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Wireless locks bring flexibility to electronic Access

Wireless locks bring flexibility to electronic Access

Editor / Provider: BY EIFEH STROM, a&s International | Updated: 7/22/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

The many benefits of wireless locks are becoming more apparent as electronic access control continues to gain popularity. Without extra wires and cables, wireless locks can provide many different verticals with an electronic access solution that is not only more cost-effective, but allows for more flexibility as it is easier to implement and manage.

"7.4% estimated growth for global access control in 2014" ---Source: IHS

In 2014 alone, IHS estimates a growth of about 7.4 percent for the global access control market, including electronic locks (mechatronic, digital cylinder, and electromechanical). The rise in electronic access control adoption is paving the way for wireless access devices like wireless locks to come into play. Whereas electronic access control systems still require expensive cabling and wiring, wireless solutions provide a less price-inhibiting solution for prospective users. Without the need for extra or new cablin+g or wiring, wireless devices such as wireless locks are making electronic access control possible for those looking for a more efficient, convenient, and cost-friendly solution.

Type s of Wireless Locks
While there are several ways to differentiate between different types of wireless locks, one way is by how they communicate to the controlling software, according to Daniel Stewart, Product Integration Manager at Stanley Security, a division of Stanley Black & Decker. Naming three of the “key varieties” in the current market, Stewart noted that each standard has positive aspects and drawbacks. Ultimately, “The decision a user usually needs to make is one of convenience versus control.” Aside from communication standards, wireless locks can also be categorized by physical make-up. For example, for commercial use there are electronic cylinders, escutcheons, handles, and locks paired with RFID readers. They can also be customized with different credential readers including keypads, magnetic stripes, or multi-technology that can read both proximity and smart technology, explained Karen Keating, Portfolio Marketing Manager of Electronic Access Control at Allegion. “Wireless locks can combine all the hardware components required for a complete access control system into one integrated design that includes the electrified lock, credential reader, request-to-enter and -exit sensors, door positions switch, and more.” This type of integrated design can save both time and money when installing a system.

Who's Going Wireless?
The earliest adopters of wireless access products have been the higher education and healthcare markets. Both of these verticals have benefited immensely from wireless systems as both have thousands of doors that need to be secured without breaking the bank. Keating pointed out that wireless solutions solve many installation restrictions in healthcare, education, and historic buildings, which include limitations on where drilling and laying wire can happen. Aside from healthcare and education, Keating added, “Whatever the industry, wireless is becoming the prescription for getting more doors covered and extending the present access control system, especially when the facility requires something that is not too invasive and can be easily installed.” Chris Bone, VP of Access Control Solutions for EMEA at ASSA ABLOY, noted that “Large commercial applications of wireless access technologies are ideally suited to any premises that, firstly, have lots of keys and, secondly, have a wired access control system already in place.”

Why Go Wireless?
One of the biggest positives of wireless access control is that it is very affordable to install, according to Bone. Not only is it affordable to install but affordable to run, especially when compared to wired solutions. “Wireless locks are battery operated and only ‘wake up' when prompted by digital credential. Wired doors need to be permanently connected to main power and that makes them expensive,” added Bone. “Wireless access saves you money, and that, I think, is a major reason why demand is growing in every vertical.”

Not only can wireless locks save money, they can also save electricity. As pointed out, wireless locks are battery-operated devices. This, according to Stewart, reduces the electrical load that a building will be pulling to support the access control system. “Some end users have utilized wireless locks to fall in line with green initiatives that they have for their building structures.” This makes wireless locks a great solution for commercial buildings looking for energy savings and better energy efficiency. Savings from wireless solutions also allows integrators to help facility professionals extend the reach of their card-based systems at a cost that used to include extra materials and increased labor, stated Keating. “Wireless helps migrate the present access control system so that it can be used for more doors as well as mobile mustering, remote areas, gates, elevators, and other unique applications that have been heretofore impracticable to install or too expensive.”

Wireless Hurdles
Easier to install and more cost-efficient make installing wireless locks sound like a no-brainer; however, this is not the case. “The recent progress in microelectronics has enabled wireless technology adoption at a reasonable cost for lock manufacturers, but, still, there are debates about standards and interoperability of systems which causes most customers to refrain from making a decision,” said Rocco Vitali, Product Manager of Electronic Products at ISEO.

In addition to interoperability concerns, security remains a top reason for user uneasiness. In reaction to these concerns, Christoph Karl, Product Manager at EVVA, assured that providing high security access solutions is his company's top concern. “Thus we are only relying on high security encryption standards such as MIFARE DESFire EV1, HTTPS connections, end-to-end encryption, and high security smart cards.” Karl also stressed the need for potential users to “look behind the facade and find out about the security features” of wireless locks, as users are “quickly drawn by the looks of a product but that does not tell whether the lock will fend off illegal opening attacks.”

Misunderstandings, according to Stewart, such as the realization that wireless locks are not a real-time access control device, are also an obstacle. “Every wireless device is ‘offline' with its controller at some point,” he explained. “If it is not, the batteries used to power them would expire in days instead of months.” As a result, control of products and updates sent to them is dependent on when they communicate back to get this information. For this reason, wireless access devices are not suitable for perimeter security.

Future of Wireless Locks
Growth for wireless locks has been in the double digits, according to Keating. Regions such as Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and APAC are among those seeing a particular rise in demand. IHS attributes this to the need for “low-cost products that are valuable” in lower-end/underdeveloped markets. Although wireless locks are making a play for the security industry, they will, however, not be taking over mechanical locks any time soon. According to IHS, “Despite the growing popularity of access control systems driving the adoption of electronic locking devices, mechanical locks are not projected to falter any time soon.” Regardless, the many benefits of wireless locks make them a desirable choice in certain verticals and environments, such as higher education and healthcare. However, as wireless technologies mature, adoption by more verticals will continue. Additionally, the flexibility and adaptability of wireless locks will continue to drive growth, leading to a wider variety of wireless locks in the future.

Three Key Communication Standards for Wireless Locks
Daniel Stewart, Product Integration Manager at Stanley Security, a division of Stanley Black & Decker, outlined the three key communication standards most commonly used in today's wireless locks.

Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi locks utilize a user's existing wireless network installation to communicate with the controlling software. Deployment of Wi-Fi locks is easy for a user to do because there is very little infrastructure that would need to be added. The majority of users today have an existing Wi-Fi network with ample coverage of their buildings. Deploying Wi-Fi locks then allows the user to simply install the locks and connect them to the network. The downside to Wi-Fi locks is that it is a very power hungry protocol. This limits the frequency that the locks can communicate to the controlling software down to only a few times a day, in order to be able to maintain a reasonable battery life.

900 MHz: 900 MHz locks utilize a frequency outside of the majority of wireless devices today in order to maintain clear communication with the devices. In a typical 900 MHz configuration, the wireless lock communicates to a receiver that will translate the signals from the lock and output them to the control panels for the access system that communicate back to the software. The frequency wave and power behind a 900 MHz signal allow for long and more thorough penetration through a user's building, helping to maximize their investment by reducing the number of receivers that are needed. The downside here is the infrastructure that needs to be added to a facility to support the installation of these products. Wires need to be run between the receiver and the access control panels to facilitate their communication.

Zigbee (802.15.4): This is a low-power wireless protocol that utilizes the same frequency range as Wi-Fi. This protocol allows for channel selection outside of the standard Wi-Fi channels, though, to facilitate interoperability with the existing Wi-Fi devices — for example wireless computer networks — that a user may have in place. The protocol's low-power consumption allows these locks to communicate more often, as frequently as every minute, and maintain a reasonable battery life. The typical installation requires a receiver that will connect to a user's Ethernet network to communicate back to a controlling software. Range from the receiver to the wireless lock is comparable to the range that a user would have with a Wi-Fi lock from a wireless access point. The downside to these products is, again, the infrastructure that needs to be put in place to facilitate communication to the controlling software.

Wireless Lock 411 for Integrators
Wireless locks present a unique challenge to installation teams and users who are deploying them, according to Daniel Stewart, Product Integration Manager of Stanley Security, a division of Stanley Black & Decker. “This challenge results from an inability to physically see the wireless environment. With hardwired locks, it is relatively easy to troubleshoot the wire that runs between the device and the controller to identify any challenges. With wireless locks, the environment cannot be surveyed as easily.” An understanding of this is crucial in order to “adequately evaluate the frequency spectrums that their product uses for communication,” added Stewart. Additionally, because these wireless products are not inherently connected to the access system, updates, configuration changes, and commands sent to the locks may have a delay, which is important to realize. This needs to be taken into consideration when deploying a wireless lock solution. Karen Keating, Portfolio Marketing Manager of Electronic Access Control at Allegion, further pointed out that integrators need to do their homework upfront. “They have to understand the IT infrastructure. Are there additional costs that might be incurred for an additional node? There are advantages and disadvantages to every wireless approach out there. What do they need and what problems are they looking to solve? What is the initial budget? What is the ongoing cost budget? Make sure the solution is appropriate for the client.”

 

FLIR and Aimetis provide solar plant in Spain with perimeter security solutions

FLIR and Aimetis provide solar plant in Spain with perimeter security solutions

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by FLIR | Updated: 7/22/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Solarpack is a multinational integrated management company focusing on electricity generation projects in the field of solar photovoltaic energy and is specialized in the development, financing, construction, operation and management of these projects. Controlling a large area where high valuable equipment is deployed all over the site, is not an easy task and it usually requires investing a great amount of money to keep the facility well protected.

For one of the most important solar plants in the West of Spain, Solarpack is now protecting its perimeter of 41 acres with an intelligent analytics solution of Valencia based company CCTV CENTER, combining FLIR thermal imaging cameras and Aimetis Symphony powerful analytics software.

Business challenge
Solarpack is continuously investigating new security solutions to have a pragmatic security system to protect its installations, considering the complexity that involves a solar plant. In this project, the challenge was saving investment costs and maintenance costs, as well as improving the security system towards a more effective and reliable solution, offering automatic notification of alerts and events. Quick search and review of video images was also an essential requirement. A number of tests made with other security systems lead Solarpack to determine that thermal imaging cameras were the best solution and, specially, FLIR thermal imaging cameras. It was then when Solar Pack contacted CCTV CENTER, FLIR's official distributor and integrator in Spain.

Solution
CCTV CENTER's presented a solution combining FLIR thermal imaging camera and Aimetis Symphony analytics software. Aimetis Symphony is award-winning intelligent video surveillance software that offers a single, innovative, open IP video platform for video management, video analytics, system integration and alarm management. The superior quality images from the FLIR thermal imaging cameras together with Aimetis Symphony analytics were a really great solution for the whole system. The end user had a previous experience in projects with thermal imaging cameras and a good image quality was always a main requirement.

Due to the high contrast of their images, thermal imaging cameras are specially recommended for analytics and perimeter applications. Thermal imaging cameras can detect a human target at a distance of up to 2,000 m and produce clear and crisp images in total darkness, light fog and rain where color CCTV cameras can't. Thermal imaging cameras provide an ideal solution for 24/7 surveillance, saving costs in IR illuminators or any other additional illumination system.

FLIR F-series--Thermal imaging cameras for Security & Surveillance applications

F-Series thermal security cameras let you see intruders and other threats to your facility clearly in total darkness and in bad weather. Fully enabled for control and operation over digital and analog networks, F-Series thermal imaging cameras are available in 160 × 120 pixels, 320 × 240 pixels, and high-resolution 640 × 480 pixels formats, providing up to sixteen times the image clarity and longer threat detection range performance than lower resolution cameras.

Installation
For the perimeter protection of this solar plant 21 FLIR F-Series thermal imaging cameras with a resolution of 320x240 pixels are installed on 2 to 3 meter high poles, alongside a wired fence. The F-series are fully enabled for control and operation over digital and analog networks. The F-Series provide high contrast imagery optimized to get the most out of video analytics software. Digital Detail Enhancement ensures clear, properly contrasted thermal images in all weather conditions. The thermal imaging cameras are working together with an intruder detection system, both connected to a CSA (Central Station Alarm). All the thermal imaging cameras are integrated with Aimetis Sym+phony software so they can be controlled from a server PC placed at a remote workstation. "Integrating the FLIR F-Series cameras with Aimetis software was a great solution", says Pablo Campos from CCTV CENTER, in charge of this project. "We used FLIR thermal imaging cameras before with Aimetis Symphony and the FLIR F-Series are included in the list of compatible devices. Once calibrated, analytics performance is outstanding."

Target detection
Aimetis Symphony software is configured with a virtual fence, so when an intruder crosses the virtual line, determined by the operator, an alarm is triggered. The alarm is then sent to the CSA, where the operator receives the signal. The operator then connects with Aimetis Symphony client and checks the video stream associated to verify if it's a false alarm or a real threat. The system can make distinction between humans and animals. When the system identifies the target as a human, it will start tracking the target. The software doesn't trigger any alarm unless the target crosses the virtual line configured by the operator. When the system identifies a target as an animal or unknown object, it will not send an alarm at all, even when an animal crosses the virtual fence. This is because “animals” are considered as authorized intruders in the system. The high quality of the thermal imaging cameras and the reliability of the analytics makes it possible to make this distinction, resulting in a drastically drop in the number of false alarms.

Cost savings
Before the new installation 10 to 15 security guards were hired to protect the premises. Now there are no security guards patrolling or controlling the access to the solar park anymore. Everything can now be managed from a remote workstation by only one or two operators. “The new installation is saving a lot of money and is far more effective than having a team of security guards viewing daylight cameras that can't display images at night or in bad weather conditions. Furthermore, the use of thermal imaging technology saves costs of deploying and keeping an illuminating system running. Also not a lot of electricity is consumed, using thermal imaging cameras instead of other solutions, and maintenance costs are low as well”, concludes Pablo Campos.

 

Top 3 myths of physical access control technology

Top 3 myths of physical access control technology

Editor / Provider: Ola Jonsson, Business Development Manager, Axis Communications | Updated: 7/21/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

It is no exaggeration to say that network video has revolutionized the video surveillance market. Now the access control industry is on the verge of a similar development. Once again, it is the transition from analog to IP-based systems and with it the adoption of open standards which provides new opportunities and stimulates market growth.

Since the introduction of the first network camera in 1996, the market share of IP-based video surveillance systems has increased year by year. Today, network video solutions offer a host of benefits and advanced functionalities that cannot be provided by analog video surveillance technology.

There are a number of common misconceptions as the physical access control industry undergoes a similar transition from analog to IP-based technology. In the following, I will address the top 3 of these myths.

Myth #1 - It's not worth upgrading existing analog systems to IP-based technology
A typical analog access control system is dependent on having each device – card reader, handle, door lock, door position switch, etc. – hard wired with RS-485 cable into one central unit or central server. Besides being proprietary systems, which confines the end user to one single provider of hardware and software, these solutions often tend to be very complex and require expert personnel to handle installation and configuration.

Furthermore, when expanding analog systems the process is complicated by the need to consider that a typical central controller is built to accommodate a certain maximum number of doors, normally 4, 8, 16 or 32. Not only does this limitation make the system inflexible but also makes it difficult for the end user to match his requirements with products available, e. g. if there is a need for access control at for example 9 or 17 doors. This lack of flexibility also brings high marginal costs, which can make the addition of one extra door unjustifiably expensive.

Upgrading an analog access control system to IP-based technology therefore allows for more flexibility while lowering costs as the system needs to be expanded to include additional doors. IP networks can be used for more than one application. This way different security systems can use the same infrastructure and can be integrated with each other. Often remote monitoring and management of security systems is a key requirement. This can be easily implemented with IP-based solutions which feature web-based console access.

Myth #2 - Access control systems are only for large installations
Analog access control products and systems are normally designed and optimized for large installations with a lot of doors and maybe thousands of credentials (cardholders). The actual market looks very different. According to the Security Sales & Integrator Gold Book 2013, the average installation consists of 7 doors with less than 130 credentials. Only about 20% of the installations have more than 10 doors.

Without the need for hard wiring to a central control unit or central server, IP-based access control systems enable installations that are very flexible and scalable. This means not only a more versatile solution, but also a more cost efficient one. Freed from the constraints of enlarging the system in certain multiples, a network-based solution can – should it be necessary – be enlarged by one door, and one reader, at a time.

Additionally, IP-based technology enables “edge” solutions. An edge solution has one controller for each door, which is then connected to the existing local Ethernet through a regular network switch without the need for a central server for management. Since IP networks now are ubiquitous in offices, stores, factory plants and similar facilities the cost of adding an IP-based door controller would be minimal, as opposed to multiple serial connections wired back to a central server. Cabling work can be even further facilitated. By employing a PoE (Power over Ethernet) supported controller at each door the need for a separate power cable is eliminated, thereby reducing the total installation cost and time compared to that of an analog access control solution.

Myth #3 - Access control systems are proprietary solutions that can't be integrated with other security systems
Very much like in the video surveillance market the shift from analog to IP-based technology in the access control industry will cause a transition from proprietary systems to open solutions. And these solutions will most likely be based on international industry standards.

Open solutions and standardized interfaces are a prerequisite in any industry that wants to establish its own equivalent of "plug-and-play". There are many gains from such a development also in access control. It will allow end users to freely pick and choose between components – reader, door controller and software – that best satisfy their needs and preferences. This freedom of choice makes the system future-proof and means the end user no longer has to rely on a single brand or supplier. Equally important, it can also enable integration with other security related systems and third party applications, without the need for costly hardware boxes to provide the “bridge” between the different systems. For example, a very common request is to integrate physical access control with video. People entering a building will automatically trigger a camera; the live images can then be used for investigation of incidents or identity control.

In the network security systems market there is already a clear trend to develop open or standardized application platform interfaces (APIs), which can be used by all competing market participants on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Naturally, this will increase supply and promote competition and bring a new level of innovation to the industry, while simultaneously making it even easier for end users, system integrators, consultants and others to take advantage of the different possibilities offered by IP-based solutions.

For example, the Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF), which is a global and open industry standards body with the goal to facilitate the development and use of IP-based security products, announced in 2010 an extension of the organization's scope of standardization to cover physical access control. Ideally, access control devices from manufacturers that comply with the ONVIF standards will in the near future interoperate effortlessly and seamlessly with each other, as well as with other video surveillance products and systems conformant with the standard.

Future outlook
According to a market forecast by analyst firm ARC Advisory Group, IP-based access control systems will comprise more than 35% of the market in terms of shipments by 2016. A key factor will be that new buildings are increasingly being equipped with IP-based building control systems. This provides the basis for integration of previously often separate systems such as access control, intrusion detection, fire alarms or video surveillance.

Open standards and the ability to base different security systems on the same IP network architecture allows installers to build solutions based on products from various manufacturers. This way they can better meet customer demand, price projects more competitively and offer custom solutions to particular installation challenges and requirements. End users benefit from a future-proof and adaptable technology that can easily scale to their growing needs without being locked into any one manufacturer.

Dream big, live smart with smanos

Dream big, live smart with smanos

Editor / Provider: SMAhome Editorial Department | Updated: 7/21/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

In 2013, smart home technology brand smanos was incepted in Hoofddorp, which sits in the picturesque outskirts of Amsterdam. Harnessing cutting-edge design and DIY usability concepts and ergonomics, smanos brings the ultimate simplicity in wireless smart home and home security user experience to households worldwide. Delivering more than just a sense of security, smanos also ensures user-definable comfort and convenience, along with mobile accessibility. In its pursuit for perfection in human-centric research and design, smanos invests heavily in product and market development, and partners with top-notch hardware and software developers and industrial designers in Europe and the U.S. for greater smart home integration.

While smanos is a relatively new smart home technology brand on the market, the forces behind it are anything but. A brainchild between Chuango Security Technology and Chuango Europe, smanos embodies a decade-long commitment to minimalistic design and system reliability. Marketed and serviced from Amsterdam, smanos is Chuango's security, monitoring and automation solution portfolio for the global market, targeting especially retail channels that carry premium consumer electronics and connected devices.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
The mother company Chuango was established in 2001 by Ken Li and his late father Lee. It specializes in radio frequency technology and wireless smart home systems, ranging from DIY security and home automation to energy and health management. The company is rapidly expanding its solution portfolio and global partner network, with products and systems researched and developed in Fuzhou and Taipei, designed in Shenzhen and Amsterdam, manufactured and packaged in Dongguan, and brought to life worldwide.

Since 2010, the company has experienced triple-digit sales growth year-on-year. Europe and the U.S. have been the most significant contributors, but the momentum is also picking up in many other markets. Then came another stepping stone—IFSEC International 2013; Chuango outperformed other multinational conglomerates in the alarm industry and went home with Product of the Year in the Intruder Alarm or Exterior Deterrent category. After winning that award, Li had the ambition, vision and plans to build Chuango's own brand, so he recruited long-term business partner Brian Borghardt to further pursue that development path.

A born entrepreneur, Borghardt eagerly joined the fast expanding Chuango family in 2013 as General Manager for Chuango and smanos Europe, after having distributed Chuango products in the Benelux market for a few years. “I am really excited to be part of a dynamic, creative, design-centric team,” Borghardt said. “In joining hands with Chuango's global product and business development teams, Chuango Europe is committed to serving our OEM partners in the region, and is looking to grow our smanos brand business with compatible distributors and retailers.” His team is complete with experienced sales and marketing, technical support and logistics personnel from the consumer electronics and IT industries.

The European headquarters—a US$1.4- million, multifunctional facility—is a design, sales and marketing, technical support and logistics center aimed to serve Chuango's existing and new partners and clients in the EMEA region. The investment not only facilitates the integration and optimization of resources, operations and competitiveness, but also helps drive global branding and marketing efforts, said Hayden Hsu, Director of Global Brand Development for Chuango and smanos, and General Manager of Chuango Taiwan. The logistics center is located in Hoofddorp, just outside of Amsterdam and a five-minute drive from Schiphol Airport. “The Netherlands is the hub of Europe, and an open and accommodating country. The superior conditions in talent, taxation and logistics make it an ideal place for investment,” Li said. The assistance and high- quality services from the Dutch Foreign Investment Agency and Amsterdam in Business have not gone unnoticed. “They have guided us with courtesy and efficiency. We really appreciate their input.”

WHAT MAKES SMANOS TICK
What sets smanos apart from the competition is the total package. Traditional alarm systems are associated with tedious wire installation, hefty monthly fees and false alarm fines. smanos puts the smarts of smart home and smart security back in users' hands and enables them to regain control and privacy from guards and monitoring stations.

The complete smanos smart home portfolio speaks self-install, or DIY. “From wireless, app-enabled alarm systems to remote security, energy and health management, our solutions cater to today's homeowners' mobile lifestyles, and ensure they have complete control, comfort and visual confirmation right at their fingertips within a few short minutes and easy steps,” Borghardt said. “We go to great lengths to seamlessly blend security, monitoring and automation capabilities into end users' everyday appliances. They can focus on more precious things or significant others in life, while smanos stands on guard for them 24/7 in the backdrop.”

To deliver what the market needs and what the average homeowner really demands, smanos works with multiple development teams in China, the Netherlands, Singapore, Taiwan and the U.S., in addition to Chuango resources, to make sure the latest hardware and software designs and reliable wireless transmission technologies are embodied in each solution, “to make the lives of our channel customers and their end customers easy, secured and environmentally friendly,” Hsu explained. User experience and quality assurance are also tried and tested across continents so that most household and daily operation requirements are met with flying colors. “It goes way beyond designing cool-looking GUIs. It's about truly understanding people's lives and empowering them with the ability to easily safeguard and automate their properties.” For example, the IR cut filter and pan/tilt stepping motor of the latest smanos home IP camera under development have gone through strenuous tests to ensure a minimum non-stop operation time of five years. “‘Set it and forget it' is one of the benchmarks that we measure ourselves against,” Hsu identified.

In sales and marketing, the smart, sleek-looking and simple-to-use smanos systems sell themselves. “Our dedicated team is with our channel and retail partners every step of the way and throughout the product lifecycle to ensure ease, flexibility and intelligence can be palpated and realized in hardware and software engineering, sales and marketing, and distribution and installation,” Borghardt explained. “We also have a local European team ready to serve and listen to what's demanded in the region, so we can adapt quickly and accordingly.” A similar setup will be established in the U.S. in the second half of 2014 to better address needs arising from the Americas market, Hsu added.

Compared to any other traditional, wired system that requires professional installation and monthly monitoring fees, the ROI of any smanos system for end customers becomes crystal clear—in just three to six months. “We have joint marketing programs and budgets in place to help our distributors and retailers get noticed in various physical and digital media, and help engage end customers through special in-store or seasonal events and online/social media interactions,” Hsu detailed. Dedicated and experienced channel marketing personnel are in place as well to provide necessary ammunitions to make a splash where- and whenever needed. “All these investments result in added benefits, ensuring fast and open feedback for product optimization and solution development.”

CHANGING LANDSCAPE AND REDEFINING SMART HOME
The news of Apple and Google, along with countless startups and kickstarters, entering the smart home market obviously caught everyone's eye. smanos has the upper hand in being armed with knowledge of detailed, evolving user requirements over the last 15 years, thanks to Chuango's unwavering support. “We are not competing with Chuango's clients, who generally have a stronger foothold in the DIY building material segments. In fact, we are bringing some of them to where smanos really shines – the likes of Apple Store, Cool Blue, FNAC, IKEA, MediaMarkt, Newegg and many more premium consumer-friendly outlet types that are looking for smart, simple, sleek, mobile yet compact and integrated ingenuity for home users,” Borghardt explained. “Cross-competition should be of no concern as we only appoint a select few partners in each market and do everything we can to help them achieve and outperform their P&L goals. We are a global smart home technology enabler with local team members, always endeavoring to bring the latest and most reliable innovations to market in a timely and affordable manner.”

“While we respect our existing and potential competitors, we are more focused on developing and delivering innovative, comprehensive and easy-to-use smart home solutions, and continue to observe and cater to our end customers' evolving residential needs while helping our distribution and retail partners outstrip average market and profit growth,” Hsu highlighted. “Our channel partners are our eyes and ears in the market. In everything that we do and invest in, we make sure we mutually help each other grow.

In 2014, we will continue to cultivate and develop our retail, IT/mobile and consumer electronic channels, while exploring other possibilities in the audio/visual, home décor and hospitality/health segments.”

For competitive reasons, detailed product development plans could not be disclosed, but a glimpse into the current and future smanos pipelines is rather exciting. The X300/X500 systems come in sleek, award-winning form factors and work at 868 MHz for higher reliability and interoperability, while supporting GSM and smartphone app operation and remote firmware upgrades. Another cool innovation is the G310, which combines and disguises GSM alarm and Bluetooth speaker functions in a radio alarm clock form factor. Additionally, “the H400 Home Cloud system is our brand new smart home command center which can control your security alarm and camera devices and energy-saving plugs via WiFi while maintaining smanos' renowned cellular capability; whereas the W100 WiFi/PSTN dual-mode alarm system doubles the protection with system redundancy, so that preprogrammed numbers always get the call or smartphone push notification when an alarm is triggered,” Borghardt said. It also comes with an unobtrusive touch keypad, with a much longer lifespan than wired systems and mechanical keys, and a pre-set arm/disarm schedule that can easily blend into your daily routine, Hsu added.

Worldwide, smanos has garnered phenomenal recognition over the past several months, and growth momentum is still accelerating. Building on its mother company's strong foundation, smanos will continue to steamroll ahead with even more consolidated app control over in- house security, monitoring and automation devices, and explore and mix and match all possible wireless protocols—such as Bluetooth, GSM/3G/4G LTE, WiFi, ZigBee and Z-Wave—for even more user convenience. “We are pushing the limits of the ultimate smart and simple home to include total security and safety, energy/ health/wellness monitoring, baby and elderly care, and many more surprises. So, you'd better stay tuned!” Li shared excitingly.

Birmingham Airport converted to IP surveillances with IndigoVision

Birmingham Airport converted to IP surveillances with IndigoVision

Editor / Provider: IndigoVision | Updated: 7/21/2014 | Article type: Infrastructure

When the Senior Executives at Birmingham Airport were laying out plans to increase passenger numbers and improve operational efficiency, it became clear that the existing system and infrastructure would be unable to meet these demands.

Background
When the Senior Executives at Birmingham Airport were laying out plans to increase passenger numbers and improve operational efficiency, it became clear that the existing system and infrastructure would be unable to meet these demands.

With six separate control rooms spread across the airport already, further growth would make it difficult to co-ordinate security efficiently.

The decision was made to streamline security operations, with a single control room monitoring the entire airport. This would require the deployment of a new security system, with IndigoVision's complete end-to-end solution as its backbone.

Solution
Most of the existing analogue cameras were replaced with IndigoVision Enhanced IP cameras, while the remaining analogue cameras were converted to IP using IndigoVision Encoders. Since all of these devices employ IndigoVision's world class video compression allowing video to be streamed over minimal bandwidth.

The ability to view and control cameras from any point onsite has allowed Birmingham Airport to reduce its number of control rooms from six to one, removing communication barriers and increasing operational efficiency.

In addition, IndigoVision's open integration means that other elements of the system such as access control and alarm management can be managed through IndigoVision's Control Center software.

“We're delighted with the new system, the return on investment was outstanding,” enthused Airport Control Centre Manager Chris Wilson, “After nine months, the IndigoVision system had paid for itself. With IndigoVision's Distributed Network Architecture we can easily increase camera numbers, aligning security with Birmingham Airport's long-term vision.”

Benefits
* World class video compression technology in both cameras and encoders delivers amazing video quality, at exceptionally low bandwidth. Cameras can be viewed and controlled wherever they are installed. 
* IndigoVision's Control Center management software seamlessly integrates with other security systems, such as access control and alarms, allowing management from a single user interface.
* IndigoVision's Distributed Networked Architecture (DNA) removes the need for a management server. Additional cameras are easily added to the system, with minimum configuration and no system downtime. With DNA, the system can manage up to 100,000 cameras.

Preemptive problem solving with RFID

Preemptive problem solving with RFID

Editor / Provider: BY EIFEH STROM, a&s International | Updated: 7/18/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Radio frequency identification (RFID) is commonly used to track items, but its usefulness in helping manufacturers prevent production errors is becoming more widespread. As more and more manufacturers begin to integrate RFID technology into their production processes, the RFID market is seeing growth. By using RFID for error detection and not just tracking, the higher price tag of RFID will prove its worth in overall savings.

The use of radio frequency identification (RFID) to track and tag objects dates back to the 1940s. Nowadays, not only does RFID help supply chain visibility, but it is also used to improve inventory management and operational efficiency, reduce labor costs, and enhance information accuracy. These benefits are helping to spur the growth of global passive RFID market, which in is expected to reach US$11.6 billion in 2018, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan. Continuous research and development in the RFID industry along with growing end-user awareness are thought to be some of the main drivers for growth. However, one of the main challenges facing the market is the hesitation of end users to invest in a technology that has a higher price tag than other systems such as barcodes. Without sufficient knowledge of the benefits of RFID and concerns that customer return on investment (ROI) does not match its startup costs, growth in the RFID market will be hindered.

One way manufacturers are utilizing RFID to not only improve their ROI but also the overall efficiency of their facility is by using RFID technology on the production line. Manufacturers are no longer looking to just track products throughout the production process, but use RFID to detect errors during the processes before they become major problems down the line. By using RFID for both error detection and production efficiency, manufacturers are able to save both time and money.

EARLY DETECTION MEANS SAVINGS
Not falling behind schedule on a production line is extremely important in a manufacturing facility. Manufacturers are on strict deadlines set by customers to get their products to them in a timely manner. One delay on one production line not only costs the facility time, but starts a chain of events that can end up costing the facility a lot of money. In order to stop problems on the production line before they get too far out of control, manufacturers across industries have begun taking advantage of RFID technology in helping to reduce errors.

Brian Ma, Sales Representative at GIGA-TMS, a manufacturer of RFID readers and antennae, pointed out that every RFID project is unique with its own set of challenges. “Every successful ultra-high frequency (UHF) project has three major components — the transponder, the antenna, and the reader. All three of them have to be carefully chosen and configured.” As such, finding the right equipment can be a RFID project's biggest challenge.

NOT ALL FUN AND GAMES
While RFID, whether it be active or passive, LF, HF, or UHF have many advantages, the technology is far from perfect with limitations like any other technology. RFID tags cannot be bent, nor can holes be punched into them without it damaging the data. Also, RFID readers are prone to being flooded with data by those RFID tags with longer detection ranges. Pallets full of RFID tags may get read every time it passes a reader if the sensitivity is set too high. Additionally, a general lack of know-how on how to properly, efficiently, and successfully implement specifically UHF solutions means that more time is needed before the use of RFID in manufacturing for more than just tracking becomes common place.

Vietnamese Textile Printing Factory Uses RFID for Error Detection
Textile printing factories receive large shipments of fabric bundles for printing. Several shades of the same color, which are difficult to distinguish, may come to a factory for printing. This can easily lead to errors if a worker is told to simply pull a general color and throw it onto the line. If a mistake is made and the wrong bundle gets put onto the production line, not only is precious time wasted, but money and resources as well. To cut back on errors, a top textile printing factory, which prints for internationally well-known brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, etc., wanted to find a solution that would help detect errors. Ultimately, a passive UHF RFID solution by GIGA-TMS was chosen. 

A passive UHF RFID solution was chosen for this project for several reasons, as pointed out by Brian Ma, Sales Representative at GIGA-TMS. First, UHF RFID has a longer reading range than either low-frequency (LF) or high-frequency (HF) RFID tags, which is useful in a high volume industrial setting. UHF RFID is also highly configurable as well as reusable. In this particular case, the reusable nature of the UHF RFID tag was a deciding factor to whether or not the factory opted to deploy a RFID technology. Unlike barcodes that cannot be reused, some UHF RFID tags can not only be reused hundreds of times, but can also withstand extreme temperatures. In this case, the factory needed the tags to be able to be reused at least 700 times in extremely high temperatures. Another advantage is that UHF RFID has multi-tag detection capabilities, which can save a lot of time when dealing with large quantities of fabric shipments. However, these advantages do come at a price — at over US$1 per tag this technology does not come cheap. For this reason, UHF RFID tags are most often used to track items of high value, advised Ma. Despite this, ROI for this technology will come to surface as long as end users are willing to invest in the costs for initial implementation and time to figure out the best solution. Mistakes in the printing process can cost the factory up to $100,000, according to Ma. This is not because the fabric itself is expensive, but because one mistake pushes back the entire printing process. Reducing the amount of errors on the production line, as well as being able to track fabric bundles throughout the entire printing process allows management to make sure the right fabric is being printed on. In the event an alarm is set off, management is able to fix the problem before it's too late. Additionally, the RFID information can be used to see which employees are most efficient. Since tags also record the duration of an item at a station, management can see which workers work most efficiently and which workers waste the most time.

RFID Helps Cheesemaker Save “Cheddar”
The cheese making process is a time sensitive process. Any mistake in the amount of time a batch of cheese is heated, cooled, and soaked results in the entire batch being thrown out. This not only wastes resources, but time as well. Having already implemented RFID technology to track the cheese production process on the conveyor belt at one of their sites, Tnuva, a global dairy products company, wanted to expand their use of RFID to more of their sites on some of the more complex processes that the cheese must pass through before being shipped out. Logitag, a RFID company, who implemented the initial solution, chose to expand the solution by deploying active RFID tags on the carts that move cheese through coolers, heaters, and pools of saline water, and passive UHF tags to track the cheese post-production.

Logitag had to deal with many challenges when choosing what type of RFID technology to use in the cheese factories. The harsh environment of the cheese manufacturing process posed a problem for RFID technology, as a large amount of metal and liquid are present in the factories. As a result, Logitag recommended different types of RFID technology to each of the different sites. Since both metal and liquid can compromise UHF RFID transmissions, both LF and active RFID tags were deployed. Using LF 125 kHz tags from HID Global to tag each box filled with cheese molds, Logitag's reader and software were used to read the information on the tag, which included time, date, and batch number. The tags are read along five different points throughout the production process. If any time abnormalities occur during the process an alarm is sounded, notifying management and giving them time to save the batch before it is too late. This has saved Tnvua money by reducing the number of batches that would have been discarded if Logitag's software had not detected the problem. With the information gathered from the RFID technology, Tnuva was also able to improve production efficiency by adjusting production processes, according to Shlomo Matityaho, CEO of Logitag. “There are many kinds of organizations where the production processes are not so organized. Cases like Tnuva are a very good example where RFID creates a very organized process. In this way RFID technology can create market change in production.”

 

To Efficiency and Beyond! Security in Manufacturing

To Efficiency and Beyond! Security in Manufacturing

Editor / Provider: BY EIFEH STROM, a&s International | Updated: 7/18/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Production efficiency is more than just improving organization and effectiveness in a production facility. It is about saving manufacturers time wasted due to errors and money lost due to mistakes. For these reasons, automotive manufacturers are taking advantage of the beyond security applications of video surveillance cameras in their production facilities.

The automotive industry is considered one the world's most mportant economic sectors. When the global economy went nto recession in 2008, the overall globalmanufacturing output, including motor vehicle production, hit a major speed bump. With less money in the hands of consumers the demand for all types of goods decreased, which caused global manufacturing production to decline. However, now, as the global economy rebounds, globalmanufacturing is slowly starting to see in green again instead of red.

Global manufacturing output grew by 2.4 percent in the third quarter of 2013, according to a recent report published by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). In the first six months of 2013, statistics provided by the InternationalOrganization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) showed that global motor vehicle production went up 1.6 percent from 2012. Although both of these numbers are considered low, growth, no matter the amount, is a hopeful sign that both global manufacturing and the global economy have begun to heal. By region the UNIDO report pointed out a slight improvement in overall manufacturing output in industrialized regions such asNorth America, East Asia, and Europe. In the U.S., most of this improvement is attributed to increased production in the electronic goods, motor vehicles, and furniture markets. The report noted that US production of motor vehicles rose at a rate of 5.8 percent in the third quarter of 2013. Specific factors that have contributed to growth in motor vehicle production include low interest rates and the declining unemployment rate. On the other hand, overall manufacturing growth in Europe has been more fragile. Growth in the eurozone has been marginal; however, growth outside of the eurozone has been slightly better. Motor vehicle production in Germany rose 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2013, opposed to production rate drops in both France and Italy. A sharp decline in production in Russia was also observed where motor vehicle production plunged by 27 percent compared to the same period in 2012. In Asia, Japan saw meager motor vehicle production growth of 1.7 percent, whereas Malaysia saw nearly 10 percent growth from the previous quarter.

Visual Inspection at SEAT Factory
With over 12,000 employees and annual production surpassing 375,000 in 2012, the idea of visual inspection was implemented by Axis Communications at the SEAT factory in Martorell, Barcelona, Spain.
In 2011 the SEAT factory became the production house of the Audi Q3, the first luxury car assembled in Spain. The use of barcodes in automotive factories to keep track of parts during the production process is standard. At the SEAT factory, they wanted to take extra measures to avoid delays and facilitate workflow. As a result, over 100 Axis cameras were implemented to complement the existing barcode scanning system for a visual verification system. By taking images of the barcodes that were identified as possibly containing errors, which were then sent to an emergency data-entry computer, the system provides visual verification that serves as a backup to the scanned barcodes. With images of the barcodes, in the event of a barcode scanning error, vehicles do not have to be physically moved by operators in order to be re-scanned.
Additionally, the cameras were also used to monitor the transport of car bodies throughout the facility.

With unimpressive growth numbers, manufacturers are now more than ever looking for ways to not only improve efficiency, but also reduce unnecessary costs.

PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY SAVES TIME AND MONEY
The automotive industry has many stringent requirements when it comes to production processes. Safety must come first when it comes to parts and assembly. Therefore, it is crucial that even the slightest defects be caught before becoming part of a finished product. Meticulous inspection of a production line, however, can be costly and time consuming, therefore efficiency is key. Time wasted is money wasted and with the economy as it has been, no one has either to waste.
Using video surveillance cameras that are typically used for security applications on the production line to improve efficiency is not a new concept. Nevertheless, as manufacturers become more aware of their benefits and their ability to be equally effective when it comes to improving production efficiency, more and more manufacturers are looking toward this solution.

Benefits of Video Surveillance Cameras
Traditionally industrial cameras have been used in manufacturing settings for quality assurance and process control applications. Similarly, video surveillance cameras have typically been used for their video surveillance abilities — monitoring people, ensuring that there are no personnel in restricted zones, recording daily happenings, etc. “Video surveillance ensures safety rules are being followed, tools and equipment are handled properly, and that production personnel comply with defined processes at all times,” said Andrea Sorri, Business Development Director at Axis Communications. However, it has become increasingly more common for manufacturers to combine the use of industrial cameras with network surveillance cameras in manufacturing facilities — classical industrial cameras are used for inspection tasks and network surveillance cameras for process monitoring, according to Ingo Lewerendt, Strategic Business Development Manager at Basler. It is these beyond security applications of video surveillance cameras that have gotten the attention of automotive manufacturers. Wendi Burke, Director of Marketing at IQinVision, pointed out that because “cameras don't take a break, don't have bad days, don't get distracted or fall asleep, they're always on, always performing” video surveillance cameras, particularly high-resolution HD cameras, are extremely beneficial to manufacturers in helping catch costly manufacturing defects and other problems before the problems are repeated. In a similar way to how video surveillance is used in the automotive industry to enhance production efficiency, IQinVision high megapixel cameras have been used in the steel industry. Faults in manufacturing are costly mistakes for steel makers. Therefore, the Ellwood Group, a US-based steel manufacturer, deployed 250 IQinVision megapixel cameras throughout their 10 manufacturing facilities to not only help with video surveillance, but also with identifying problems during production. “As soon as one piece of defective steel is identified,” said Burke, “quality control staff are able to quickly review all video footage of that production process to find the fault.” From there, once the fault is found, it is corrected, allowing production to resume, saving both time and money.

Convenient Integration With Network Cameras
Since a standard IP infrastructure is used in most manufacturing facilities, network surveillance cameras that are built on an open platform can be easily integrated into a facility's existing system. This is one of the biggest advantages of using a network surveillance camera, as pointed out by Sorri. “Network cameras can be easily integrated into industrial manufacturing environments such as production lines to automatically perform visual inspections, to monitor production line efficiency, and to enable remote assistance for maintenance.”

Additionally, “Network cameras can deliver high resolution images at high frames allowing for precise analysis of quickly passing objects on a sliding band in an industrial production line.” Because network surveillance cameras can support intelligent video processing and video analytics on the edge, they can also be utilized to perform visual inspections for a specific step in a production line, alert the manufacturer to labels missing, caps not positions correctly or missing solder, according to Sorri. One of the biggest advantages of network surveillance cameras in manufacturing, as pointed out by Sorri, is that they “can be easily integrated into industrial manufacturing environments such as production lines to automatically perform visual inspections, to monitor production line efficiency, and to enable remote assistance for maintenance.”

After cameras are in place, that is where video management software (VMS) comes in to help manage, access, and control the images and recording; however, its usefulness in the automotive industry has helped to not only do the aforementioned tasks, but also streamline and improve the production process. When Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK was looking to improve production efficiency at their facility, they sought a solution that could not only be integrated with their current set up, but also be installed over 300 network cameras from various manufacturers to monitor the production lines and their facility. Nissan UK has always used machine vision tools, including highly specialized industrial cameras used to inspect individual processes, decide whether the correct part is in its exact location, take precise measurements, and act as “eyes” for the robots. However, these cameras do not give an overall view of a process, as they are designed to focus on one specific movement or task. In order to get a fuller picture, Nissan UK decided to deploy network cameras and Milestone's VMS. The open nature of Milestone's VMS gave Nissan UK the freedom to view footage from cameras from different manufacturers and capture process faults with live-video monitoring and instant recording and playback. This helped Nissan UK prevent production issues and eliminate causes of temporary stoppage on their production lines. Additionally, the convenience of being able to access images all of the camera images via a PC, as well as the ability to compare two videos side-by-side to examine how different employees work on a process, made management of the facility easier. The overall benefits of the VMS helped to not only improve both the quality and efficiency of Nissan UK's facility, but also gave them a system that could grow with the facility.

TO EFFICIENCY AND BEYOND
Efficieny in any industry is important, but in a competitive, high production industry like the automotive industry, efficiency is paramount to a facility's success. While “lean” practices help manufacturers in all industries reduce waste and boost effectiveness, the additional beyond security benefits of traditional security products, such as network surveillance cameras and VMS, have proven that the security industry is not just about catching intruders and controlling access. Offering additional benefits like production efficiency and workflow management show that applications for security products are endless.

QNAP Viostor NVR & CMS safeguards Chinese Culture University in Taipei

QNAP Viostor NVR & CMS safeguards Chinese Culture University in Taipei

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by QNAP | Updated: 7/21/2014 | Article type: Education

In order to manage a 115-hectare wide campus and to provide a safe educational environment for its students, Chinese Culture Univaersity located in Taipei, Taiwan had installed around 650 cameras supplied by QNAP throughout the campus to keep a close eye on buildings, the sports stadium, and open spaces.

Background
Founded in 1962, the Chinese Culture University (CCU) is one of the largest universities in Taiwan with an enrollment of about 32,000 students. It has an educational vision to grow and promote Chinese culture, particularly tradition Chinese arts and physical education. CCU is now organized into twelve academic colleges including Liberal Arts, Foreign Language and Literature, Journalism and Communications, Arts, Environmental Design, and more.

Challenge
In order to manage a 115-hectare wide campus and to provide a safe educational environment for its students, CCU had installed around 650 cameras throughout the campus to keep a close eye on buildings, the sports stadium, and open spaces. Originally CCU used a PC-based recording software solution but Mr. Chen, the leader of the CCU Surveillance Department, discovered that “the PC-based solution isn't stable enough, and the PC shuts down from time to time,” said. Therefore, CCU started to look for a Linux-based standalone NVR system for a more reliable surveillance system. CCU also required a central management system (CMS) in their main control center to help centrally monitor and manage the spacious campus. Wergen Technology Co the long-term cooperative system integrator for CCU, recommended QNAP security surveillance solutions as ideal choices for upgrading their system.

Solution
CCU has several buildings that have mini monitoring rooms for observing nearby cameras. A total of 21 QNAP VioStor NVR VS-8140 Pro+ units were installed in each of these rooms. Security administrators can easily use the VioStor NVR for real-time monitoring and video playback with HDMI local display. Now, videos recorded with resolutions of D1, 1.3M, and 2M can be properly retained for 1-month without a problem as the VioStor NVR supports a large storage capacity. CCU also does not need to worry about data loss as the QNAP VioStor NVR provides RAID 5 protection against hard drive failure.

CCU also deployed a QNAP VioStor CMS VSM-4000U-RP at the main control center, so security administrators can centrally monitor and manage all the surveillance videos from multiple NVRs with minimum effort and maximum efficiency. With the flexibility of selecting a smaller video stream, the bandwidth consumption between each mini monitoring room and the main control center can be optimized to prevent overloading. All the surveillance devices are connected by a dedicated Gigabit LAN, ensuring no network interruption from other network services.

Result
“QNAP surveillance solutions make management of a big, wide campus easier than I expected and it helped us reduce occurrences of student violence,” said Mr. Chen. “There are more benefits for the structure planning. For example, the local display at each mini monitoring room eliminates the need to purchase additional PCs, saving more of our budget. Most important of all, we can enjoy a much more stable and reliable surveillance system thanks to QNAP's Linux-embedded solution.”

A slice of small system surveillance with Axis

A slice of small system surveillance with Axis

Editor / Provider: Axis | Updated: 7/17/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Mission
Following an attempted break-in, Andover, MA restaurant King's Subs and Pizza needed a cost-effective security solution. As a small business in an industry with razor-thin margins, King's Pizza went looking for the highest quality surveillance system that fit within their budget. They also needed cameras that could provide the most flexibility of installation to cover all the important areas with minimal hassle. Additionally, as self-admitted technology novices, King's Pizza required a system that was user-friendly and easy to learn.

Solution
After contemplating installing a consumer-grade analog DVR system, King's Pizza elected to go with the similarlypriced, yet much higher quality Axis IP solution with in-camera edge storage. They installed five 720p HDTVquality AXIS M10 Series Network Cameras in key locations throughout their store. All video footage is recorded onto the SD cards within the cameras, and the system, once configured, runs selfcontained without the need for a computer or laptop thanks to the AXIS Camera Companion software. King's Pizza can even access real-time or recorded video on a smartphone whenever they need.

Result
Not only does the IP surveillance system provide reliable, round-the-clock security for the restaurant, but the owner can also use the footage to track business operations, monitor cash register transactions and investigate incidents. The ability to view archived video has had an immediate positive effect on the restaurant's bottom line. The owner can track whether an ingredient such as premium steak is being used too much, or see if there is a reason for discrepancies in each night's receipts. Every dollar counts for small businesses, and Axis network cameras help ensure they are all counted correctly.

An order of surveillance, but hold the DVR
Owner Dave Young purchased King's Subs and Pizza in 1996 after working there as a cook since 1991. Today, King's has 15 employees, including delivery men, with anywhere from three to seven working at one time. Following an attempted break-in, Young began shopping to replace his long-broken analog camera. After comparing similarly-priced analog and IP solutions, he found the high quality video and cost-effective edge storage options offered by Axis cameras to be the best fit. Five 720p HDTV-quality AXIS M10 Series Network Cameras were installed throughout the restaurant to cover the front and back doors, cash register, customer counter, and kitchen, as well as the office where the money is counted at closing time. The edge storage capability meant that all surveillance video would be recorded to the cameras' internal SD-cards, while AXIS Camera Companion software turned the system into a self-contained recording solution. The cameras connect to a standard networking switch – not even a computer is needed for the system to record. Because King's opted for edge storage and eliminated the need for a costly and maintenance-heavy DVR, the pizza shop was able to utilize a much higher quality IP camera solution at a comparable price.

Easy as pie: Searching for cost-saving evidence
While the fear of being robbed was the initial impetus for looking for a new surveillance system, the IP solution has proven to be more of an operational asset than Young could have ever imagined. “It's is helping to improve the bottom line,” Young said. When the shop is busy, it's all hands on deck. Yet, sometimes those hands make mistakes. “Waste is a huge deal in this business,” explains Young. “My hamburger is cash to me. If I start to see irregularities in our food costs, I can review the video to answer, ‘Why am I losing here?'” Young will log in to the viewing client and focus on the kitchen to see, for instance, if too much steak is being cooked for a particular meal, or whether food was dropped and had to be thrown out. Other times, it's simply a matter of a hot selling order that week. In one instance, Young noticed a major discrepancy when balancing the register. A review of the video revealed the shift manager had reversed a refund at the customer's request. Not only was money not stolen, but the video showed the manager making a correct decision and reinforced Young's confidence in the recently-promoted employee. The ease-of-use of the new IP system helps Young recoup time he lost in the past playing detective without any clues.

“I am not what you'd consider a tech guy. The fact that I can get in there and figure it out without anyone really showing me how, that says something.” He regularly uses the Investigation Mode to move the video frameby- frame to pinpoint what he's looking for. He also discovered that the snapshots enable him to zoom in on the 720p image. “It's phenomenal. I rarely ever need to zoom in because of the clarity of the cameras, but I have that option. There's nothing to it: just a few clicks and you're good to go.”

Security to go
Despite his exceptional staff, Young doesn't take many days off as the owner. But the ease of use, clarity, and remote monitoring capabilities of the IP system just might allow him to fully relax while spending a day doing what he loves most: fishing. “I downloaded the TinyCam app on my Droid,” says Dave, “and if I'm away running errands or actually take some time off to do some fishing, it's great that I can check in on the restaurant wherever I have a connection. I've got a tremendous staff who I trust implicitly. But the ability to check in – even just to see how busy we are – gives me that extra little bit of comfort.”

VIVOTEK and Milestone unveil Video Server Promotion Program

VIVOTEK and Milestone unveil Video Server Promotion Program

Editor / Provider: VIVOTEK | Updated: 7/17/2014 | Article type: Security 50

VIVOTEK announced the launch of its Video Server Promotion Program for echoing Milestone's New Licensing Concept, which is only one hardware device license needed for each analog to IP encoder, regardless of the number of analog cameras connected to the encoder. Effective from today till the end of 2014, special prices will be offered to the purchase of VIVOTEK 4-CH video server VS8401 or 8-CH video server VS8801 with adopting Milestone XProtect video management software (VMS).

With the technology advancement, IP-based surveillance system has been proven to make significant contribution to business operation. The implementation of IP surveillance is on the rise. Steve Ma, Executive VP, VIVOTEK, indicated, "Companies with analog legacy might hesitate to invest in new IP surveillance systems because of the expenses. With adopting VIVOTEK's video servers, data received from analog camera can be encoded by VIVOTEK's advanced codec system and broadcast via an IP network for monitoring, recording and analyzing."

VIVOTEK's VS8401 and VS8801, performing 4-CH and 8-CH D1 resolution with high frame rate in H.264, are able to convert analog video into digital video with the highest quality. Moreover, designed with intelligent video functions as motion detection and tamper detection, the VS8401 and VS8801 are capable of upgrading an analog camera into an intelligent IP camera. Companies with analog legacy will be able to enjoy the same benefits that generated by IP-base surveillance systems.

Ma further added, "To fully support our software partner Milestone's New Licensing Concept and help users to lower down the cost effectively while improving the business efficiency, we especially designed the Video Server Promotion Program for our global clients. This Program, at an affordable cost, is truly cost-effective and value-added."

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