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2014 market forecast: Financial, education and healthcare markets to grow in US

2014 market forecast: Financial, education and healthcare markets to grow in US

Editor / Provider: Tyco intergrated security | Updated: 12/24/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

Even though US economic recovery is still staggering, Dan Schroeder, Vice President of Sales of Tyco Integrated Security, still remains optimistic — predicting the financial market, as well as education and healthcare will still present outstanding sales figures in 2014.

The financial services market
“In the next year we expect to see an increase in the financial services market. We've been working closely with our customers to better understand what the new ‘branch of tomorrow' will look like so we can continue to develop solutions which meet their ever evolving needs.” Schroeder explains.

Tyco expects an increase in store performance and customer experience. This will be done by continuing to implement effective security technology such as advanced video intelligence with higher-definition megapixel cameras to provide better images and more efficient coverage, access control solutions for ATM vestibules, as well as code automation to help ensure alarm codes stay in the right hands.

Education and healthcare
Moreover, Schroeders also points out 2 specific areas where are expected to see an increase in access control solutions: education and healthcare. “For healthcare, we've been seeing an uptick in demand for wireless lock technology. For example, in addition to the facility doors, hospitals and medical buildings have requested innovative locking mechanisms that bring access control to non-traditional applications such as storage cabinets for clinical consumables. ” Schroeder says.

“On the other hand”, Schroeder emphasizes, “many school administrators are now reassessing their security measures and emergency management plans. The majority of which are specifically focused on schools entrances, and are looking to integrate solutions like video intercom and visitor management systems. We predict that in the next year, these 2 sectors will continue to increase their spending on these types of security solutions. ”

A neglected market: crowd control
Additionally, Schroeder also addresses a neglected area in the past where is starting to show impressive growth — crowd control. “Tyco Integrated Security is very involved in the communities we serve and have become a resource to keeping the people of these communities safe.” Schroeder says. “For instance, we recently worked with Fenway to provide security solutions that were utilized during the World Series. Moving into 2014, Tyco Integrated Security will continue to work with the arenas, stadiums, and cities to provide the solutions they need during large-scale events. ”

A new zeitgeist: customer experience improvement
Speaking of product trends, Schroeder emphasizes the importance of customer experience improvement. “As our customers' security needs continue to evolve, so will our company. We are always looking for new ways to improve the customer experience and provide the best set of security solutions available. 1 way we've done this is by offering world class solutions manufactured by our sister company, Tyco Security Products. “

Tyco Security Products recently acquired Exacq, a developer of open architecture video management systems (VMS) for security and surveillance applications for the mid-size market space. By leveraging the partnership between its sister company, Tyco now has an opportunity to expand its video technology portfolio while strengthening its presence in the mid-market space. The quality of Exacq's products coupled with ease of use and ease of installation are expected to help Tyco address the needs of a different type of video users than we do with our current portfolio.

Schroeder says, “our end users are increasingly looking to us to provide security as a service, and moving forward, we expect mobile security technologies will address this need. For example, with mobile security management tools, business owners can remotely manage security systems from a mobile device, improve visibility with real time alerts and video clips, as well as improve work-life balance and optimize efficiency by conveniently supervising multiple locations from anywhere. “

New challenges underway
Even though the financial market, as well as education and healthcare are expected to see robust growth in sales; there is still a string of challenges underway in the year of 2004 for Tyco, specifically in brand differentiation, keeping employees up-to-date with the changing protocols and standards, and marketing Tyco as a globalized brand.

“1 of the biggest challenges we face as a system integrator is finding a way to differentiate our brand in a crowded market space. At Tyco Integrated Security, we stand out from our competition by working closely with our customers to ensure they receive the security solutions that not only meet, but exceed their expectations. This is done by utilizing partnerships with other companies, providing technology that's easy to use and by offering resources, such as the Centers of Excellence that provides organizations access to a robust source of information to enable well-informed decision making. “Schroeder says.

Moreover, Schroeder also expresses his concerns over how to keeping employees up-to-date with the changing protocols and evolving standards. “This has been another challenge. At Tyco Integrated Security, we take every step to ensure employees are properly equipped to handle each and every situation. Some ways we do this is through annual training sessions for all technicians, conducting frequent assessments to ensure that training is fully understood and learned, as well as offering online education tools on specific security technologies that are available to all employees. “

“Finally, a third challenge has been to continue to market a globalized brand. “, he points out, “ As multinationals globalize their security practices, they face a world fragmented with different regulations, cultures and standards that go beyond the changing standards in the U.S. By working with the third-party partners who have the necessary knowledge, experience and resources, Tyco Integrated Security has developed a global service delivery platform with greater consistency and simplicity. “

The pocket-sized connected home

The pocket-sized connected home

Editor / Provider: a&s Editorial Department | Updated: 12/20/2013 | Article type: Tech Corner

Mobility has become a key selling point for connected home systems. With the popularity of smart devices, consumers have translated their need for on-hand convenience into all aspects of life, including connected home systems. To keep up with consumer demands, the security industry has come up with ways to put connected homes into the pockets of consumers in the form of mobile apps.

The mobile digital wave and smart networking have contributed to a new trend in connected homes — the mobile connected home. Mobile support has already become a basic requirement for connected home systems. Now, with these systems being able to connect to mobile devices, connected homes have made the leap from conceptual idea to tangible mobile remote controls into the hands of users.

From Keypads to Touchscreens

Having made the move from analog intercoms to video door phones to smart systems, connected home servers (processors) have become complex electronic devices. Available connected home servers can be split into 2 categories. The first can be wall-mounted or embedded in a video door phone. This type often uses TFT touchscreens with built-in camera lenses and can be used for home automation functions such as access control, intercom, security, and lighting control. The second is an independent server that is paired with a wall-mounted touchscreen. The server and home equipment can then be linked via wired or wireless connection.

Regardless of whether it is an integrated or independent server, it should be low in power consumption and high in stability, unlike PCs which have an endless amount of functions that can affect efficiency and stability.

Therefore, most industry experts believe that independent control systems are more logical and better suited for professional use, as intercom and control interfaces on touchscreens can be customized and servers can independently process the power supply and high voltage.

Remote Controlling Made Easy by Wireless and Mobile Communication

Wireless communication is another key to extended equipment control for connected homes. Both WiFi and 3G have become a part of daily life. Being able to connect to these wireless communications has expanded the possibilities for servers to remotely control.

Connected home servers need to support one of the several different communications protocols on the market — among which are ZigBee and Z-Wave. These protocols allow for even more flexibility in regard to controlling home appliances and are particularly useful for homes that do not adhere to a specific communications interface. Because of this, connected home systems need to provide even more wired and wireless applications for engineers and construction companies to more easily introduce into digital homes.

The mobilization trend has made the average remote control obsolete to modern users, no longer meeting their needs. The ability to remotely control with mobile devices has helped more people accept and understand the concept of connected homes — it has also become a main selling point for construction companies. As a result, the majority of manufacturers now provide apps that complement their system.

Bringing Android and iOS into Connected Homes

Generally, connected home servers used Linux Embedded or Windows Embedded Compact, also known as WinCE, operating systems. In order to allow servers to connect to external networks and allow for more flexibility with functions, connected home and software manufacturers are capitalizing on the mobile trend by using the Android and iOS platforms. Both Android and iOS platforms can be used for apps and remote controlling of surveillance equipment, turning them into user interface platforms for connected home servers and helping to open up connected homes to the masses.

Due to the openness of embedded systems, more connected homes are using embedded operating systems. The openness of these systems gives software engineers the freedom to customize a system to meet specific needs. Software engineers can remove unnecessary functions, as well as optimize original source codes for their operating system, allowing the different requirements of different users to be met. However, the popularization and openness of these systems also make these servers more susceptible to malware. Therefore, it is important to remember that in regard to network security there are risks to connecting connected home servers to external networks. As a result, servers normally seize external network information from networks that have already been authorized.

Furthermore, servers furnished with USB and Micro SD slots are more susceptible to viruses and security breaches. To address these problems companies have made adjustments to I/O interface designs that not only make them easier to use, but guarantee security as well.

Android Versus iOS
The bulk of home control apps support the Android operating system; however, there are many apps for iOS too.

Making connected homes available to all levels of society is the goal of C.Y. Chang, President of Infairy Technology, a Taiwan-based company that has been devoted to the connected home domain for 10 years. Affordability and accessibility are two of the most important factors for Infairy. To accomplish these things, Chang emphasizes software over hardware and has chosen the Android platform as their main solution.

Choosing to use Android and Java, companies and developers are able to easily customize their free codes to fit their individual needs. Because Android is open source and supports Infairy's open source design, it is more befitting than the iOS platform. While the openness of the Android platform is an advantage to Infairy, Jarrod Bell, Co-founder of CommandFusion notes that while their software supports automatic scaling of the interface, the openness and “very diverse range of screen resolutions and pixel densities make it more difficult to design an interface that will work on any Android device.”

Although the home automation software provided by CommandFusion, an Australian-based company specializing in automation software and hardware, runs on both iOS and Android platforms, Bell points out that “iOS devices feature a limited range of touch panel resolutions, making it easier to configure the user interface in our app to work on any iOS device. For this reason, iOS is a simpler platform for integrators to use when it comes to developing touch panel control interfaces.”

Mobile Devices to replace Fixed mounted Interfaces

Most companies also provide web platforms to apps for increased compatibility. Thus giving users the ability to control their homes from any location via a network browser, whether it be a PC, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all' [system] definition but rather a way to meet the needs for a variety of lifestyles, while having a convenient and reliable solution,” said David Gottlieb, Global Marketing Communications Leader for Honeywell Security. There is of course one trend many companies are getting in on — remote control and access via smartphones, tablets, and computers.

A Honeywell solution will allow homeowners to control everything from lifestyle features, the security system, cameras, etc. directly from their mobile devices without the controller.

The current trend is moving away from fixed mounted user interfaces, with an increased preference for complete mobile access using a mobile device or tablet,” notes Tom Cunningham, Director of Product Marketing at Legrand Home Systems. “Using a smartphone or tablet device, customers can view live camera feeds, select and play music, adjust the volume, or control lighting levels in their home from any location.”

Crestron's mobile app enables users to use mobile devices running on Android or iOS to take full control of all the technology and systems in their house. “Users can monitor and control lights, media, climate, security, and more from a mobile roadband or WiFi connection,” according to Phoebe Chu, Assistant Marketing & Communications Director of Crestron Asia.

All About Apps

The importance of app software for connected home systems is a focus of both Infairy and CommandFusion. The app developed by Infairy takes a different approach to connected homes. Bypassing complicated installation and wiring problems for installers their app can be loaded onto any Android-based smart device via internet connection — no need for special panels.

Having encountered problems with wireless protocol compatibility in the past, the software development kit (SDK) provided by Infairy serves as a medium allowing different devices to talk to each other and work independently, regardless of protocols. This allows the system to link to different systems with different standards, as well as follows Infairy's open source design. Infairy freely provides their SDK and source codes to manufacturers who can then customize the codes to fit their needs. The flexibility of apps is also seen in CommandFusion's app. Bell explains that their app “can integrate with any IP enabled device or system, so long as the third party equipment has a way to be controlled via IP, our app can directly communicate with the equipment.” It was also noted that CommandFusion's app can simultaneously control any number of IP-enabled third party equipment without the need of any extra hardware.

The ability to pocket one's home control system is not just convenient; it is also a cost-effective way to enjoy the luxuries of a connected home without losing out on the functionality of full-blown home automation system. Now, app-based connected home solutions, like Infairy's offering, are able to provide more than just home automation and fire and safety; they can also supply energy management and living conveniences, such as weather forecasts and healthcare consulting.

As the worldwide market for smart connected devices continues to grow, the security industry must continue to capitalize on this trend of mobility, not only to keep up with consumer wants, but also to keep competitive in a growing market.

HD-SDI(10): Real life cases and applications

HD-SDI(10): Real life cases and applications

Editor / Provider: Alf Chang | Updated: 12/20/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

More and more manufacturers are investing handsomely in HD-SDI cameras, SDI DVRs, and peripheral products. However, installers and users may not fully understand these new technologies and applications. The following sections shed light on real-life applications in traffic monitoring and banking.

Traffic monitoring is 1 of the first applications where HD-SDI solutions are deployed. Take road traffic monitoring for example, crucial challenges include day-and-night surveillance, snap shots of moving objects of various speeds, detailed identification of targets, longer distance transmission, and high density of monitoring spots. HD-SDI solutions are right there to satisfy such needs.

Traffic monitoring
In the past, 4 to 8 analog cameras might be required on the side of the road in order to have “full” coverage. With HD images brought by HD-SDI cameras, end-users can save 50 % of analog cameras deployed. In addition, road toll stations used to need at least 3 cameras to monitor license plates, vehicle models, and driver images. However, these workloads can be done with just 1 HD-SDI camera. Furthermore, these HD images can be integrated with toll gate transaction records.

Data Transmission on highways
Data transmission infrastructure on highways was mainly built with fiber optic devices. Hence, regardless of the kind of existing infrastructure, front-end products can be switched to HD-SDI cameras, and incorporate HD-SDI video servers to convert signals into TCP/IP-enabled signals. The network-enabled HD-SDI solutions fit well for transmission over long distances via fiber optic transceivers.

Alternatively, installers can directly replace IP-enabled fiber optic transceivers with those models supporting HD-SDI conversion, which send signals from HD-SDI cameras to the back-end and generate restored real-time HD-SDI signals to be sent to DVRs, matrix switchers, or a multiple screen wall.

Back-End Control
In network surveillance or traditional matrix systems, monitoring signals are sent bit by bit back to the monitoring center. Those signal terminals could be DVRs/NVRs with network switchers or routers. For analog signals, they are output from fiber optic transceivers and directly sent to video matrix switchers for distribution or management.

If installers are keen to use HD-SDI products at the back-end of the existing IP-based infrastructure, they just need to direct the original video data from IP-enabled fiber optic transceivers to the existing network paths without rewiring. On the other hand, if installers want to restore signals to HD-SDI signals, they have to adopt HD-SDI video servers then. This way, the restored SDI signals can be directed to multiple monitors.

However, it is yet to be confirmed if those SDI signals transmitted over networks suffer any latency or reduced resolutions. It is also unclear if those signals sent back to HD-SDI DVRs are collected as TCP/IP-enabled signals by monitoring platforms can be restored as intact as the original HD-SDI uncompressed signals. Even with the uncertainties, video signal rendering, processing, and storing are more beneficial and cost-efficient in SDI traffic monitoring surveillance applications.

Financial Applications
The banking sector has requirements for HD-SDI solutions. Banking locations require day-and-night surveillance operations, specified position monitoring, local short distance transmission, and seamless and detailed rendition.

Indoor and Outdoor HD-SDI Cameras
Traditionally, cameras in a bank need to cover areas including tellers' counters, vaults, business areas, entrances, exits, and ATMs. Since the cash transactions are dealt with at the counters and must be monitored with great attention, there must be at least 1 camera above each teller. Specific counters with frequent cash transactions require 2 to 4 groups of cameras to monitor, not to mention waiting areas, entrances, exits. In total, a bank will deploy an average of 30 cameras inside and outside of a bank, not to mention those for ATMs.

HD-SDI cameras can not only save 40 to 50 % of analog cameras in banks to achieve better coverage, but also offer greater image details – license plates of vehicles parked nearby and their models can be captured without a sweat.

Transmission in Banks
Surveillance in a bank tends to be a closed environment with closed transmission architecture, suitable for either IP systems or coaxial infrastructure. However, banks usually are largely deployed with analog systems. Therefore, taking advantage of existing infrastructure and upgrading to HD-SDI solutions would be more cost-efficient than migrating to IP solutions. For remote monitoring and management, 1 can always use HD-SDI DVRs supporting TCP/IP connections.

Storage and Management
In the past, surveillance systems have utilized DVRs and disk arrays for storage. Signals are sent 1 bit at a time back to DVRs, making DVRs the core of security systems. HD-SDI DVRs allow the architecture remain intact. With the advantages of latency-free and intact video data, HD-SDI solutions suit perfectly for bank surveillance.

More Than Meets the Eye
Innovations HD-SDI solutions have proved to be good alternatives for users and installers wishing to obtain HD in IP-challenged environments. In addition, the easy transition from analog to HD-SDI is definitely a plus for cost-effective upgrades.

Related article

HD-SDI(9): HD-SDI video distribution
HD-SDI(8): Benefits of HD-SDI
HD-SDI(7): HD-SDI made in Korea, Taiwan and China
HD-SDI(6): Hybrid approaches to integrate HD-SDI and IP solutions
HD-SDI(5): Camera components, features, and efficiency
HD-SDI(4) : Revolution of HD-SDI matrix systems
HD-SDI(3): Storage in SDI
HD-SDI(2): Transmission extendable in distance
HD-SDI(1): Another option for HD video surveillance

HD-SDI(9): HD-SDI video distribution

HD-SDI(9): HD-SDI video distribution

Editor / Provider: Alf Chang | Updated: 12/20/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

The overview of HD-SDI surveillance applications across various products, transmission methods, and storage devices is covered in this piece. However, there may still be some questions about HD-SDI signals and signal distribution. The following Q&As will tackle FAQs.

Q: How to arrange SDI transmission distances? Is it right to say that the ideal distance between points is 100 meters? In addition, is there any measuring device can be used to test SDI signal?

A: Generally speaking, HD-SDI could transmit signals within 120 to 140 meters; signal distributors and boosters can be set apart from each other within this range as relays for extending the transmission longer. As for the distance range of 100 meters, it is widely accepted as the normal HD-SDI transmission distance that yields the stable signals. Currently, most SDI distribution amplifiers are designed as 1:4, 1:6, and 1:8 specifications. Some vendors provide solutions of 1:16 multi-distribution patterns. However, SDI chip formats and capabilities vary significantly, so installers should verify carefully the performance before adopting such solutions.

As to the measurement of HD-SDI signal, certainly, any electrical signal generates a dB value, including HD-SDI signals, whose dB value is about 800mV, 15dB at 1.485-1.5GHz, while 3G-SDI has a value of 18dB at 2.97GHz. To measure HD-SDI or 3G-SDI signals, it requires professional dB scales or oscilloscopes, such as Tektronix's WFM7120 digital waveform monitor, which is recommended by many manufacturers.

It supports 3Gb/s HD/SD auto format detection to deliver more comprehensive analysis and processing capabilities with 1080P 50/59.94/60 (3Gb/s) HD video signals for observing the distribution of SDI signals. Tektronix WFM7120 digital waveform monitor also complies with SMPTE 424M and 425M broadcast-grade signal test standards. This type of 3Gb/s SDI signal measurement instruments provide multiple ways to transmit bandwidth-intensive 1080P (Full HD) signals complying with SMPTE 424M and 425M standards in a reliable way. Waveform monitors can also be used to verify if the target complies with 1080P 50/59.94/60 Level A and Level B format standards, and include options to measure eye and jitter to evaluate the physical layer performance of the 3Gb/s interface on a single SDI link. Only one drawback is that those equipments cost a significant amount that a non-SDI manufacturer feels uncomfortable to invest in them.

Q: Do SDI signals have problems of packetized data like IP transmission does? If we adopt mixed transmission approach with coax and fiber optic cables, what should be considered to ensure good transmission quality? Are there any wiring examples that are both installation-friendly and cost-efficient?

A: SDI signals are broadcast-grade digital electrical signals which are transmitted in a form of real-time digital uncompressed voltage outputs instead of IP digitalized signals. Therefore, unlike IP megapixel signals, SDI video signals will not be compressed or packetized during their transmission, which ensures latency-free transmission.

SDI signals can reach certain distances depending on the specific coaxial cables. For example, 270Mb/sec (SD-SDI) signals can be sent over 440 meters with RG6 coax or 330 meters with RG59 coax, while 1.485Gb/sec (HD-SDI) signals can be sent over 230 meters with RG6 coax or 160 meters with RG59 coax. With these allocation points, you can adopt a signal booster to further transmit 300 meters of SD-HDI signals, 100 meters of HD-SDI signals, and 70 meters of 3G-HDI signals. As for signal phases, the best practice is to adopt only one booster, which means only one SDI signal is amplified at a time in order to ensure the stability and quality of signals.

For mixed approach with fiber optic cables, keep in mind that the distances of SDI signals transmitted by fiber optic transceivers depend on the single-mode or multi-mode of fiber optic cables. Also, fiber optic transceivers should support SD/HD/3G-SDI formats, and signals range from 270Mb-1.5 Gb/sec to 2.97 Gb/sec. Failing to verify the capabilities could lead to low performance of transmission and time wasted for repeated maintenance.

Q: In the best practices of cable TV (or community antenna television, CATV) installations, they provide detailed charts explaining wire wattages and amplifying values in various conditions. Are there any similar charts for SDI signals? How to define the related standards?

A: These questions are really difficult to answer. CATV installations require reference values of wire transmission distances and cable impedances to determine their wire lengths because they are related to multiple channels of mixed signals. By contrast, SDI signals are standardized to use a nominal impedance of 75 ohms and signal strength of 800mV and 15-18dB to deliver stable transmission over coaxial cables. Therefore, SDI installations basically don't require any references regarding cable impedances or wattages. If you find any information about SDI wiring references, welcome to share with asmag.com.

Q: Does the resolution need to be reduced to ensure a smooth SDI transmission?

A: Here are some additional clarifications about the definition of SDI signals. For example, ITU-R BT.656 defines digital video interfaces used for broadcast-grade video, and this standard is used for transmission of uncompressed, unencrypted digital video signals (optionally including embedded audio and time code) with a nominal impedance of 75 ohms coax. Most professional video equipment complies with this standard. Its first version as defined by SMPTE 259M is for the transmission of digitalized NTSC and PAL analog signals over serial digital interface, commonly known as SD-SDI. Transferring SD-HDI signals requires bit rates of 270 Mbps. With the introduction of 1080i and 720p HD video standards, those interfaces are enhanced to support bit rates of 1.485 Gbps. 1.485-Gbps serial interfaces are commonly known as HD-SDI, defined by SMPTE 292M, which uses the same nominal impedance of 75 ohms coax. SMPTE 424M is a new standard with enhanced SDI capabilities of 2.97 Gbps on the same type of coax. This new standard is also referred to 3-Gbps, 3G-SDI, supporting 1080p and higher definition image quality of digital cinema. Therefore, being defined as a HD standard, SDI remains the same resolution regardless of any conditions or transmission formats in its transmission process.

Related article
HD-SDI(8): Benefits of HD-SDI
HD-SDI(7): HD-SDI made in Korea, Taiwan and China
HD-SDI(6): Hybrid approaches to integrate HD-SDI and IP solutions
HD-SDI(5): Camera components, features, and efficiency
HD-SDI(4) : Revolution of HD-SDI matrix systems
HD-SDI(3): Storage in SDI
HD-SDI(2): Transmission extendable in distance
HD-SDI(1): Another option for HD video surveillance

HD-SDI(8): Benefits of HD-SDI

HD-SDI(8): Benefits of HD-SDI

Editor / Provider: Alf Chang | Updated: 12/20/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

Serial digital interface (SDI) is a family of digital video interfaces. There are 3 types of SDI standards: SD-SDI, HD-SDI and 3G-SDI. SD-SDI is defined for standard definition digital signals, while HD-SDI and 3G-SDI are for HD video signals. Among them, the most popular adoption in security and surveillance industry is HD-SDI.  See more products here.

HD-SDI solutions all employ coaxial cables with BNC connectors to transmit processed digital signals. For this reason, many installers and customers may misunderstand HD-SDI to be a high resolution analog solution. However, HD-SDI belongs to the digital video category. Here are some of its benefits:

Re-cabling unnecessary
BNC connectors allow easy installation of HD-SDI without any significant modification of existing analog cabling. Meaning, when upgrading from existing system to HD-SDI, only front-end and back-end products need to be replaced. This approach increases time efficiency while cutting labor costs.

Easy Knowledge transfer
Since HD-SDI adopts the same infrastructure with analog systems where coaxial cables are largely deployed, installers and operators can quickly adapt to the new technology and ensure quick and correct installations.

Latency-free HD image
HD-SDI signals are transported in latency-free and uncompressed digital signals over coaxial cables, plus crystal-clear HD images. HD-SDI solution is able to meet the demands of real-time monitoring without any latency caused by network issues.

Cost-effective utilization of devices
HD-SDI outputs images of 1920×1080 resolution. Hence, the number of cameras needed to capture vivid details such as facial features or license plate is largely reduced.

Project scale makes the difference
Small-scale HD-SDI systems require fewer cameras. These systems can be directly upgraded from analog to HD-SDI; therefore, installers can simply replace front-end products.  

For middle- to large-scale HD-SDI systems with numerous cameras and bigger storage requirement, installers can adopt HD-SDI video encoders to compress front-end HD-SDI signals into H.264 digital signals and transmit to IP storage area networks (SANs).

Users may question why HD-SDI signals still need to be digitalized. This is because when integrating SDI and IP systems, the front-end HD-SDI real-time video streams are captured into a video encoder, then the converted digital signals are distributed to a video matrix switcher for real-time monitoring. The signals are then further sent to an encoder for storing. This approach ensures HD rendition in monitoring and storing.

Some prerequisites include:

Cabling
Analog camera installations are different from HD-SDI camera installations. While bad connections or false linkage of connectors in analog systems simply cause horizontal strips or jitters on the video, HD-SDI camera installations, on the other hand, cannot stand any false connections because the video will be lost. Analog video signal frequency is in waveforms whereas HD-SDI signal frequency looks like serrated edges.

Some installers tend to cut off BNC connectors of video cables, however; this can seriously weaken the HD-SDI video outputs.

Transmission
Currently, HD-SDI supports a limited transmission distance of 100 meters on regular video coaxial cables. Distance larger than 100 meters can result in less stable transmission. For a longer distance, installers are suggested to use fiber optic to ensure video quality and reliability.

Output Conversion
When HD-SDI video signals are converted and transported via High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) signals, low quality of HDMI cables may significantly disrupt these video signals. The proven and tested distance limitation is 20 meters, but video signals would be weakened after 15 meters on HDMI.

Display
HD-SDI solutions incorporate signal amplifiers to boost the signal transmission distances. However, different brands of front-end signal sources may have compatibility issues that may possibly block signal outputs. Currently, dedicated HD-SDI monitors are more expensive and rarely used in surveillance installations. The most cost-efficient display option is HDTVs with HDMI support. The drawback for this is that different brands of HDTVs have different predefined settings of video signal inputs, which cause the compatibility issues among individual brands of HD-SDI video sources. This may result a prompt indicating “unsupported format” in operations.  

These mentioned issues seem to be the limitations of HD-SDI solutions. However, with careful product investigations and tests before implementations, a successful upgrade to HD solutions can be carried out. HD-SDI continues to evolve in the security industry and flourishes in the market with its unique advantages.

Related article
HD-SDI(7): HD-SDI made in Korea, Taiwan and China
HD-SDI(6): Hybrid approaches to integrate HD-SDI and IP solutions
HD-SDI(5): Camera components, features, and efficiency
HD-SDI(4): Revolution of HD-SDI matrix systems
HD-SDI(3): Storage in SDI
HD-SDI(2): Transmission extendable in distance
HD-SDI(1): Another option for HD video surveillance

HD-SDI(7): HD-SDI made in Korea, Taiwan and China

HD-SDI(7): HD-SDI made in Korea, Taiwan and China

Editor / Provider: Alf Chang | Updated: 12/20/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

Great numbers of Chinese, Taiwanese, and Korean companies manufactures HD-SDI solutions. How HD-SDI evolved in these countries and how they position themselves will be discussed.

Evolution from Korea, Taiwan, and China
The first generation of HD-SDI cameras were introduced in 2009; Comart and SANYO showcased and launched SMPTE-292M-complaint cameras. Comart is a provider of HD solutions; the company started to develop and apply HD-SDI solution to local projects in Korea since 2006. At that time, the markets had adopted network solutions for 2 years, so their HD-SDI cameras did not gain much attention.

In 2010, approximately 20 Korean manufacturers started to enter the business, developing HD-SDI products ranging from cameras, DVRs, signal amplifiers, signal distributors, monitors, fiber optic devices, etc.

What enticed Korean manufacturers to invest in such technologies was the large utilization of HD-SDI in city and traffic surveillance projects by the Korean government. In addition, Korean vendors have found that through combing coaxial cables and fiber optic cables in an existing analog system, the challenges of limited HD-SDI transmission distances can be solved. Chip providers like Gennum (part of Semtech) also introduced various chip solutions for HD-SDI signal transmitters and receivers, thus enhancing related innovation and customization. The successful results have proven that HD-SDI is a quicker way to upgrade to HD surveillance with latency-free transmission capability. This finding allowed Korean manufacturers to deliver a new innovation to break away from compression accessories and technologies.

On the other hand, Chinese manufacturers first showcased HD-SDI cameras with chip solutions from Ambarella in 2010. Innovation continued despite skepticism until 2013, and there were plenty of Chinese manufacturers delivering full lines of HD-SDI signal transmission devices and matrix systems to heat up the competition. In particularly, Chinese HD-SDI solutions are not ambitiously positioned to replace IP surveillance applications, but are largely applied to the existing domestic analog surveillance market, such as education, retail, and banking sectors.

Across the strait, some Taiwanese HD-SDI pioneers started to develop their own HD-SDI products while others simply follow Korean HD-SDI trends. In 2010, there were only 2 or 3 manufacturers daring to test the water. However, in 2013, over 16 vendors have shifted their production from analog products to HD-SDI peripheral products.

Chinese HD-SDI market has the largest domestic support market-wise, while Taiwanese and Korean vendors are providing more technological innovations.

Factors behind the Uptake of HD-SDI
HD-SDI is a still a slowly-develping business. According to Todd Rockoff, Chairman and Executive Director of HDcctv Alliance, even with manufacturers' aggressive R&D investments and market demand for real-time HD surveillance, in 2011, only 5% of surveillance market adopted HD-SDI applications. While SDI chipmakers and IMS Research forecasted that by 2014, 15% of all HD equipments (including IP-based and HD-SDI video surveillance) may adopt HD-SDI solutions, and possibly in 2013, there are 10% of HD equipment adopting HD-SDI.

First, HD-SDI represents a new solution for installers encountering difficulties in deploying IP surveillance solutions in an environment ill-structured with wireless transmission. Furthermore, even though IP surveillance has run for years, there are still circumstances where conventional video surveillance systems cannot be replaced by IP solutions. Some believe that IP market shares to analog surveillance is 7:3, fact is IP is securing 50% of the market. Due to reasons including the varied network conditions in every country, high costs associated with replacement of existing infrastructure, IP is yet to be fully accepted in the market. However, the above mentioned challenges can be addressed with HD-SDI solutions, making HD-SDI solutions preferably adopted in retail stores, shopping malls, highways, stations, banks, casinos, airports, and other projects such as city surveillance and traffic monitoring. In addition, not only does HD-SDI features uncompressed digital signal high speed transmission, HD image quality, and excellent color rendition, but also supports existing analog infrastructure to ensure secured video data and reliability.

Nevertheless, a major drawback of HD-SDI is the huge data generated that lead to more investment in transmission and storage devices. HD-SDI ‘s capabilities to handle resolutions beyond 1080P or back-end management equipment are questionable.

Market Position
Chinese manufacturers have shown their capabilities through improved product performance, and created brand awareness internationally. The competition is fierce for Taiwanese and Korean manufacturers despite only 10% of Chinese HD-SDI products could really match up to Taiwanese and Korean HD-SDI products. Taiwanese and Korean manufacturers are more advanced in terms of their rich technological experiences in integrating sensors, SDI transmitters, image signal processors, and proper SoC solutions.

Currently, Taiwanese and Korean HD-SDI vendors position themselves to compete in Western and Asian markets. For them, Chinese market is unpredictable and the price-competition is too severe. In western markets, there are already some case studies indicating that several cities in the UK are using Taiwanese and Korean HD-SDI surveillance products. Western markets welcome HD-SDI solutions because they not only solve the latency issues of IP solutions, but also eliminate significant modification for existing analog system.

Related article
HD-SDI(6): Hybrid approaches to integrate HD-SDI and IP solutions
HD-SDI(5): Camera components, features, and efficiency
HD-SDI(4) : Revolution of HD-SDI matrix systems
HD-SDI(3): Storage in SDI
HD-SDI(2): Transmission extendable in distance
HD-SDI(1): Another option for HD video surveillance

HD-SDI(6): Hybrid approaches to integrate HD-SDI and IP solutions

HD-SDI(6): Hybrid approaches to integrate HD-SDI and IP solutions

Editor / Provider: Alf Chang | Updated: 12/19/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

IP megapixel, HD-SDI, and 960H solutions are gaining more traction as the pursuit of HD presses on. However, both manufacturers and installers, who relied on network products, have great hesitations in adopting HD-SDI and 960H cameras. Hybrid approaches to answer integration questions will be explained below.

Integration of IP, HD-SDI, and Analog systems
When HD-SDI solutions were first introduced in the security industry, people were discussing the pros and cons of HD-SDI and IP applications. The fact is these solutions were designed to enhance image resolutions. With the same built purpose, those products should be able to coexist in the infrastructure.

If it is an environment with coax cabling, there are a couple ways to install IP megapixel, HD-SDI, and analog cameras together. For example, by adding in Security Link Over Coax (SLOC) transmitters and receivers at the back side of network cameras, a hybrid approach is created, enabling cost-effective migration while combining the best features of analog and digital video. Since SLOC units (at the Transmit and Receive end-points) support both CVBS and IP at both ends, they are able to deliver TCP/IP digital signal over coax. This approach not only solves the cabling issues of IP cameras, but also eliminates significant modification for existing analog systems. With existing coaxial cables, received SDI signals can be sent to HD-SDI DVRs or video matrix switchers directly, allowing IP and SDI systems co-exist.

If the existing infrastructure is based on TCP/IP network architecture, where network cameras are the main focus, non-IP cameras such as HD-SDI and 960H cameras would need a transmission and conversion approach. There are two ways to convert HD-SDI signals into those signals that can be used by TCP/IP networks. One way is to adopt HD-SDI DVRs to collect the digital signals from all of the HD-SDI cameras and to generate TCP/IP signals for network routing. Then, users can manage the video data of HD-SDI cameras or perform fast remote manipulation of PTZ controlling with central management software (CMS) or the graphic user interface of these DVRs.

Another way is to use SDI digital video servers (DVS) to encode the signals from HD-SDI cameras to TCP/IP signals. Individual HD-SDI video streams then become IP signals, which support routing for network surveillance functions. Similarly, signals from 960H cameras can be collected through DVRs which generate signals for IP routing and surveillance. Taking advantage of DVS to encode video signals into TCP/IP signals in order to transport video streams over the network.

To Reach Maximum Transmission Range
One of the important transmission issues is the maximum range for coax-based analog signals vs. CAT5-based Ethernet IP communications. Some may criticize that HD-SDI signals have a major drawback; they support shorter distance than IP solutions. Fiber optic communications ease these concerns as they are widely used in large-scale security applications. Coax links can deliver HD-SDI signals in real-time over point-to-point cable up to 200 meters for standard-grade cable and up to 500 meters with a signal booster.

For the longer distance transmission of network system, it is commonplace to use fiber optic devices to transfer one or more HD-SDI or analog video streams over fiber optic transmission, which supports wavelength-division multiplexing technologies (WDM/DWDM/CWDM) to meet one-way or bidirectional transmission of multi-channel HD-SDI signals with a maximum distance from 30 to 70 kilometers.

Challenges in Shared Storage
HD images are able to be stored in embedded SDI DVRs and NVRs. However, HD-SDI has standard resolutions of 720P or 1080P at 25 or 30 fps, and the size of converted data is about 1.485Gbps. Storing such raw data requires huge costs. A more practical way is to take approaches such as network compression, D1 recording for general scenes, and HD recording for events to save storage footprints. Therefore, users can get benefits from both HD image recording and smooth latency-free real-time image sources. The numbers of DVRs and configurations of IP or HD-SDI recording can be defined based on the fact that resolutions of 720P or 1080P at 30 fps produce 400 to 650 MB of video data per hour, which means one channel of video data requires 350 to 500 GB of storage capacity per month.

Video Management
Many suppliers are introducing networked video platform to route the video data encoded by HD-SDI matrix switchers or HD-DVRs and to enhance integrated IP surveillance systems with VMS or NVRs to perform alarm triggering, information gathering and centralized administration. Such platform features strong data management capabilities to perform central management, indexing, searching, content analysis, and alarm noticing.

The front end installation can combine coax cables with fiber optics devices to transfer all captured signals to the control center, where those collected signals are routed to multiple screens and HD-SDI DVRs with networked feature for real-time monitoring or management. This system not only meets the requirements of network IP surveillance, but also enables quick and convenient configurations for different sites and resolution formats. Another aproach is to adopt video encoders to convert signals and transmit them to HD NVR/NAS/SAN for storage and management.

Related article
HD-SDI(5): Camera components, features, and efficiency
HD-SDI(4) : Revolution of HD-SDI matrix systems
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HD-SDI(1): Another option for HD video surveillance

Integration: Key to worldwide adoption of ITS

Integration: Key to worldwide adoption of ITS

Editor / Provider: Christine Chien, a&s International | Updated: 12/18/2013 | Article type: Infrastructure

Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) gather traffic data in real time from various wired or wireless communication-based technologies, such as video surveillance, communications, sensors, and detectors, to provide improved safety and efficiency on the road and in transit.

According to a recent market report published by Transparency Market Research, "Intelligent Transportation System Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013 - 2019", the global market is expected to reach a value of $30.2 billion by 2019, at a compound annual growth rate of 11.1%from 2013 to 2019. Reasons behind this rising demand can be contributed to increased congestion in metropolitan areas around the world, especially in Asia.

The development and deployment of ITS not only reduces traffic, but also reduces the number of accidents, and improves quality of life by controlling vehicle emission levels with the decrease in time spent on the road, stuck in traffic. In addition, these systems reduce financial burdens on countries by reducing fuel consumption and traveling delays.

As reported by MarketsandMarkets in “Intelligent Transport Systems Market – Trends, Adoption & Worldwide Forecasts (2012 – 2017)”, North America is currently the market leader, followed by Europe and APAC. As for the remaining regions, Middle East and Africa are the largest contributors. Just in the last two years, increasing numbers of ITS have been deployed all over the world.

KEY EQUIPMENT, DEVICES AND TECHNOLOGY

The most common ITS equipment includes, traffic signal controllers; dynamic message signs; environmental sensors; surveillance cameras for detection or monitoring; infrared sensors; freeway ramp meters; video switches; transportation sensor systems; field master stations for traffic signals; transit priority at traffic signals; street lights; and inductive-loop detectors.

These devices and equipment are integrated together to provide key traffic data, through wireless or 3G/4G networks, back to the traffic control center to collect and process, once the data is aggregated and translated into information, the information will be disseminated to the public through various methods.

As ITS equipment is always installed in outdoor locations, they must be able to operate despite harsh outdoor conditions such as changing weather and temperature, storms, dust, shock, vibration, and other factors.

Ethernet technology is the backbone of communication between all these interconnected devices and equipment. “After the traffic control signals and information are converted into IP packets, they are transmitted through fiber-optic cables, which are connected via Ethernet switches, and sent to the traffic management center for analysis,”said Mitch Yang, President of EtherWAN.

IMPORTANT FEATURES OF ITS

Truly integrated ITS must have a powerful, scalable management system and include several important features.

1)  The system must be able to gather multiple forms of data in a given time frame, such as the flow of traffic, average speed, headway, peak occupancy rate, vehicle length, vehicle type, etc. However, the full integration of all different equipment and devices are especially important in an ITS if accurate real-time information is to be acquired. Therefore, the system must provide an open interface for successful integration with the platform. 
2)  After the data is collected, the system must be able to simultaneously transmit it to multiple locations, as the collected data is usually sent back to the data center, or formatted in a certain way and stored in HDDs for investigation purposes when a situation calls for it. On the other hand, the data is sent in real time to the traffic control centers and related departments for real-time calculations and analysis to provide real-time traffic information.
3)  The system must be able to differentiate between the different types of traffic conditions, as well as detect different events that are happening on the road. Based on the information gathered from each point of detection, the system will process and analyze the data in real time. Coupling this with video surveillance, operators will be able to determine if congestion is caused by an accident or simply from rush hour. Depending on local traffic laws and regulations, the cameras will start to record if an incident occurs, or the camera will zoom in on the scene where an event is occurring for a better view. Also, depending on the level of integration with local public safety officials, an alert will immediately be sent to their stations to inform them of an incident.
4)  An ITS must have a mass notification system, able to send road conditions, events, traveling time, etc. through messages to different variable message signs, broadcast stations, television stations, cellphones, handhelds, websites, and so on, to advise drivers of the best route to take to their destinations.   
5)  The system must have a centralized emergency function, to alert all emergency units or other related departments if something goes wrong. For example, if an accident occurs or a power supply box is opened for unknown reasons, the command center can notify related personnel to address the issue on site.
*  Other important features of an ITS include notification search and a calculation feature to search and record all events such as vehicle counts, images, flow, accidents, and system malfunction. Having the ability to help with decision making by gathering or analyzing data based on past events of different traffic incidents can also greatly assist the operators in terms of policy making and for any traffic management department to help with decision making, such as smart ticketing.

ITS in Intersections
As ITS is used for highways and regular urban traffic management, slight differences must be noted. ITS solutions for a city or town will be much more complex than ITS solutions for the highway. For a city, ITS solutions must have control of traffic lights for up to thousands of intersections. ITS must also be integrated with the parking facilities to inform drivers where they can park and how many spaces are open in which specific lots. ITS will also be integrated with other infrastructures that are present in the town. There are also more regulated zones in a city, where certain areas might not be open to certain vehicles at a certain time. If there were any violators who trespassed in certain zones during the prohibited hours, alerts will be sent to the traffic control center for necessary action to be taken.

ITS in Highways
As for highways, instead of intersections, the focus would be put on the tollbooths and more accident prone areas. Video surveillance and IVS can be used to identify license plates for those who violate traffic laws, such as speeding or straying from the lane, and alert the control center. Integration with emergency services are especially important on highways and tunnels as immediate help needs to be at the scene of the accident if it were to occur. Bridges and tunnels will pay more mind to the vehicle count and types as exceeding capacity, in number of vehicles or weight of vehicles, can be very dangerous and harmful to the infrastructure.

STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS

As traffic rules and regulations are subject to its local jurisdictions, it has been difficult coming up with an open standard for interoperability between ITS equipment, which is another contributing factor to the difficulties integrators around the world encounter when implementing and deploying ITS. Once an open standard for ITS is created, it will be crucial to successful policy formulation and project delivery.

The International Organization of Standardization has also worked to provide some standards and requirements to follow for ITS. Currently, the most common ones, with 24 observing countries and 26 participating countries, are ISO/TC 204 (transport information and control systems), ISO/ TC 22 (road vehicles), ISO/TC 104 (freight containers), and ISO/TC 211 (geographic information/geomatics).

The standards are designed to provide a minimum set of requirements for which manufacturers must meet and may exceed, whether it pertains to operating environments, controller units, malfunction management units, uniformity in cabinet layout and field-terminal labeling, auxiliary devices, and mechanical standards for steel and aluminum cabinets.

Contractors must follow NEMA's standards for product quality assurance, grounding equipment, and after-installation testing. In Europe, countries employing ITS follow standards set by European Committee of Standardization (CEN) and European Telecommunications Standards Institute. The widely adopted standards for road systems — DATEX and DATEX II — were developed for information exchange between traffic management centers, traffic information centers, and service providers, are maintained by CEN/ TC 278.

“By the end of 2015, there will be deployed a so-called emergency call system. It is a service that when a vehicle crashes, the onboard unit automatically calls an emergency number. It is not something that is only technology based, but there is also an organization implication. There will be a unique emergency number at the European level, where emergency departments like the police or the hospital can answer and send help. This is something in the domain of the ITS as well because one of the objectives is to reduce the number of incidents and death. All vehicles will be produced with an onboard unit; it willalready be equipped with this feature and work across Europe,” stated Fabrizio Arneodo, ITS Design and Development Manager at 5T, a public company owned by the Piedmont Region, the City,and the Province of Turin, responsible for managing traffic and providing mobility information in that region.

"The international character of this system is reflected in its availability in more than 20 countries, as well as the multilingual staff of the monitoring centers. So even when being abroad, one can communicate in one's own language, whereas the monitoring center instructs the police or emergency services in the local language,” added Erika Gorge, Corporate Communications Manager of Bosch Security Systems.

As for the remaining countries and regions, those with ITS societies are working hard with public administrations to push and develop more standards to increase the interoperability of ITS.

INTEGRATION PROBLEMS AND OTHER CHALLENGES

For a complex system such as ITS, integration is bound to be one of the biggest challenges, however, it is also one of the most important aspects of the system. Not only does it have to integrate with legacy systems, it also has to be able to integrate with future systems if the traffic managing system were to expand.

The many different standards from the region and the international standards that exist can also pose as a problem.

Furthermore, the ITS might be integrated with local law enforcement or emergency services depending on the local laws and regulations of each city, town, or state. Other challenges faced when deploying ITS include distance that has to be covered for highway monitoring, as the roads tend to continue for long stretches. Steady, reliable, real-time transmission of large, high-resolution video file and other data are the most important requirements in ITS.

In some places, ITS equipment is expected to last up to 15 years, emphasizing the strict requirements proposed by the government. Therefore, ITS faces jurisdictional and organization challenges, as well as the lack of a common open ITS standard, and the level of expertise within local and regional transportation agencies. The level of integration between different departments and authorities remains a key challenge to having widespread, efficient ITS. For example, whether the ITS policy making and implementation authority resides in a national, regional, or state level, or if the author of ITS decision making is in a single or multiple agencies.

Hikvision video surveillance integrated with Prysm AppVision PSIM

Hikvision video surveillance integrated with Prysm AppVision PSIM

Editor / Provider: Hikvision | Updated: 12/17/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Hikvision and French security software developer Prysm recently announced the integration of all Hikvision products within the Prysm AppVision Physical Security Integration Manager. This combination allows Hikvision's products to be managed directly from the AppVision PSIM video wall and video matrix, for integrated security and building automation projects around the globe.

PSIM (Physical Security Information Management) is able to integrate different systems into a unified formula, such as video surveillance, access control, intrusion, fire and life safety, perimeter protection, or building automation. This also analyzes and assesses data from disparate systems, making intuitive decisions and also communicating with operators to form the proper response. With general awareness of this technology and its capability increasing over the years, PSIM markets now present robust opportunities for worldwide vendors.

“Our collaboration with Hikvision recognizes the leading market position that Hikvision is now enjoying in many of the markets where the AppVision Community Partners operate. It also demonstrates our commitment to open architecture. This tie-up means that our Community Partners are now better positioned to offer competitive, robust, and scalable integrated security solutions for the benefit of the industry," stated Liam Heatley, Export Sales Manager at Prysm.

Keen Yao, International Marketing Director at Hikvision, further commented, "AppVision PSIM brings many key advantages towards a security project. We are excited to see that these integrated technologies are already successfully deployed on many joint projects, and we look forward to working with Prysm Software on a number of combined projects in the near future.”

Tips for planning and designing home automation system

Tips for planning and designing home automation system

Editor / Provider: Alf Chang | Updated: 12/17/2013 | Article type: Tech Corner

Smart homes rely on home automation products and technologies to make homes more safer, more secure and more comfortable. SMAhome and Secutech propose five key areas to consider when planning and designing a home automation solution: wiring, systems operation, climate control, security, and entertainment and lighting.

Wiring
A home automation system should use both serial bus ports and Wi-Fi to ensure that the system stable, reliable and expandable. Since more and more components in the system—such as door locks, intrusion alarms and fire alarm—are embracing IP-based applications, integration of these products must be considered when planning systems wiring. All of these components must be able to connect to the Internet or home LAN, in addition to reliably transmitting signals and communicating with each other.

System Operation
A touchscreen control panel is the heart of a home automation system, and it is the component that a user directly interacts with to control other parts of the system. Aside from a user-friendly interface, the control panel must also include different levels of permissions for administrators, users and visitors.

Newer systems also allow users to remotely control the system through smartphone and tablet computer apps.

Climate Control
Climate control consists of temperature and humidity control, and generally include cooling and heating modes, temperature and humidity sensors, and adjustable fan speeds. The climate control systems monitors the environment and maintains it at a user-defined condition. In addition, the climate control system should be able to relay its current status to the control panel or a user's smartphone or tablet computer.

The climate control system should be designed to accommodate different settings in different parts of the home for comfort, convenience and security reasons, such as:
Kitchen: Monitor for gas and water leaks, smoke and fires
Living room: Automated smoke alarms and ventilation; shut off power in the area
Bedroom: Humidifier and dehimidifier, air purification

Security and Safety
1. Intrusion alarm: Trigger an alarm when the system detects unauthorized entree through doors or windows. The system should automatically turn on all the lights in the home, record video, sound alarms and send notifications, images and video to the user's computer or smartphone. The system should also be able to contact the police or security service provider.
2. E nergy monitoring: Monitor water, energy and gas. The system should automatically shut these off in case of leakages and notify the user.
3. Fire safety: Install smoke alarms and CO-level monitors in common areas such as the living room, kitchen and entertainment room. When anomalies are detected, the system should automatically ventilate the area and notify the user or fire department if there is a fire.
4. Panic button: Children and elderly members of the family need to be able to notify other members of the family or the police in case of an emergency. Panic buttons should be place in their rooms, as well as other rooms that may be locked, such as bathrooms.

Entertainment and Lighting
A  big emphasis in designing smart homes is in reducing energy consumption, as well as other environment-friendly features. Infrared sensors should be installed at stairways and hallways so the system can efficiently control lighting in the home. Sensors should also be place in bathrooms to avoid wasting water and gas.

In addition to energy-saving benefits, the lighting system should also integrate with other systems for entertainment purposes. For example, the lighting could automatically moods that match certain types of background music, while the home theater system can control the lighting and draping for optimal convenience and comfort.

For a comprehensive view of today's smart home products, please register for Secutech 2014's SMAhome showcase.

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