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Russia Hunting Ground Deploys  AxxonSoft  Intelligent System for Property Monitoring

Russia Hunting Ground Deploys AxxonSoft Intelligent System for Property Monitoring

Editor / Provider: AxxonSoft | Updated: 12/16/2011 | Article type: Residential & Consumer

The hunting ground with an area of over 100 hectares is located at the junction of the Vladimir, Moscow and Yaroslavl regions. The hunting ground offers exceptional comfort and everything needed for a good hunt.

In line with the recent trend of using video cameras to monitor forests and prevent wildfires, the customer chose to have video surveillance posts and local monitoring stations installed across the property. In addition to fire supervision, the video surveillance system was also meant to oversee buildings and facility perimeters located in the vicinity of installed posts.

The customer installed two 27-meter high posts in the hunting ground. Each post has an equipment installation platform at the height of 23 meters. Given the distance of 1,500 meters between the posts and the monitoring station, decision was taken to use fiber optic cables which brought about advantages.

Unimax objectives included the monitoring of a 6 to 8 meters area around the posts. Stationary analog cameras are incapable of ensuring a high level of detail with such vision angle and distance range. Therefore, it was decided to use highly sensitive high resolution IP cameras. Analysis revealed that Axis megapixel cameras offer the optimal combination of price, quality, resolution, and sensitivity.

To ensure the connection between the cameras and the monitoring station, the switchboard equipment was to be mounted directly at the camera installation site. Given that the switchboard equipment can be no farther than 100 meters from the cameras and that there are no heated premises in the camera's vicinity, the equipment had to be used at below-zero temperatures and in severe weather conditions. Moreover, the switchboard cabinet had to be protected against unauthorized access and be under surveillance. Hence, it was decided to mount the switchboard cabinet on to the camera installation platform and provide it with necessary climatic equipment.

The posts are located inside the hunting ground's sealed-off area but there remains a possibility that someone can trespass the ground's territory and try to access the video surveillance post. To monitor the situation, a vicinity overview was added to the cameras' presets. Every minute the camera overlooks the 15-20 meters area around the post.

To monitor the area around the posts at night, two high-power Axis IR-LED infra-red illuminators with adjustable angle of between 120 degree and 180 degree were installed. The optimal illumination range identified was 60 meters around the posts with the illuminators mounted at the height of 10 meters.

German Museum Deploys Avigilon Surveillance to Protect Exhibits from Theft and Vandalism

German Museum Deploys Avigilon Surveillance to Protect Exhibits from Theft and Vandalism

Editor / Provider: Avigilon | Updated: 12/8/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Avigilon, a leader in high-definition (HD) and megapixel video surveillance systems, announced that the Bomann Museum in Celle, Germany, which showcases the region's folklore and history, has deployed the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system to improve onsite security, protect exhibits from theft and vandalism, and reduce overall security costs.

The Museum upgraded from its analog-based surveillance system, which had reached its performance threshold and could no longer scale to meet future needs, to the advanced functionality of the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system. "We needed a more effective and reliable way to protect our most valuable exhibition pieces," explained Frank-Ulrich Strauss, facility manager at the Bomann Museum.

Staff at the Bomann Museum seamlessly manages the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system using the Avigilon Control Center network video management software (NVMS) with High-Definition Stream Management (HDSM) technology. The Museum installed Avigilon HD 1 MP and 2 MP cameras to monitor activity at its main entrances and installed several Avigilon analog video encoders to create a hybrid surveillance system that dramatically and cost-effectively improves the performance of its existing analog cameras. Storing up to 90 days of continuous surveillance video, the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system is monitored live during business hours by museum staff located at the main entrance and on the second floor.

By installing the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system, the Museum can ensure greater protection of its valuable artifacts while boosting staff and visitor safety. With its improved image quality and advanced search and management capabilities, the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system has expedited Museum investigations by 70 percent. By migrating from an analog-based system to the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system, the Museum has also successfully lowered system maintenance costs, dramatically reducing the total cost of ownership. An open and scalable solution, the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system allows the Museum to leverage its exis

ting infrastructure and will easily grow to meet future needs. "The Bomann Museum continues to invest in the latest technologies to help create a contemporary backdrop on which to showcase the region's rich history," said Keith Marett, director of marketing and communications at Avigilon. "Leveraging the performance and cost-efficiency gains provided by the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system, the Museum can more effectively protect its artifacts and visitors to deliver an exceptional museum experience."

Megapixel Cameras Provide Panoramic Coverage for Gas Station in South Africa

Megapixel Cameras Provide Panoramic Coverage for Gas Station in South Africa

Editor / Provider: Arecont Vision | Updated: 12/8/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Arecont Vision's megapixel panoramic cameras provide superior image detail for real-time video surveillance and forensic investigations at a Shell Petrol Service Station in Kensington, South Africa. The system uses three Arecont Vision 180-degree panoramic cameras to provide detailed 6,400 x 1,200 pixel images of the service station's forecourt with four pump islands. An Arecont Vision 360-degree panoramic camera keeps watch inside the adjoining convenience store. Another 2 megapixel Arecont Vision camera provides 1,600 x 1,200 pixel images at 24 frames per second to help operators recognize faces.

“The ability of our cameras to provide unparalleled image quality and resolution in a small retail environment illustrates the flexibility of our solutions and their cost-effectiveness for a wide range of uses,” said Ethan Maxon, Middle East and Africa Regional Sales Manager of Arecont Vision. “The application at the Shell Petrol station near Johannesburg is an example of how panoramic cameras can keep a watchful eye on a business and provide superior image quality and functionality.” Each panoramic megapixel camera can take the place of a dozen or more standard-resolution network cameras or analog cameras, contributing to an overall lower system cost. The use of fewer cameras requires less labor and cabling while providing high resolution. Using fewer cameras to cover larger areas also translates into cost savings related to infrastructure (cables, mounts, housings, etc.) which makes it easier to improve system return-on-investment (ROI).

“We installed the Arecont Vision megapixel cameras to demonstrate the solution as a proof of concept at this test site,” said Tracey De Barros, Key Accounts Manager for AV Enforce Electronics, the installing dealer and South Africa's largest privately owned black-empowered security company. The installation was performed with a view toward rolling out the upgrade to other sites operated by Shell (Pty).

Stepping Back From the Edge

Stepping Back From the Edge

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 12/5/2011 | Article type: Tech Corner

The advantages of HD over SD are evident, but even after two years of “evangelization,” issues that hinder the overall performance of HD surveillance systems still linger. Transmission and storage are complex but easily resolved when enough money is thrown at the problem. Things are a bit different on the management and display side, where manufacturers still have a bit of work to do to optimize the software and hardware for better visibility and increased interoperability.

Newer IP-based video systems, regardless of image resolution, have many useful functionalities, but also require significant technical and business operation knowledge to ensure they can achieve the user 's goals, warned Mrinalini Lakshminarayan, Video Solutions Strategist for Motorola Solutions. “Moreover, there are many different components in these systems (different cameras, VMS, diverse networks), which could lead to more complex compatibility issues. Even the claims of being standardscompliant may not be totally correct. Reading the fine print and looking at what the specs are not saying are critical in ensuring proper operation of the system.”

Users and integrators should be careful when designing systems with these products, Lakshminarayan continued. “Open and flexible designs are critical to futureproof systems. Vendor specification and marketing messages could be misleading. Design and implementations based primarily on vendor specification could pose challenges unless the whole system is architected to fit the environment and needs of the user.”

Furthermore,the growing coexistence of analog and digital technologies presents consequences involving bandwidth, storage, retrieval and image management , said Mark Wilson, VP of Marketing for Infinova. “There are different uses and purposes of stored video, various locations where images can be stored, a myriad of storage types, and business and operations issues to consider.”

System Overload
Today's VMS and cameras can use H.264, handle multiple megapixel streams and run onboard analytics on video, and it is very common for vendors to market all of these features.

However, network cameras are, in essence, small devices that could be likened to computers. When you have too many applications consuming the available resources, the system becomes sluggish and unstable, eventually leading to system failure. Network cameras use computer-like chips or accelerators for video, and they tend to perform similarly, Lakshminarayan explained. “Specifically, you should be careful about megapixel streams and video analytics; both can take huge amounts of resources and can place significant constraints relative to the marketing claims presented.”

Superior image quality is, in part, fulfilled through more advanced image sensors, higher frame rates and better low light performance; more processing power is needed to implement and utilize these improvements, as they add load to hardware components such as the image pipe, scaler, encoding and network communication, said Johan Paulsson, CTO of Axis Communications.

The Weight of Analytics
Running video analytics inside of the DVR offers a lot of potential, albeit at a cost. Analytics add cost whether onboard the camera or independently on the system, Lakshminarayan cautioned. In addition to considering channel counts and the types of video analytics, what is more important is to consider the user's goals to avoid wasting resources, both monetary and system-wise.

Video analytics require processing power and possibly dual-stream video, and these limit the number of network cameras you may be able to support, Lakshminarayan said. “The more activity there is on your cameras, the less you may be able to manage. Network cameras can send multiple streams, use multiple codecs and run a variety of video analytics. Analytics still require additional server-side processing. The design and implementation have to take these into considerations.”

This can be quite difficult because it depends on the tools provided in the products used, Lakshminarayan continued. “In cameras and hybrid DVRs, you are dependent on what the manufacturer gives you. In most of these products, there are few to no tools. With IP video surveillance software, even if the software does not provide you with good tools, you can still use standard monitoring applications provided with the OS.” [NextPage]

System Considerations
One of the most attractive claims of using software is that you can greatly expand the number of cameras you can record on a given server. However, flexibility also introduces complexity, Lakshminarayan warned.

“The configuration, calibration and regular maintenance of the system are required to ensure it performs as specified. Vendors often talk about recording hundreds of cameras per server; they usually mean SD cameras using MPEG- 4 and only motion detection. Once you start using multimegapixel cameras, H.264 codecs and video analytics, the number of cameras per server drop dramatically.”

According to Lakshminarayan, key performance issues with video surveillance systems include:
? Dropped frames: Even if you set the frame rate to 15 fps, the camera may only be able to send 8 fps or the recorder may only be able to record at 7 fps. The network may not be designed to handle the data jitter and delay characteristics. The PC and video processing may not be able to deliver the horsepower required.
This may also lead to false alarms from video analytics, which could be very painful for users and cause them to ignore or turn off the analytics.
? Unresponsive system: The storage unit, recorder or camera may become very slow or unresponsive due to network or server-processing issues. The system may crash or need to be manually rebooted. During this time, if reliability, redundancy and resilience are not built into the design, there could be a lot of loss of data.

The IT world has had years of experience dealing with failing systems, and has long since realized that all systems will indeed fail. “The best way to solve these problems is by a careful, up-front design and building TCO into the system architecture. It is important to work with a design architect who understands the pitfalls and compatibility issues of the systems,” Lakshminarayan said.

Network Bottlenecks
The glaring bottlenecks of HD systems are network bandwidth and the required storage capacity, said Craig Howie, Commercial Director for Visimetrics. “Larger image resolutions coupled with high frame/bit rates, potentially low compression and probably multiple streams from each camera can leave a significant impact on network bandwidth, storage capacity and display performance.” With higher bandwidths, the network configuration or architecture becomes an essential element in the project design.

Bandwidth consumption from HD video is often several times that of its SD counterpart, said Xiang-Qun Ying, IP Camera Director for Hikvision Digital Technology. “For example, a 4-CIF image flows smoothly at just 1.5 Mbps, whereas a 2-megapixel HD camera needs more than 4 Mbps to make the clearer images useable. This places stress on both bandwidth and storage.” While this may not be a problem for smaller setups,networking becomes a headache when a large number of channels is required, and will need professional technicians to design and maintain the network.

HD network cameras often use 720p or 1,080p. In practice, these cameras require 2 to 8 Mbps of bandwidth for an acceptable and practical stream. When a system comprises several hundreds of these, the tremendous amount of data will need a well-designed network to avoid performance issues.

Regardless of equipment manufacturers, the most congested point in the network in terms of bandwidth usage within an HD system is between the cameras and NVR, Howie said. “For this very reason, it is always best to design the network architecture using a distributed storage methodology where the storage systems are located in relatively close proximity to the cameras, keeping the network congestion to as few hops as possible and definitely away from the core of the network.”

In addition, the cost of fiber optics is continuously dropping. A gigabit local network completely comprising fiber is much more achievable than a few years ago. The significance of bandwidth issues will decrease, as transmission technology is constantly and rapidly improving.

Storage Implications
The increasing adoption of IP-based video surveillance and the move to high-resolution cameras translate to more demanding storage needs for security and business intelligence applications. Frost & Sullivan estimates that this market will expand from US$123.1 million in 2010 to $181.1 million by 2016, citing demands for DAS, NAS and SAN solutions.

According to Frost & Sullivan, “IT storage for the physical security industry is still emerging, and dominant IT-based suppliers are modifying their existing enterprise IT storage offerings to suit physical security needs. As end users become more aware of these IT storage solutions and vendors gain greater expertise in serving the specific needs of the security industry, these solutions are poised to gain rapid momentum toward the end of the forecast period.”

However, the recent flooding in Thailand has hindered worldwide production, as the country churns out 40 percent of the world's hard drives. Average drive prices have already jumped about 20 percent because of the flooding, according to Bloomberg News . In a prepared statement, Stephen Luczo, CEO of Seagate Technology, said it will take a year, until the end of 2012, for production to recover to preflood levels. [NextPage]

Interoperability and Implementation
Video technology is moving from proprietary to standardsbased solutions, Lakshminarayan said. “There are many advances that have driven manufacturers to either comply with these standards or publish APIs to ensure that their products integrate with the existing multipurpose systems. Mix-andmatch has become very common as these video systems grow to satisfy a multitude of business goals and requirements.”

However, with all the promises of interoperability out there — ONVIF, PSIA and HD-SDI — “truly open” systems are still simply not there yet. Even HD-SDI, which is supposed to provide true plug-and-play functionality and analog simplicity, is plagued with incompatibility issues among brands, which were highlighted in the September 2011 issue of a&s International.

That said, current standards do indeed guarantee at least some level of interoperability and peace of mind, and they are constantly being improved. If customers follow standards, they reduce the possibility of facing future compromises, Wilson said. Vendors whose products comply with these standards can be found on the respective websites of the various organizations.

HD in security video surveillance has quite a few obstacles to overcome before it matures. While some are psychological factors, there are also some very practical issues to be resolved, Ying said. ”Installing plug-and play analog surveillance systems requires little more than hard labor. However, simple as it may seem at first glance, configuring IP addresses and selecting software GUIs require more technical skills that are currently lacking in the average security installer.”

Practical Considerations for Pretty Pictures

Practical Considerations for Pretty Pictures

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 12/5/2011 | Article type: Tech Corner

Earlier this year, a major typewriter manufacturer closed down its last facility. While initial reports claimed that it marked the extinction of the revolutionary device, it is far from dead. However, the magical device that took the world by storm has withered significantly and now serves only in niche markets.

The typewriter changed the world. It was a simple, elegant solution that solved a very specific problem — the inefficiency in recording the written word. It was a straightforward device with a concept that was easy to grasp.

After a little more than 100 years, the personal computer appeared on the scene, providing much more than simple word recording. “Word processing” was the name of the game, along with other applications, such as spreadsheets and automated processes.

Initially, personal computers were clunky and expensive, compared to typewriters, not to mention the fact that users needed to learn new skills and rewired their mindset to utilize the powerful, new tools. Contrast those to today's Macbooks, Ultrabooks and smartphones!

Video surveillance is undergoing a similar transition. HD video offers clearer and smoother pictures, which in turn enable a whole new batch of use cases, such as more practical video analytics. The benefits are clear. What is not clear is how users should approach this new technology and what they should expect from it, especially when the lack of universal standards is not helping at all.

Not too long ago , video surveil-lance was simply a combination of video cameras and recording devices. Though limited in use cases and functionality, video surveillance systems were simple to understand and easy to implement. Misconfiguring or overloading the system was difficult, and it was relatively simple to troubleshoot problems when things were not running as expected. Nor did they require significant technical and IP knowledge to design, implement and maintain. All this allowed for more predictable performance and TCO.

Analog cameras have served their purpose well throughout the years, but video surveillance has evolved with the advent of new technologies, which enable exciting new possibilities for video surveillance and security in general. First, we saw the rise of network cameras and IP-based video surveillance, which have already outshipped analog systems in some regions. Now, the battle moves to megapixel cameras and HD video.

According to research, by 2015, megapixel cameras will account for 88 percent of the video surveillance market, of which more than 70 percent will be HD. SD network cameras still outsold their HD or megapixel counterparts in 2010, but there was also significant growth in the number of HD and megapixel network security cameras shipped, said Mrinalini Lakshminarayan,Video Solutions Strategist for Motorola Solutions.

In any case, as with any product in a free market, customer demand drives availability and brings down price, while the increased competition drives quality and innovation. The costs of these cameras will only go down in the coming years, further fueling wider adoption and better solutions.

So…Who Needs It?
Strong demand is a given, but is HD necessary everywhere? Applications that benefit the most from HD surveillance are the ones involving forensic search or archiving, due to the increased amount of detail captured, said Craig Howie, Commercial Director for Visimetrics. “A typical example would be casinos, where the level of detail available from HD systems could prove financially significant during a dispute investigation from a gaming table.”

In general, the benefits of higher resolutions can be approached with two mindsets: reduced costs due to fewer cameras needed or increased performance through upgraded cameras.

Some vendors argue that the higher resolutions and wider view allow users to have one HD or megapixel camera assume the role of several SD ones. While this may be true to some extent, optimal camera placement is still required for effective coverage. With this approach, the larger field of view with HD can cover a larger area due to the 16:9 aspect ratio, but with only the same number of pixels per meter as SD. So, there is no performance increase, but product and installation costs go down due to fewer cameras required, said Ad Biemans, EMEA Product Marketing Manager for CCTV, Bosch Security Systems. “However, there is a catch. Your cameras do need to point in one direction, such as at checkout lines in a supermarket, car lanes at a petrol station, check-in desks at airports and so on.” In short, this argument is moot if the setup requires cameras to point in different directions or need a persistent front-facing perspective.

With the performance increase approach, you get more details (pixels per meter) with the same field of view — ideal when requiring the best quality for retrospective interrogation or needing a flexible camera installation, Biemans continued. “Superior HD captures all the details for applications involving cash registers, check-in counters, access gates, reception areas and grandstands.”

Applications with camera scenes covering larger fields of view are also better suited to using HD surveillance over SD systems by virtue of the increased information available in post event analysis, Howie agreed. “Citywide systems with complex street scenes and wide fields of view will provide the most significant demonstration of the improved results of HD over SD.”

In city surveillance and safety, HD video enhances identification because of its higher resolution; similarly, crowd surveillance will be of better use in arenas and stadiums. Together with improved identification capability, HD installations typically require fewer cameras than SD solutions to cover a similar area, Biemans said. “This can significantly lower TCO for large systems, such as those in airports. Obviously, highly detailed images of HD systems are also important in the finance and banking market.”

Today, there are few, if any, applications for which SD is “good enough,”as years of frustrated surveillance operators can attest, said Becky Zhou, Sales Director for APAC, Arecont Vision. However, there are still instances where SD is an optimal choice, said Karen McCarrison, Product Marketing Manager for IndigoVision. “For example, if you are covering a narrow field of view, SD cameras may be more than capable of giving the level of detail that you need.” [NextPage]

SD Still Kicking
Users are more likely than not to be interested in HD video. Just as a personal digital video recorder is to the average consumer, users certainly want their video surveillance cameras to produce more detailed images, said Xiang-Qun Ying, IP Camera Director for Hikvision Digital Technology. “However, the hefty investment in networking, storage and the cameras are prohibiting for cost-sensitive industries. For example, public agencies on a tight budget may have little choice but to settle for SD. Of course, there are also some scenarios where SD is already more than sufficient for the purpose intended.”

Smaller sites with relatively small fields of view and constant lighting tend not to fully need the benefits that an HD surveillance system can produce, Howie said. “Smaller sites with narrow confines, such as retail, banks and small offices, don't really have the distance/detail perspective to show significant value in using HD over SD.”

In some settings where only a small area is monitored — for example, a jet bridge — only a very limited scene needs to be covered, and D1 resolution would be sufficient to clearly recognize and identify a person, Ying agreed. “In other cases, you may need to cover a wide area, but not for petty details. For example, when monitoring for a forest fire, an alarm must be triggered when smoke is spotted. However, you don't need to see clear details of the flames. SD satisfies these applications in a more economic fashion compared to HD, in terms of bandwidth, storage and equipment.”

Other examples of prime SD applications are perimeter surveillance and locations involving looking in a large corridor, due mainly to the 4:3 aspect ratio providing better coverage of the scenes, Biemans added.

Looking at Big Picture
The popularity of HD video in the consumer market pushed forward video surveillance, but an exceptional HD video surveillance system requires much more than just good cameras. For IP-based HD video, things get a bit tricky. The edge device, transmission media and back-end processing all have a say in whether the system works properly.

Many of the system design considerations for IP-based HD video are similar to those for IP-based SD video, McCarrison said. “Cable distances must be considered, with restrictions easily overcome by good design and switch location, or the use of a fiber backbone. Many systems suffer from bandwidth issues when all video is streamed via a central server. This issue can be overcome by using a system with a distributed architecture, not only removing network bottlenecks, but also removing single points of failure and reducing costs.”

Edge Devices
Camera manufacturers could be a dime a dozen, but it is important to note that similar specs do not translate to similar performance; they will vary in image quality or bandwidth consumption. Good video encoding is critical to produce good quality video, and at usable bit rates. Networks that are already struggling to transmit HD video do not respond well to bandwidth spikes, which can be reduced through using a camera with better compression technology, McCarrison said. “As resolution increases, the ability to achieve good compression becomes much more difficult, especially when trying to maintain a guaranteed frame rate.”

In addition, the right cameras must be selected for the right locations. Each application and customer expectation of image quality should also be matched to the right megapixel camera, Zhou said. “While a 5-megapixel (MP) camera might be an excellent choice in some projects, it is not necessarily ideal for all scenarios. If an application requires full motion, for instance, a 1.3-, 2 or 3-MP camera would be a better option, or even a dual sensor day/ night camera. Being attentive to application requirements is a critical step in choosing the right megapixel camera and avoiding performance issues.”

Another area that can make a significant difference to the video quality is the lens choice. A quality megapixel camera requires a quality megapixel lens; without this combination, the benefits of higher resolution and good compression can be negated, McCarrison said. “Customers should not be tempted to save cost on the lens; otherwise, the money that they have spent purchasing an HD camera could be wasted. Some manufacturers spend a lot of time testing and selecting lenses, and often supply cameras with lenses that have been calibrated.”

An HD camera fitted with a standard lens will not deliver, as a dedicated HD lens capable of supporting megapixel images ensures top performance, Biemans agreed. “Indeed, the entire signal chain, from scene to screen, must be HD-optimized.” In the next part, we explore the chain of command in HD surveillance and common points of failure to watch out for.

American Resort Protects Assets and Guests With Avigilon Surveillance System

American Resort Protects Assets and Guests With Avigilon Surveillance System

Editor / Provider: Avigilon | Updated: 12/2/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Avigilon, a leader in high-definition (HD) and megapixel video surveillance solutions, announced that Bear Creek Mountain Resort and Conference Center in Berks County, Pennsylvania has deployed the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system to better protect its corporate assets and ensure the safety of its more than 315,000 annual guests. Bear Creek Mountain Resort replaced its analog-based surveillance system with the Avigilon high-definition surveillance solution for greater reliability, enhanced image quality, and the ability to more efficiently and quickly resolve incidents onsite.

The number one goal at Bear Creek Mountain Resort is to ensure that guests have an enjoyable and safe experience. “With the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system, we are confident that we can identify individuals or the cause of an accident to resolve potentially dangerous situations quickly and efficiently—something we were not able to do before,” said Nick Franzosa, security manager at Bear Creek Mountain Resort. “At the same time, we are now better equipped to reduce theft and the number of liability claims for significant cost savings.”

Security personnel seamlessly manage the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system using the Avigilon Control Center network video management software (NVMS) with High-Definition Stream Management (HDSM) technology. The resort installed 42 Avigilon HD cameras ranging from 1 MP to 5 MP to monitor parking lots, the dock alley, the main pedestrian thoroughfare, equipment storage area, snow tubing hill, restaurants, hotel, and at the top and bottom of its chairlifts. Avigilon analog video encoders were installed to improve performance of the resort's existing analog cameras. The system is monitored 24x7 and the resort stores 21 days of continuous surveillance video on an Avigilon Network Video Recorder (NVR.) The management team has remote access to the system as well.

Using Avigilon analog video encoders, Bear Creek Mountain Resort has reduced security-related costs by improving the performance and quality of its existing analog cameras—and can transition the rest of its cameras to HD as budget permits. The Avigilon high-definition surveillance system will also help the resort further eliminate costs by reducing theft-related losses in the resort's restaurants and cafes and reduce the number and cost of false liability claims—which will cut insurance premiums over time. The security team can search and review footage much quicker, freeing them up for other important tasks.

“As public spaces, hotels and resorts face a variety of security risks including theft, property damage, and disorderly conduct,” said Keith Marett, director of marketing and communications at Avigilon. “Leveraging the advanced management features and superior image quality of the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system, Bear Creek Mountain Resort can not only boost security and protect its assets for greater peace of mind, it can also enhance customer service and increase productivity and efficiencies across its business.”

Historic Turkish Hotel Protects Guests With IQinVision Cameras

Historic Turkish Hotel Protects Guests With IQinVision Cameras

Editor / Provider: IQinVision | Updated: 12/1/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

IQinVision, market leader in high-performance HD megapixel IP cameras, announced that the 5-star Opera Hotel in Istanbul has deployed a wide range of IQinVision HD megapixel cameras in anticipation of its grand re-opening in January 2012. Bilge Electronics is the integrator for this project.

The Opera Hotel is one of the historic hotels in Istanbul. After changing hands in 2004, the new owner planned for renovations to take the building back to its original form and grace. Upon re-opening, the hotel will offer 76 amenity-filled rooms, four suites, three meeting rooms, a swimming pool, fitness center, sauna, and a rooftop bar with a magnificent view of where Asia and Europe meet along the banks of the Bosporus Strait.

The Opera Hotel sets a standard for luxury and since it will be hosting many important guests, hotel management wanted the best in video surveillance security. Along with their excellent relationship with Bilge, hotel management was also impressed with the IQeye camera's image quality and performance.

The 64-camera installation is deployed so that 42 IQeye mini dome cameras cover each floor's corridors, lobbies, and waiting rooms; 12 IQeye High Definition dome cameras watch over the parking lot; and 10 IQeye multi-megapixels H.264 Main Profile all-weather cameras are located in strategic locations around the building perimeter and cover the entrance and street in front of the hotel.

Another advantage of the IQinVision cameras is that they fit in nicely and unobtrusively with the hotel's classic design. The cameras record on motion at 15 frames per second. The Opera Hotel's security goals are clear-cut: capture all important events at an image quality sufficient to recognize persons and objects. An important cost benefit for the hotel in using IQinVision HD megapixel cameras is that they were able to reduce the overall number of cameras needed for the project, particularly in the main lobby and for building perimeter security.

Year in Review: Security Surges in 2011 from Delayed Projects

Year in Review: Security Surges in 2011 from Delayed Projects

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 11/30/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

The economic crisis seems to be largely over in 2011, but new debt concerns are sparking anxiety about a second depression. As security deals with market uncertainty, we look at the year's milestones in events, regional and vertical markets, technologies, challenges, and drivers and differentiators.

There has been no shortage of grim headlines this year. In March, the strongest recorded earthquake in Japan killed scores of people, leaving extensive destruction and a nuclear meltdown in its wake. Along with natural disaster, deliberate acts of violence took place, including the senseless Norway attacks and the Moscow airport suicide bombing. In the U.K., mass riots resulted in five deaths and widespread damage.

The past decade in security has been shaped by 9/11, with its mastermind Osama bin Laden meeting his demise in May. However, the war on terrorism is far from over, affecting a younger generation throughout the region. Across the Middle East and North Africa, Arab Spring uprisings toppled authoritarian regimes. Egypt's Prime Minister Hosni Mubarak stepped down after 30 years of power, while Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed in October. Political instability coupled with economic uncertainty has marked the past year as an eventful one.

Not all is bleak though. China hosted the successful 2011 Summer World University Games in Shenzhen, welcoming student athletes from all over the world. Projects came back online, with Asia Pacific expected to invest US$100 billion for 350 airports in the next 10 years, according to Frost & Sullivan. More new infrastructure boosted the security market, which grew in some areas due to political unrest.

Notable consolidation and restructuring activity went on in 2011, a welcome sign after the recession. Tyco International announced a three-way split in September, with security divided into two companies: ADT and Commercial Fire and Security. “One of the business reasons for splitting up Tyco was serving the customer better,” said Charlie LeBlanc, President of Security Services for FrontierMEDEX. “One of the dangers in consolidation is you start losing the customer and understanding what they want or need.”

Prior to Tyco's split, ADT Security Services acquired physical security information management (PSIM) provider Proximex in April. In the same month, Verint Systems also made a PSIM buy for Rontal Engineering Applications. As security systems handle more data, there is a clear need to aggregate it in management platforms.

UTC reorganized in September, combining security and fire with HVAC provider Carrier to become UTC Climate, Controls and Security Systems. The new business will be led by new President and CEO Geraud Darnis. Siemens also restructured in September, with a new Fire Safety and Security business unit made up of Life Cycle and Enterprise segments.

Pure-play video analytics providers were either acquired or eliminated this year. Vidient was in both categories, going under in January and then being acquired by Agilence in April. In August, Keeneo's 4-D analytics was sold to Digital Barriers for $2.8 million, diminishing the ranks of stand-alone analytics providers.

Of the VCA companies still in operation, ObjectVideo sued Bosch Security Systems, Sony and Samsung Techwin for patent infringement this year. While the defendants have countersued and the legal outcome is uncertain, the lawsuits make ObjectVideo look desperate. Even if ObjectVideo wins, it has lost credibility by alienating some of the biggest names in video surveillance.

Public spending came back in 2011, with government projects and airports being among the most active vertical markets. “Due to the large number of airports across the U.S. and Europe, there is a constant need for retrofit as terminals get updated,” said Blake Kozak, Senior Market Analyst for IMS Research.

DVTel won a project for a major European airport with 1,200 cameras, along with a contract for the Mumbai airport this year. “We see new opportunities largely in emerging markets,” said Ami Amir, Executive VP of Marketing and Products, DVTel. “We had significant success in South Africa, Latin America, Russia and Asia. For us, India has much more activity than China.”

A military site in Afghanistan was one of Delta Scientific's biggest projects in 2011, using barriers and barricades to protect it from car and truck bombers, said David Dickinson, Senior VP of Delta Scientific. Its key regions were North America and the Middle East, with a focus on areas facing high risks from vehicular bombs. Many investments have been made in city surveillance, infrastructure and government buildings. “Government spending in Asia Pacific has been one of the key drivers for security revenues in 2011,” said Susan Sahayan, Research Analyst for Frost & Sullivan. “Railways, airports, highways and in-flight security are some of the key sectors within transportation driving the growth of video surveillance, access control and biometrics.”

Rising fuel prices are increasing demand for public transportation. “As we see an almost negative situation in the economy, we see a positive situation in public transport,” said David Gorshkov, CEO of Digital Grape. “There's an increased need for monitoring, to meet the demands of public transport for both road and rail.”

Threats from domestic and international terrorists around the world remain, making transportation a major security market. “In the public sector globally, we see the increase of security systems, whether they be access control or video surveillance,” Gorshkov said. “Government buildings are increasing their security, as well as educational installations.”

The Beijing metro chose a networked access control solution with card readers to enhance access management and overall security, said Simon Siew, MD for APAC, HID Global (an Assa Abloy company).

Infrastructure and government were among the company's top verticals for 2011. “Geographically, we have grown in India and China in the past year, as their economic environments have rebounded faster than most countries,” Siew said.

Corrections saw growth this year, with OnSSI installing systems at several Texas prisons. Each system includes more than 800 cameras. “OnSSI will be standardized throughout the Texas prison system's 114 facilities in the coming years, with new installations taking place as funding becomes available,” said Gadi Piran, President of OnSSI.

City surveillance also sees greater demand for scalable management. “There is increasing interest in separate control rooms to make better use of data citywide, such as transmission,” Gorshkov said. “There's interest in the consolidation of systems in various control centers, or PSIM.” [NextPage]

The commercial sector saw good movement in the past year. “The global economy trickles down to all spending, whether the government or private sector,” LeBlanc said. “The private sector is driving the spending more so than the government sector.”

Sports and leisure grew, such as athletic venues and stadiums. Dallmeier installed a multimegapixel solution for the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, which can seat more than 74,000 spectators, according to a prepared statement from the company.

In emerging countries such as Brazil, India and China, high growth can be found. “With the World Cup and Olympics to be held in Brazil in the coming years, the country is set to increase its capacity by about 85 percent,” Kozak said. “The number of hotel rooms is also expected to increase by nearly 40 percent, increasing demand for products such as electromagnetic locks. Qatar is also seeing strong growth in sports and leisure as well as other vertical markets, because of the need to secure both established and newly constructed infrastructure.”

Financial institutions witnessed increased demand. “Banking experienced moderate growth in 2011 despite the downturn, because of consolidation and the need for logical- physical access control,” Kozak said.

Retailers are also investing in security. “Retail, certainly supermarkets, are performing quite well, with refurbishment programs for main stores and new developments with new smaller ‘in-town' stores,” said Andrew Pigram, Technical Director at Norbain. “One of the first sectors to react to the downturn was retail in 2008, but we're starting to see a gentle recovery.”

Europe and North America are seeing retail growth. “As it turns out, it has been strong as retailers have an increased need to protect their assets,” said Paul Bodell, Business Development for IQinVision. “In some places, the bad economy or threat of a higher crime rate has accelerated investment.”

Another growth market is the industrial sector, such as energy and petrol. “We've done work in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Columbia and several other countries,” said John Moss, CEO of S2 Security. “The nice thing about servicing a number of markets in Latin America and Asia is you have some protection from difficulties in any single market.”

Integrators focused on ROI for installations, which grew in 2011. “We saw a spike in 2010 and 2011 in power and utilities, particularly remote sites,” said Mark Gally, VP of Marketing for VideoIQ.

As more markets have already reached the IP tipping point, standards become crucial to integrating multiple devices. ONVIF is by far the largest of the physical security groups, counting more than 300 members. However, the present version is limited to display. Support for each member's unique PTZ protocols, night vision controls or in-house analytics is still a way off.

Supporting generic functions is already a big step forward, but “standards” still lack a uniform guideline for image quality. “Standards provide a framework for performance criteria to be achieved by the various members,” Gorshkov said. “But ONVIF and PSIA are trade groups, not standards bodies. They are interconnect agreements between vendors.”

Installers and integrators should be more concerned about designing systems that deliver the proper imaging for user needs, rather than just looking at cost. “Integrators need to maintain an appropriate standard of quality, rather than leaving it in the hands of vendors,” Gorshkov said.

Some standards are drawn up by federal bodies, such as Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 mandates for government identification. “The government has extended its influence on physical access initiatives, imposing tightened privacy standards and mandating secure-compound directives,” Siew said.

The migration to IP has yielded benefits for businesses. “The industry as a whole has embraced what technology can do to assist a corporation or entity in protecting their assets,” LeBlanc said. “It's a multiplier that compounds upon itself. There are much easier ways to integrate into a solution.”

The accessibility of smartphones and tablets is expected to drive home automation growth to reach a wider audience, according to Frost & Sullivan.

As IP yields business benefits, it sees strong growth. “We continue to see rapid adoption of IP technology across product categories,” said James Rothstein, Executive VP of Tri-Ed/Northern Video Distribution.

Edge devices did well, as the hardware and software are optimized to work together. Integrators can save time for setup and calibration, while differentiating with analytics. “It offers nice infrastructure savings and operator efficiency for search and presentation capabilities,” Gally said. “The continued adoption of analytics in the mainstream is a critical component in powering an overall system. You can optimize storage and empower people to do faster searches.”

Delivering ROI was a focus for manufacturers. VideoIQ launched its first business continuity rule for 24-hour ATM vestibules to detect sleeping vagrants, which can be a problem in cold climates. “They're concerned about customer safety and whether people can go in the ATM to do business,” Gally said. “We can track objects that go motionless for a long period of time and send an alarm. Banks are actually impacting their bottom line by making sure there's access to ATMs 24/7.”

Other providers are providing more value by offering more functionality, such as unlimited installs for VMS client software and incremental licenses by camera count. “OnSSI has reconfigured how the software platform goes to market,” Piran said. Its scalability provides upgrade opportunities for customers with cameras and severs at multiple sites. [NextPage]

Network video may have reached its tipping point in several regions, but analog is far from dead. HD-SDI provides a midway point with HD video over analog cabling. “HD-SDI is only available in the U.K. through a limited number of suppliers, so it's not really launched or established yet,” Pigram said. “However, there's a lot of end user interest, and more manufacturers will be launching products towards the end of 2011.”

For network video provider IQinVision, it consolidated its M-JPEG and H.264 product lines for greater efficiency. “In 2011 we converted all our cameras to multistream,” Bodell said. “We now have the largest portfolio of H.264 cameras and consolidated part numbers. Since the market would not allow us to increase the price of the M-JPEG cameras, we are selling the multistream H.264/M-JPEG cameras for the price of M-JPEG cameras and letting the users select the compression in the field.”

This year 's multimegapixel cameras generated plenty of buzz at trade shows. “There is a trend to use high-megapixel cameras, in standard format and increasingly more specialist 180-degree/panoramic and 360-degree fish-eye technology to capture a complete view from a single camera,” Pigram said. “This is proving to be a valuable addition to many video surveillance systems and in some cases, customers prefer to use them compared to traditional fully functional domes.”

Among the high-megapixel solutions was a 51-megapixel multisensory system with a dozen lenses, capable of displaying background objects as clearly as ones in the foreground. “This makes it possible to identify people at a distance of 160 meters,” said Roland Feil, Sales Director for Dallmeier electronic.

More hosted offerings were launched in 2011, but not all sites have the infrastructure to support large bandwidth. “For the smaller commercial and residential sectors of the market, it's just starting and will grow in the next five years and expand to larger applications as greater bandwidth becomes available,” Pigram said. Norbain introduced a hosted access control solution, targeting multisite end-user companies.

And while megapixel counts might be climbing, few networks have the bandwidth to transmit enormous video files at real-time frame rates. “Distributed storage is a key component to intelligently manage data to a cloud service,” Gally said. “HD video into the cloud will require customers to invest so much in the infrastructure that it's hard to cost-justify.”

Managing access can now be done through integration with other physical security systems, such as video door phones for remote monitoring. “The integration of video surveillance with biometrics is gaining traction,” Sahayan said. “This growth in biometrics is expected to create the need for end users to utilize more advanced surveillance systems, particularly IP systems, which will be more cost-effective as a security solution.”

Mobile devices will also feature near-field communications (NFC) for access control. “HID Global sees significant opportunities in taking NFC technology beyond cashless payment into new, complementary physical access control applications,” Siew said. “The industry has made great progress in moving payment applications onto NFC smartphones.”

The global intrusion alarm market is expected to reach $2.4 billion in 2011, according to IMS Research. Opportunities were mainly in retrofit activities, as new construction has slowed.

Finding new opportunities was a top distributor target in 2011. “The economic slowdown has us focus even more on presenting ways for our customers to diversify into new product areas and revenue streams,” Rothstein said.

Network video channels have been tricky to navigate in recent years, as traditional distributors may not understand IP issues. However, IT resellers may know about networking, but lack security experience.

From the experience of 13-year-old IQinVision, security distributors are the way to go, particularly in the high-volume market or sites with less than 10 cameras. “In the early days, we focused on IT integrators,” Bodell said. “But more security channel dealers are becoming network-savvy. Three to four years ago, I would have picked IT as the channel that would win, because the security channel was not embracing IT. But with turnover, you get a younger generation of security integrators who understand networking, because they have grown up with it.”

While IP uptake is seeing more acceptance, education is still a challenge. “It's a fact that the end user and system integrators are exposed to new network solutions and don't know enough about IP,” Amir said.

Challenges in 2011 were spending and economic difficulties. “Western Europe has been greatly impacted by the recession, namely Spain, Italy, Greece and the U.K.,” Kozak said. “As governments look to balance budgets, there could be a slowdown in growth. The Americas is forecast to see slow growth in 2011 as a result of the high growth that returned in 2010 following the economic recession. Despite rebounding, the growth could not be sustained. The EMEA region is only forecast to grow by 2 percent in 2011.”

Market uncertainty forced installers and end users to reconsider their security purchases, even if they were satisfied with how they performed. “Economic pressures have forced companies to either consider whether they need to spend money on features they don't really need or conversely that the system they buy delivers more: not just in the security arena, but potentially in new areas which will drive economic growth of the end user,” Pigram said. “This has driven a trend to two different purchasing dynamics — cost-effective video and integrated IP systems.”

Regional buying behavior has further compounded market troubles. “Low levels of awareness on the importance of security and the availability of cheap manpower in emerging countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are restraining the adoption of security solutions,” Sahayan said. “However, this scenario is expected to change in the next few years, as end users begin to gain more exposure to surveillance technologies through trade shows, media advertising, as well as success stories.” [NextPage]

After a relatively calm year, companies are gearing up for a possible debt crisis. In the face of macroeconomic factors, a combination of innovation and responsiveness to customer needs enabled companies to beat the recession and weather the coming storm.

One way to survive is through continuous innovation. “The path we embarked on many years ago has proven to be correct,” Feil said. “We address all aspects of video security technology rather than concentrating on individual components.”

While R&D is not cheap, it can pay off. “Our competitors reduced their workforces during the recession,” Moss said. “We didn't do that, we hired through it. When the recession eased up, they didn't have enough people and we had a bunch of new products.”

Warranties support a highly innovative position with guaranteed quality. “Given the number of low-cost competitors, we've gotten business back from customers who had catastrophic product failures in the field,” Bodell said. “We always boasted the best products, and in 2011 we backed that up with a five-year warranty on our minidome and a three-year warranty for our professional line with on-camera recording and analytics.”

DVTel also launched a quality assurance program, providing a lifetime warranty for new products good for at least four years, Amir said.

Tailoring solutions for specific applications benefits both manufacturers and customers. “Diversification related to multiple vertical markets is one way to ensure ongoing success,” Piran said. “It helps that OnSSI has a product that is versatile and useful in a variety of end-user environments, which allows us to focus on hot verticals without having to reengineer the system when the market shifts.”

One phenomenon this year was low-volume customizations. While this was previously unthinkable, economies of scale have enabled manufacturers to adjust products to customer specifications.

The goal of innovation and customization is to satisfy buyer demands. “Companies have to be consistent and focused on execution,” Amir said. “Focus on the customer.”

Continued engagement is about supporting user needs. “Our sales guys are with integrators every day,” Bodell said. “Product management talks to customers and gets feedback. Then we make a list of things, determine what's real in the long term and we invest in that. The simple way to say it is it's just the voice of the customer. You've just got to learn to listen to it.”

Extending the value of existing customer investments is crucial. “In the recession, we solved business problems for end customers and that allowed us to grow,” Gally said. “Our strategy and advice is to make sure solutions delivers a value-add to the channel partner as well as the customer.”

Customer satisfaction is not a new concept, but achieving it is easier said than done. Providing security and convenience at an affordable cost benefits all parties. As companies with a clear value proposition witnessed growth even after the market contracted, it proves that following best practices delivers real results.

Aptina Launches 2-Megapixel Image Sensor With 720P/30FPS for Mobile Video Applications

Aptina Launches 2-Megapixel Image Sensor With 720P/30FPS for Mobile Video Applications

Editor / Provider: Aptina | Updated: 11/29/2011 | Article type: Component

Aptina, a leading provider of CMOS imaging solutions today announced the introduction of its mobile image sensor. The 1/5-inch, 2-megapixel (MP) sensor meets the growing needs of the mobile market for primary and front-facing cameras for still image and video capture within smartphones. The sensor's 1.75-micron pixel uses the latest Aptina A-Pix technology, enabling improved performance and increased low-light sensitivity. Used as a primary camera, the new sensor provides exceptional performance for DSC-like image capture including reduced latency (less lag time between shots) and overall image quality. For front facing video applications, the sensor captures video in high definition (HD) at 720p/30fps for an enhanced video chat experience. The MT9D015 is a cost-effective, compact, sensor-only solution that is capable of meeting camera integrators' low z-height requirements to enable thinner phones.

"The mobile image sensor is a versatile imaging solution for mobile camera applications, providing camera integrators with a high definition imaging sensor that can capture video at 30 frames per second," said Farshid Sabet, VP and GM of Aptina's Mobile, PC Gaming Business Unit. "The sensor leverages the Android platform's native support for primary and front-facing cameras, making camera integration easier."

The 2MP mobile image sensor provides integrators with an advanced feature set to enhance mobile camera applications without overlapping integrator's processor functions. The 1.75-μm pixel in the sensor uses the latest generation Aptina A-Pix technology to deliver a leading 2MP sensor with excellent dynamic range and high sensitivity. The sensor enables full resolution snapshots at 30fps for reduced shutter lag, and video capture that leverages the technology advancements in processors supporting 720p resolution. Smooth video recording in 720p/30fps format via high quality scaling provides and maintains full field-of-view makes for excellent HD video capture as a primary camera, or a friendlier video chatting experience when used as a front-facing camera. Designers can use single-lane MIPI (CSI-2) for compatibility with a variety of image processors, and the sensor's one time programmable memory enables storage of camera module and lens correction information. The sensor's architecture delivers essential ISP features like defect correction, scaling and lens shading correction, and leverages the growing capability in the back end processor for an efficient 2MP, 720p video camera module solution.

Arecont Vision Cameras Monitor Crowds at Taiwanese Temple

Arecont Vision Cameras Monitor Crowds at Taiwanese Temple

Editor / Provider: Arecont Vision | Updated: 11/24/2011 | Article type: Government & Public Services

Hsing Tian Kong Temple in Taipei, Taiwan, is devoted to Kuan Yu, the patron god of businessmen. The popular Taoist temple is relatively new in origin – it was constructed in 1967 – and is located on a street corner near the center of the country's capital city, occupying more than 7,000 square meters (75,000 square feet). Sculptures of dragons adorn the Hsing Tian Kong Temple's ornate design, which has become a popular attraction in the city.

The temple's huge number of visitors suggested the need to enhance an existing analog video surveillance system installed at the large facility. Specifically, visitors to the temple tended to leave their handbags under the table as they prayed, and the bags were often stolen. The previous analog system provided insufficient image detail to identify the thieves. Given that the temple is a preserved cultural site, installation of the system had to be simple and as non-invasive as possible to preserve the building's beautiful architectural design elements. Any enhancement of the existing video surveillance system also had to preserve the previous investment made in the analog video surveillance system.

These parameters established two primary design objectives for the new system enhancement project: 1) increase the video coverage capabilities of the system while minimizing alterations to the existing architecture/construction, and 2) complement the existing analog system to capitalize on previous investments in video surveillance.

To update video surveillance, the Hsing Tian Kong Temple turned to Alpha Pricing, a leading network surveillance solutions provider in Taipei that serves the government sector, institutions and businesses nationwide.

An early adopter of IP-based video surveillance, Alpha Pricing developed a partnership with Milestone Systems in the year 2000 and became Milestone's primary distributor in the Greater China region. Today, Alpha Pricing is a leading IP surveillance solution provider and has forged partnerships with some of the industry's top companies, including Arecont Vision, manufacturer of a wide range of megapixel network video cameras. Along with a local reseller, Alpha Pricing designed the video system for Hsing Tian Kong Temple and performed the installation.

Alpha Pricing created a centrally monitored system using Milestone's Professional video management software. Other system components include a Longstor Storage Server, the EverFocus (H.264-based) digital video recorder, and Edge-corE network switches. Power-over-Ethernet provides electricity to Arecont Vision's megapixel video cameras along the network without requiring a separate power connection, which simplified installation. The use of digital video encoders enabled the system to preserve the temple's previous investment in analog cameras, which are now tied into the networked system.

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