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How big data and IoT revolutionize the security industry (Part 2)

How big data and IoT revolutionize the security industry (Part 2)

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 6/25/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

"Big data" and the "Internet of Things"(IoT) now are not only discussed in the IT and communications idustries, but they are also ready to influence and even upturn the securiy industry. While we anticipate a connected society, the world is also vulnerable to malicious physical and cyber security attacks. Fortunately, security technologies have evolved and developed to prevent any disasters from happening.

When the world starts to look into "big data" and how IoT can benefit everyone, the trend forces the security industry to gradually switch their attention to data and content beyond product specifications to better fit the needs of a connected world.

Open Platforms Drive Total Integration
Integration has been an unstoppable trend in all industries, especially when it comes to IoT. Eventually, in a connected world, every system will be connected in a single network. The security industry will also continue to evolve. To build up a future-proof solution, integrating different systems through proprietary SDKs and APIs no longer seems like enough. Companies now concentrate on how to construct a more open platform in order to seamlessly manage and utilize different resources in different security equipment. According to Genetec's white paper, it suggests that a truly unified platform in video surveillance can optimize resources by sharing common servers and databases for authentication and permission, licensing, configuration settings, alarms and evens, audit and activity log, video recording, and access logs.

"Because of the open and standardized features, IP-based video surveillance has become more accessible and affordable. End users in small-scaled market sectors, such as SMBs, now are willing to consider IP-based products. We do see an increased demand for these types of products from the education sector in K-12 schools, retail and even residential sectors are picking up," said Kostas Mellos, product marketing, video, Interlogix and Lenel.

Looking at the access control market only, it has been actively developing with the introduction of different new technologies. The market's high growth still mainly comes from the migration from mechanical locks to electronic locks. However, what is really driving the growth of the market is the need for open platforms. Access control systems, in the past, were very closed, simply for restricting entrance to a building, room, and property. Until recently, users have started to realize the benefits whenever it links with other systems. “What really differentiates us from other companies is, in our hardware and firmware. We develop to an open platform and protocol, which is very critical for the credentials and access control systems for future expansion or integration of other future technologies. That is why we are chosen for replacement projects and also big projects, like One World Trade Center,” said April Daltron-Noblitt, Director of Vertical Marketing at Allegion. Both the access control and video surveillance markets are developing their solutions very fast in open platforms, which also is closely tying both sides together. Companies, like Axis, Avigilon, and Genetec have developed their own integrated systems. The partnership of video and access control companies has become basic to form an integrated system. “Genetec offers its end users a unified security platform, which seamlessly integrates video, access control, and license plate recognition. The open platform supports a vast ecosystem of cameras, access control edge devices and third party software tools, including analytics, biometrics and perimeter detection hardware.

Genetec's IP access control system is also increasing its compatibility with other access control hardware products. The most recent ones are our partnerships with ASSA ABLOY and Salto, who produce quality WiFi, PoE wireless locks,” said Andrew Elvish, VP of Marketing and Communication at Genetec.

On the other hand, PSIM is not only able to supervise multiple distinct systems and further manage information coming from these systems, but also presents all the information in a single user interface, which plays a vital role in big data and IoT. “Verint recently launched a new situation management platform that allows users to integrate a variety of systems providing real-time intelligence to respond to events,” said Courtney Mamuscia, Global Communications Director of Verint Video & Situation Intelligence Solutions at Verint Systems. “This new solution expands our current PSIM application that has experienced significant growth in the critical infrastructure sectors and city-wide surveillance.”

However, some experts also warn that some PSIM products might have problems in lacking a built-in video, access control, and event integrated solution, which should be the key for selecting a “real” PSIM.

Social and Business Identity Takes Shape
While IoT gradually takes shape in the access control industry, end users have become more comfortable with making online payment via cards, PCs, tablets, mobile phones, and other wearable devices. Paym, a UK-based company, announced in April that consumers can use their mobile to make bank payments in the country. This trend is also going toward granting physical access control remotely via mobile devices, making access control as a service (ACaaS) gain more adoption. Furthermore, Brivo Labs claimed itself an IoT company, which launched its and also the industry's first social access management solution this year. Its main objective is to use social identities to “develop innovative applications that connect virtual communities with physical spaces,” said on Brivo Labs' website. According to Lee Odess, VP of Marketing at Brivo Systems and GM of Brivo Labs, by using Brivo Labs' API platform, physical access authorization now can be granted by using your profile on social networks, like Facebook and LinkedIn, on mobile devices and wearable computing devices, such as Google Glass. It is truly a revolution in the physical access control field. Next, Brivo will develop their solution to adopt Bluetooth devices to provide end users more convenience to remotely access and manage doors.

Identity Management Spurs Growth of Biometrics
When we, as end users, start to enjoy the freedom of multiple ways of payment and easy access to a space, worries about the security mechanism in these solutions arise. What makes things worse is when we lose our credit cards, with tap-andpay- on-the-go feature, or mobile phones or devices, it also means we lose our credentials and even precious money. On the other hand, for enterprise users, especially multinational companies, how to well secure their physical and intellectual property, help workers make mobile offices work more efficiently, and get easy access in these spaces without spending extra time and paper work becomes their top priority in access control. A robust identity management solution becomes prerequisite for users ranging from public to enterprise users. For enterprise users, multi-factor identities for both physical and logical security could be the best choice; biometrics is an important factor binding all these together.

HID acquired IdenTrust to expand our identity management and secure authentication solutions offering, and enable us to provide banking customers with a trust network for issuing, authenticating, and using digital identities based on open standards,” said Jeremy Hyatt, Director of Global Public Relations of HID Global. “Our Lumidigm acquisition extends our multi-factor authentication portfolio with biometrics for high-security environments, while positioning us to deliver a variety of new secure identity solutions.” Besides, biometrics also becomes a unique selling point for different fields because of its unique identification feature, according to Bill Spence, VP of Sales of North America, Europe and Australia at Lumidigm. In amusement parks, biometrics has attracted many return customers. Lumidigm's solution was adopted by amusement parks, where parents' fingerprints had to match their child's RFID wristband when collecting them from the park grounds. On top of that, the system can also ensure that only one person uses each ticket. To prevent ticket fraud, parks today can link each ticket to a specific customer with the touch of a finger.

The demand for identity management provides new startups with pretty big business opportunities too. Bionym developed the first wearable authentication device that utilizes a user's electrocardiogram (ECG) to validate a person's identity, according to their company website. Zwipe, a new, next-generation biometric card, a contactless smart card credential with on-card fingerprint reading, eliminates the problems of solely deploying PINs and standard cards. The contactless Zwipe biometric card lets users authenticate themselves directly on the card through something they are, a fingerprint, using their already installed card reader. Only then will the card system activate the lock. This is much more secure than simply using a standard card, which verifies only something they carry, the card. Also many companies, which develop NFC rings and bracelets, intend to provide more flexible and innovative solutions to secure our access to either the virtual or non-virtual world.

A Connected World Makes a Safer Environment?
Thanks to IoT, we can expect a connected world in the future. Although new technologies bring us more convenience in terms of mass information and life comfort, do these also help us construct a safer environment? Without making security the priority, I am afraid that all these new and innovative technologies would be in vain. If the aforementioned developments in the security industry can cause everyone to be more aware of security, I would say the future of this connected world will be bright

* Take look into How big data and IoT revolutionize the security industry (Part 1)

Beyond opening doors: Access control management rules

Beyond opening doors: Access control management rules

Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 6/27/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Access control remains a major segment of the physical security market and is set to enjoy continued growth. In a recently study, HIS Technology predicted that the global market size for electronic access control will top US$3.5 billion this year, driven by returning growth in the Americas, the Middle East, and Africa. High demand for access control has created opportunities for new products and technologies. One of them is access control management software, which can be useful to users from different verticals. “These may include education, healthcare, retail, transportation, manufacturing and Industrial, sports and leisure, museums, data centers, corporate, airport authorities, and ports,” said Steve Barton, CTO of Software & Controls at Pacom. With strong demand and business from different vertical markets, access control management software's popularity and growth are set to endure.

Integration Drives Efficiency
Access control management software has evolved over the years from being a simple software application with basic functions to being a cutting-edge technology that allows users to access and retrieve information about an access-related event more easily and quickly. On top of that, the increase in integration and interoperability has continued to grow. Today's access control management software can integrate not only with other security systems, such as video and intrusion detection, but also with non-security systems such as HR, room booking, cashless payments, elevator controls, and visitor management.

The resulting optimization in efficiency can help the end-user organization in many ways. “If an employee gets a new role, the authorizations on his access card will change automatically as soon as his new position is activated in his HR system,” said Nancy Wanders, Sales Manager of Global Clients at Nedap Security Management. “This level of automation means a big reduction in administrative tasks for security managers, so they can focus on other tasks and stay in control.” While the initial cost of investing in an access control system may be high, increased efficiency can ultimately cut cost down the road. “Efficiency and cost reduction can be provided in a variety of ways through access control solutions. Some of these include: elimination of cost of re-keying doors when a key is lost, and the ability to pre-register visitors, which is a more efficient process for visitor management,” said Jeremy Krinitt, GM of Frontier Security. “An access control system can streamline the processes and enable operators to wrap up investigations quickly. It can save operating costs for years to come through the efficiency it provides. Access control does that.”

Integration with Videoa Must
Pairing access control management software with video surveillance has become a must for running security operations at end-user organizations. With video and access control both becoming more IP-based, integrating the two has become easier. Players from across the supplier chain — vendors, distributors, and systems integrators — are closely watching how video-access control integration may further play out. Together, access control and video form a comprehensive and efficient security solution for users who can make the right decision in the event of an emergency. During an access control event, the security personnel can quickly pull the video from an integrated system instead of running to a separate video system to figure out who is trying to enter. A faster and more efficient way to investigate an event means quicker response and better situational awareness, which cannot be achieved by just video alone.

“By using only video management, a security operator is only able to gain evidence of a breach, without being able to automatically act upon it,” said Mike Sussman, Engineering and Operations Director at TDSi. “Using an integrated access control system means that the security team can put in place measures or act directly to counter any threats, so there is also a preventative element dealing with any potentially unauthorized intrusions.”

In short, access control management software prevents intrusion by denying access to those who are unauthorized to enter a certain area. Videos, meanwhile, provide visibility and evidence to an event. When combined, access control management software and video management software (VMS) offer a more comprehensive and all-around way to run security.

Multi-site Management
Access control management software plays a critical role in multi-site management, which has become essential as a rising number of companies now have operations in different parts of the world. Effective management software should offer a global view of what's going on at each branch office, while giving the local branches authority to make changes or adjustments as needed.

“In many companies, you have multiple locations, but there is a corporate human resources department that's responsible for the initial enrollment,” said Jerry Cordasco, CTO at AMAG. “So what they would want to do is to enroll a new employee in the system with basic access rights to the employee entrance of the facility, and then push that record down to a localized database.”

Access control management software and VMS are both important technologies for managing multiple sites. Choosing which one as the primary component, again, relies on the user's specific needs. “Both have their place as the primary engine, and the choice is dependent upon the business and risk,” said Sussman. “Video can only report on something that has occurred or is happening, whereas access control can prevent an event from taking place, backed up with evidential information.”

“Access control and video management each provide benefits, but access control provides many of the necessary pieces of managing a multi-site environment,” said Krinitt. “These key elements include audit of employee location, alarm monitoring, alarm response and processing, guard tour, visitor management and many more.”

Visitor Management:Efficiency and Safety
In today's security management, more end users are tying access control with visitor management, which is an effective way to grant, deny, and control access by visitors and contractors who are not regular employees of a company. In a non-integrated system, visitors are given a badge or temporary ID card after they write on a paper log their names and other information, which can be illegible at best and at worse, fake. Some visitors are also known to walk away with their ID cards, which can then be reused to enter buildings, creating security concerns. Combining visitor management with access control management software, on the other hand, can help improve security and efficiency by registering, badging, and checking out visitors all at the same time, and their ID cards expire at a certain time after which entry will be denied.

An integrated system can even have more advanced features. “It can be used to screen each visitor on states' registered sex offender databases and other watch lists, and flag those visitors at the time of check in,” said Harm Radstaak, MD of Identity & Access Management for EMEA, HID Global. “And it can be used to identify guests who haven't checked out by the end of visiting hours, and flag visitors who, for instance, may have repeatedly violated check-in procedures or stayed too long, and issue alerts upon their arrival.” Integrating access control management software with visitor management systems offers an ideal solution for end-user organizations, especially those that deal with large amounts of visitors such as corporates and hospitals. They can enjoy stepped up security and efficiency made possible by the integration.

Integration: Ne w Hopes for Verticals
When the access control management software is bundled with other subsystems, it can help optimize efficiency and create extra business opportunities for users in different vertical markets. Primary and secondary schools, for example, may bundle lockdown systems and video surveillance with their access control software to better ensure the safety of students and faculty. Colleges and universities, on the other hand, may integrate their access control management software with non-security systems such as meal vending and room booking to maximize the value of students' ID cards. Healthcare facilities may combine access control with elevators, granting access privileges to emergency personnel who can reach critical areas in the quickest time. In other words, if access control management software is deployed at the right time at the right place, it truly works wonders to end users in different verticals.

Choosing the Right Solution
When deciding what type of access control management software to purchase, the user should consider many factors — the size of deployment, the overall objectives that need to be achieved, and whether the software is suitable for the vertical it is to be deployed in.

“Any solution needs to be fit for the purpose and will demonstrate increased security levels along with improved efficiency and savings to the bottom line. For example, it may seem favorable to replace a whole security system with all the latest components. However if the security needs are low and the budget is tight, it may not make sense to do so,” Sussman said. “Conversely, if a number of security systems are aging and ready for renewal, buying fully integral systems could make very sound business sense, both in the short term and also for long term investment.”

Meanwhile, the user also needs to consider the level of ownership that it wants. “When buying an access control system, you need to start by determining whether you want to own and maintain the system or opt for a managed/ hosted platform where everything is outsourced,” said Jason Ouellette, Product Line Director for Access Control at Tyco Security Products. “Do you want to handle the maintenance or pay a service to do it? Once you determine the level of ownership, then you can look at the options that allow you to balance capital expense vs. operational expense.”

It All Boils Down to Efficiency
With its highly integrative capability, today's access control management software can combine with different technologies to help end users take care of security and non-security tasks with greater efficiency. An integrated access control management system makes life easier for users when they investigate events, manage multiple sites, and control access for visitors, not to mention the convenience of performing different tasks with just one ID card. The benefits of integrated access control management software are felt across different vertical markets, and systems integrators should maintain good and open relations with customers to deliver solutions that they truly need.

Bosch launches DINION IP starlight 8000 MP camera

Bosch launches DINION IP starlight 8000 MP camera

Editor / Provider: Bosch | Updated: 6/20/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Regardless of time-of-day, object of interest movement or extreme low light situations, the new 5 megapixel DINION IP starlight 8000 MP camera delivers relevant IP video images 24/7. With this video surveillance camera, Bosch Security Systems sets a new quality benchmark in round-the-clock video surveillance. Due to its comprehensive technical specifications this is the ultimate 24/7 camera securing critical infrastructures, parking lots, city surveillance projects and many other applications with challenging lighting conditions.

Becoming the ultimate 24/7 camera
The DINION IP starlight 8000 MP delivers five megapixel details even in extreme low light situations and captures moving objects in 5 megapixel resolution at up to 30 frames per-second. The latest sensor technology combined with the sophisticated noise suppression results in a light sensitivity of 0.0121 lux at full 5 megapixel resolutions in color and even 0.00825 lux at 1080p resolution. The DINION IP starlight 8000 MP produces full color images in the dark beyond the point where other cameras have turned to monochrome images. Where others show no image at all, it still delivers detailed monochrome images. Possible disturbances caused by fluctuating front or backlight are eliminated by Bosch' built-in intelligence. The intelligent Auto Exposure (iAE) technology dynamically adjusts the exposure of the camera to automatically adapt to changing light conditions providing perfect exposure of objects of interest every time. The iAE technology also contributes to the outstanding dynamic range of the camera which boasts a massive 103+16 dB for the 1080p mode.

Intelligent Video Analysis
Another differentiating feature of the DINION IP starlight 8000 MP is built-in Intelligent Video Analysis (IVA). It helps to focus on relevant situations by alerting you when needed, or automatically track objects of interest. IVA also adds sense and structure to video data by adding metadata. This allows the quick retrieval of the relevant images from hours of stored video. Metadata can also be used to deliver irrefutable forensic evidence or to optimize business processes based on, for example, people counting or crowd density information. By using the camera's ability to simultaneously combine 8 of the 15 available IVA rules, complex tasks are made easy and false alarms are reduced to a minimum.

24/7 remote access and camera control
Limited bandwidth makes it impossible to stream HD video on mobile devices whereas Dynamic Transcoding delivers both smooth live video streaming and instant access to HD (1080p) images when needed, regardless of available bandwidth. It also allows access to camera controls, live video streams and HD images via a mobile device anytime from anywhere. Dynamic Transcoding also enables you to instantly retrieve the correct video data from hours of recorded material. The DINION IP starlight 8000 MP is supported by Dynamic Transcoding in 1080p mode in combination with either one of the Bosch DIVAR IP recording solutions or a Bosch VIDEOJET.

Lower storage costs and network strain
To reduce storage costs and network strain the camera features intelligent Dynamic Noise Reduction (iDNR). The power of this technology is that it leads to bandwidth only being used when needed. When there is little or no movement in the scene, less bitrate is required. Therefore, iDNR actively analyses the scene distinguishing between relevant information such as moving objects and image noise artifacts. The degree of noise reduction is adjusted accordingly so that important objects are captured and image noise artifacts suppressed, optimizing the camera's bitrate. Thus, iDNR saves up to 50% on bitrate and hence storage and network strain without compromising video quality. Local storage on the camera further enhances network performance by compensating for short network outages, so ensuring that video data is continuously available in VRM systems without breaks.

Bosch IP standard-definition and high-definition cameras, encoders and analytics work seamlessly with a wide range of security software and recording solutions from Bosch and many other industry providers. This is backed by ONVIF conformance (Open Network Video Interface Forum) and the Integration Partner Program (IPP), which gives developers immediate access to software development tools to easily integrate Bosch products with third-party systems. Further details of the Bosch Integration Partner Program are available at ipp.boschsecurity.com.

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.”

4K trend pushing the launch of H.265

4K trend pushing the launch of H.265

Editor / Provider: Editorial Dept. | Updated: 6/9/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

H.265, which produces videos of the same quality as H.264 yet taking up only half the bandwidth, is poised to replace its predecessor as the mainstream video coding standard. Full-fledge deployment in the surveillance industry is inevitable, even though major challenges, such as complexity of coding and an imbalance between cost and functionality, still need to be overcome.

H.265 is the next-generation video compression format that claims to be twice as efficient as H.264, the current industry standard. In Q4 2013, the first milestone in a continuous research effort to apply this new compression technology in broadcast was achieved. However, for the security and surveillance industry, H.265 is still a myth and not yet implemented on a wide scale.

Since HD is the ultimate trend, H.265 will be crucial in getting 4K “Ultra HD” contents to our televisions, PCs and tablets over the next few years. Achieving those objectives depends on the core components of the H.265 codec that are being developed and will probably launch in 2014.

H.265 is a video compression format that delivers crisper network video contents and requires 50% less bandwidth for the same image quality as H.264, making it easier to download or stream HD video. That said, over the next few years we can view Full HD contents online with our mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets.

H.265 supports 4K (4096×2160) and 8K (8192×4320) Ultra HD (UHD) contents as well. This makes H.265 an ideal technology for delivering high-quality IP videos and creates the possibility that H.265-supported IP cameras, DVRs, and NVRs will roll out over the next few months.

The H.264 standard has dominated the market for the past five years. Now, with H.265 set to become the mainstream, we must understand what the advantages of H.265 and their best-fit applications are. The following article explains the H.265 codec and its future trends.

WHAT IS H.265?
H.265 is a video compression standard, a successor to H.264, that was jointly developed by the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and related groups.

On August 22, 2012, Ericsson announced the world's first H.265 encoder, the Ericsson SVP 5500. In only six months, H.265 (also known as High Efficiency Video Coding, HEVC) was approved as the official successor to H.264 as an ITU-T standard.

H.265 is said to double the data compression ratio compared to H.264 at the same level of video quality. It can alternatively be used to provide substantially improved video quality at the same bit rate. It can support 8K UHD and resolutions up to 8192x4320.

H.265 was designed to significantly increase coding efficiency compared to H.264 – that is, to reduce bit rate requirements by half with comparable image quality. Depending on the application requirements, H.265 encoders can mitigate computational complexity; improve compression rate, robustness and error correction; and reduce encoding latency. While H.264 can transfer SD contents in 1Mbps, H.265 is able to transfer 720p (1280x720) and HD content in 1-2 Mbps.

Some leading IT pioneers like Qualcomm, Broadcom and Huawei have been showcasing related products enabled with H.265, which many believe is likely to replace H.264 as the global major compression standard.

WHY IS H.265 SUPERIORTHAN H.264?
H.265/HEVC video coding uses the same approach as H.264/AVC, including inter-/ intra-picture prediction, transform coding, quantization, deblocking filter, and entropy coding. But H.265/HEVC comprises coding units (CUs), predict units (PUs) and transform units (TUs).

Compared to H.264/AV, H.265/HEVC provides different methods to reduce the compression rate. Each marcoblock in H.264/AVC is 16x16 pixels, while in H.265/ HEVC the marcoblock provides different options, from 8x8, 16x16 to 64x64 pixels. What H.265 does is analyzing video contents and breaking them down into CUs of different sizes. For example, it would take much smaller blocks (down to 4x4 pixels) to encode detailed areas, like a vehicle in a parking lot, and much bigger blocks to encode the background, which contains less video data.

H.265 employs 33 directional modes for intra-prediction, compared to the 8 directional modes for intra-prediction used by H.264. With the same image quality, H.265 delivers 39 to 44% less decoding bit streams than H.264. This result may vary with different quality assurance methods.

Peak signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR) and subjective assessment of video quality are standard ways to measure the coding efficiency of a video coding mechanism. In a subjective assessment of video quality, H.265 delivers the same or better coding efficiency than H.264 with bit streams reduced by 51 to 74%. This result is very important since subjective assessment of video quality is considered to be the most important way to measure a video coding standard, as humans perceive video quality subjectively.

Like H.264, which uses the Main, Baseline and Simple profiles, the first approved version of the HEVC/H.265 standard includes Main, Main 10, and Main Still Picture profiles.

The Main profile supports bit depth of 8 bits per sample, which allows for 256 shades per primary color, translating into a total of 16.8 million colors. The Main 10 profile supports bit depth of 10 bits per sample, which allows for 1024 shades per primary color or a total of 1.1 billion colors, making it ideal for UHDTV. They both use 4:2:0 chroma sampling.

HEVC also contains provisions for additional profiles. Future extensions that are being discussed for HEVC include increased bit depth, 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 chroma sampling, multiview video coding (MVC), and scalable video coding (SVC). On January 8, 2013, Broadcom announced in CES the BCM7445, which is an Ultra HD decoding chip capable of decoding HEVC of up to 4096x2160p at 60 fps. The BCM7445 is a 28-nm ARM-architecture chip capable of 21,000 Dhrystone MIPS with volume production estimated for the middle of 2014.

FUTURE TRENDS OF H.265 CODING
Security and surveillance vendors are more concerned about the time-tomarket of devices that support H.265/ HEVC coding. This will depend on many factors -- for example, how soon will graphics chips makers, such as AMD and NVIDIA, integrate H.265 into their products. The first generation of H.265 chipsets may be only suitable for initial video coding standards, and there are still many H.265 image processing functions, extensions, and multiview video coding that need to be enhanced.

In 2013 CPSE, Hisilicon and Grain Media did a demo on the initial results of their H.265 research. All of the invited visitors were impressed and agreed that H.265 had a huge potential. However, challenges still remain. These include H.265 coding complexity and an imbalance between cost and product features.

Many manufacturers in the security and surveillance industry hope that with the efforts of chipset and IC technology vendors, HEVC will quickly replace H.264 as the dominant IP surveillance coding technology. While most cable TV and digital TV broadcasters are still using the MPEG-2 standard, the good news is that some TV broadcasting companies have replaced MPEG-2 with H.265 standard for HDTV applications, as H.265 reduces bandwidth consumption by 70 to 80% and can support full HD 1080P TV broadcasting with existing bandwidth conditions. Compared to cable TV companies, satellite TV providers may adopt the H.265 standard earlier. The H.265 codec will be the ultimate solution for 4K and 8K options that can enable Ultra high definition television (UHDTV). But challenges on transmission, storage and playback still linger.

Right now, only few native 4K video contents are available, and manufacturers are just planning to launch 4K IP cameras in Q3 2014. The introduction of H.265 coding standard means that the theory is ready, but a unified method to transmit such ultra HD signals is not. Therefore, such development is quite crucial.

In addition, the storage of H.265 encoded videos would also be a problem. Even the Blu-ray Disc Association is working to find a solution to enable storage of 4K videos on Blu-ray discs. Theoretically, this should become possible with an extension of the H.264 format, but bit streams become an issue. Only discs with at least 100GB capacity will enable storage of Blu-ray 4K movies encoded with H.264. But where can you find 100GB re-writable discs? In other words, even though H.265 coding and chipset components are ready, it still lacks the storage and playback solutions that support 4K contents and that are compatible with the existing Blu-ray Disc standard. This is the major challenge for H.265 development.

Since H.265 is the future of television and video, will it become the mainstream for security and surveillance as well? Professional surveillance vendors are not sure either, since H.265 deployment in security and surveillance is not only subject to the challenges mentioned above but also dependent on its end-users.

There are project-based professional users and general consumers for surveillance applications. Professional users are those who conduct city surveillance, traffic monitoring and bank monitoring and who demand solutions that are more stable and reliable. Most of them already have existing technologies and therefore would be hesitant to adopt H.265, which requires a longer verification period.

On the other hand, SMB users and consumers such as home and shop users are faced with less installation cost and are therefore more likely to adopt the new technology. For this reason, H.265 could have its early success in SMB applications and gain acceptance in the consumer market.

With the wide adoption of IP surveillance, HD trends are everywhere. Yet at the same time, limitations of the H.264 standard have begun to emerge. 1080P video contents, for example, require 4 to 10Mbps bandwidth, creating huge cost pressure for service providers and SIs. Network bandwidth and storage equipment usually account for 40 to 50%of system investments in the surveillance ecosystem, and bandwidth cost and maturity of equipment technology are major issues facing operators offering Full HD.

If H.265/HEVC standard matures quickly, and its compression efficiency is improved by 50% over H.264, it can result in 20% investment savings, ensuring higher performance and lower network and system building cost in video surveillance.

CONCLUSION
H.265 has more superior features than H.264, so it's just a matter of time before H.265 standard and components are ready for market. We are cautiously optimistic about the future of the H.265/HEVC standard, as HD 1080P TV broadcasting and 4K video streaming with H.265 are already possible. There is even the possibility that mobile devices will be required to support H.265, and manufacturers will try their best to accommodate.

NICE Solutions safeguard 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

NICE Solutions safeguard 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Editor / Provider: NICE Systems | Updated: 6/6/2014 | Article type: Security 50

NICE Systems announced that a large city in Brazil has implemented NICE Situator to help secure its community and international soccer tournament, taking place in Brazil from June 12 to July 13, 2014. NICE Systems will continue working with local authorities following the tournament as part of a broader safe city initiative, to protect its millions of citizens.

NICE Situator was selected as the centerpiece of the integrated management center that will oversee safety and security in one of the soccer tournament's host cities. The center brings together 24 government agencies that will leverage NICE Situator to enhance situational awareness, decision-making and incident response. Should an incident occur, security operators will have instant access to real-time video from hundreds of video cameras along with an automated response plan.

“We're proud to have been selected for this safe city initiative, which involves securing one of the biggest sporting events in the world,” said Chris Wooten, Executive Vice President, NICE Security Group. “NICE's experience and technology makes us uniquely equipped to support a multifaceted security initiative of this level. This comes on the heels of our successful safe city initiative with Sochi, Russia.”

At the conclusion of the project, NICE Situator will be the centerpiece of a comprehensive city-wide solution that integrates multiple video surveillance systems, including NiceVision, and connects to thousands of cameras and sensors. The solution will correlate data from behavioral analytics software, social media analysis, access control, and fire and intrusion detection systems. Operators will use Situator to monitor and manage security at the soccer stadium, hotels, roads, transit system, airport, and other locations in the city. The solution will also integrate computer aided dispatching, helping to manage incidents that are escalated by emergency service center operators.

Synectics to present intelligent integration at IFSEC 2014

Synectics to present intelligent integration at IFSEC 2014

Editor / Provider: Synectics | Updated: 6/5/2014 | Article type: Security 50

For global surveillance solutions expert Synectics, IFSEC 2014 is about one thing - intelligent integration.

Synectics recently announced the wide-scale roll-out of its evolved Synergy 3 command and control platform, which it says has been developed in response to customer demand for heightened situational awareness through an elevated approach to systems integration.

David Aindow, Product & Technology Director with Synectics, said: “It's not enough to physically connect disparate security and operational systems – data needs to ‘make sense'.

“Operators need to have information from multiple sources presented to them in a single, unified command and control environment that enables the ‘meaningful' to be easily differentiated from the ‘meaningless'. This is how you get full situational awareness and subsequently, how security managers can make truly informed decisions.

“This is what our customers want and what we have evolved our field-proven Synergy technology to deliver through intelligent integration. It is security command and control in the truest sense.”

The flexible, open platform enables alarms and events, security and process control sub-systems, video, and data to be monitored, managed, and recorded from a single unified interface.

The latest evolution of Synectics' field-proven technology, Synergy 3 is simple to deploy and integrate and features new functionality including a fully customizable user interface, incident collaboration tools, and interactive mapping engine with Geospatial Information System (GIS) technology. Operators using Synergy 3 will also benefit from enhanced workflow functionality and reporting capabilities to facilitate more immediate and consistent responses to potential and actual threats.

Paul Webb, Managing Director, Synectic Systems, said:“We have a 25 year heritage of delivering integrated end-to-end surveillance solutions for applications spanning critical infrastructure, oil and gas, marine, retail, gaming, education, banking and public space applications. Each has unique demands but the need to mitigate risk and improve efficiencies is universal. Intelligently integrated security solutions meet that need comprehensively, and we've evolved Synergy to ensure that organizations of any size can benefit from this concept.”

In addition to Synergy 3 in action, Synectics' COEX 2000 and 3000 camera stations - specifically designed for industrial and marine applications - will also be available for demonstration.

Bosch delivers integrated security solution for China Minsheng Bank

Bosch delivers integrated security solution for China Minsheng Bank

Editor / Provider: Bosch Security | Updated: 6/3/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Bosch Security Systems has delivered a comprehensive and integrated security system for the headquarters of China Minsheng Bank in Shunyi New Town, Beijing. The solution comprises video surveillance, intrusion detection, access control, public address and conferencing systems, all connected and operated via a central management platform.

Founded in 1996, China Minsheng Bank is the first bank in China to be owned mostly by non-government enterprises. While constantly growing its business, the bank established new headquarters in Beijing, consisting of five towers on a 200 acre campus. Although each of the towers represents an independent building, China Minsheng Bank required an integrated security solution for the entire headquarters.

Bosch designed such an integrated solution around its Building Integration System (BIS), which serves as a central integration and management platform for a wide variety of security solutions. At Minsheng Bank, BIS is used to connect more than a hundred access control systems, intrusion detection systems and some 1,500 video cameras and to also integrate voice evacuation, public address and conferencing systems.

One of the major challenges was to build an integrated video surveillance solution with both analog CCTV and IP based cameras. 2 of the 5 towers use analog CCTV, while the other towers are equipped with a digital solution, managed via the Bosch Video Management System (BVMS). Both video solutions could be integrated through BIS, so that operators can now call out a real time monitoring screen of the IP system in the analog monitoring room and vice versa.

BIS is also used to integrate the 5 intrusion detection systems with more than 100 alarm zones and to enable real time alarm verification through the video surveillance solution. Bosch's fully digital public address and voice evacuation system Praesideo was installed to make announcements during normal operations and to distribute targeted and intelligible messages during emergencies. Finally, several meeting rooms in the headquarters were equipped with Bosch DCN conferencing systems to ensure smooth meetings with comfortable voting functions and infrared wireless simultaneous interpretation.

With the Bosch solution, China Minsheng Bank is now able to operate its networked security and communication systems in all 5 towers as one single and integrated system, highly increasing both security levels and operational efficiency.

Synectics launches open platform Synergy3

Synectics launches open platform Synergy3

Editor / Provider: Synectics | Updated: 5/29/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Synectics has officially launched the wide-scale roll-out of its evolved Synergy 3 command and control platform, following a global series of successful preview sessions.

Synergy 3 is a flexible, open platform that enables alarms and events, security and process control sub-systems, video, and data to be monitored, managed, and recorded from a single unified interface. The latest evolution of Synectics' field-proven technology, Synergy 3 is simple to deploy and integrate and features new functionality including a fully customizable user interface, incident collaboration tools, and interactive mapping engine with Geospatial Information System (GIS) technology.

David Aindow, Product & Technology Director with Synectics, said: "Synergy 3 really has been 'developed by experience'. We've distilled all we have learned over 25 years, feedback from our customers and analysis of future market trends, and channelled that knowledge into a platform that is flexible, scalable and obsolescence-proof.

"From enhanced workflow functionality to guide operators seamlessly and efficiently through required procedures and responses to alarm events to improved reporting capabilities, we've looked closely at how to evolve a known and trusted solution to improve user experience in practical ways."

Synergy 3 offers a flexible, tiered software licensing structure that allows users to select the right functionality to meet their needs according to scale and complexity. With multiple site federation, full peer to peer, or master to slave, command and control and uncapped scalability to accommodate system growth, Synergy 3 is the ideal solution for any application.

Paul Webb, Managing Director, Synectic Systems, said: "From small companies to enterprise-scale operators, whether in public space, oil and gas, marine, gaming or any other security-critical sectors, the latest evolution of Synergy is so flexible that it can meet very specific needs, enabling businesses to grow their surveillance solution in-step with organic expansion.

Spot the fishy incidents — 11 perspectives from the industry

Spot the fishy incidents — 11 perspectives from the industry

Editor / Provider: Erica Lin & Michelle Chu | Updated: 5/30/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Panoramic fisheye cameras have seen fast growth in the surveillance industry. With the key feature in surround view monitoring and the advantage in reduction of installation cost, they are becoming the popular adoption in security system. With a promising market ahead, differentiation of product and market strategy from competitors is the way for major manufacturers to think when planning next moves.

asmag.com here presented 11 worldwide providers from the security industry – 3S PocketNet Technology, AMG System, Axis Communications, Dahua Technology, EverFocus Electronics, Hikvision Digital Technology, Merit LILIN, Panasonic System Networks, SamsungTechwin, Sony, and VIVOTEK – sharing their experiences and observations of the market with all asmag.com readers.

3S PocketNet Technology|Taiwan 
With fisheye camera, user can deploy fewer cameras, less cabling, less HDD storage, but remain a 360-degree monitoring without blind spot; however, it is worth noting that fisheye camera is not suitable for monitoring area from a long distance due to the limited length of fisheye lens, stated Kevin Cheng, Director of APAC at 3S Pocketnet Technology. 
“We expect the price of fisheye cameras can decrease to the level of dome camera – the user will then have options to choose from different features such as fixed lens fisheye dome and vari-focal dome,” Cheng concluded.

 

AMG|UK  
Fisheye cameras, compared to other types of cameras, offer a number of key advantages — monitoring of surround view without blind spot and reduction of installation cost and work — whilst still keeping high-resolution recording quality, David J. Myers, Technical Director of AMG, highlighted. AMG have noted that 360-degree fisheye cameras are becoming the mainstream when analog CCTV is gradually replaced by IP CCTV systems. 
“We are not sure that there is one particular market deploying the most 360 degree cameras. In the USA, the retail market is strong. And transportation is a natural market for wide-angle camera when one single camera can cover whole view of a bus, or a train carriage,” Myers said. “Banks, schools, colleges, museums, and public buildings are also the target market of 360-degree cameras. So are car parks and outdoor perimeters.”

 

AXIS|Sweden  
“According to IHS Research, sales of network video start to overtake analog in 2014 due to the powerful functions of advanced video processing and analytics. This is especially true in the retailer sector, as 360-degree cameras allow for an overview of all activities in a given area while being affordable for users having to work with tight-budgets in for example the retail and education sectors,” said Petra Bennermark, Product Manager at Axis Communications. 
“In a study by Axis Communications, more than half (58%) of UK retailers are planning to migrate from analog to network video in order to integrate network cameras with business intelligence (BI) applications. BI application integration was considered the most significant reason for UK retailers to move to network video.”

 

Dahua|China  
Fisheye cameras are mostly deployed for indoor surveillance, getting more and more popular in public buildings, pointed out by Peter Pan, Product Manager from Dahua. Seen as the economic choice for security system deployment, one single fisheye camera can achieve wider coverage of monitoring than other non-panoramic camera.
This is even true to public units, hotels, and schools. They often have budget concerns; theses users are not too demanding in security image details while their purpose of surveillance system is mainly for prevention, Pan suggested. 
“At present, many surveillance camera manufacturers have proposed new thoughts of design,” he continued. Currently, end users start to use 360-degree cameras and PTZ speed domes altogether, featuring both wide-coverage and detailed monitoring views. The 360-degree cameras are going to become an essential solution in surveillance systems, according to Pan. 
“Although fisheye cameras are expecting fast growth in the near future, the 360-degree cameras won't become the majority in surveillance camera market due to their own pitfalls such as low pixel counts at the edge of images, and image distortion,” explained Pan.
However, as Pan mentioned, the technical improvement related to these pitfalls has been essential to manufacturers in the industry. Meanwhile, some manufacturers have started enhancing camera capacities in IR support for advanced day/night monitoring.

 

EverFocus Electronics|Taiwan
Douglass Wang, Deputy Project Manager of EverFocus Electronics, emphasized the importance of fisheye and speed dome cameras' synergy, combining advantages from both types of cameras, and adding value for wide-area surveillance without compromising the optimal image quality. “The end users can finely utilize pan, tilt, and zoom functions on speed dome to keep tracking region of interest, while monitoring the entire area through 360-degree camera view, more importantly, without any blind spot,” Wang said.
As panoramic camera is favored to be applied with speed dome in areas such as airport, warehouse, public space, and parking lot, end users might hesitate due to complicated cameras configurations. “EverFocus provides end users a 4-steps image calibration which dramatically reduces configuration time,” Wang highlighted.

 

Hikvision Digital Technology |China
“Normally, SMB users may tend to use entry-level fixed cameras instead of panoramic cameras, since the latter are mainly targeted for middle-to high-end project use, and price are relatively higher. Therefore, Hikvision plans to introduce economical mini panoramic cameras to penetrate into SMB market in the middle of this year,” said Adler Wu, Product Marketing Manager of Hikvision Digital Technology.
“And for Hikvision, we forecast to increase at an annual growth rate of 60%-70% [before 2017], according to our company strategy, product planning and the market development. Panoramic camera would develop in two different ways in the future, one for SMB adoption and the other for high-end application. With more and more manufacturers joining in the competition, the price of panoramic camera may decrease to a level, allowing the cameras to enter SMB market; for high-end use, due to the wide coverage of panoramic camera, more images/ scenes could be achieved compared to common IP camera. Therefore, how to well make use of this advantage could be a breakthrough to eventually benefit the end users.”
“Considering lots of manufacturers have introduced their panoramic cameras, it becomes very important for us to provide innovative products to differ from the others at this stage.”

 

Merit LILIN|Taiwan
“Fisheye cameras are all about seeing everything in a scene more efficiently than with multiple cameras; therefore, providing security managers the ability to cover an entire scene in a logical way without gaps of coverage is prominent,” according to Chris Hsu, Global Marketing Manager at LILIN. “LILIN panoramic IP camera is an ideal choice for open-ended lobby areas such as entrances, exits, and lobbies.”
“The current leading technology trend in global market is ‘less is more'. We expect cameras can cover a range of area such as 360-degree fisheye camera is an ideal all-in-one product will definitely continue to shine in the following years.”

 

Panasonic|Japan 
It is forecast that a growth of more than 50% will be seen in the panoramic camera market – more than current security market trend expectation – as higher image resolution will expand the deployment and acceptance of fisheye camera in more vertical markets, commented Akihito Akiyama, product planning manager at Panasonic.
According to Mr. Akiyama, Panasonic has strengthened its 360-degree cameras by continuingly progressing at technology development, including dewarp, super dynamic function, and vandal resistance. With the solid technical base, the 360-degree cameras are capable for high-resolution image quality with even edges, stable performance under various lighting environments, and last but not least, durability.

 

Samsung Techwin|Korea 
“360-degree cameras are increasingly being specified for projects where there is a requirement to monitor activity 24/7 in environments such as banks, offices, retail, transportation and warehouses. The advantage they offer is that a single 360-degree observational camera is all that might be needed to efficiently and cost effectively covers a whole area where a much larger number of standard cameras might normally be required, to avoid any blind spots,” suggested Tim Biddulph, Product Manager of Samsung Techwin Europe.
Samsung Techwin's 360 degree camera is part of the company's extensive range of IP network cameras. Tim Biddulph emphasizes the importance of fully understanding clients' needs first, before endeavoring to persuade them to migrate to 360-degree or other products and technologies.

 

Sony|Japan
“With its multiple security benefits and associated cost savings for end users, it is easy to understand why the 360-degree security camera has been highlighted by IHS as one of the key drivers for the video surveillance camera market in 2014 – which is slated for double-digit growth this year. Sony also recognizes the importance of these cameras in addressing the ever changing security environments of the modern world, and will continue to advance in the 360-degree security camera market with our end users,” said Riki Nishimura, General Manager of Visual Security Solutions, Professional Solutions Company (PSAP) at Sony Electronics Asia Pacific.

 

VIVOTEK|Taiwan
“The 360-degree cameras can be especially ideal for intercom or retail applications. Retail stores especially demand for a cost-effective and comprehensive surveillance system, which dissuades shoplifting and pickpocketing,” said Steve Ma, Executive Vice President of VIVOTEK. “With several unique features and wide surveillance coverage that can be delivered by the 360-degree fisheye camera under complicated environment, retail stores tend to deploy 360-degree fisheye camera the most.”
“The deployment of 360-degree fisheye cameras could be financially and technically beneficial. It is worth to note that just one 360-degree fisheye camera can deliver the same coverage as 6 to7 cameras that have been used in the stores. With the installation of panoramic models, the total number of cameras needed by the clients can be significantly reduced,” explained Ma.
VIVOTEK has made our fisheye camera as a pro-active smart sensor through our superior algorithms, making fisheye cameras performing intelligently, like people counting, field detection, trip wire, according to Ma. “With the technology evolvement and rising awareness of cost-effective solutions, the prevalent adoption of 360-degree fisheye camera for wide open area surveillance in the following years is foreseen. In addition, a 360-degree fisheye camera with intelligent capacity is undoubtedly to be a trend.”

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