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Ville de Forbach implements video surveillance at historical landmarks with Genetec

Ville de Forbach implements video surveillance at historical landmarks with Genetec

Editor / Provider: Genetec | Updated: 1/9/2014 | Article type: Government & Public Services

Business Challenge
Located on then north-eastern side of France, just on the border of Germany, is the city of Forbach. Its rich history is showcased by The Schlossberg, a castle that dates back to mid-15th century.

Although charcoal mining once contributed to the original influx of residents, its population sits at about 20,000 people, with another 80,000 spread around its outskirts. As in most small cities around world, the city of Forbach was dealing with petty crimes such as vandalism and instances of theft which left a general concern for the safety of its citizens.

Although Forbach's police department had a small video monitoring system in place, requirements to add more cameras to more vulnerable areas soon became problematic.

The City of Forbach recruited help from long-time partners in information technology services and integration specialists of IP video surveillance, Signma IP. As a Genetec certified integrator, Sigma IP proposed Genetec's Security Center, its unified security platform, which would accommodate their video surveillance needs of added growth and network flexibility, while also providing Synergis, the access control component, to secure the door at their command center, called CSU (Centre de Surveillance Urbaine).

Historic French city located on the border of Germany, invests in Security Center unified platform for video surveillance and access control to protect citizens and deter petty crime, while preserving the authenticity of historical monuments.

Using History as the Catalyst for Cutting-Edge City Surveillance
Security Center's Omnicast video surveillance system manages over 38 IP cameras from vendors Sony and Arecont Vision. These cameras are spread throughout the city's most vulnerable areas. Some High Definition (HD) Sony cameras (SNC-CS50P, SNC-Z25P, SNC-RX550P, SNC-CH180, SNCEP550) were installed in critical areas where there were concerns about lighting or video quality, and the rest are in fixed locations such as on main avenues, or outside schools and other important structures.

Of the 38 cameras, 14 of them are Arecont Vision multi-lens cameras (AV20185 or AV20365) from the SurroundVideoR series. Mostly, the cameras are connected back to the central server located in city hall via a robust and intricate wireless network, custom-designed by Sigma IP. With about 18TB of storage, the city is able to preserve recordings for 15 days.

The municipal police are responsible for managing the system, and use it mainly to conduct investigations once an incident is reported. To easily locate the cameras in the city during critical investigations undertaken by the national police, the city of Forbach is using Security Center's map-based interface, Plan Manager. Without necessarily knowing the ins and outs of the city, federal investigators can find the cameras they need, and conduct quick searches based on time of day to pull evidence.

Taking the Next Steps with Limitless Growth
To date, the city of Forbach has seen success with their Security Center system. From apprehending vandals to addressing more instances of theft, physical confrontations and street crimes, the system has proven its worth.

Other important additions to the system include expanding the Synergis access control system beyond the one door, possibly into other municipal buildings, as well as doing some custom development work to leverage the audio capabilities of certain cameras for some unique parking applications.

Mr. Patrick Karp, Technical Manager at the City of Forbach offered the following advice to other cities contemplating a switch to Security Center: “The openness and unification of the platform were important factors when choosing the solution. Effectively, we now have a system that doesn't limit our development and growth.”

Jefferson County Waterway adopts Milestone VMS

Jefferson County Waterway adopts Milestone VMS

Editor / Provider: Milestone Systems | Updated: 1/8/2014 | Article type: Infrastructure

Milestone Systems open platform IP video management software (VMS) is at the center of operational overview for the authorities who handle the Sabine-Neches Waterway running 55 miles through Jefferson County, Texas, to the Gulf of Mexico. This area includes a commercial and military out-load port in the United States and is the fourth largest port in terms of processed tonnage. They need to ensure the safety of those working and traveling through the port, and to keep traffic flowing for the commerce that relies on clear passage.

A vast traffic-monitoring network has been deployed here to ensure that all vessels (civilian, military and commercial) can safely navigate the waters with minimal interference such as collisions or other stoppage. The new surveillance system also monitors the many petroleum refineries that line the channel. Backed by a Verizon Wireless 4G connection, the county cameras along the waterway are networked through Milestone XProtect Enterprise VMS for managing high definition video of live vessel movements and incident reporting from the archived footage.

“Milestone truly is the best IP video open platform on the market. It integrates with all of the cameras seamlessly and provides the sheriff's department with more high definition images for significantly better views of the waterway than their previous system. We now have camera ‘eyes' located on an array of tall locations in challenging environments. Our solution design includes live mobile video on tablets and smart-phones to dispatchers and personnel on watercraft,” says Mark Nolan, Sales Engineer at systems integrator Knight Security Systems.

Vessels range in size from small tugboats to huge tanker ships hauling hundreds of tons of oil and other commodities. When an incident is called in to port security, authorities must assess the situation and respond immediately. Milestone XProtect provides the user interface where reported incidents are checked in the video to determine if the port must close to resolve a situation or can continue operating. Closing the port for any amount of time is an expensive procedure, so having virtual eyes on the scene is imperative to optimal operations.

The previously installed system was very limited - only viewable and navigable in 1 control station building. Knight Security Systems therefore designed and installed a Milestone XProtect Enterprise IP video surveillance solution managing AXIS Q1604 and Sony SNC-ER550 cameras, and more than 8 terabytes of storage to provide 24 hours of archiving. With the Milestone Mobile client, the sheriff's department and port authorities now have instant access to video from anywhere.

The Milestone solution consolidates the 24-hour monitored cameras into 1 centrally managed solution, viewable by all administrators in their offices, in the main monitoring station and on mobile devices. With high-level national security implications, live camera views and the ability to quickly check recorded video is essential to the port's operational standards for efficiency. Every second between an incident report and confirmation of the validity of the report is crucial to the response process.

Protecting the Port
The only ways to access Jefferson County through the waterway is via Sabine Pass or 2 entry points on the Intracoastal Waterway. With an advanced communication system and screening process, no vessel is unaccounted for. The cameras give verification to confirm radio transmissions. The Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) at Port Arthur acts as the “keepers of the gate” aided by the Milestone video management solution, issuing advisories and minimizing blind spots.

“If we pick up a radar blip that's not transmitting an identification signal, it is imperative to identify that blip before it enters the port,” explains Michael Measells, Director of Vessel Traffic Service. “The cameras can do what radar can't achieve - put an eye on a vessel through the Milestone XProtect software, allowing us to know what's moving, from a marine safety and security standpoint. That's the number-one mission.”

Cameras line the river and port entrance, placed in strategic locations from the roofs of buildings to the top of the Verizon Wireless 4G towers. A Jefferson County Sheriff helicopter also hosts a mounted camera ready to be called into action at any time, whether it's monitoring an incident or making rounds.

“We've adapted to the ease of application, connectivity and versatility of the Milestone interface very quickly – it's so easy to use,” says John Moore, Electronics Materials Officer, United States Coast Guard. “Milestone is always up and running, and it loads extremely fast on any mobile operating system. The versatility of our Milestone setup also allows us to remotely provide access to our Sector Command Center in Houston.”

Incident Confirmation and Control
The port is a vital, active entity, responsible for millions of dollars in assets and manpower. If an incident is reported to the Sheriff's Department or Coast Guard, there are established procedures to follow before any response is made. Any event, whether a boating accident, cargo spill or personal injury, has the potential to shut down the channel for an extended length of time.

“This is a high-traffic waterway and with a limited width, there are bound to be close calls and incidents,” says Measells. “It's good to have more eyes on each vessel.”

When an incident is reported, officials must immediately confirm the report. Then the proper authorities are contacted and ground or water personnel deployed as needed. The sheriff's department jurisdiction covers the entire 55 miles of critical infrastructure.

“If I get a report of an incident, I'll pull Milestone Mobile up on my tablet or phone to assess the situation,” says Deputy Chief Mark Dubois, Jefferson County Sheriff. “XProtect helps us respond quickly, allowing us to view video from any cameras immediately, from any location, any time, to confirm or deny an event.”

“We can move from evaluation of a report to initiating a response in a matter of minutes, if not seconds,” Moore adds. “There's time and money there. Once we confirm, all responders' mindsets are immediately shifted into response.”

2014 market forecast: Europe gets back up after fall

2014 market forecast: Europe gets back up after fall

Editor / Provider: Michelle Chu, a&s International | Updated: 12/30/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

According to a report released by the European Commission (EC) in November 2013, the European economy saw growth in Q2 2013, with GDP foreseen to continue growing through the end of the year; however, the euro area is expected to contract by 0.5%. Economic activity in 2014 is looking forward to 1.5% and 1-% growth in the EU and euro area, respectively.

It seems as though Europe has finally pulled itself out of their recession slump, at least for the time being. Some remain skeptical due to the unacceptably high unemployment rate. According to the report by the EC, Germany has managed to maintain growth in private consumption and construction activities. France has witnessed modest growth and resilient private consumption, mainly credited to the comparatively lower inflation rate than other countries. On the other hand, Italy has taken a more gradual pace for domestic-demand recovery. Outside the euro area, the U.K. has had all around positive growth, which is expected to carry over into next year.

Despite slow economic recovery, the security market is seeing some growth in certain European countries. The German security market has performed quite well, while most of other European countries are still being affected by the economic downturn. However, increased privacy laws have somewhat tempered the surveillance market in Germany.

The UK network surveillance market saw a moderate but steady uptake in 2013. In the years to come, there is high potential to upgrade and refurbish roughly 4.3 million surveillance cameras around the country. Even though there is a significant trend of upgrading analog cameras with IP-based or HD-SDI solutions, the vulnerable economy and recession have caused many projects to be delayed or cancelled.

In the next 5 years, impressive growth in video surveillance devices can be expected in Eastern Europe and Russia, with the market forecasted to reach US$1.3 billion in 2017, up from $581.4 million in 2012, according to reports by IMS, an IHS company. Preparing for the upcoming 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and 2018 FIFA World Russia is replacing old surveillance systems with new high-end video surveillance. Another major driver for surveillance device upgrades and replacement in Russia and Eastern Europe is the threat of terrorism. Due to these issues, IP-based cameras in these areas are forecasted to account for more than 80 % of security camera revenue in 2017.


The tough economic climate in 2012 dragged down the Italian economy, along with the economies of Portugal, Greece, and Spain. Putting these economies at the edge of collapse, continuous economic uncertainty has made making a comeback even more challenging. The sector that has been experiencing the most backlash from the economic doubt has been the government.

Daniela D'Amico, Marketing and Export Manager at Marss believes that the residential sector will remain the main driver for the security industry in the coming year since it is a common need for the public to want to protect their belongings. This focus may lead to a merging with smart devices for remote operations.

Video Surveillance
With an estimated 40% growth in the small to mid-size enterprises segment, D'Amico is convinced that IP-based video has penetrated this section of the market. The integration of video and access control will definitely be a main driver for network surveillance in the years to come. Hosted service solutions have also seen increased uptake in the residential and small business sectors; however, lack of sufficient knowledge on the installers' part will be the biggest challenge.

Intelligent video will continue to gain ground, with public transport, railways, and healthcare as the main verticals, which will also provide vital support to improve a company's efficiency. As the number of manufacturers offering HD-over-coax solutions continues to grow, D'Amico is confident that the retrofit market will be the main customers for HD-SDI. She further suggests that the HD-SDI manufacturers should work on more standardization and also reduce the cost of storage to win higher adoption in the market.

Being reinvigorated by home automation devices is a possible direction of development for the intruder alarm market. D'Amico believes that the convergence of these two devices is ideal since these solutions are both supported by the same technology.


Slovenia had their economy slapped down during the European economic crisis. Due to these harsh circumstances, the Slovenian government had to withdraw investments for budget cuts in order to survive. The focus in 2014 will mainly be on the retail and residential sectors. The rising crime rate caused by the harsh economic climate has made the need for video surveillance and outdoor protection products stronger. “Alarm and video is getting quite popular – increasing crime is the best marketing to convince people to invest into protection,” Bajec said.

Video Surveillance
While megapixel and IP-based solutions have become hot topics recently, these solutions are still far from reliable in Slovenia, according to the company's observation. Meanwhile, a bunch of manufacturers are currently busy with making network cameras and software solutions with NVRs, “but the ONVIF still does not work as well as they expect,” Bajec said, “the compatibility between different producers is still questionable.” As a result, even though network surveillance is penetrating the Slovenian market, as long as the functions are not well supported, and interoperability remains unstable, there will not be a high demand for IP-based system integration in Slovenia.

In general, the demand for access control in Slovenia has held on to growth. Although the economic situation is not helping the market, it is not affecting the main industrial trend of integration of access control with time attendance in this region. There are numerous local producers aggressively trying to apply this integrated system for salary calculation, in response to the growing need from enterprises.

The intruder alarm market is not likely to be reinvigorated by the home automation market, since integration with alarm control panel manufacturers was never fully supported. Furthermore, most of the manufacturers in Slovenia are much more interested in hardware solutions in this market.

Future Perspective
In this IP-lead market, products are getting more and more complicated as new functions and niche technologies are being added. Facing fierce competition on the channel side, distributors and installers must provide either better products or better services in order to survive. Bajec believes that their solutions-oriented products and insistence on technology will continue to set them apart from their competitors.

Thermal captures more territory

Thermal captures more territory

Editor / Provider: Editorial Department, a&s International | Updated: 12/26/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

It is common knowledge that thermal cameras allow users to detect heat in all types of scenarios, but understanding how thermal technology inside a camera works, and why it is perfect for security applications is less understood. Learning how thermal cameras work is the first step to revealing their true usefulness.

Technology and applications for thermal security products have been in a constant state of development. With the growing demand for 24/7 video surveillance more and more verticals are beginning to see the major benefits of thermal technology in a security setting. Unfortunately, several factors have stunted the growth of the thermal industry in applications other than military, where it was born and continues to have a strong presence.

Higher starting costs, the mistaken belief that thermal imaging is only a military product, and the lack of education across all industry has created hurdles for the thermal industry, ones they have been working hard to climb over. Helping their cause is the declining price of thermal equipment. As the cost of thermal imaging components, such as bolometer arrays, decrease, the cost of thermal equipment has also decreased. Additionally, fierce competition and increasing demand have also helped to drive down prices, causing the thermal market to shift towards more commercial markets.

Regardless of price, understanding how and why thermal imaging equipment can benefit a situation is most important. Knowing where thermal cameras are needed, why they are more beneficial than traditional visible camera solutions, and how thermal technology works is the beginning to finding a permanent cure for thermal imaging woes.

Inner Workings of Thermal Cameras
Physics teaches that any object that radiates heat emits a certain amount of infrared radiation. Thermal imaging sensors receive this infrared radiation via the temperature difference in a scene, which is then formed into an image with different colors to make it easier to distinguish different shades. In other words, thermal sensors can turn temperature differences into real-time images; however, thermal imaging cameras only display different shades of heat for humans and objects, not details.

Thermal imaging technologies are built on the fact that all objects with a temperature above absolute 0 degrees (-273° C) emit infrared radiation. These objects emit different electromagnetic radiation with various wavelengths; the hotter a material is the more significant the thermal reactions among its molecules and atoms are. Radiation spectrum and wavelengths are dependent on the nature and temperature of an object. The ability to emit absorbed energy is termed emissivity. In general, the blacker a material is the higher its emissivity is and the stronger radiation it has. Conversely, a more reflective or brighter material has a lower emissivity value and weaker radiation.

The human eye can only see very limited wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, which is called the visible spectrum. Radiation with wavelengths between 0.4-0.7μm can be seen by the human eye. Radiation in the 0.7μm-1mm spectrum is referred to as infrared (IR) and cannot be seen by the human eye. Modern thermal imaging devices work in radiation as mid-wave infrared (MWIR) of 3-5μm or long-wave infrared (LWIR) of 8-12μm; the human body, which has an emissivity of about 9.3μm, is right in the spectral response of a LWIR imager. Since, thermal imaging sensors can receive infrared radiation of objects and produce real-time thermal images that are easier and clearer for the human eye to distinguish, which makes thermal imagers an almost “perfect” human detector for security. Additionally, thermal imaging sensors are very sensitive and are able to detect temperature differences of less than 0.1° C.

In a scene, optics are used so that IR sensors in thermal imaging cameras can capture the infrared radiation being emitted by objects. That infrared data is then transformed into a standard video format to display on surveillance monitors or be recorded in storage media.

Since thermal imagers create images by detecting heat, they are not dependant on visible light; therefore, they work perfectly well both day and night situations. In addition, thermal imagers are passive devices that produce no light radiation or radio frequency energy. As a result, the locations of cameras and users can be hidden without being exposed.

ITS solutions supported by real-time video surveillance cameras

ITS solutions supported by real-time video surveillance cameras

Editor / Provider: Christine Chien, a&s International | Updated: 12/26/2013 | Article type: Infrastructure

The main applications of video surveillance cameras in an intelligent transportation system (ITS) include monitoring for traffic flow, congestion, and incidents for bridges, tunnels, roads, and highways. Other important applications of ITS include traffic light and intersection control and enforcement. Tollbooths on highways are also implementing the use of video surveillance cameras for license plate recognition, as well as in the city for restricted access to certain zones at certain time frames. With license plate recognition abilities, video surveillance can compare the license plates with a white list of those who have authorized entry to see if whoever is trespassing has the authority to do so, according to Fabrizio Arneodo, ITS Design and Development Manager at 5T.

Traditional ITS solutions rely on inductive-loop detectors buried under road surfaces to detect when a vehicle passes through. However, these systems are quite a hassle to install and maintain as it involves stopping traffic and disturbing road surfaces to do so, both of which require a significant amount of manpower and money. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for local governments and public administrations to lack sufficient funds or budget to finance the maintenance and repairs as often as they should. Video surveillance, in this case, becomes an alternative option as they are normally installed on poles, traffic lights, or other elevated positions, which will be comparatively less intrusive than the massive roadwork and construction needed to bury the detectors under road surfaces.

The advancements in network surveillance also make it more worthy for ITS investment. “Aspects that clearly document the advancement of network video surveillance in traffic solutions are the continuous investments in image quality, which is, respectively increasing resolution for enhanced identification as well as the usage of intelligent video analysis. These aspects offer substantial added value, for example to train stations, airports, and parking lots. Higher resolution in combination with intelligent video analysis enables security personnel to focus on events that really matter.

Increased efficiency and more proactive security are major advantages resulting from these technological advancements,” said a representative at Bosch Security Systems. Taking into consideration that not all locations are suitable or ideal for video surveillance installations, traditional sensors and detectors will still be used in those areas to gather all pertinent traffic data.

In this way, video surveillance and traditional sensors and detectors should be viewed as complementary tools working in cooperation to gather real-time data for ITS solutions as a whole. In relation to ITS, video surveillance is used in two ways: real-time monitoring and video detection. So instead of just providing real-time footage of what is currently happening on the roads, the video with intelligent features is also acting as a detector to gather and analyze data. These cameras not only have to endure harsh weather conditions, humidity, and extreme temperatures on the roads, but be able to monitor clearly despite lighting changes throughout the entire day, and glare and reflection from sunlight or automobile headlights. The cameras will also have to be able to capture up to at least 30 frames per second as vehicles travel at a high speed, especially down the highway.

However, a major factor that prevents its more widespread use is due to its cost. Though surveillance costs have gone down, they are still too costly to be widely implemented for ITS in certain areas. “In Turin we are using cameras in counting, surveillance, and enforcement, but in a limited way, the choice of using cameras for traffic flow counting respect that the classic traffic sensors are mainly due to costs and simplicity in installation, but the technology is mature and accurate,” according to Arneodo.

Real-time Monitoring
Most surveillance cameras in ITS are solely used for real-time monitoring purposes. These surveillance cameras only serve to provide real-time traffic conditions to the traffic control center, and issue a warning if an accident or disruption occurs. The way that ITS solutions are set up and configured are extremely subjected to local laws and regulations when it comes to storage of video data. “In the U.S., traffic video is rarely recorded due to the possible legal and liability issues. All traffic violations are strictly enforced by the police, while the Department of Public Works or Department of Transportation is in charge of managing the ITS solutions.

As previously mentioned, surveillance is used as a complementary device along with the various sensors and detectors in the ITS. Though sensors and detectors are able to provide a vast amount of information, surveillance serves as eyes for the operations or control center, able to provide real-time monitoring.

Video detection
With video analytics, video cameras are able to provide traffic flow measurement and automatic incident detection (AID), allowing them to act as “visual” detectors for ITS. Surveillance footage is processed and analyzed to determine vehicle type and provide vehicle count for the area they are passing by. If any event or situation were to occur, such as being close to or reaching maximum capacity, or an accident taking place, an alert will be sent to the traffic control center for proper addressing. Also, these intelligent cameras can be “trained” to better identify and differentiate the type of instances, and to make decisions after these incidents occur.

This is usually done during the surveillance solutions' initial configuration stage by inputting information such as distance between lanes, legal speed limit, road capacity, weight capacity, camera height, etc. “Assuming that video surveillance comes with intelligence, in the form of video processing, this allows to contribute to ITS in a lot of ways, which is already in practice. The video feeds can provide vehicle counts and speeds, the latter not only for a cross section (like inductive loops), but also along a stretch of a road.

It can also provide automatic checking of parking spaces on motorway services areas (specifically interesting for truck drivers) and providing this information. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) allows operators to derive travel times between several locations and or route choice in the network. Video feeds also play a role within advanced driver assistance systems, together with lots of other detectors,” said Thomas Otterstatter, Product Manager of PTV Optima at PTV Group.

One of the advantages of having video detectors over traditional sensors and detectors is that it can measure vehicle position and vehicle movements across several lanes. Also, with intelligence, video surveillance cameras are able to perform ANPR functions especially at tollbooths for toll collections, or to identify those who fail to pay toll. In an urban area, ANPR will most likely be used to verify that all cars entering or leaving a certain zone are authorized to do so. In territories where ITS is integrated with the police, it can aid in law enforcement as well, such as identifying the person violating traffic regulations from his or her license plate and issuing a ticket accordingly.

“Not necessarily regular surveillance technology only pushed the capabilities and benefits of ITS installations, but also the highly sophisticated solutions provided by companies dealing with dedicated ANPR cameras. These are, in many respects, not comparable with security cameras reading license plates (e.g. for parking access), because these special ANPR cameras cover a much wider field of operations like free-flow tolling, enforcement, ANPR dragnet operations. The reason is that these solutions use higher grade sensors (in most case two sensors: one mono for ANPR and one color for environmental scene capture) to cover even higher vehicle speeds with short exposure times and real-time capability," stated Enzio Schneider, Product Line Manager ITS at Basler. Recently, there has been a series of improved features.

Video cameras capture images better than before, so it is able to more accurately identify the plates. It can now more accurately identify the characters on the plates than ever before. The analytics can now adjust accordingly to the size of the license plates and capture images of cars travelling at a speed from zero to 125 miles per hour.

Future expectations
As the concept of smart cities continues to be promoted, the implementation and deployment of ITS will grow in popularity as well. However, there are certain things that must be addressed. “The efficient steering of traffic streams is surely a great challenge that needs to be mentioned here in order to realize concepts for modern mobility and traffic solutions. The growing of digital networks needs to be utilized, which requires significant investment in infrastructure,” said the representative from Bosch. If such investments cannot be made, ITS will not be able to achieve its maximum performance or efficiency, which will in turn, defy the initial purpose of its deployment.

Axis monitoring system empowers Xiamen Wucun Police Station

Axis monitoring system empowers Xiamen Wucun Police Station

Editor / Provider: Axis Communications | Updated: 12/24/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Siming, an economically booming district located in Xiamen city, China, has installed Axis solutions to elevate its overall management and security control. “Axis' Lightfinder technology is a perfect solution to our long-term issue of poor image quality in the low light environments, significantly helping with our criminal investigation.” Says Xu Shijin, instructor at Wucun Police Station, Siming Sub-bureau, Xiamen Public Security Bureau.

Xiamen city is recognized as a “Garden on the Sea”. In recent years, the Siming District of Xiamen has experienced robust development in its economy; its economic power comes out on top of all districts in the province, and takes 1of the leading positions among the downtown districts of the 15 sub-provincial cities nationwide.

The impressive economic performance has also raised the requirements for its overall management and security control. Under the strong leadership of the district party committee and government, the district-level monitoring system has been greatly improved, playing a crucial role in case investigation and security control.

However, there are still some issues within the system: insufficient coverage, too many blind spots, aging devices, and more. For these reasons, the district party committee and government were much concerned.

In order to enhance and innovate social management, both the district party committee and government planned to implement HDTV network video surveillance in the jurisdiction of Wucun police station, Siming District, with the purpose of improving public security capabilities with leading-edge technologies.

Within the jurisdiction of Wucun Police Station, the secondary trunk roads usually have 2-4 lanes; the main entrances/exits are 6 meters wide. There are streetlights on the roads; yet the small alleys are poorly lit. Hence, the city chose to use 4 Axis camera models, namely, AXIS P1354, AXIS P5534, AXIS Q1602 and AXIS Q1604, which provide: Lightfinder (low-light imaging), Wide Dynamic Range and broad coverage. Axis solutions with security and reliability are ensured with bare fiber transmission in conjunction with backbone link redundancy; at the core is the Aimetis platform for managing, storing and retrieval for the whole monitoring system.

Objectives of the project
To build an all-round security control system, thus assuring safety & security and improving comprehensive social management.

To effectively monitor the low light areas by using advanced technologies, resolve the issues associated with the existing monitoring system, such as obscure and noisy night images, and black & white IR images, and thus provide clear and useable images for crime investigation.

To leverage the cameras with frontline technologies, so as to address the functional requirements in the forthcoming years, extend the lifecycle of installations, and protect the value of products.

To choose the devices that meet GB/T 28181-2011 Technical Specifications for the Information Transmission, Exchange and Control of Network Video Surveillance Systems developed by the Ministry of Public Security, and implement the “police stations – sub-bureaus – municipal bureau” three-level network architecture.

Adopt bare fiber transmission and dual link redundancy for the backbone, thus ensuring the network security and reliability.

Outstanding results
AXIS P1354 Network Cameras were installed at the main entrances and exits, in the places where criminal cases are frequently reported, and in the perimeters of schools and small hotels, while AXIS Q1602 Network Cameras are deployed in the places with no or dim light, enabling nighttime surveillance with Lightfinder technology and providing clear color images for criminal investigation.

At the intersections between primary and secondary trunk roads, AXIS Q1604 Network Cameras were installed, which offer the Wide Dynamic Range capabilities for effective license number identification, which enables the police to successfully follow and apprehend suspects.

AXIS P5534 HDTV Dome Network Cameras were installed at the train stations and large markets, enabling broad coverage as well as the possibility to zoom-in images in the event of large gatherings or other events. This allows the police to obtain live information on the scene and leverage central command.

Axis network cameras with smart front-end analytics capabilities provide a solid intelligence foundation for public security administration. The simple but effective smart analytics are uploaded to the front-end cameras with scripts, for the built-in ACAP platform to conduct smart analysis. The more complex analysis is conducted on the central platform server, making it possible to optimize network bandwidth and reduce storage costs in the future.

Moreover, strict quality control in production of Axis network cameras and warranty services available for them assure their low failure rate and long service life, eliminating the risk of having no images for investigation and greatly improving the user experience.

Axis cameras consume less bandwidth than any other competitors, relieving the bandwidth pressure and storage cost of the entire system, reducing the number of switch and storage devices, simplifying its management, and allowing for future expansion.

Axis cameras conform with GB/T 28181-2011 of the Ministry of Public Security, enabling information transmission, exchange and control with the public security network platform; interconnection and intercommunications within the entire public security system; as well as the “police stations – sub-bureaus – municipal bureau” three-level network architecture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some prerequisites include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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