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Vanguard Software Solutions debuts real-time H.265 software encoder

Vanguard Software Solutions debuts real-time H.265 software encoder

Editor / Provider: Submitted by Vanguard Software Solutions | Updated: 9/4/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

Vanguard Software Solutions (VSS), a provider of H.264/MPEG-4 AVC CODEC technology since 2004, trial runs a new generation of encoders based on HEVC (H.265), the Draft International Standard approved by the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) in July 2012. The ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) established JCT-VC to develop the HEVC standard as a successor to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. VSS has once again taken the lead by introducing the first HEVC real-time software encoder SDK for PCs.

Based on the updated HM-8.0 HEVC reference code, the VSS encoder is optimized for real-time performance on PC platforms, with built-in cloud scalability, while demonstrating improvements in quality and bit rate for video distribution and communication markets over current implementations based on H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. HEVC encodes video at lower bit rates than H.264/MPEG-4 AVC while maintaining similar quality levels.

“Competition for digital video distribution over wireless networks, the Internet, and cable and satellite broadcasters is compromising both the quality and reliability of these distribution networks. HEVC reduces the bit rates necessary to achieve high-quality, lessening the load on networks, increasing reliability which creates the opportunity to distribute additional video content and to support more customers without deploying more network resources,” said Irena Terterov, founder and CEO of VSS. “Our HEVC software encoder will be available later this year, while VSS HEVC hardware codecs for FPGA and ASIC implementations are also in development.”

Geutebruck Showcasing New Products at German Show

Geutebruck Showcasing New Products at German Show

Editor / Provider: Geutebruck | Updated: 8/16/2012 | Article type: Security 50

Motivated by the compelling logic that video security systems need top quality, perfectly matched hardware and software components to achieve optimum system performance, Geutebruck is launching a variety of new products all perfectly attuned to its system world.

G-Tect/VMX is a new intelligent video analysis solution for detecting motion in outdoor situations. Very reliable and easy to set up and use, it reports direction-dependent motion with extremely low false alarm rates even in difficult conditions like rain and snow. If desired, it can also be combined with a conventional VMD function for exceptional dual sensor precision.

G-Tect/MoP is a new pixelating function developed by Geutebruck which masks moving objects in live displays or in already archived image data for data protection compliance. Ideal for maintaining privacy when monitoring operations in areas with public access, G-Tect/MoP still allows authorized personnel to investigate serious incidents and forward video for evidential purposes without the masking.

For top performance in tight spots the G-Scope/1044 is a new compact video solution with a 1TB database and support for four analog and two digital video sources. Temperature tolerant and small enough to fit into an ATM, it shares the GeViScope's proven, reliable software core and convenient functionality.

The TopLine series of Geutebruck progressive scan IP cameras now offers resolutions ranging from 720p, to Full HD and 5 megapixels; cameras with CCD and CMOS sensors; day/night models with automatic IR cut filters, and even some domes with push-button auto-focus for easy installation. In addition most models can be powered either from a local low voltage supply or centrally by PoE.

US Retail Warehouse Chain Leverages Genetec and Axis IP Video Tech for Asset Protection

US Retail Warehouse Chain Leverages Genetec and Axis IP Video Tech for Asset Protection

Editor / Provider: Genetec | Updated: 8/6/2012 | Article type: Commercial Markets

BJ's Wholesale Club introduced the warehouse club concept to New England in 1984 and has since expanded to become a leading warehouse club operator in the eastern United States. With its focus on quality goods offered at significantly lower prices than its competitors, it is no wonder BJ's Wholesale Club is one of the top three leading warehouse chains in the United States. Headquartered in Natick, Mass., the company operates more than 180 locations in 15 states, 102 gas stations and three main distribution centers, and sells everything from general merchandise to fresh meat and perishables across its retail enterprise.

The Business Challenge
In a store environment as large as BJ's Wholesale Club, which Charles Delgado, Vice President of Asset Protection for BJ's, termed “essentially a working warehouse,” response time to potential incidents is paramount. Each BJ's location employed an older video system comprised of a PC-based DVR and analog cameras to monitor its stores. On average, the system was comprised of 32 cameras per store, typically four PTZs and 28 fixed cameras. But the legacy system was quickly reaching end of life and BJ's found it was spending more time resolving issues with its DVRs, than using them to its advantage.

“We faced a lot of challenges with the old system,” Delgado said. “Maintenance and upkeep was needed often and the system wasn't scalable. The DVRs maxed out quickly and the length of storage was limited. Facing these issues on a regular basis, we quickly determined that an organization like ours required a future-proof solution. We needed to begin deploying a platform that would meet the needs of the business downstream.”

More so, with plans to keep growing the chain, and new stores opening in various locations, BJ's needed to rethink their video surveillance strategy for new installations. Thus, in order to meet future development plans and replace failing older technology, BJ's management embarked on a search for a more robust solution that would meet their current security, safety and asset protection needs. Retail Safety, Security and Loss Prevention Needs

At BJ's Wholesale Club, maintaining a safe and secure environment is of utmost importance. Large equipment, such as forklifts, is frequently used to transport goods for restocking and products are commonly stored on large pallets. The combination of a large space, frequent goods restocking and large machinery can lead to accidents but BJ's is committed to minimizing the possibility of incidents before they can occur.

“Our goal is to maintain a safe and secure environment for our team members,” Delgado said. “We put a lot of emphasis on preventative measures to ensure we have best-in-class procedures that limit injury.” But the company's legacy DVR system could not effectively help BJ's maintain the most secure and safe environment for its team members and customers. Poor video quality led to lengthy and ineffective investigations; video storage space was limited; and bandwidth limitations restricted the ability to remotely view surveillance footage.

BJ's needed a solution that could help it identify theft, fraud, intrusion and trespassing throughout its various stores, gas stations and distribution facilities. The system also needed to be scalable in case camera deployments were expanded and be able to store video for a specific time designated by BJ's, and not by standard system capabilities. The retail giant was also interested in moving to an IP solution to leverage the company's network infrastructure.

“BJ's wanted to be able to review video remotely and the capability to accomplish that from an IP standpoint is much greater than with traditional CCTV systems. This capability would enable other departments to leverage the system during investigations,” said Patrick O'Leary, Director of Sales, Eastern Region, at Checkpoint Systems, BJ's integrator and partner. “The company also wanted to build off its growing IP infrastructure, making an IP-enabled security solution an ideal choice.”

And there were other needs: BJ's required technology that could provide the flexibility to integrate video systems with other applications and provide remote monitoring capabilities.

While on the search for new technology, Delgado also stressed that a new solution should help the loss prevention and security teams conduct more effective investigations. Searching through the sheer volume of video BJ's collects can be a time consuming process. With that in mind, BJ's needed a system that would have the capability to integrate with the company's point-of-sale solution to link video with transaction information.

With the help of its long-time partner, Checkpoint Systems, BJ's ultimately decided that Genetec's advanced IP video surveillance solution, Omnicast, with network cameras from Axis Communications was the ideal choice for the retail company.

The Perfect Solution
Omnicast is an enterprise IP video surveillance solution that provides seamless management of digital video, audio and data across an IP network, assisting retailers with controlling and limiting loss. In addition, a single Omnicast enterprise system can accommodate thousands of cameras and enables BJ's to set its own parameters for storage and recording schedules. By far, the solution easily met all of BJ's current needs and also offered areas for expansion in the future.

“The key features that made Omnicast an ideal solution for BJ's was the system's scalability from an enterprise standpoint, its user friendliness and its ability to tie together multiple systems,” O'Leary noted.

Currently, BJ's has deployed Omnicast at 75 locations and plans to have another 60 locations online over the next year for a total of 135 locations at the project's completion. “The advanced IP video surveillance system was initially installed in BJ's new stores,” said O'Leary. “However, we are now focusing our efforts on replacing the obsolete DVRs, and installing encoders to leverage the analog cameras in existing stores.”

The Omnicast platform manages feeds from various cameras depending on the store's location and size (the number of cameras is also determined by its assigned risk status). For example, BJ's flagship store in the Bronx has 125 surveillance cameras while one of the company's low-volume stores has 60 cameras. Since Omnicast is compatible with a long list of major IP camera brands, BJ's chose their preferred brand. They deployed a mix of Axis Communications' high-resolution PTZ and fixed IP cameras because of their reliable image quality and ease-of-installation. BJ's also leveraged its existing analog cameras, which are being converted to digital streams with Axis encoders. All of BJ's cameras networked to Omnicast are monitored locally within the stores and are available for remote viewing from BJ's corporate office, providing enhanced visibility into each store from a remote location.

Also, thanks to Omnicast's Multistreaming feature, BJ's can rest assured that the network won't get overcrowded. BJ's has the ability to pre-set video qualities for live and recorded video, even choosing lower quality video streams for remote viewing, thus optimizing their bandwidth management. Similarly, the recording and retrieval of video is of critical importance in the retail environment, as every time a camera or a recording device is down is an opportunity for loss. Omnicast's failover and redundancy features ensure BJ's has access to live and archived data at all times, limiting the chance that an occurrence of shoplifting or employee theft occurs unrecorded. Failover servers can automatically assume all functions of a failed component, while redundant servers continuously record all or only high-priority camera feeds.

Omnicast's open architecture also facilitates the integration with various third-party systems including POS solutions, correlating video to POS transactions and therefore facilitating after-the-fact investigations. BJ's was thrilled to know that Omnicast's Integrated POS Search gives them the ability to identify suspicious register transactions including voids, refunds, markdowns, as well as employee and gift card sales. This cutting-edge tool also gives BJ's the ability to conduct transactional investigations by employee number, by product, by department or any other category defined by their point-of-sale system.

With a single click on an entity (e.g., door or camera) the specific widgets associated to each entity appear and disappear automatically and bring you a world of information such as door status, door unlock actions, camera stream information, camera PTZ controls, and more. If you click on a video display tile, all door-related functionalities disappear given that you have no need for it when your focus is on a camera. The Benefits

BJ's is leveraging the strengths of the Omnicast solution to review video for investigations purposes and also on a non-incident basis to gather an understanding of where a store could modify its processes before a loss or incident occurs.

Because operators are using the solution for multiple purposes, including conducting investigations and trending data, the system's ease-of-use was a significant factor in BJ's decision to deploy Omnicast.

“At the end of the day, if the technology is too complicated for the end user, which in our case is the club level asset protection associate, you're never going to get the true value of your investment,” Delgado said. “Genetec's Omnicast platform met my needs, and went beyond my expectations, from a usability perspective.”

The Omnicast platform also enables BJ's to take advantage of the highest quality images, enabling security professionals to accurately identify potential suspects, vehicles, merchandise and even currency denominations, inside and outside its stores. Overall, video quality has improved substantially since Omnicast and the Axis network cameras were installed. “The video quality is outstanding,” he said. “Overall, we're definitely happy with Omnicast. It is reliable, user-friendly and flexible enough for us to make changes in configurations depending on the store.”

Genetec not only delivered a perfect solution; it delivered on its reputation of providing outstanding training and customer support. The company works closely with Checkpoint Systems to make sure each member of Checkpoint's team was thoroughly trained on how to best leverage the strengths of the Omnicast platform in BJ's retail environment.

“Genetec went above and beyond to provide support and training for our integration team,” said Delgado. “This speaks to the strength of Genetec's support structure and its commitment to its clients.”

Although BJ's is not yet linking Omnicast with its point-of-sale system, it has plans to do so in the future to enable more effective investigations. It also will look at providing system access to other departments for other uses such as monitoring customer traffic, for example.

“We wanted to invest in the future-proof platform that would adapt with us as our business needs grow,” Delgado said. “In the future, we have plans to integrate Omnicast with other applications, such as video analytics, point-of-sale systems and access control, and we have the ability to do that. Knowing that my investment is protected is critically important to me.”

With the benefits and scalability of Omnicast running in its stores, BJ's has taken a giant leap forward in building a video surveillance system that can help the company best manage shrinkage, increase safety and reduce losses, and make operations more efficient. In fact, Omnicast has been so well received at BJ's that they are now undertaking plans to expand the Omnicast system into their corporate headquarters, along with Genetec's access control system, Synergis, to leverage the benefits of a full enterprise solution.

“This success story is a compliment to both Checkpoint and Genetec as well as BJ's,” O'Leary said. “We all came together and learned the processes, and at the end of the day because of this teamwork, we were able to deploy a solution that helps BJ's create a safer environment.”

Selecting Outdoor IP Cams

Selecting Outdoor IP Cams

Editor / Provider: Submitted by Moxa | Updated: 8/2/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

CCTV surveillance cameras are now a common sight in cities around the world, with cameras used at major intersections to catch speeders and would-be runners of red lights. However, as many drivers have learned, outdoor cameras have a high failure rate, and consequently only a fraction of the cameras installed are actually operational.

Because of the high failure rate, maintaining a functioning outdoor video surveillance system can be prohibitively expensive. In fact, a recent government study in a major Asian city revealed a disturbing fact: Nearly half of the cameras deployed in that municipality were non-functional! As it turns out, the cameras were failing at such a high rate that there simply wasn't enough money in the city's coffers to replace them. Similar stories of poorly-maintained outdoor surveillance systems can also be found in North America and Europe.

The scenario described above can be considered as both an operational and maintenance failure. It goes without saying that if city engineers had sufficient budget and manpower to maintain their CCTV systems, then there wouldn't be problem. But the fact of the matter is that camera replacement is extremely costly, and past a certain point it becomes unreasonable to expect cash-strapped cities to be able to constantly replace their frequently-malfunctioning outdoor cameras.

In this paper, we describe an alternative approach to what could be labeled as the “frequent failure, wishful replacement” scenario by giving six desirable features to look for in your CCTV cameras. Installing cameras that enjoy all six of these features will not only keep your installation budget under control, but also drastically reduce the cost of maintaining your city-wide CCTV camera system.

Feature 1: High MTBF (mean time between failures)
Let's take a look at the root cause of the problem—the low reliability of outdoor CCTV cameras. If the outdoor cameras had higher MTBF and lower failure rates, then consistent camera coverage and uptime would be easier to achieve. Unfortunately, in many ways the unreliability of outdoor surveillance cameras is an intrinsic quality of their fundamental design.

It's important to keep in mind that one consequence of this dependence on the enclosure climate control system us that any time a malfunction in the heater or fan occurs, the operator must replace not only the source of the malfunction, but also the entire camera itself. Another way of stating this is that the entire camera system's MTBF actually depends on a combination of the MTBF of the heater, the fan, and the camera unit itself. With this vulnerability, it's hardly surprising that costs associated with outdoor camera maintenance often exceed the available budget. When cameras need to be constantly replaced, the cost of maintaining the system can quickly dwarf the cost of deploying it.

Feature 2: No fan, no heater
Most manufacturers of outdoor cameras are building on their core competence in commercial indoor video surveillance products, and consequently, many of the outdoor cameras used today are actually indoor cameras with an extra layer of protection. In practice, this means that the camera is placed in an enclosure with a miniature heater and fan that attempts to maintain temperature conditions similar to those the camera would encounter in its native indoor environment. The enclosure simply creates a miniature climate-controlled environment for the camera.

The problem with this strategy is that camera heaters and camera fans add a serious vulnerability to the entire system. They are both points of failure that can destroy the camera when they malfunction. If the fan breaks, the camera goes down. If the heater breaks, the camera goes down. Even if the heater and fan perform as expected, the temperature in the enclosure could still exceed the camera's rated temperatures, causing the camera to fail.

Feature 3: Low maintenance and replacement costs
There are considerations beyond device replacement that contribute to the high total cost of operating an outdoor surveillance system. Another major factor is the amount of manpower required to continually replace cameras in the field. To avoid vandalism and preserve esthetics, outdoor cameras are typically deployed in out-of-the-way locations. However, this means that it's more difficult to access the camera for maintenance.

Feature 4: PoE
Since fans and heaters are power-hungry devices, applications that require fans or heaters are at a big disadvantage since power wiring can become complicated and expensive in the field. In fact, if you can keep the power requirements of your outdoor video surveillance applications to a minimum, you can consider using solar or battery power, or enjoy the convenience of PoE+ power, which does not require a separate power supply. When using these technologies, every watt counts, and consequently not needing a fan or heater gives you a big advantage.

Feature 5: Industry certifications
Outdoor IP cameras are used for a variety of applications, including in-town surveillance, or on highways, roadways, or even in mines. In fact, to ensure that the entire system is reliable, most applications require products that have specific industrial certifications, such as EN 50121 (railway waysides), EN 55022, C1 D2 ATEX zone 2 (process automation), and NEMA TS2 (highways). Using a camera that comes with the requisite certifications ensures reliable performance, even when the camera is exposed to extreme shock/vibration, high levels of surge/EMI, or when used in environments subject to a risk of explosion.

Feature 6: Wide temperature range, without fan or heater
An outdoor camera must be able to operate reliably in an actual outdoor environment. In India, for example, temperatures can reach as high as 45°C in the summer, and cameras installed inside a metal housing that is continuously exposed to the sun could easily reach a temperature of 70°C. Since most outdoor IP cameras must be used with a fan to reduce the temperature, you give yourself a huge advantage if your camera can operate reliably at temperatures as high as 75°C.

To summarize, you should look for an outdoor IP camera that has a very high MTBF to minimize the replacement and maintenance costs, and which can operate reliably in a wide temperature range without needing a heater or fan.

Axis Cameras Keep Tab on Residential Complex in Johannesburg

Axis Cameras Keep Tab on Residential Complex in Johannesburg

Editor / Provider: Axis Communications | Updated: 7/30/2012 | Article type: Residential & Consumer

A recent spate of crime in a suburban residential complex forced a Johannesburg couple to explore various surveillance system options. Cost effectiveness and ease of installation were two of the most important factors guiding the investigation and influencing the couple's final decision.

Wireless telecommunication experts, Zinia, proposed a solution with Axis network cameras and AXIS Camera Companion. AXIS Camera Companion allows all video to be recorded on SD memory cards in the cameras; this eliminates the need for a central DVR, NVR, PC or server. For small businesses or budget conscious homeowners, AXIS Camera Companion software provides a cost-saving opportunity to view live or recorded video free of charge.

The northern Johannesburg-based couple are able to sleep easier now knowing that their home is under 24-hour surveillance. They are able to log on to the network cameras from the comfort and safety of their upstairs bedroom using an application on their iPad or iPhone. With the recent decision to start a family, there is a sense of relief that the baby will have a much more secure place to come home to.

Installation without exertion
Authorized Axis reseller, Zinia, provides high capacity communication technology at competitive pricing to businesses of all sizes. Offering a reliable telecommunication alternative, Zinia prides itself on delivering a stable network with guaranteed up time, better bandwidth efficiencies and higher speeds at lower rates. “We were already running a Zinia wireless network in this particular home. Creating a surveillance solution from this platform was simple thanks to the ingenuity of the Axis products,” remarks Zinia's Chief Operations Officer.

Chosen for their superb image quality and day/night functionality, AXIS P1343-E Network Cameras have been installed to monitor the perimeter of the home. This IP66-rated camera is supplied with a wall bracket and is ready right out of the box for outdoor mounting. AXIS P1343-E has protection against sun, rain and dust and contains focus assistant, remote back focus and pixel counter features that considerably simplify installation.

An AXIS P3343-VE Fixed Dome Network Camera is mounted above the garage at the front of the home. AXIS P3343–VE is an outdoor, vandal-resistant camera that provides crisp, clear images in a discreet, aesthetically pleasing form. As this house is in a residential complex, it is imperative that the surveillance system is neither bulky nor unsightly.

A safe haven
The importance of a secure home becomes even more pronounced when children are brought into the equation. The Johannesburg couple wanted a solution that was capable of effectively monitoring the interior as well as the exterior of their house. This makes it possible to keep an eye on the activities within the home, even from a remote location, while still maintaining a close watch over potential threats or incidents outside the premises. AXIS Camera Companion allows video to be recorded to the SD card inside the AXIS P1343-E and AXIS P3343-VE cameras, making each camera an independent surveillance device. It supports up to 16 cameras and can be used on a computer, iPad, iPhone or Android. This household plans to take advantage of the system size and expand their surveillance by adding cameras from the AXIS M10 Series range. These tiny, wireless cameras combine functionality, a smart design and best-in-class image quality with an affordable price tag.

Reaping the benefits
The network camera that monitors the rear of the home has been positioned to include a view of the main entrance and exit gate of the complex. An incident involving tail-gating and damage to a vehicle that concluded with an irate driver threatening to sue the homeowners association, was captured on video and saved. This footage resulted in the vehicle operator admitting responsibility for the accident and averted a potentially expensive and time-consuming claim. The ability of this system to record for up to five days has already proved to be extremely practical. Priv

Technology Tightens Mining Safety

Technology Tightens Mining Safety

Editor / Provider: Tevin Wang | Updated: 7/31/2012 | Article type: Commercial Markets

The fact that mining sites are in remote locations creates significant challenges for service delivery. Long distances, combined with high risks associated with the industry, leave mining security and safety a lot of room for improvement.

The first step in managing site security issues is to identify and assess all risk factors applicable to the individual site. “When assessing sites for a solution fit, we take the approach of understanding how the site operates from a who-where-when- why point of view,” said Evan Morgans, Strategic Program Manager at Gallagher. “Covering of all aspects of who is allowed to access a specific area at what times, and most importantly, why that person is going to an area which is tied to licenses, inductions and competencies held by the person.” Whether that person going to an area holds the necessary licenses, inductions and competencies required.

Dave Erchull, VP of Global Risk Partners, agreed. “Security needs also change as the mine evolves. Increased production means more gold and silver may be stored on site. Even new construction, additions to the mining property, and the opening of new ore deposits can have an impact on security practices. Yet, rarely does a mine consider new security practices as a high priority.”

“The key to reducing the security risk is to look at how the mine is keeping the product safe, controlling access to the product, maintaining good camera coverage and installing an adequate alarm system,” Erchull added. “Solutions must be customized based on several factors including mine site, the product, what level of refining is done on site and [in] remoteness.”

Perimeter Security
“From a security point of view, there is a lot of additional security on mines around gold rooms and diamond sorting rooms, or high value products,” Morgans said. It is done in consultation with the site and risk analysis, by comparing the cost benefits of a given solution and the damage that could incur from a possible loss of products. “Depending on the physical environment, we install perimeter security solutions around these locations where it can deter, detect or delay intruders attempting access.”

Although perimeter fencing is important, mines are often open and outsiders are often allowed in. Moreover, perimeter fencing is often impractical due to the large and difficult landscape of mine sites. “North American mines have very lax perimeter security, which allows criminals to enter the property and get close to areas where the precious metals are stored and loaded,” Erchull warns. “The prospect of several million dollars of gold can tempt many hardened criminals. The threat isn't only to the mine's product. An armed robbery that takes place during the work day is a threat to the employees.”

“We recommend doing perimeter security with a combination of technologies including electrified fences and various sensors that can detect changes in wire tension, wires being cut, or a fence panel being lifted out or tilted,” said Morgans.

Video surveillance combining video, audio, thermal images with access control can be integrated with perimeter security. “By associating thermal camera with intrusion algorithm to a powerful PTZ dome lets operators get a more reliable monitoring of large areas while [the] PTZ feature keeps [an] alerted area under surveillance,” said Andrea Sorri, Director of Government, City Surveillance and Critical Infrastructure Development, Axis Communications.

Geo-fencing areas can be first created with different security layers. For instance, anyone entering the outdoor area of the mine, the so-called “green area” is watched by cameras. In that area the focus is on a general surveillance whereby faces must be clearly identifiable. In the pre-sorting area where the precious materials are already present, recording should be linked to the access control system, which means that the recording only starts when someone enters the area. The access data of the person is subsequently linked with the video image so that the security personnel always have the personal data as well as the image on hand.

HID Global Achieves ATEX Certification That Enables Process Automation and Identification

HID Global Achieves ATEX Certification That Enables Process Automation and Identification

Editor / Provider: HID Global | Updated: 7/25/2012 | Article type: Security 50

HID Global announced it has achieved ATEX Certification for its complete IN Tag portfolio of industrial radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, including the company's new high frequency IN Tag 200 OM and 500 OM transponders that are designed to perform exceptionally well when mounted on metal assets. The company's entire line of industrial Glass Tags has also earned ATEX certification. The certification enables process automation and identification for both metal and non-metal assets, ensuring safe tag use in potentially explosive environments.

ATEX* certification validates that HID Global RFID tags operate without danger of directly causing or contributing to an explosion when used in flammable gas environments. These environments include offshore drilling platforms, petrochemical plants, mines, flourmills and other process industries in which there is a mixture of gases, vapors, mists or dust in the air that can ignite at specific temperatures or under certain operating conditions. ATEX certification also validates that the company's RFID tags perform while maintaining surface temperatures low enough to prevent the risk of ignition.

“HID Global's RFID tag products help end customers optimize data accuracy, achieve compliance and optimize critical systems and meet the demands in a broad spectrum of industries and applications,” said Richard Aufreiter, director of product management for Identification Technologies with HID Global. “HID tags are vital components in our customers' identification systems, and many customers have emphasized ATEX certification as an important feature in their applications since it reduces development time and expense as customers pursue certification for their broader systems.”

HID Global's ATEX Certified RFID Tags
- New IN Tag 200 OM and 500 OM: Designed for exceptional performance when mounted on metal assets, the discs enable the use of high frequency (13.56 MHz) anti-collision technology with 1024-bit EEPROM.
- The entire field-proven IN Tag family: Water-, chemical- and shock-resistant disc tags available in low frequency, high frequency and UHF. IN Tag discs come in a variety of sizes to match needs for mounting and read range performance.
- Complete Industrial Glass Tag portfolio: Manufactured with HID patented direct-bonding technology, embeddable Glass Tags deliver exceptional size-to-performance ratios in both low frequency and high frequency applications.

For customers who do not require explosion protection in their applications, ATEX certification offers an additional endorsement of Genuine HID quality, reliability and trust. HID Global will continue to pursue certification for a targeted set of its RFID industrial tags and products, and is expecting additional HID transponders to achieve certification soon.

*ATEX: From the French Appareils destines a etre utilises en ATmospheres Explosives. Translates as ‘equipment cleared for explosive environments'.

IP-Based Storage for Mission-Critical Applications

IP-Based Storage for Mission-Critical Applications

Editor / Provider: Submitted by Anixter | Updated: 7/26/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

Network video is the leading driver of the growth in the video surveillance security market. It's not only altering the fundamental infrastructure of security systems, but it is also spurring innovation in tangential area, such as marketing, behavioral analytics and traffic management. Servers, storage and workstation technologies are therefore key components of an IP-based physical security solution. However, many organizations seek to leverage existing assets or idle capacity to meet their video surveillance needs instead of creating a tailored solution to meet the organization's needs. Even though analog video solutions put together over the years in a disparate way might pass for minimally sufficient, the data-intensive nature of network video technologies make this approach problematic. With the prediction that more than 70 percent of all network cameras will have megapixel resolution by 2015, an integrated and holistic approach to building an IP-based video surveillance solution is needed today.

Evidence indicates that the use of manufacturers' minimum specifications as a one-size-fits-all solution is creating systems that struggle to address customers' application requirements for video surveillance and other business functions. Given the forecast that nearly half of all video security systems will run off network cameras by 2014, nonstandard systems will begin to underperform as systems scale.

This White paper pays special attention to the future of network video and servers, storage and client workstations needed to ensure mission-critical video surveillance remains available and high performing.

Trending: Integration and Open
The shift toward integration and open-architecture platforms for IP-based physical security is placing greater importance on facilities, security and IT professionals to collaborate in making key hardware decision. Research shows that an increasing part of physical security will run on the IT network:
- 26.4 percent of cameras were IP-based in 2010. (IMS Research)
- Conservation projections put that figure at 48.9 percent in 2014, which means that nearly half of video security systems will run off of network cameras. (IMS Research)
- More than 70 percent of network cameras shipments will be megapixel resolution by 2015. (IMS Research) 

Discussing all the other significant advancement in video technology, the move toward network cameras and high-resolution alone will drive IP-based physical security planner to seek out integrated server, storage and workstation solutions than can handle the immense increase in bandwidth and processing needs. New technologies such as edge storage are inherently integrative, which allows users to fill in the gaps for out-of-network mobile applications or network failures. In some instances, companies are leveraging third-party data centers to host cloud-effective solution for smaller applications today. From the shift to open and redundant architecture hardware, to the emphasis on total cost of ownership and return on investment, market trends all point to a more integrated IP-based physical security vision.

Benefits of Integration
An integrated network video solution is more robust, scalable and cost effective than an analog system. With improved reliability, redundancy and flexibility of an open-architecture solution, which can exceed any appliance or commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution, a truly integrated IP-based physical security solution can also take advantage of today's best technology, such as higher camera counts, resolutions, access control integration, more intuitive and powerful user interfaces and multiple analytics.

A purpose-built IP-based physical security solution can also result in both short-and long-term cost savings. By removing the necessity to maintain separate networks, organizations can experience a reduction in capital, maintenance, manpower and equipment costs. When properly planned and executed, an integrated IP-based physical security solution will result in less downtime, which lowers the total cost of ownership.

Market Challenges
Of course, as with any complex technology, there are always significant challenges. Complexity can also be a hindrance to a clear migration path, with maintaining legacy infrastructure, long-term organization strategy and cost which is always top-of-mind. Interoperability limitations also present obstacles, with en users concerned about being too dependent on any single manufacturer, managing the multiple communication protocols and dependence on support, especially for highly sophisticated IP-based physical security solutions.

For those looking for a defined migration strategy to network video, the path is muddled as well. Today there are countless manufacturers that purport to have a clear migration path toward an open architecture platform. However, there is simply no one clear migration path to network video that applies to all applications. Even though organizations such as ONVIF are working toward industry standards, the lack of interoperability in many video system products is a serious concern for planners and integrators, which is especially true when it comes to mission-critical functions. Supporting high-resolution cameras from multiple manufacturers requires significant storage and server capabilities to handle the increased bandwidth.

Best Practices: Purpose-Built, Video-Optimized
When designing or migrating toward a new IP-based physical security solution, the best servers are purpose-built and optimized for video applications. Servers need mission-critical drives with high I/O capabilities and near unconstrained workload capacity. Server configuration is vital and should include memory, storage and processor specifications that ensure optimum scalability for video. Servers should have the capacity to accommodate future growth, including the ability to record higher frame rates without dropping frames, higher resolutions and cost-effectively store video data for longer periods.

Another vital consideration is external storage, typically needed for greater than 30 TB requirements. The storage needs in a typical network video solution can be immense, with potentially hundreds or more high-resolution cameras capturing as many as thirty frames per second, operating 24×7.

The most common mistake made is to look at streaming video as just another form of data. The case for purpose-built video storage over traditional data solutions focuses on five key areas:
- Massive database size need
- I/O-intensive operations
- Intolerances of system latencies
- Constant bit-rate streaming
- Demanding operating environments , such as temperature, vibration, bit-error rate and more

Because of the intrinsic nature of streaming video, each of these five areas requires a purpose-built approach that takes into account unique needs, capabilities and system demands. There are many external storage options available, including direct attached storage (DAS), network attached storage (NAS), iSCSl, Fibre Channel and storage area networks (SAN).

An emerging trend is edge or on-board storage, which stores audio and video recordings within cameras, typically using an SD card. Edge storage is particularly beneficial for mobile security or applications that experience network connection interruptions. Edge storage is an excellent complimentary enhancement to central storage to facilitate comprehensive and seamless video coverage building additional redundancy in the solution.

Weakest Link
One often overlooked piece is the client viewing station. Many times an existing workstation or standard PC specification meant for employees is used as the client viewing station, which vary in configuration based on their originally intended purpose. However, the highly demanding needs of video requires a workstation built for continuous 24/7 performance, 365 days a year.

Purpose-built workstations for video feature higher level cooling systems, 450 watt and greater power supplies, dual Ethernet adapters (for management), server-grade processors and expanded display capabilities. Today's high-resolution graphics adapters draw from the power source, increasing impact when installing multiple adapters. The primary demands on client viewing stations are compression and process-intensive decoding in order to properly render video. And, as compression algorithms continue to evolve, the demand on workstation performance will only grow exponentially. Keeping that in mind, video processing workstations should be as future-proof as possible, with the ability to expand and scale up to support future compression algorithms.

At the end of the day the client viewing stations represents the user experience and should not be cut short only to reduce the quality and effectiveness of the entire network video station.

Going Forward
With rapid achievements in network video technology, consultants, integrators and end users are challenged with migrating away from disparate legacy systems to a more integrated, holistic approach. Migrating to a network video solution requires servers, storage and workstations that can scale and support future technologies, meet specific application challenges and allow for the development of a long-term technology continuum. By going beyond single-manufacturer systems and embracing open-architecture solutions, organizations can better meet their application requirements and provide flexibility throughout the network. Given the forecast the nearly half of all video security systems will run off network cameras by 2014, nonstandard systems will begin to underperform as systems scale. Choosing servers, storage and workstations that perform seamlessly with the network will ensure mission-critical video surveillance systems remain available and high performing.

Cloud Video in Demand?

Cloud Video in Demand?

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 7/11/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

The cloud is a tantalizing opportunity for video surveillance. By doing away with hard disk drives (HDDs) and storing everything to the cloud, gone is the most costly and failure-prone part of a video system. IMS Research estimated the global market for video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) was worth more than US$500 million in 2011, up 25 percent from 2010. It predicts the VSaaS market could surpass $1 billion by 2014, yielding rich rewards for service providers.

Business Models
Cloud surveillance is being offered by dealers, telcos, alarm-monitoring companies and even manufacturers. Viewing is the main purpose, rather than total security, with crucial differences between each offering.

UK distributor Norbain launched a VSaaS service aimed at the small surveillance installation market of one to six cameras, or the residential and SMB market. “It is designed to be installed by a professional installer with professional equipment, but the live/playback/monitoring is to be carried out by the end user in most cases,” said Andrew Pigram, Technical Director at Norbain. “It's to make sure your camera selection is correct. Users know that alarms or any triggers are correctly positioned, so you don't get many false alarms or recorded footage with nothing on it.” Telcos have the advantage of bandwidth, making hosted monitoring a natural extension of their services. Cox Communications launched a trial security service in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona, which has seen “good” early results. “Cox Home Security is supported by wireless and broadband infrastructure,” said Todd Smith, Director of Media Relations for Cox Communications. “Our solution includes the option of video components and broader home automation. This is a natural fit for us given our communications -- video, broadband, phone – relationship with customers already and allows them to stay connected to their homes when away.”

Manufacturers have the technical expertise and security background to distinguish their VSaaS offerings. “We previously were not a hosted video service provider, but we are now. We saw it as a natural fit for our business,” said John Smith, Senior Customer Marketing Manager at Honeywell. “We are a step below central monitoring for 24/7 monitoring. Our system is an automated system with smart analytics or sensors to detect people where they aren't supposed to be.”

Honeywell's offering has potential to be the one of the largest. It is available in North America, including the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and will be rolled out to EMEA in 2013, Smith said. An APAC offering is in development, which could make it a global cloud offering. “Honeywell is in a good position for access control, intrusion, video and full ID badging,” he said. “We hope to offer all services in the cloud.”

Pros and Cons
While VSaaS looks promising, the level of support differs greatly between offerings. Most telco packages only cover cheap webcams and merely host the video, not watch it. In the event of a fire or other emergency, the homeowner or shopkeeper will not be notified. Real-time security notification is still the trump card of central monitoring stations. However, security dealers and manufacturers offer more robust surveillance equipment and correct placement, ensuring a consistent viewing experience compared to a telco.

Who Wants Hosted Video?
Defining a target audience for VSaaS greatly affects how the final product looks. VSaaS holds far more mass-market appeal than enterprise-grade PSIM, requiring the user interface to be as intuitive and friendly as possible.

The residential market holds potential in the U.K. “The upper end of the residential market have intruder alarms in 50 percent of homes,” Pigram said. “So there's opportunity to add surveillance to those properties. It's not just for verification of alarms, but to give users information, such as of their pets left in the house and to see if they're all right.”

Most people are understandably squeamish about surveillance in their homes, which is why Honeywell focuses on business owners. “We sell it primarily in a commercial space; retail; quick service such as fast food and convenience stores; office buildings; professional buildings for doctors and chiropractors; and light manufacturing,” Smith said.

Honeywell examined market needs and found commercial users were maintaining their equipment more reactively. “With traditional video, a lot of people would go back and look back into their system, but the DVR failed, wasn't recording or the camera went out,” Smith said. “With the service, we found out customers needed to be notified when equipment wasn't working. They can know when a camera went offline, as the system can send notifications to the dealer and users.”

Business owners with multiple locations are a key target for VSaaS, which allows them to store video to the cloud, rather than buying a recorder for each shop. “You may have a chain of muffler stores, where the business owner with eight locations wants to check each location,” Smith said. “We provide a single login for the user. … We want to make it light upfront so it's not a heavy investment in equipment for the user, to lower the barrier of entry and capture RMR from these types of services.”

The target VSaaS customer will not be a large retailer or have a big security budget, but wants to view video remotely at an affordable rate. “VSaaS is OK for SME and residential customers with one to four cameras; not for corporate, but we're not seeing that market going to VSaaS,” Pigram said. “I'm less concerned in selling VSaaS to an existing market, as we're selling services to brand-new customers.”

VSaaS is not intended to replace alarm monitoring centers, but delivers viewing anytime, anywhere. It reduces capital outlay for DVRs and NVRs, and saves maintenance cost on spinning HDDs, Pigram said. Efficiency is being touted in some offerings, but the energy savings do not equate to a payback for the service provider.

However, the mobile “always-on” world is driving uptake. “Some of the things driving hosted video for residential are consumer electronics with tablets and smartphones,” Pigram said. “The customer is happy because they can utilize something they've bought, and we're happy because we don't need to provide a viewing platform. It reduces capital outlay and clutter in the house. The end user does not need to buy a DVR and monitor.”

The cloud's visibility and availability on mobile devices benefits VSaaS. "The biggest thing I've seen driving adoption is perception," Smith said. "Social media drives services. You see content being delivered in the cloud."

Costa Rica Judiciary Relies on Milestone Protection

Costa Rica Judiciary Relies on Milestone Protection

Editor / Provider: Milestone Systems | Updated: 6/28/2012 | Article type: Security 50

Milestone XProtect open platform IP video management software (VMS) has been implemented in more than 30 government judicial buildings in Costa Rica. The new surveillance system is the foundation for defense against violence for judicial employees to be less vulnerable to the risk of attacks in the office.

With an increase in reported violent crimes throughout Costa Rica, the prosecution of more offenders has resulted in a correlated increase of threats directed toward judicial employees in government offices around the country. Controlling all legal matters in the Central American country, more than 10,000 employees work in 31 buildings ranging in size from 1,312 – 81,200 square feet. They had previously been left vulnerable with out-of-date analog surveillance systems.

To help protect the employees and property of the Costa Rica judicial system, the government agency has implemented a highly effective solution to control the entire video monitoring infrastructure with high image quality, reliability and the ability to integrate with technology from leading security manufacturers and suppliers. Milestone XProtect Enterprise VMS was implemented for a full-scale surveillance improvement throughout the nation's government buildings.

For the new system, two types of IP network cameras were installed: the SNC-RS86N pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) day/night outdoor rapid dome camera with 36x zoom capability and H.264 data compression, and the SNC-DH180 network 720p HD vandal-resistant, fixed mini-dome camera with view-DR technology and IR illuminator – both manufactured by Sony.

Milestone XProtect Enterprise software operates through the Wide Area Network (WAN) of the organization to the monitoring centers with client stations, where administration and supervisors are located. Each building has its own local monitoring center running through a client station. In total, the system has around 30 operators.

"XProtect Enterprise has allowed government security personnel to perform intelligence work remotely, increasing the effectiveness of our human resources," states Carlos Solano, Project Development Manager at Sonivision, Costa Rica, the Milestone partner who implemented the solution. The Milestone solution offers an advanced surveillance system with top-of-the-line technology and open architecture, providing coverage of all surveillance needs through managing high-resolution, high-definition IP cameras, which would not have been possible with analog technology. Milestone XProtect Enterprise can access the video in both real time and recorded information - simultaneously.

"Milestone XProtect Enterprise has a very intuitive user interface that allows access to remote viewing of different points of interest simultaneously, as well as recordings. With the intelligent search tools we can look for evidence easily that can be quickly exported and used as evidence," stated German Rojas Monje, Security Director, Judiciary System of Costa Rica. "In addition to its powerful remote surveillance, the XProtect Smart Client interface has improved our ability to view and record events that take place both inside and outside the buildings. This has improved security and allowed us to strengthen our position against possible threats."

When the first stage of implementation was finished, operators of the system and the IT personnel who provide technical support were trained in two stages: basic training for both types of users, and one focused solely on the IT personnel in recommended practices for maintaining the XProtect Enterprise software and Sony cameras.

Solano continued: "All of the end users are in agreement – due to its graphic design and intuitive interface, it is a significant improvement for the government's security. Whether running through scheduled monitoring routines or exporting and generating video evidence, Milestone's ease of use is significantly more helpful in protecting those who serve in the justice department."

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