2013, Australia also had the world's fifth-highest per capita income and the second-highest human development index. It also ranks in the top 10 in many global international comparisons: quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights. Indeed, it has come a long way since the days of being a colonized penal colony.

These days, Australia possesses not just a strong technological industry as a whole, but researchers are also predicting continued growth in the Australian region in its security industry as well. Backed up by the fact that the country is arguably the second strongest market in the APAC region after China, Australia is a country that commands respect. Indeed, according to Rocco Palladino, National Sales Manager — Australia and New Zealand for Pacom Systems, “the Australian electronic security industry has continued to steadily develop and increase since 2011. We estimate that the market has grown approximately 2 to 3 percent on average every year since 2011.” However, growth is still relatively slow and stagnant in terms of market figures, especially when compared to other countries in the APAC region, like China and India. Some factors that can be attributed to this stagnant growth include a lack of a well-established infrastructure as well as a highly tech-savvy industry that puts high demands on value from technology.

In point of fact, when looking deeper into Australia's security industry, there are other signs that it has slowed down in terms of growth in the last few years. Because of recent issues regarding the Nationwide Broadband Network (NBN), some controversy has resulted in many security solutionsproviders being affected by its slowdowns in development. Coupled together with the fact that there just is not enough readily available, widespread bandwidth yet — especially outside of major cities, it further complicates the issue when Australia as a whole is trying to faster facilitate the transfer to full digital solutions.

SLOWER THAN EXPECTED IP ROLLOUT
IP infrastructure and a resulting slow adoption of IP-related products. Indeed, analog was still the leader by a significant margin, and the IP infrastructure was slow to develop and catch up to market demands. While by no means fully developed or ready, the IP infrastructure has still made significant leaps and bounds. However, looking at issues like the NBN that was rolled out in Australia in 2011, it's easy to understand why the country is both ambitious but still facing numerous hurdles to cross.

According to a 2014 report published by the Australian government, there are over 1.6 million premises across Australia that either have no access to fixed broadband or very poor quality broadband connectivity. The NBN aims to rectify this. At its core, the NBN is an enormous, large-scale project that is still under development in Australia with rollouts already happening in several trial locations. In practice, it is a national, wholesale-only, open-access data network that is in both fixed line and wireless forms. However, from the beginning, the NBN has been plagued by numerous construction issues and a too overtly ambitious goal. With that said, it is easy to see the numerous hurdles that the NBN still has to overcome. With a cost of nearly US$29 billion, all in public funding needed to tie over construction to 2019, the build cost has also been a huge point in debate. Nevertheless, the NBN still aims to reach approximately 22 percent of all premises in Australia by 2021(which is a huge drop-off).

According to a 2014 report, there are over 1.6 million premises across Australia that still have poor bandwidth access.

The reality, though, is that Australia, like almost all the rest of the major players in the industry, has already begun a gradual adoption of IP and the slow phase-out of analog systems. Australia has come a long way in these three to four years. As Nathan Walters, Sales Engineer for RhinoCo Technology put it, “A few years ago, IP was still a non-starter due to lack of knowledge and experience by integrators. But thanks to numerous companies providing training, there has been an increased uptake. Now, people not only realize the increased benefits of IP over analog, they see it as future proof technology.” He also said that there is evidence of this by the sales of IP equipment rapidly taking over those of analog.

SOLUTIONS TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF
As the Australian security industry looks into the next few years, so too does security solution providers and how they must observe and react to the various changes coming to the country. Of key importance is to keep a continual eye on the status of future NBN rollouts. As was stated before, reactions and feelings towards it have been lukewarm at best, if not outright against it. Furthermore, when it comes to solution providers, some key points to highlight in order to stay in the game are the changes regarding integration and unification across all solutions platforms. As Kobi Ben-Shabat, Founder and MD for OPS explained, “the ability to integrate between multiple systems, video, access controls, license plate recognitions, intruder alarms, and intercoms into a single vendor or a single platform is the trend today.” Another way to look at it would be because of the NBN fiasco, security solutions providers have had to look at other ways to be competitive and stay afloat. By unifying systems into a single platform, it is a way to battle costs and simplicity.

One buzzword floating around is the surge in PSIM solutions. Ben-Shabat elaborated, “we also see the beginning of a demand for PSIM solutions. The rise of the ability to provide single management tools either to the operator or to senior management attractive from customer standpoints. If I was to look towards two, three years, I would see PSIM solutions.” Palladino also same feeling, “another term starting to secure a position in the market is PSIM, although this appears to originate from video management system manufacturers moving into the alarm and access control areas.”

The future of Australia's security industry hinges in a large part on the future of the IP infrastructure.

GOVERNMENT STIMULATION AND HIGH-END SOLUTIONS
While there are usually a number of government stimulus packages that exist in a lot of countries around the world, things have relatively quiet on the Australian front. The one key stimulus to point out is the nationwide rollout of city-wide, street surveillance packages. With the Australian government promising a contribution of $50 million coupled together with local grants from state governments, it is obvious the government has taken notice of the issue of better security and better surveillance. One result to this fairly lackadaisical approach to security is a lack of market for high-end security solutions. Traditionally, a big market for solutions like video analytics, facial recognition, and smart security has always laid in government. However, it is not entirely accurate to state that no market exists either. As Ben-Shabat put it, “I think video analytics when it comes to solutions like facial recognition, the application is mainly at the government level, or when looking at prevention, in retail. The cost requirement is still a factor, when the cost is right, they will accept. I believe it still needs to be more cost efficient and reliable to be successful.” Another direction that high-end security solutions points at lies in retail solutions, in both SMBs and franchises. Again, the cost issue is a big factor, but there exists a market.

Unfortunately, “too many people advertise and supply analytics (or smart security), but unless you are in defense, or perhaps customs, then you really need to ask if you are really able to use it. It is an easy way to differentiate larger more expensive solutions. It is truly something that is requested more than it is used in application,” said Walters.


THE NEXT FEW YEARS

As we look into the next few years, the overall picture of Australia looks to be good. The single, biggest factor in the security industry is definitely reliant on the NBN rollout and how far it can reach.

Palladino put it as, “progress continues with the NBN and this will definitely impact the Australian market, as their rollout progresses. Faster, cheaper communications to more parts of Australia should give rise to more business opportunities for security solutions providers.” Walter also added, “the NBN progressing as quickly as possible will help, and will help ideally fund further R&D innovation in all of Australia.”

Other things to look forward to include the idea of open platforms. As we add in the inclusion of cloud, Australia should also look forwards to more unification across all platforms.

As the IP infrastructure continues to improve, cloud should become far more utilized as the digital world continues to impact the industry. Overall, the future looks bright, so long as the technological advancements don't pull the innovations down and the infrastructure improves.

Growing Potential of HD-over-coaxial Solutions
Another key point to zero in on is the fact that analog is really on its way out the door, albeit slower than people expected. Nathan Walters, Sales Engineer for RhinoCo Technology explained, “Analog TV has recently been turned off in Australia so more and more consumers have had to become familiar with HD, and they have begun to look for this as an essential part of their security solutions.” As a result, one more key area of focus would lie in HD CCTV. As Walters pointed out, CCTV has had a good track record in catching offenders. From a transition point of view, HD-over-coaxial solutions are another great interim technology to look at as solutions providers transition into the digital age. He further explained, “more importantly, it can take existing systems over to HD without replacing the existing analog infrastructure. We expect that as more consumers experience this, they will eventually demand it on future solutions and this will itself ultimately drive the roll out into newer IP systems and continue to drive the security industry itself.”

Arecont Vision megapixel cameras pass with flying colors at Texas school district

Arecont Vision megapixel cameras pass with flying colors at Texas school district

Editor / Provider: Arecont Vision | Updated: 7/22/2014 | Article type: Education

Mission Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) is a recognized leader in college and career readiness in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, offering a comprehensive curriculum to meet the needs of every student. The District consists of roughly 41 square miles tucked along the Texas/Mexico border and serves almost 16,000 students in four high schools, four junior high schools, fourteen elementary schools and two special needs schools. Administrative offices and warehouses are also part of the facilities belonging to Mission CISD.

Challenge
For school districts across the country, video surveillance and security systems are no longer an option – they are must-haves. Mission CISD had an analog surveillance system in place, but found that its effectiveness was hampered by many limitations. First, the resolution of the images produced by the analog cameras was too low for identification. Next, after-the-fact forensic investigations were more difficult, if not impossible, to conduct due to the poor quality of the video that was captured. Finally, because the pan/tilt units were often facing the wrong direction at critical times, there was always a strong possibility that they would not capture video of an event that would be helpful in an investigation. For these reasons, the analog system was deemed unable to meet the district's current and future security needs without a significant upgrade. As a result, Mission CISD made the decision to deploy a new digital video system.

Megapixel Solution
After conducting research over the course of five years, school administrators concluded that the best solution for their application was a megapixel video system. Once this had been decided, they set out to find the cameras that would provide the performance necessary to deliver the level of image quality Mission CISD required. Working with the project integrator, American Surveillance Company Inc., located in Brownsville, Texas, the district selected Arecont Vision as their provider based on the company's wide selection of high-quality megapixel cameras that include 180- and 360-degree panoramics and audio-enabled models. The many additional features standard in the company's megapixel cameras, such as motion detection, day/night functionality, vandal-resistant housings, and remote focus/remote zoom, made the decision to use Arecont Vision's products even easier.

American Surveillance Company installed more than 700 Arecont Vision cameras and a storage system in a two-phase implementation across 28 Mission CISD locations, which are connected via fiber optic cable. The cameras transmit video to a central command center for storage and monitoring. The center is equipped with a video wall that allows operators to view live images or archived video of any of the installed cameras.

Megapixel Benefit
It was immediately apparent that the Arecont Vision cameras were able to capture greater detail in higher resolution than from the analog system, making facial recognition a reality. Post-incident investigations had been difficult using the analog system, and the remote zoom feature of the Arecont Vision cameras made that process much more effective and efficient. Operators can zoom in on any area of live or recorded video for better situational awareness and identification of individuals involved, along with the small details of an incident. Since the 180- and 360-degree cameras continuously capture a much wider field than the previous analog cameras, there was no need for pan/tilt cameras and the associated field-of-view challenges.

Another benefit of megapixel cameras from Arecont Vision is that fewer cameras are needed to provide the significantly improved surveillance coverage the new system provides. “Having a complete field of view 100 percent of the time allowed Mission CISD to go back and have an important digital zoom capability for investigation needs. With one Arecont Vision camera, Mission CISD can now cover the same area as six or seven analog cameras,” said Jaime Escobedo, President and CEO of American Surveillance Company Inc. “The resolution of the video is so high that you can easily see all the details that you need to help resolve disputes or handle situations, both live and after the fact.”

Using H.264 compression technology to dramatically reduce bandwidth and storage requirements, the Arecont Vision cameras can capture full motion video at 30 frames per second at full resolution without compromising image quality at any point in the process. Among the Arecont Vision megapixel cameras selected for installation at the Mission CISD were the AV2155DN and AV5155DN MegaDome cameras, the AV1125 MegaView camera and the AV20185DN and AV20365DN SurroundVideo panoramic cameras.

Morpho: Better ID solutions through facial recognition technologies

Morpho: Better ID solutions through facial recognition technologies

Editor / Provider: Morpho(Safran) | Updated: 6/17/2014 | Article type: Security 50

The idea behind facial recognition is to identify a person or authenticate their identity based on the morphological traits of their face. Morpho , as one of the pioneers in this technology, has rendered advanced ID verification through facial recognition technologies.

Multiple security applications
Facial recognition is an increasingly powerful technology that is expanding its reach across a broad spectrum of security applications, starting with police forces and customs services, where it is used to check identities and search for known criminals. It is also used by armed forces and homeland security units to identify terrorists. But facial recognition is also rapidly extending its scope to more commercial arenas. For example, casinos use this technology to detect both known cheaters and addicted gamblers who have signed up for a self-exclusion program – not to mention VIP clients who expect special treatment. In stadiums, the system can recognize pre-identified violent fans before they take their seats, while department stores are automatically notified of arriving customers who have already been arrested for shoplifting. The other main applications for facial recognition systems include access control at high-value sites, ID checks for travelers and border control.

Facial recognition: a two-faced conundrum
The effectiveness of facial recognition technology depends on several key factors, starting with image quality, which in turn largely depends on how the facial biometrics are captured. According to Claude Bauzou, “We have to distinguish between cooperative and non-cooperative subjects. Cooperative subjects voluntarily allow us to capture their facial image and they follow instructions, like looking directly at the lens, not smiling, etc. Then there's non-cooperative capture for ID purposes, via surveillance cameras, photos or videos of events taken by witnesses using their smartphones, etc.”

Algorithms for identification
The second key performance factor for this biometric technology is the power of the algorithms that are used to determine similarities between facial photos, or matching. For the identification of non-cooperative subjects, matching also involves human input: the system operator has a list of “candidates”, sorted by ranked “similarity scores”. The operator thus makes a preliminary selection by looking at the person's profile (home address, criminal record, etc.), then makes a decision based on a visual comparison of the face photos.

Reliable databases
Facial recognition accuracy also depends on the size and quality of the databases used. To recognize a face, it is necessary to be able to compare it to something! The challenge is to establish matching points between the new image and the source image, in other words, photos of known persons. “The largest image databases in the United States – which only public authorities can access – are those that list holders of driver licenses, passports and other ID documents, not to mention photos of suspects taken during arrests,” explains Jim Albers. When police investigators are looking for a suspect, they may also check out photos on Facebook or other social networks, to compare biometric characteristics. There are also private databases, such as those developed by casinos.

A promising outlook
Still a relatively new technology, facial recognition has considerable headroom for improvement. For instance, these systems could add 3D sensors, recognition of moving faces, processing of images captured from above or the side, development of models to integrate aging, and much more. Another area of improvement is the addition of new functions. “In the coming years, systems based on facial recognition will combine official and commercial procedures”, says Jim Albers. “For instance, tomorrow's airport checkpoints such as MorphoPASS will not only check the traveler's identity and passport validity, but also their ticket, all in a single passage! Morpho's other proven technologies could be integrated in these checkpoints as well, especially our luggage scanning systems to detect explosives or narcotics.”

VIVOTEK IP solutions deployed in Melli Bank in Islamic world

VIVOTEK IP solutions deployed in Melli Bank in Islamic world

Editor / Provider: VIVOTEK | Updated: 6/10/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Melli Bank is among the largest banks in Islamic world. There are more than 200 branches in the province of Khorasan alone. As network and digital technology advanced over time, the System integrator of PFN Technology on this case, began to look into IP-based solutions for the bank‘s infrastructure. VIVOTEK IP8161 and IP8151 were chosen as the key solution device.

Background
Melli Bank is among the largest banks in Islamic world. There are more than 200 branches in the province of Khorasan alone. Prior to August 2010, the management adopted mostly analog cameras as their security solutions. As network and digital technology advanced over time, Kankash Niroo, the System integrator of PFN Technology on this case, began to look into IP-based solutions for the bank‘s infrastructure. VIVOTEK IP8161 and IP8151 were chosen as the key solution device.

Solutions
186 pieces of IP8151 cameras (with enclosure), known for excellent image quality and visibility under low-light conditions, were installed for outdoor surveillance. For indoor surveillance, the IP8151P remains favoured, particularly due to its ability to overcome different lighting conditions as well as noise disturbance. 162 IP8151P cameras were installed in areas where customers are hosted and seated. The IP8151P is equipped with WDR enhancement, which provides clear image in an extremely dark or bright environment. Other VIVOTEK cameras selected for indoor surveillance include the IP8161, in which 233 of them were installed for counters and teller areas. Meanwhile, the FD8161 was used for low-ceiling sections.

Mr. Taleb, sales manager of Kankash Niroo, suggested the use of PINHOLE CCTV cameras on ATMs. The footage is then converted digitally via VIVOTEK VS8102, which ends up transferred through network cables to the server. in order to record the videos, the servers are given either 8 or 12 terabyte memory with ST7501, VIVOTEK‘s 32-channel software program.

Customer's Feedback
Management of Melli Bank was so satisfied with VIVOTEK‘s camera performances that once a few branches implemented them, about 150 fellow branches followed. "We are all looking forward to upgrading our branches with VIVOTEK‘s cameras," said Darvishi, project manager of Melli Bank of Khorasan.

According to Mansour Farzaneh, president of PFN Technology "for a bank, facial recognition and currency differentiation are among the top priorities, and VIVOTEK‘s cameras chosen for this project definitely meet the requirements."PFN Technology also suggests the award-winning VIVOTEK FE8171V into the project. The FE8171V, launched in August 2011, is the company‘s latest, most-up-and-coming SUPREME product, equipped with a fisheye lens for 180° panoramic view (wall mount) or 360° surround view, assigned for Melli Bank‘s outdoor surveillance.

Wise buying mindset for access control in Middle East

Wise buying mindset for access control in Middle East

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 4/25/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Middle East buyers carry strong purchasing power. Compared to four to five years ago, Middle East buyers have become more aware of the general benefits that the new technologies can bring them. At the same time, they particularly prefer future proof security technologies that will bring them extra value to optimize their business operations and even law and policy enforcement. This kind of buying mindset becomes very obvious when they select access control products.

TIME-ATTENDANCE FEATURE IS A “MUST”
Access control products usually tend to be designed according to the local culture and lifestyles in a country. When buyers select access control products in the Middle East, the time-attendance feature is most frequently asked about and preferred because the government has clear rules on employee attendance. “It is important to have a localized approach here. We are able to customize the products according to the regional requirements and culture; for instance, the holidays in the Middle East are Fridays and Saturdays, which is different from other geographic regions. In the Middle East, the time-attendance feature is very important to end users, especially in commercial and governmental buildings solutions. End users really need the time-attendance function to enforce the government law and calculate penalties for unpunctual employees. Time-attendance features are available in different ways in our systems, and are part of the overall business reporting tools available in our access control systems. These include building space usage and occupancy calculation, people-flow measurement, entry and exit time of visitors, subcontractors, and employees. We are also developing a visitor management system to manage visitors using electronic devices. Meeting room reservation is also another newly added function,” said Tarek Ismail, Sales Director of Middle East at Tyco Security Products.

In the SMB sector, ZK Techhnology FZCO's time-attendance and access control system is popular especially in the Middle East region, especially in Saudi Arabia, Iran, the U.A.E., and Iraq. “We recently launched our latest iris and vein recognition systems, and IP video surveillance cameras with facial recognition. The camera can link with the access control system, after installing software, suitable for business buildings,” said Kiven Wu, Sales Manager of Middle East at ZK Technology FZCO.

TECH-SAVVY TECHNOLOGIES ARE PREFERRED
Due to the combination of higher purchasing power and the interest in innovative solutions, "the end users here are becoming more willing to upgrade from the standard mechanical locks to electromechanical locking systems which provide more convenience and have a more technological aspect to them. Electromechanical locks have gained more traction in the GCC than other Middle East countries," said Tarek Marawan, VP of Business Development, for Middle East at Assa Abloy Security Solutions.

Furthermore, in the Middle East, there are no set standards on locks and door hardware. Some countries such as Saudi Arabia prefer American standards (ANSI), while others prefer European standards (EN). So, there is a mixture of standards in the Middle East, depending on the country's history. “However, I would say it provides a good opportunity for a big organization such as Assa Abloy, because we have a diverse range of product lines which comply with all the different standards,” continued Marawan.

People, primarily in the GCC countries, have a high acceptance of new and savvy technologies, which accelerates the penetration of network technologies. Just like in the mature markets, the Middle East also started the adoption of NFC and identity management in certain verticals.

"From HID Global's perspective, there are several key trends for access control (in this region). Firstly, there is a growing paradigm shift from proprietary access control architectures to open and flexible solutions addressing customers business requirements for new products and technologies," said Harm Radstaak, MD of Identity & Access Management of EMEA at HID Global. "Another important trend is the increasing adoption of mobile access control, in stages, whereby smartphones will function similarly to that of a card transaction today."

OPTIMIZING BUSINESS OPERATIONS WITH INTEGRATION
Because of the high understanding toward advanced technologies and their benefits in this region, more and more end users are getting away from the traditional buying mindset, such as considering security applications or products only, and are starting to think about how security technologies can optimize their security processes and procedures and fit their security policies. "We are witnessing a rise in demand from organizations to provision a converged physical access control system (PACS) and IT identities on a single card (or smartphone) that can be used to open doors, log on to computers, and for other applications. Integrating physical access control with IT security will create a seamless user experience when securing doors, data, and the cloud. It will improve how organizations create, use and manage identities across many different applications," said Radstaak. "Migrating intelligence to the door will continue with further adoption of IP architectures and future capabilities of smartphones for access control."

Pierre Racz, President and CEO of Genetec also echoed, “Many customers approach us, initially, not just for security, but to get operational efficiency out of it too, such as in retail stores or even city wide surveillance. We discovered that access control has become a very important sensor to monitor daily business operations. In order to optimize their operations, end users mostly turn to a unified access control and video surveillance system. For example, some of our airport customers charge their employees for not bringing their badges and sometimes the fine is huge. That is because the government has imposed this specific rule on the airport. The airport would get fined without enforcing this rule.”

“In many cases, the employees who forget to bring their badges would ‘piggyback' on access granted to other employees. So, now, we are using the video with access control to monitor if an employee sneaks in with someone else. So, combining these two technologies help the end users to enforce the rule in a very cost-effective way.”

GREEN CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING MANAGEMENT
New technologies, like green construction, are also driving the market to adopt more new technologies. John Davies, MD at TDSi commented on the changes for the past three years in this region. “We found that the customers want more and more integrated systems, which is not just integration of different elements of the security systems, such as intruder alarms, fire, video surveillance, and access control. More often, customers also want all these security systems to be integrated into a building management system, or back-office systems, like payroll systems and time-attendance systems. From an access control point of view, we can easily know where the people are and see how these people interact. Building management systems also want to interface with access control in order to provide better granular control of heating and ventilation control or lighting systems. Although the Middle East is full of energy, governments and corporations still care about the environment green technologies. We find that Europe has a great track record in developing green technologies, but Asian customers are early adopters of these green technologies; for instance, Hong Kong has been really developing the concept of smart buildings from four to five years ago. In Europe, people are very slow to adopt. However, here, buyers are so different. They really love new technologies and ideas as long as there is a convincing return on investment or cost benefit.”

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT
The access control sector is not like the video surveillance sector, which is strictly regulated by government rules. Instead, buyers' selection is mostly dependent on their preference toward specific standards and technologies. In general, thanks to the people's acceptance of new technologies and requirements toward efficient management and long-term investment, we can expect more and more advanced technologies, especially in access control, to be introduced to this region.

[GDSF Secutech 2014] Digitalcom shares experience in Thai Customs Dept.

[GDSF Secutech 2014] Digitalcom shares experience in Thai Customs Dept.

Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 4/18/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Digitalcom, a participant in GDSF at Secutech 2014, shared its experience in helping the Thai Customs Department set up a state-of-the-art surveillance system aiming to strengthen border control.

The project began in 2008 and is now in its third phase. The main installation was done by the Communication Authority of Thailand, which rents the system to the customs agency on a yearly basis. Hardware and cameras were provided by Yip In Tsoi, and Digitalcom did the system configuration.

The main purpose of the project was to monitor activities at the borders and make sure that no trafficking of any kind took place. Border control gained importance especially after the Thai government raised its tobacco tax this year, an event that caused trafficking of cigarettes from neighboring countries to rise, said Suwich Chitkasemsuk, MD of Digitalcom.

The installation involved the deployment of over 200 recording servers and over 1,500 cameras. According to Chitkasemsuk, installation was made much easier thanks to Milestone's solution, which allowed Digitalcom workers to use Windows Remote Desktop and Management Client to complete installation and configuration, all at one central site.

To free up more bandwidth needed for high-quality video data, the multi-stream technology was adopted. Digitalcom uses MJPEG for recording videos from important cameras and MPEG-4, which requires lesser bandwidth, for viewing purposes, Chitkasemsuk said.

The company's solution also integrates with various existing technologies, such as facial recognition and analytics, to detect intrusion, reduce false alarms, and enhance responsiveness.

AirLive IVS Face Detection surveillance system for casinos

AirLive IVS Face Detection surveillance system for casinos

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by AirLive | Updated: 4/17/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Casino surveillance system requires the ability to respond rapidly to incidents at low levels of lighting, which is one of the most technical-demanding requirements for surveillance systems with diverse operational requirements.

Gaming video surveillance needs to focus on the activities at the gaming tables and slot machines in order to settle disputes, prevent and detect cheating and also to protect the casino and players from dishonest employees. Evidential-level image quality is crucial for bringing the criminal to court successfully.

Casino surveillance systems from AirLive's IVS Face Detection embedded in MD-3025-IVS and BU-3026-IVS (Intelligent Video Surveillance) provide accurate video analytics that can be used to detect faces of people in the monitored area. This function automatically detects and captures a person's face and store in the storage. AirLive's analytics surveillance systems are able to set up the system alerts, take a snap shoot or record a short video when a face is detected in the frame of the image.

Besides Face Detection, AirLive IVS IP Camera has other 5 built-in IVS analytics including 5 powerful intelligence functions – Face Recognition, Object Counting, Trip Zone, E-Fence, i–Motion — for various applications in public places such as airports, stadiums, border crossings, offices, shopping mall, and buildings.

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