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VIVOTEK creates secure environment in a Polish hotel at Tatra mountain region

VIVOTEK creates secure environment in a Polish hotel at Tatra mountain region

Editor / Provider: VIVOTEK | Updated: 9/22/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Creating an Atmosphere of Security and Relaxation for Guests
Located in Bialka Tatrzanska Mountain Resort in the central Tatra Mountain region, Bania Hotel is among the most luxurious hotels in Poland. An excellent location, top quality service, and numerous attractions make Bania Hotel truly exceptional. Bania Hotel is a perfect destination for families and couples wishing to enjoy peaceful leisure and an ideal location for adventurers seeking intense experiences.

Customers, staffs, and hotel facilities require sound protection. Feeling relaxed and not worrying about security problems are critical for guests during their stay at Bania Hotel. Therefore, an array of indoor and outdoor surveillance solutions is required throughout the complex. To satisfy the end user's needs, features such as megapixel image quality, round-the-clock surveillance, intelligent IR illumination, and Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) functionality are essential. The system must also be user-friendly, thereby enabling immediate response to any potential incidents.

Quality Service, Quality Surveillance
Bania Hotel management has chosen VIVOTEK products, which provide optimal cost-to-performance ratio among numerous surveillance solutions available on the market. VIVOTEK is a widely known brand with prestigious deployments worldwide. VIVOTEK's surveillance solutions consist of top-quality products built with state-of-the-art technology while being cost-efficient - a characteristic lacking in other leading brands.

For indoor surveillance, security specialists recommended the reliable fixed dome network camera VIVOTEK FD8134. This high-quality megapixel camera comprises a compact and discreet design, and is equipped with IR LED illuminators required for nighttime monitoring. This device is powered by PoE technology, and features a slot for SD/SDHC memory cards that enable local recording; thus, no data will be lost in the unlikely instance of malfunctions. VIVOTEK FD8134 is an excellent choice for locations such as corridors, storage rooms, and staff-only areas. In Bania Hotel, VIVOTEK FD8162 was employed in areas requiring special attention, such as lobbies, entrances, and places frequently visited by guests. This full HD image quality model features a vast array of additional functions including a PIR (Passive Infrared Sensor) sensor for enhanced motion detection, WDR for processing highly contrasted scenes, and Focus Assist for quick and easy focus adjustments.

For outdoor areas, the advanced VIVOTEK IP8335H bullet camera was employed. In addition to superior image quality and rock-solid reliability, this model offers a series of advanced features including powerful WDR Pro for high contrast environments, P-iris technology to achieve sharp images under changing light conditions, and Focus Assist for quick and easy focus adjustments. VIVOTEK IP8335H also features IP67 weatherproof housing, an SD/SDHC memory card slot for local storage, PoE support, IR LED illuminators, and removable IR-cut filter for securing surveillance quality and image clarity around the clock.

Excellent Surveillance System Fulfills Customers' High Expectations
VIVOTEK surveillance is, without doubt, Bania Hotel's optimal choice. Both the installing company and end-user acknowledged the high quality and exceptional value delivered by VIVOTEK products. With the assistance of specialists from SUMA, VIVOTEK's key partner and distributor in Poland, an excellent surveillance system was delivered, thus fulfilling the end user's high expectations.

“With excellent image quality and reliability, VIVOTEK cameras are the key to this successful deployment,” said Pawel Dziubasik, owner of the Bania Hotel complex. “In addition, the designs of VIVOTEK cameras fit the elegant style of our hotel in both indoor and outdoor areas. The entire system is discreet yet stylish while maintaining harmony with the hotel's traditional mountain region look.”

QNAP security's NVR solution safeguard the underground city in Georgia

QNAP security's NVR solution safeguard the underground city in Georgia

Editor / Provider: sponsored by QNAP | Updated: 9/19/2014 | Article type: Infrastructure

Background
Tbilisi Metro, operated since December 1966, is a rapid transit metro system in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. At present, the system consists of 2 lines with 22 stations. Constructed at the depth of 100 meters underground, Tbilisi Metro is one of the deepest subways in the world. Many people in the city depend heavily on Tbilisi Metro for daily traveling because of its convenience.

Challenge
From the perspective of surveillance system deployment, the environment of Tbilisi Metro is quite complicated. As the metro is built underground 100 meters deep, it requires advanced deployment that could support strong network connection. Hence, optical fiber is used for any network appliance in the metro system to fulfill the demands of high-speed intranet connection. On the other hand, being one of the busiest public transportations, Tbilisi Metro is always crowded with people, and the need for an intensive surveillance system deployment is necessary to provide people a safer environment.

The original surveillance system that Tbilisi Metro used was gradually outdated and failed to satisfy the need of monitoring a greater number of IP cameras. As a result, Tbilisi Metro started to look for new surveillance solution that could carry out superior performance of smooth video streaming from a large number of IP cameras.

Solution
Taking system performance and reliability of video/audio streaming as the first priority, Tbilisi Metro chose QNAP® Security surveillance solution to upgrade its security system infrastructure, with totally 27 units of QNAP® VioStor NVR VS-8040 deployed. The 8-bay NVR VS-8040, powered by Intel® Core™ 2 Duo 2.8 GHz CPU and installed with eight 3TB hard drives, offers up to 24TB large storage capacity for long-term recording and presents remarkable performance with maximum 360 Mbps throughput to support simultaneous monitoring and recording from 40 IP cameras. The demand of Tbilisi Metro for an intensive surveillance deployment was well satisfied.


The security administrators were always busy and under pressure. A device with easy-to-manage and simple-to-use interface was the key concern for Tbilisi Metro. Even without much IT expertise, the security administrators could easily learn how to manage the VS-8040 and the installed IP cameras through the handy user interface. The work efficiency was therefore greatly improved.

“This is the second big project we adopt QNAP Security products, and the experience and result are still satisfying and impressive,” said the managing engineer of GESCO Group. “The VS-8040 has delivered quality performance of video streaming and stability, which right fulfills our demands for the sophisticated surveillance environment.”

Result
QNAP® VioStor NVR VS-8040 effectively supports Tbilisi Metro's demand for monitoring a large number of IP cameras at each critical corner around the metro stations. Tbilisi Metro now provides people with enhanced protection with the assistance of QNAP® Security surveillance solution.

While additional line of Tbilisi Metro is under construction, the newer VioStor NVR models VS-8100 Pro+ series and VS-8100U-RP Pro series are considered in future deployment. Both models, available in 48, 40, 32, or 24-channel, are equipped with more powerful Intel® Core™ i3-2120 processor and deliver better performance on video and audio streaming from multiple channels. While supporting up to 48 channels monitoring, the VS-8100 Pro+ series and VS-8100U-RP Pro series provide an ideal surveillance solution for Tbilisi Metro's need for wider scope of IP camera deployment, fulfilling closer look at Tbilisi Metro's security.

Smart cities turn information into meaningful messages with VCA

Smart cities turn information into meaningful messages with VCA

Editor / Provider: Israel Gogol, a&s International | Updated: 9/23/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

People enter the main square, a computer screen at the city's operations center beeps an alert. Analytics engines combining inputs from video and social media predict that a riot is about to erupt. Looking for people potentially carrying weapons, the cameras at the scene automatically detects people carrying backpacks from within the crowd. This is not science fiction: it is part of the capabilities recently demonstrated in Singapore as part of its safe city pilot project. Once an emerging technology, video content analytics (VCA) is becoming more mainstream.

The use of video cameras and video content analytics (VCA) for city surveillance is no longer a novelty. As safe/smart city projects become more prevalent, the traditional use of video surveillance and VCA is changing. Previously restricted to security or safety alone, the future of VCA in a safe/smart city lies in connectivity with other systems, enabling a more dynamic and comprehensive, real-time situation picture, thus allowing operators to better handle events and take full advantage of video footage.

Zvika Ashani, CTO of Agent Vi, elaborated on the use of VCA in a city environment. He pointed out that fundamentally, video analytics are used for three main objectives: security, safety, and city management. Security analytics are based on a predefined organizational security policy and include capabilities such as detecting vehicles parked in no parking zones, intrusion detection, unattended baggage detection, and loitering. Safety analytics can identify crowd gatherings, blocked emergency exits, or a vehicle stuck on a railway. Management analytics uses the data from video cameras to collect statistics used for city planning, such as traffic flow, vehicle counts, speeds, etc.

New innovations coming from Singapore
In 2013, Singapore initiated the Safe City Test Bed project. Its R&D initiative is to develop a safety and security industry with innovative capabilities in the city state. Karianto Leman, Head of the Situational Awareness Analytics Program in Singapore's Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) — a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) — shared some of the key contributions of VCA in smart city security. For example, I2R has developed a system that detects aggressive human actions. The system automatically extracts motion related features and feeds them to an artificial intelligence engine. The engine has been trained with video samples involving aggressive human actions to detect an occurrence of such an incident in real time. In applications, the system can be configured to detect gang fights, rioting, rampaging, etc. Another possible use is to protect security guards from being ambushed. In the safety and city management domains, I2R developed crowd analytics that could work robustly under very crowded conditions. The system can extract from real-time information such as crowd size, walking directions and speeds, and the number of visitors over time. It could also mine these metadata to unveil insights such as popular paths, point-of-interests in retail or exhibition spaces, crowd behaviors, and other statistics.

Key technologies to this are accurate human detections and tracking even when crowd density is very high. This overcomes the pitfall of most video analytics systems where performance drops drastically in crowded conditions. Applications of this technology include crowd sensing and activity profiling at public places such as train stations and shopping malls, allowing, for example, estimations for waiting time in queues for taxis, banking services, etc.

It's all about connectivity
One of the principles behind safe/ smart cities is creating an interconnected environment. In this setting, different systems are combined to ensure the city's safety and efficiency. The future of VCA in safe cities is in connectivity with other systems and combining information from different sources to create a more detailed situational awareness picture. “Security applications are still very much in focus. We are seeing several new VCA applications areas in city safety, efficient use of energy and other public resources, street parking management, and many others,” said Dr. Sadiye Guler, founder and President of intuVision. "For example smart street lights that are automatically brightened when there are only few people on a street to increase safety of the citizens also helps save electricity. The emphasis is on smart city solutions that combine VCA with other sensors and systems to develop city wide combined solutions.”

In addition, “Safe cities are more concerned with making traffic and people flow more efficiently together with improving safety,” said Bill Flind, CEO of Ipsotek. Therefore, he added, “VCA shouldn't be visualized as working alone but as part of the wider situational awareness system providing managers with suggested responses and action plans”.

One example is the image recognition and incident detection system, developed by Ipsotek, for Transport for London (TfL), the department in charge of keeping London's transportation systems flowing. When a road in central London was blocked by a vehicle that had lost control across the carriageway, the system identified within 30 seconds that this was an incident requiring rapid intervention. Predefined contingency plans alerted the relevant TfL staff allowing them to take immediate remedial action including re-sequencing of traffic lights to divert traffic away from the incident spot. The ability to control rapidly developing build-ups of traffic around accidents, keeping traffic flowing through the use of an “always-on” system significantly reduced journey times in London.

Tool for post and pre-event management
According to Jamie Wilson, Security Marketing Manager for EMEA at NICE Systems, the power of VCA is not just in post-event investigation and scenario reconstruction, but “also in the ability to know sooner that an incident could potentially take place, or is starting, improving both the speed and quality of response.”

A good example of this would be VCA reporting crowding and movement through a public space combined with information about an event or sentiment analysis from a social media tool like Twitter or Facebook. This multi-source situational awareness would increase efficiency and help facilitate effective and timely decision making and faster deployment of necessary resources — a police car, a fire engine, or even a garbage truck.

This allows for more efficient management of security forces. The limited resources of security personnel could be optimized by assigning them to the places that require them more urgently. By sharing video footage or images containing the incident to the security officer to validate the alarm, they can get an understanding of the situation.

“Scenario-based video analytic systems accurately recognize complex situations by evaluating and combining multiple conditions. It is this combined analysis that delivers the detailed understanding of the operating environment, and it is this understanding that dramatically reduces false alarms even in complex environments, leading to VCA becoming a trusted information provider to city surveillance projects,” added Flind.

Technological advancement In VCA for city surveillance
City environments are complex environments for VCA to tackle. The challenges include analyzing crowded areas, changing lighting, weather conditions, distance of objects from the camera, the need to seamlessly move from camera to camera when tracking an object, etc. These are but some of the obstacles facing VCA vendors. Despite the challenges, the growing technical capabilities of processing algorithms and advancements in the field of data storage will facilitate a more widespread use of video analytics.

As the number of semantics detected by video analytics grows, so will the efficiency and power of forensic searches. Security officers will be able to conduct faster and more detailed searches. The system developed by I2R, which can detect high-level human semantics could pick out from a human crowd a person carrying a backpack or sling bag. This can be performed on general video surveillance camera image resolution. In addition, the system can detect people wearing sunglasses, headdresses, clothing patterns, etc. It could also estimate the height of the person that the system is tracking. The continuous improvements in data storage will facilitate growing amounts of video footage being stored and analyzed. This means cities will be less restricted when they need to prioritize which information to keep and which to delete.

Too much information to digest?
“The mass of data has become a benefit as opposed to a challenge,” said Wilson. “By integrating all of the data-feeds, the operator is given a single clear picture of what is going on and can focus on using his skills to manage an incident rather than trying to interpret the data. In turn this speeds up resolution of incidents, saving time, money, and resources.” There is still quite a long way to go in intelligent video solutions for safe/smart cities; future goals include features such as automatic tracking and switching between cameras and of course reaching reliable face recognition from security cameras. With the speed at which technology is evolving, and with growing numbers of safe city projects being implemented, these capabilities will for sure be on the agenda of many vendors.

A quick overview on the current secuiry market trend

A quick overview on the current secuiry market trend

Editor / Provider: Michelle Chu | Updated: 9/17/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Messe Frankfurt New Era, the leading integrated media service provider in Asia, today has held a seminar to share professional experience on security trend and industry aspects with providers in Taipei, Taiwan.

As IP system entered into the security market years ago, the entire industry has experienced a series of revolutionary changes. In today's market, in terms of deploying security systems, end users have more options than usual. A quick example, other than IP surveillance systems, end users can choose to update existing analog equipment to ccHDtv, CVI, TVI, or AHD systems in order to reach high-definition recording quality. Suppliers have realized that products make fewer profits now – the market has focused on systems integration, vertical applications, and multiple services.

It is all about intelligent and integration
End users started to set their eyes on intelligent systems and software that can provide added values on their business and management. The ideal of security is no longer merely about monitoring and access control; the ideal of security today suggesting surveillance, access control, and more importantly, making use of these data collected from security devices for managing purpose.

John Shi, the General Manager of Messe Frankfurt New Era, pointed out that future trend of the security industry will be about providing more integrated systems and platforms, such as physical security information management (PSIM), incident management system, and content analysis. The highly integrated platform helps critical verticals to achieve total security awareness for better protection; futhermore, it assists making effective business decision.

Personal device steps inside 
A prosperous potential can be seen in the consuming electronic market. Niche technologies are available for the end users now, for example, biometrics technique and NFC have been used on personal smart device. Intelligent systems can not only be used for professional surveillance, access control, business management, but also smart home and personal purposes.

The suppliers in the traditional security market are facing the same challenge – whether sticking to professional security product line or stepping into consuming product market at the same time.

 

New market strategy for the distributors
In order to survive all the challenges, distributors had to come up with more flexible market strategy. First of all, expanding the product line is a must. End users are looking for one-stop shop that provides all they need conveniently and skips possible technical problems; meanwhile, distributors have to be able to provide total solution to various verticals and projects. This trend indicates that distributor has to be able to supply various products (from the surveillance to storage, for instance), systems integration, and after-sale services that tailored to different cases.

Many leading providers in the market keep expanding local offices in order to provide the most instant services and to have connected relationship to the local market. On the other hand, providers tend to cooperate with more than one manufacturer just to make sure that they can provide solutions to any budgets and considerations.

ZNV launched H.265 HD IP camera

ZNV launched H.265 HD IP camera

Editor / Provider: ZNV | Updated: 9/16/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

How often do you have to wait for a video image to load on your screen? You don't have to accept this anymore! A major break-through has been made to overcome bandwidth and storage challenges that the security and surveillance industry has been facing for years. The industry has entered a new era with the highly-anticipated new generation of IP cameras that have inbuilt the state-of-the-art video image compression technology complying with the new H. 265 international standard.

On September 12, 2014, Shenzhen ZNV Technology launched H.265 high-definition IP camera (7200 series) at its 2014 Channel Partner Summit and New Product Launch Conference in Nanjing, China.

At the conference, Robert Zhu, executive chairman of ZNV, explained the technologies of this new IP Camera series and the benefits for customers.

"All of us like to use high-definition cameras for security monitoring, remote machine operation, or other applications, because the sharp images will help us to identify security treats or control a machine remotely. The current challenges are the cost of transmission and storage of large-sized data over the network and cloud. The new IP cameras that we are launching today overcome these challenges by using the latest data compression technology inside the cameras. For the same high-definition videos, this technology can reduce the data size by three times in dynamic scenes like a busy street and up to 10 times in static scenes like a guarded warehouse," Robert Zhu said.

"The benefits of this breakthrough are simple. For same high-definition videos, they will require much lower bandwidth and use much less storage. This will not only make a tremendous saving in system cost for our customers, but also make high-definition video possible in the areas that the existing network infrastructure simply can't support previously," Robert added.

Key Features of ZNV's new H. 265 High-Definition IP Camera:
1. Low requirements on bandwidth for transmission of its video streams:
With the built-in new-generation video image compression and transmission technologies complying with H. 265 Standard, ZNV 7200-series IP cameras enable high-definition video surveillance data to be transmitted through low bandwidth network while keeping images clear and smooth. During the test, the new 7200-series IP cameras can transmit dynamic 1080P video images at 1.5 Mbps under H.265, instead of at 4 Mbps (almost tripled) under current H.264 standard. In static scenes that are used a lot in security guarding environment, the video stream will drop to 100Kbps to 200Kbps, which is 10 times lower than the current best cameras in the market.


2. Low requirements on storage to keep the videos:
With the same storage space, the new compression technologies enable users to store three to 10 times of videos by using the new 7200-series IP cameras rather than normal, same definition cameras. This will lead to tremendous saving in storage facilities and relevant room space and energy consumption.


3. Low requirements on light condition to record quality videos:
ZBF-7200-series IP cameras can operate at a super-low light environment. It can still record clear videos in color or black-and-white in the low light environment where human eyes cannot identify. The minimum functional light condition reaches 0.002 lux (colorful) or 0.001 lux (black-and-white). Thus, this new series of ZNV cameras can still help customers guard their properties in an extremely dark environment, while enabling a smooth transition between bright and dark environment.

Two Successful Stories:
H.265 high-definition IP cameras will bring enormous value to the customers, as described by Robert Zhu. After being introduced to the market, these IP cameras can save huge investments on network and video storage facilities.

ZNV used the new cameras in a smart city project in China. As part of this project, the police department requires that video must be stored for 12 months in order to check the recording history during police investigations. Due to the cost constraints, they only have limited storage space available which could only support 30 to 90 days video storage previously. As a result, earlier videos had to be deleted and overwritten, among which some important information were lost for criminal cases. With the H.265 technology, the police department can save up to 10 times of storage space, which translates into tens of millions of savings for the whole projects.

A school used a video surveillance system for years, but it gradually grew out-of-date and could not meet its increasing surveillance demands. This school wanted to use state-of-the-art high-definition cameras for video surveillance; however, normal high-definition cameras needed to be built on high bandwidth infrastructures, e.g. a costly fiber network. Due to insufficient network bandwidth and financial pressure, the school had not found an optimal solution until recently. By taking advantage of the low-bandwidth requirement feature of ZNV's 7200-series IP cameras, the school achieved a real-time, high-definition 1080P surveillance system under the existing network infrastructure. This saved tens of thousands of dollars and minimized the interruptions to school education programs.

Axis provides Albert Einstein Hospital with pioneering security solutions

Axis provides Albert Einstein Hospital with pioneering security solutions

Editor / Provider: AXIS | Updated: 9/15/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Mission
The Albert Einstein Hospital is considered to be the most advanced hospital in the Southern Hemisphere. Its units, mainly in the Sao Paulo Metropolitan Region, employ 12,322 people (including contractors) and receive about 4,000 visitors a day. As part of its network expansion plan, another unit has been opened in Sao Paulo (Perdizes Higienopolis). This new facility also placed increased demands on safety for patients and hospital staff and on safeguarding its assets. The hospital needed stricter controls on who was entering and leaving.

Solution
The hospital administration decided to adopt a more modern method of access control in all its units. This is the first time a hospital in Latin America has implemented a system combining access control, video surveillance, fire prevention and detection, and building automation. Einstein's seven units employ 1,250 Axis cameras to control 450 access points.

Result
The project was delivered under a turn-key contract and went into operation automatically at the end of the installation, launching a new concept of security for the hospital area. These investments follow the trend toward a greater control of the flow of people inside hospitals. One of the most immediate results is the greater sense of security patients and employees feel. Other impacts are being seen over the long term: crime prevention, identification of suspects, and asset preservation

User registration
Users can now only gain access once they are registered. On passing through the turnstile, Axis' high-performance cameras record an image of the user's face with highresolution imaging. After making this complete record upon entering, all user movements through access points, such as doors, turnstiles and gates, are tracked by other Axis cameras. The project includes 450 access points. The control room operator only needs to enter the user's name into the system to get all their entrance images, viewing details about their face and general appearance, and all their subsequent images—where they go, what they are carrying, if they were being accompanied, and what time they passed each checkpoint.

Discreet observation
Since hospitals have specific needs, the project underwent some adaptations. Camera position, for example, is not so apparent as to make people feel under suspicion, but the cameras still need to be visible enough to deter criminal actions. One of the project's design challenges was to carefully balance the need for camera coverage against the need to respect the patients' and visitors' privacy and feelings. In short, the system had to be very well designed so that it did not seem threatening, but was able to dissuade malicious action while maintaining full respect for privacy. “The Axis cameras surprised us in a positive way, because they provided different applications that the old analog cameras didn't offer”, said Dov Smaletz, Albert Einstein security manager. “Because they are 100% IP, they offer the resources for intelligent monitoring.”

The system has both passive and active features, and notifies control room staff when a person or a movement is captured by a camera. The system is 100% PoE (Power over Ethernet) and has roughly 36 terabytes of storage space, enough for two weeks of images, all centralized at the Morumbi unit, where a 100% RAID 5 solution vastly improves data access. Due to the quality of the cameras and ongoing maintenance services, the system ensures nearly 100% availability.

Ready for the future
Axis' integrator partner Servtec developed and installed the project and it is also responsible for future maintenance. This maintenance even can be done with the help of images from the security cameras themselves, an example of the large degree of integration of the project. “The implementation was considered complex because it's the first hospital to oversee all people entering and leaving the complex using turnstiles,” said Alexandre Gushiken, Servtec sales manager.

Cracking down on camera hacks

Cracking down on camera hacks

Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 9/17/2014 | Article type: Tech Corner

Recent reports on baby cam hacks raised new concerns over malicious intrusion into networked security devices. The threat is even more imminent for home and small business users who are not as well protected as their enterprise counterparts. Luckily for them, most of today's network camera manufacturers work hard to keep flaws to a minimum and equip their products with various security features.

Two recent incidents where baby cams were attacked by hackers caught the attention of vendors and users alike. One happened in Ohio just in April, when a couple was awoken late at night by strange sounds coming from the baby cam in their toddler's room, only to find that the camera had been taken control over by a hacker. A similar incident happened last year, when a Houston couple heard a man swearing through the baby cam in their infant's room and found out the Wi-Fi-connected device was hacked. In both cases, it was found that the cameras, made by the same vendor, contained security flaws that could easily be exploited.

In fact, hacking can happen to not just cameras but also practically any device on the Internet. Last year, the NAS device of a particular vendor was found to have a vulnerability potentially allowing attackers to execute arbitrary commands on the system. The vendor has since released a patch to solve this problem.

The above incidents illustrate the danger facing users of network cameras and other security devices, which may be targets for malicious intruders. That danger is even more imminent for home and SMB users who, unlike their enterprise counterparts, are not protected by firewalls or advanced perimeter defense software. What they can do to protect themselves has therefore become an urgent issue. Luckily for them, today's network camera makers work hard to minimize flaws and equip their products with various security features, which users should take advantage of to reduce the risk of these devices being hacked. “In general it is not possible to guarantee that computers and network devices do not contain flaws that may be exploited for malicious attack. However, there are measures that can be taken in order to reduce the risk considerably and eliminate the obvious flaws,” said Fred Juhlin, Senior Consultant for Solution Management at Axis Communications, whose Companion series targets home and SMB users.

Access
Unauthorized access to a system can be prevented by a simple yet effective method called password protection. Most network cameras today allow users to create their own usernames and passwords, which can be secured through various means. Zinwell, which makes power line-based home security cameras, has patented a technology that keeps passwords from being sent out to the Internet. “In that case, hackers won't be able to get passwords from the Web,” said Ben Huang, Senior Marketing Supervisor at Zinwell.

Encryption of passwords is another protection method. “The user has the option to let the system remember passwords, and if so the client protects the password with encryption,” said Juhlin.

Once a user accesses the camera, it's a good idea for the device to have multilevel access control based on the user's privilege. For example, a regular user may only view streaming video, while an administrator may access the camera's storage or control the device. In fact, most network cameras today offer this functionality. “This means users can control exactly who can see what in their system, and that their video is safe from any form of third-party manipulation,” Juhlin said.

Encryption
Many IP cams also allow encryption. The videos can be encrypted before being sent over to the network to make sure that unauthorized persons cannot view or tamper with the data. Different encryption technologies are used. One of the most commonly used is SSL/TLS, which encrypts contents with special codes that can be deciphered only by pairs of public and private keys, the latter of which are hidden in the computers of the communicating parties. As private keys can be obtained in a security breach, Bosch, whose Advantage line also targets home and SMB users, makes sure that this will never happen.

“The SSL private key of the device is stored securely on the smart card chip that is directly involved in the SSL connection setup. The private key never leaves the chip and cannot be read out even if the user has complete access to the device,” said Konrad Simon, Product Manager for IP Video at Bosch Security Systems. “This way no access is possible to the private key, even in a hostile approach someone would have achieved to read sensitive data from internal memory.”

Advanced encryption standard (AES) is a protocol that encrypts contents with 128-bit, 192-bit, or 256-bit keys, making encoded messages harder to decipher by untrusted parties. Among camera makers that use AES is Amaryllo, another home security camera maker. It uses 256-bit encryption, at the same time ensuring that video latency is less than 0.5 seconds.

Keeping Flaws to a Minimum
Vendors who are security-minded keep exploitable flaws to a minimum. One way to achieve this is checking third-party software regularly to make sure problematic software isn‘t incorporated into their products. As an example, to implement SSL encryption, many camera makers use OpenSSL, which drew huge attention in the security world in April when it was found it contained a bug called Heartbleed. If left ignored, Heartbleed could lead to the leak of sensitive data, such as usernames and passwords. One camera maker that managed to avert this disaster was Bosch. “We do not use OpenSSL as SSL implementation on our IP cameras, encoders, and decoders. The SSL implementation in our devices is not OpenSSL, nor is it related, so Heartbleed did not affect us at all,” Simon said.

Crowdsourcing, where users in a community share their collective wisdom, is another way to identify flaws and get them fixed. “We monitor discussions in the network community to quickly identify possible vulnerabilities which may impact our products. If a vulnerability is discovered, we will provide patches, firmware, risk analysis, or recommendation to our customers,” Axis's Juhlin said.

User Awareness
While camera vendors may have included a range of security features in their devices, users should also do their part by taking advantage of these features. For example, it's often the case that users simply use the camera maker's default username and password settings, which are easily obtainable. It is also important to check for notices on firmware updates or security patches, which are normally sent via e-mail. Moreover, users may consider isolating their cameras from a local network, since hackers may attack other devices in the network through the camera.

A Two-Way Street
Keeping hackers at bay requires a commitment by both vendors and users. The vendor should build their products with the concept of “security” in mind, while users should familiarize themselves with security features included in cameras and use them whenever possible. It's only through this two-way street can security camera users achieve their primary objective — keeping safe — without being harmed in the process.

Synectics adds Penn premiers to growing North American gaming portfolio

Synectics adds Penn premiers to growing North American gaming portfolio

Editor / Provider: Synectics | Updated: 9/11/2014 | Article type: Security 50

More than 75 gaming properties in North America and Canada now benefit from Synectics' integrated surveillance solutions, with two new Ohio Penn National Gaming casinos the latest additions to the firm's extensive portfolio.

Between them, Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley and Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway will offer almost 2000 video lottery terminals (VLTs), bars, dining, concession stands and entertainment, spread over state-of-the-art facilities spanning 133,000 sq. ft.

Penn National Gaming, one of Synectics' long-standing corporate customers, is capitalizing on advances in IP-based solutions for protecting its newest Hollywood premiers. At both locations, footage from close to 1,000 high definition IP cameras, together with third-party transactional and alarm data, will be integrated within Synectics' Synergy command and control platform to create a unified security and situational awareness solution.

15 Penn Gaming facilities across Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania now use Synectics' video management and integration and scalable data storage solutions.

John Katnic, Vice President of Global Gaming at Synectics, said: “Working on new projects with long-standing customers like Penn is particularly rewarding as they constantly push us to improve our products and meet very challenging deadlines. In this highly competitive market, you simply don't have loyal repeat customers if you haven't listened, evolved and grown together. It's always been our strategy and strength to concentrate our attention and resources on a few key clients with unique requirements and to make sure we consistently meet their technology and delivery expectations on time. It's a 'partnership' in every sense of the word.”

Synectics has already completed 11 major upgrades or installs in North America so far in 2014, with 11 more scheduled for completion before the end of the year. Globally, the surveillance solutions business now supports over 100 gaming properties thanks to its unique non-proprietary hardware and software and proven track record in the casino marketplace.

Penn is not the only long-standing customer to expand or overhaul its surveillance capabilities with Synectics this year. John continued: “Synectics has worked with the Ontario Lottery & Gaming (OLG) for nearly 10 years – our technology is installed in two dozen tightly regulated gaming facilities throughout the Province. Caesars Casino Windsor was Synectics' very first North American casino installation and we have just replaced and upgraded their original Synectics recording system with a hybrid system that incorporates the latest IP video technology. It's a mutually beneficial long-term relationship we are very proud of.”

Synectics' success in North America this year has been largely driven by increased interest in more scalable and reliable IP-based security solutions, third party system integrations, and user friendly, full featured software functionality.

John explained: “Today's gaming and hospitality facilities are rapidly introducing high definition cameras that require more robust networks and create exciting opportunities for more sophisticated data integration to video and access control, slots, player systems, etc.. With more cameras and data on the network, our customers are increasingly focused on system security, resiliency and redundancy. In response, Synectics has introduced innovative, multi-layered technology solutions for real time data replication and hardware failover such as Synectics' ‘backfilling', which eliminates the threat of data loss or single point of network failure.

“It's an exciting and demanding time for Synectics as a business and for our sector as a whole; thanks to the ongoing success of our large repeat customer base and Synectics exponential growth here and abroad.”

Synectics will be showcasing its latest solutions for the gaming industry at G2E Booth 5340 in Las Vegas (Sept 30th – Oct 2nd)

Hikvision IP cameras integrated with ASUSTOR Surveillance Center

Hikvision IP cameras integrated with ASUSTOR Surveillance Center

Editor / Provider: Hikvision | Updated: 9/11/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Hikvision announced that it has completed integration with ASUSTOR, one of the leading innovators and providers of network storage solutions. Over 100 Hikvision camera models are now verified as being compatible with ASUSTOR's Surveillance Center, bringing a premium surveillance solution to the market.

"We are glad to have ASUSTOR as our integration partner," said Keen Yao, International Marketing Director at Hikvision. “With the seamless integration of ASUSTOR' NAS systems and Hikvision camera series, both parties will be able to provide versatile solutions for mutual customers, regardless of SME and professional applications. Besides, customers are also allowed to access a bevy of easy-to-use features, Smart features and much more from Hikvision cameras."

"In addition to the need for a safe and stable storage system, high quality network IP cameras are also required when creating a comprehensive cloud surveillance system, " said James Su, Product Manager at ASUSTOR "We are elated to be partnering with world renowned IP camera brand, Hikvision, in completing compatibility testing and verification for this integration. Now consumers will have even more flexibility and choices than ever before when creating a complete all-purpose surveillance solution."

The Surveillance Center App was developed in-house by ASUSTOR and comes with 4 free IP camera channel licenses, which is higher than the industry standard. For users that require additional camera channels, the newest version of Surveillance Center (version 2.1) supports add-on camera licenses that users can purchase to flexibly add new camera channels*. The latest version of Surveillance Center offers a wealth of advanced functionality including camera patrolling which lets users configure up to 5 different patrol paths with up to 20 preset points along with IVA (Intelligent Video Analytics) smart search which helps users to quickly find critical events from amongst recorded video. With IVA smart search, users can configure a specific area (max. 3 areas), object size and level of sensitivity to search for times where any movement was detected. Additionally, ASUSTOR Surveillance Center provides comprehensive cross-platform support, allowing both Windows and Mac users to use familiar web browsers to access their surveillance feeds. Furthermore, ASUSTOR also offers the free AiSecure mobile app that gives users access to all their surveillance feeds while on the go. AiSecure also provides the ability to receive instant push notifications from Surveillance Center, allowing users to keep up with the latest developments.

Axis network cameras monitor construction of remote fish farm

Axis network cameras monitor construction of remote fish farm

Editor / Provider: AXIS | Updated: 9/9/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Mission
AgriMarine Technologies Inc. of Comox, B.C., is a producer of innovative aquaculture fish-farming technology. The company uses proprietary, solid-walled floating tanks to meet the public's growing demand for sustainably raised seafood. However, the fish farms are built in remote marine locations, making it a challenge to monitor their construction. The company also wanted time-lapsed videos of the construction for marketing purposes.

Solution
AgriMarine turned to full-service media integrator Tremain Media to provide monitoring and daily timelapse video of its construction site at Lois Lake, where it was assembling four fish tanks. To provide optimal coverage, both a fixed Axis network camera and a pan/ tilt/zoom (PTZ) network camera were deployed onsite. The PTZ camera allows AgriMarine to remotely adjust the camera's angle of view when the location of the tanks change, and the HDTV 1080p resolution provides detailed zooming when needed. Real-time images are stored at the edge on the cameras, on local FTP servers and pushed via satellite to time-lapse processing and storage system in the cloud.

Result
Prior to implementing the Axis network cameras, AgriMarine staff needed to travel for hours to retrieve video footage. With remote access, that time is saved, and AgriMarine can use the time-lapse footage and daily recaps to manage the project. Additionally, they can also use the clear and detailed images to support their marketing efforts.

Remote monitoring
AgriMarine has been involved with fish aquaculture since the 1980s using traditional net systems. In 2000, they became involved with land-based systems on Vancouver Island and discovered that, while the fish thrived within the tanks, the pump-ashore land-based farms were far too costly. Instead, the company deployed a team of designers and engineers to develop a solid-wall marine tank for finfish farming in the species' natural habitat. The eco-friendly, in-water tanks are 3,000 m3 in size and designed to reduce energy use, curb environmental impact and improve management of animal health. Originally, AgriMarine installed analog cameras to monitor the tanks' construction, but the tanks were being built in the remote Lois Lake on Vancouver Island. Accessing the site required a three-hour ferry ride followed by another hour of driving, and this significantly limited how often their head office could retrieve footage. “During the pilot project, we had to spend half a day getting to the site, so we could only do it every six days,” says Robert Walker, President of AgriMarine Technologies. “This wasn't acceptable, since we needed more timely information.”

Eyes on the ground and water
AgriMarine turned to Tremain Media for help. The Vancouver Island-based company provides remote video monitoring and daily time-lapse solutions that can be accessed over the Internet. They installed an AXIS Q6035-E PTZ Dome Network Camera and an AXIS P3364-VE Network Camera to monitor tank construction through timelapse images taken at 10-minute intervals. The high-resolution HDTV 1080p time-lapse video allows the design team to analyze specific details of construction without making additional trips to the site. Because of their ease of installation, the cameras can also be moved without hassle in the case of drift or tidal changes. Both cameras target different locations to give a wide view of the farm: the PTZ camera follows tanks as they move, while the fixed camera is installed on a pole with a concrete base that can be moved if required.

Covering the distance
AgriMarine originally wanted to employ a real-time feed, but a constant data stream was too costly to transmit over satellite Internet, and they opted for time-lapse video instead. They can, however, activate a live video feed for special events or emergencies. Each camera has a 32GB SD card onboard for local edge storage. This data is also backed up to two FTP servers on location and sent via satellite to Tremain Media's cloud-based visual data system, where it is managed by the company's Render Engine video management software. From there it is processed into daily time-lapse footage provided to AgriMarine in whatever size or format is needed. “We have a lot of redundancy built into the system. We're dealing with a mission-critical implementation, and there's only one chance to get the footage,” Tremain says. “We only use Axis cameras for our time-lapse and monitoring systems because of their reliability and quality. As a videographer by trade, quality is key to me.”

Marketing in high definition
Beyond the ability to monitor construction, AgriMarine found the videos could also be used as an effective marketing tool to raise their profile in the industry. “It's very exciting. At the same time as we're building the tanks, we can now show investors and prospects what we're building,” Walker says. At a trade conference in Abu Dhabi, the time-lapsed video was the focal point of their display. “They found it really drew people to their booth,” Leah Tremain, owner and CEO of Tremain Media. “That type of ‘booth bait' is really important, because their product isn't necessarily easy to understand if you don't see the size and scope of these projects.”

 

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