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AXIS: How to improve camera usability with image stabilization?

AXIS: How to improve camera usability with image stabilization?

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by Axis | Updated: 9/23/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Sometimes it doesn't take much to render an otherwise perfect video stream practically worthless. Gusts of wind tearing at a surveillance camera can make it shake or vibrate enough to make images come out as useless blur. A heavy truck, or a train, passing close by can have similar consequences. Most viewers will find it tiring and irritating to watch even a short video clip if it is constantly shaking or wobbling.

A number of different techniques have been developed to cope with the problem, with varying degrees of success. However, the introduction of efficient and affordable gyroscopes in combination with cutting-edge software programming has accelerated the process towards robust, real-time image stabilization.

Vibration impact on video output Improvements in video quality have, somewhat paradoxically, made the problem with blurry images more apparent. Increasing pixel density, higher resolution and more powerful zooms have not only made cameras more sensitive to vibrations but have simultaneously made viewers more susceptible and prone to noticing them.

Naturally, operators and integrators are aware of these challenges and are trying to address them. Vibration may, for instance, be reduced by choosing sturdier mounts or less exposed locations for the installation.

Image stabilization not only brings great improvements in the surveillance operator's working conditions by providing smooth, comfortable live viewing at all times, but also makes an entire video surveillance system more versatile and cost efficient by making better use of each camera's potential, for example by maintaining image quality in zoom shots when vibrations otherwise may have affected the video quality.

At left: A snapshot from a video frame without Electronic Image Stabilization.
At right: Electronic Image Stabilization is activated. Above images demonstrate how Electronic Image Stabilization equalizes the motions from frame to frame resulting in stable motion video.

Benefits and applications in video surveillance
A surveillance camera mounted in an exposed location such as on a high pole or a street sign near a busy road, can be shaken by winds or passing traffic, which will blur the video. Electronic Image Stabilization works excellent regardless of camera lens type. When using a powerful telescopic zoom which zooms in on a distant object, the field of view becomes narrower and any shake or tremble will be amplified in the camera – and the amplitude of the shake will increase proportionally to the amount of zoom used. For a standard lens the challenges can be equivalent, if the camera is mounted in an environment with a high level of vibration. Regardless, image stabilization should be regarded as a prerequisite, so the cameras can be used optimally also in all kinds of circumstances.

Having cameras that are less sensitive to vibrations also makes installation more flexible and allows for multiple mounting options. In the prerequisite end, fewer cameras may be needed to satisfy surveillance requirements.
Further, stabilized images will save bandwidth use and storage space. Advanced video compression formats, such as H.264, are based on motion compensation. In short, this method uses the image of a single frame as a baseline and then only saves information about changes in the picture. A well stabilized image will contain comparatively less movement and thus require less bandwidth and storage.

For operators monitoring the video, Electronic Image Stabilization will make an important difference. Not only will the video material quality be improved, making it easier to see details and use the material to take action or make further analyses. It will also make the time in front of the monitoring screen more comfortable, eliminating fatiguing issues resulting from watching a blurry or vibrating video image.

Today, shakes and vibrations reflect on the results from most of the analytic applications available. However, using Electronic Image Stabilization could have positive effects. For instance, Video motion detection (VMD) is a way of defining activity in a scene by analyzing image data and differences in a series of images, a feature that can be built into a network video product or made available with video management software. Shakes and vibration increases the risk for false alarm, but can be amended by using Electronic Image Stabilization.

Finally, a perhaps less obvious advantage of image stabilization is that privacy masking can be made more precise. On a camera without any stabilization system, the effects of possible shakes and vibrations would have to be compensated by increasing the masked of area in the image.

Making efficient video stabilization affordable
Hardware and software development are making efficient video stabilization techniques affordable for an ever-increasing range of network cameras. This progress not only secures smooth, comfortable video monitoring in real time. It also enhances image usability, improves camera operability, makes installation more flexible and finally, improves the overall cost efficiency of a network camera surveillance system.

 

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.”

 

Samsung Techwin tells why it invests in analogue product line

Samsung Techwin tells why it invests in analogue product line

Editor / Provider: Samsung Techwin | Updated: 9/3/2014 | Article type: Security 50

In a brief interview Tim Biddulph, Product Manager for the Security Solution division of Samsung Techwin Europe Ltd, has explained the decision to invest in the development of a new generation of analogue cameras and recorders.

Q: Tim, at a time when IP network based video surveillance solutions are increasingly being specified for projects of all sizes, why has Samsung Techwin made what many will think is a surprising decision to introduce a new range of analogue products?
A: The widespread adoption of IP is inevitable and at Samsung Techwin we have been developing our open Platform WiseNetIII 1.3MP, 2MP and 3MP camera range, as well as our ‘zero configuration' NVRs that are changing the way we all work with IP based video surveillance.

There is nevertheless an almost countless number of existing analogue CCTV systems. These maybe working well but the users may now wish to upgrade to achieve improved identification grade images, which their existing analogue cameras cannot deliver; and the users are not ready for various reasons to migrate to a network based solution.
We have therefore introduced our new Beyond 1280H series of analogue cameras (1000TVL) and DVRs that are interoperable with the many thousands of existing analogue CCTV systems across Europe.

Q: Where do you think they are likely to be installed?
A: Anywhere there is a need for a highly competitively priced video monitoring solution but where the user does not wish to compromise on quality or functionality. Collectively the first eight new models are in fact designed to offer solutions for a wide range of application, and environments from offices, retail stores, schools, hospitals and warehouses, to more challenging environments such as airports, ports, transport facilities, car parks and town centres.

Q: Do think the Beyond series is likely to be specified for new installations?
A: Although we have introduced the new cameras and domes with legacy systems in mind, we believe that the new cameras and DVRs will prove to be very popular with installers who are not as confident with network based solutions and where their customers do not at this time wish to invest in an IP infrastructure.

Q: What is so special about the Beyond analogue series?
A: Primarily it is the fact that they incorporate 1280H technology which offers users the opportunity to capture and record very high quality images at 1000TV lines. Equally important, the eight new cameras and domes are equipped as standard with innovative and technically advanced features which until now, users might have only expected to see built into IP network cameras.

Q: Can you give some examples of this?
A: Many of the new highly competitively priced models feature enhanced Wide Dynamic Range which, with performance greater than 120dB, can accurately produce images in scenes that simultaneously contain very bright and very dark areas, such as reception areas. They are also equipped with SSNR IV, Samsung Techwin's new generation of noise reduction technology, to deliver high resolution images in night time conditions without any smear or “ghosting”. Other key features include various forms of video analytics, and defog which can improve the clarity of images captured in poor weather conditions such as rain, smoke or fog.

Q: Are the new cameras and DVRs compatible with all existing analogue systems?
A: Yes, the good news is that the Beyond series is fully interoperable with current, and legacy analogue systems.

Q: With so many already on the market, was it really necessary for Samsung Techwin to introduce some new DVRs?
A: We did so to ensure that customers can gain maximum benefit from the outstanding quality images captured by the new eight Beyond models and by this I mean that the new high performance 4, 8 and 16 channel Beyond DVRs can simultaneously record 1000 TV lines images in real time across all their channels.

We have also taken the opportunity to make the new DVRs are user friendly as possible. For example, they offer the flexibility to separately configure each of their channels to make best use of the available storage capacity by enabling users to set the specific image quality/resolution required for each camera location. They also have an individual camera loop-through feature and a simple HDD upgrade facility.

They also benefit from a new ultra user friendly GUI (Graphical User Interface) and offer authorised users the option to remotely view live or recorded video from a PC or any Android or IOS supported smartphone or tablet via Samsung Techwin's license-free SSM, SmartViewer or iPOLiS Mobile monitoring software. A built-in web viewer offers enhanced compatibility via Chrome, Explorer and Safari.

Icontrol Networks: A connected home solution

Icontrol Networks: A connected home solution

Editor / Provider: Gary Tang, a&s SMAhome | Updated: 8/8/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Icontrol Networks is a smart home platform provider, enabling telcos, home security companies and broadband service providers to offer smart home solutions to consumers. Icontrol's recent acquisition of Blacksumac adds a direct-to-consumer facet to its business through Piper, an all-in-one home security and automation device.

We spoke to Icontrol Network's VP of Marketing Greg Roberts about the acquisition and a recent study released by the company.

Can you elaborate more on the reasoning behind the acquisition of Blacksumac?
The vision for Icontrol Networks is to have a connected home solution for every household in the world. From our perspective, the beginning stage was building platform solutions for companies that promote mass market solutions under their own brand name to drive awareness in the marketplace. Our customers began mass market adoption of smart home solutions through their organizations, including their marketing power, backend infrastructure and customer support. That has proven to be a very successful adventure for us and for our deployment customers.

We then looked at the connected home space in North America and internationally and found that our smart home offerings were fulfilling a big need in the marketplace for solutions that could be deployed by service providers and home security companies. We also saw an opportunity in the smart home space for renters and those living in multi-family dwelling units (MDU). One of our interest points was having a direct-to-consumer solution because we didn't feel like that market was being addressed by any solution available in the marketplace. As we learned more about Piper and its feature set, we determined that it was a perfect fit for that audience. Piper fits in the international marketplace. Beyond North America, the consumer education and adoption of home security is much lower; for example, in Japan and some other Asian markets, we see less than five percent penetration for home security. The international market needs a vastly different solution that doesn't necessarily key in on home security, but includes a peace of mind value proposition in addition to a host of other features and functionality that deliver smart home benefits.

What kinds of acquisitions will Icontrol Networks be looking at in the future?
We're very pleased with our portfolio of offerings for today's smart home marketplace, but the smart home industry is evolving and changing every day. New players are coming into the marketplace, and there will be many more—both big and small—entering this space in some way, shape or form over a very short period of time. We think the market's going to consistently change for the foreseeable future. We'll continuously look at the market holistically and determine if there are any gaps that emerge from this changing industry. We're looking at the industry from the perspective of both further developing technology ourselves and also acquiring new technologies and utilizing those to improve our solutions.

So Piper not only addresses the renter and MDU market, it's also your first step into the international marketplace?
Icontrol already has a lot of business development activity internationally and is constantly looking to expand. We already launched with Swisscom in Switzerland, and they've put forth a solution called Quing Home, which is powered by an Icontrol software platform. You'll see a lot of those types of solutions emerging in the marketplace in the next 6 to 12 months.

About the 2014 State of the Smart Home Report. Why did you conduct the study?
While building mass market adoption for smart home services in North America over the past five to seven years, we watched our deployments and the industry grow, but we wanted to take a step back and evaluate the direction we were headed and whether our features and functionalities for smart home solutions were meeting consumer demand.

So we embarked on this national quantitative study and tested a host of features and functionalities that are part of today's connected home deployments to see if they were meeting consumer expectations.

When we got all of that information back, the item that really jumped out to us was that family security and protection continues to be paramount to smart home solutions in the North American marketplace. Remarkably, 100 percent of the 900 to 1,000 participants surveyed for the study said that smart home systems without personal safety or security were unacceptable. This gave us an idea about the level of importance for that feature, and we thought this was worth sharing.

But the importance of security features wasn't all that surprising, was it? I suppose it was the level of significance that really stood out?
Six or seven years ago, research showed that there was an appreciation for the peace-of-mind value proposition in smart home solutions, and we were very confident that the right way to deliver smart home solutions to the marketplace was through home security. We're seeing a significant shift in the market in that the level of importance for family and personal security as part of smart home solutions is a much stronger driver of mass market adoption for smart home solutions today.

Was there anything else surprising about the results of the study?
I'm not sure that I would say surprising, but certainly reaffirming. Asset protection continues to be a big part of smart home solutions, as 86 percent ranked property loss protection as one of the top reasons for using a smart home solution or for interest in a smart home solution.

We've also always considered energy management a key deliverable in smart home solutions because of the multiple consumer benefits that it offers. It was refreshing to see that energy management continues to rank so high from a consumer benefit perspective. 78 percent of those responding to the survey ranked energy management as one of the top features, likely because of convenience and cost savings.

One thing that surprised me was the demand for pet monitoring. Was that surprising to you?
As a pet owner, it was in no way surprising to me. Not only do I personally use my smart home system to monitor my pet and make sure that she's okay throughout the day, but I also have a dog walker that comes in every day, and I have the ability to know when she arrives at my house, when she leaves with my dog, when she comes back with my dog, and when she leaves the premises.

There's a peace-of-mind value proposition in a smart home solution with pet monitoring that I think a lot of people embrace. It's not all about video monitoring and just making sure their pet is okay, but rather about making sure their pet is taken care of. Plus, it's always fun to show your pet off from a live video feed!

That said, I think it's surprising to the industry, but as pet owners become more and more aware of smart home solutions and how video plays a role in them, these features will help drive consumer adoption.

Aside from this type of studies, what are other tools you use to determine end users' needs and wants? Do you analyze usage data? Do you simply ask them?
We do all of the above. One of the beauties of being a platform provider and having a direct-to-consumer platform is that you have access to the data. While we don't expose that data, we can use it to help us further develop our software platforms. Understanding which features consumers are using and how often they use them helps us reformulate our software architectures to better accommodate those use cases. It also helps us determine other use cases that consumers may not be thinking of.

We're constantly learning from consumer usage of smart home solutions, but we're also going out and talking to non-users to better understand what their wants and needs are in a smart home solution and make sure that our roadmap better caters to not just the needs that they are articulating, but those that we think will help them embrace a smart home solution in the future. Besides studying non-users and the data from users, we also do user interface testing to continue to make sure that the consumer experience is intuitive and easy to use. At the end of the day, people will not adopt our solution if it isn't, so that's very important to us.

In your experience, is there a discrepancy between what service providers and end users want?
There isn't a discrepancy, but there is a challenge to deliver on all of the drivers in the marketplace to users.

We collectively determine with our customers which core mass market use cases will drive a significant amount of consumer adoption and prioritize those features and technologies..It's a collaborative process; we've learned from the marketplace, we've learned from users, and we eventually work together to determine the right technologies and features to launch.

Do needs and wants for smart home solutions vary between customers of different types of service providers, such as customers of cable companies vs. customers of home security companies?
I think a lot of smart companies are targeting the use cases that really drive today's consumer into the smart home. As the smart home report identified, the key driver is safety and security. If you look at it from that framework, every solution deployed that is driving mass market adoption and is catering to the mass audience has a safety and security component.

That will evolve, and a lot of differentiation will happen in the marketplace over time. I think it's not a stretch to say that everybody is doing consumer research in this space, and everybody is learning about what's driving mass market adoption.

Can you tell me a bit about the hardware certification program and the process of obtaining that certification? How would manufacturers benefit from the program?
Icontrol Networks powers many of North America's leading home security, cable and telecommunications companies' smart home solutions. The Icontrol OpenHome Partner Program allows device and application developers to develop to Icontrol's open architecture software platform. Once certified, these developers can market their offerings to millions of homes via service providers. They can also leverage Icontrol's international expansion, giving them a world of new distribution opportunities.

Do you accept all applications, or do you limit the number of suppliers for each product category, similar to how a franchise would limit the number of chain stores in a certain area? In what circumstances would you approach manufacturers proactively to invite them into the program?
Our OpenHome program is one of the most important aspects of our business, since it helps eliminate silos among connected devices. We are constantly reaching out to manufacturers and developers, who are critical to the growth in order to continue to reach our goal of offering the largest connected home ecosystem possible. We accept all partners who are interested in our program and willing to follow the program's prescribed criteria.

What percentage of your partners are Asian manufacturers?
Roughly 40% of our current partners reside in Asia.

Dancing Moose Montessori School advances education with Milestone

Dancing Moose Montessori School advances education with Milestone

Editor / Provider: Milestone system | Updated: 8/5/2014 | Article type: Education

Dancing Moose Montessori School in Salt Lake City, Utah, developed a unique way to increase parents' participation in their child's schooling, improve teacher evaluations without disturbing class, and expand overall school security. Milestone XProtect Express video management software (VMS) and network cameras from Axis Communications oversee daily operations at Dancing Moose to deliver a high degree of security and provide parents with a window into their child's learning.

“The Axis-Milestone solution has become a huge selling point for our school. Parents love the ability to drop off their children, who may be crying and suffering from separation anxiety, and check in after five minutes to see that their child is happy and engaged in the classroom. It's really powerful.” Jennifer Duffield, Executive Director, The Dancing Moose Montessori School.

The challenge:
Dancing Moose Montessori School opened its doors with a promise to parents and students to provide unmatched learning experience with programs that are unique, learning environments that are professional and safe, and processes that are transparent. Safety was a key consideration, but to stay true to its promise of transparency, the school needed a security system th at was robust and effective while also allowing parents to remotely monitor their children without interrupting class.

The solution:
Milestone XProtect Express IP video management software (VMS), 40 Axis network cameras and a pair of 42-inch monitors comprise the monitoring system that allows parents and school administrators to observe students and teachers without interfering in classroom activities. The monitors are in the lobby, the cameras are set up throughout the school and the system is custom integrated with S2 Extreme access control — thanks to the Milestone open platform architecture.

The advantages:
With the simple click of a mouse, parents have live access to their child's classroom without the distraction that their presence in the room would create. They can quickly and easily observe how their child learns and interacts with classmates and teachers. For administrators, the ability to monitor classrooms remotely means that teacher evaluations are no longer a distraction to students or the teacher. The integration of the video system with access control provides efficient management of safety matters in the school.

A Total Learning Experience
Founded by President Joyce Sibbett, Ph. D., Dancing Moose Montessori School of West Valley City, Utah, focuses on the total learning experience, providing engaging activities and specialized programs tailored to each class. A key feature of Dancing Moose Montessori School is the learning environment with bright and airy designs in multiple zones, including open spaces full of greenery, a large gym and a specialized outdoor program. Each school is newly built from the ground up, typically measuring 20,000 square feet, hosting 200 students in 12 classrooms with two teachers assigned to each room.

Peace of mind for parents, students, teachers and staff was a priority, and the state-of-the-art, integrated monitoring and security system goes a long way toward providing just that. The system, installed by Stone Security of Salt Lake City, is networked through Milestone XProtect Express VMS and includes a variety of Axis network cameras and an S2 Extreme audio/visual access control system. The solution also includes a 4U BCD Video tower server powered by HP, Netgear 24-port POE switches and a DMP intrusion system.

Visitors, parents, staff, and teachers use unique access codes to enter the system, but only after verbal and visual confirmation. Once inside the facility, parents have permissions-based virtual access to the preschool, with views of authorized classrooms and outdoor areas. The Milestone XProtect Smart Client interface allows multiple parents to view different images on the monitors simultaneously – the system is configured for as many as six camera feeds to be displayed on each screen.

“The Milestone interface is very straightforward but also effective and secure. Parents can walk up to our monitoring stations with no experience in professional video systems and the intuitive Milestone software provides easy and secure access to live video of their child's classroom — including control over camera angles. Our parents typically flock to the monitoring station where they can observe their children learning, playing, eating, and interacting with teachers and fellow students,” says Jennifer Duffield, Executive Director, Dancing Moose Montessori School.

“The IP-based Milestone system paired with Axis network cameras is easy to use and provides clear, high-resolution images to both managers and parents at Dancing Moose Montessori School,” explains Andy Schreyer, Stone Security. “Additionally, because Milestone and Axis operate on an open platform system, we are able to provide our client with the flexibility to grow the system to future schools and add new integrations over time, creating equity in the system. Milestone keeps up as Axis releases new cameras with updated features, eliminating the need for system replacement because it never becomes obsolete.”

Every child in view
Stone Security carefully selected cameras that would provide the most comprehensive viewing options for parents. At the school's original location, opened in 2007, Stone Security installed pan/tilt/zoom AXIS 212 PTZ-V Network Cameras inside the classrooms to offer instant pan/tilt/zoom functionality. When Dancing Moose opened a second location in 2014, Stone Security chose either wide-angle, 3 megapixel AXIS M3006-V or panoramic, 5 megapixel AXIS M3007-PV Fixed Dome Network Cameras to provide complete views of each room.

For external security afterhours, Stone Security installed HDTV-quality 720p AXIS P3364-VE Fixed Dome Network Cameras outside the building. The cameras' Lightfinder technology is ideal for low-light visibility. The exterior cameras are set to record on motion, and they can be viewed on Duffield's office computer.

“We recommend Axis cameras specifically because IP-based cameras are easy to use, provide high resolution, and offer a great deal of flexibility to choose frame rates, resolution and recording options on the fly,” said Andy Schreyer of Stone Security.

Effective Learning Through Observation
Two 42-inch NEC monitors are installed in the lobby of Dancing Moose Montessori School, where parents can see their child at any point throughout the day without being a distraction in the classroom, which could cause their child to act differently.

“Parents can be interested in seeing what the teacher is teaching, if their child is engaged in the lesson, or how well the student is eating at lunchtime,” says Jennifer Duffield, executive director, Dancing Moose Montessori School. “The Milestone interface and Axis cameras make our parents comfortable and offer reassurance and a sense of security.”

Parents and school administrators are equally interested in educators' teaching methods, whether or not the pupils are actively participating in the lesson and activities, and verifying that students are playing safely and eating well.

“It's nice to be able to pull a classroom image up on the screen to keep track of the teachers' lessons, or to see if students are behaving well or getting out of hand,” continues Duffield. “What's great is that the Milestone and Axis technology allows us to observe classrooms without disturbing the lesson flow, and we see the true, unvarnished behavior of our students during their normal interactions with teachers.”

According to Duffield, the Milestone XProtect Express and Axis network camera solution has surpassed her expectations. As she explains it, parents have had little, if any, exposure to operating an advanced video monitoring system, but with just the click of a mouse, they have a high-resolution view of their children in classrooms and outdoor environments.

“At the start of the school year, parents flocked to the monitors and were amazed at the ability to retain an active role in their child's day without distracting them during school hours,” she says. “As the school year progresses, the monitoring stations average about 10 users in the morning and 10 during lunch. We are proud to offer Milestone's interface to the families of our pupils and are thrilled with its positive effect on our program.”

For Schreyer of Stone Security, the Dancing Moose Montessori School installation is an outstanding example of the versatility of the Milestone software: “The flexibility of the Milestone open platform with Axis allows our techs to be experts regardless of client vertical. We are able to choose the perfect solutions for our customers and integrate every important service needed for each installation. Dancing Moose Montessori School has access control technology integrated with the Milestone video for the ability to safely monitor students at all times.”

To Efficiency and Beyond! Security in Manufacturing

To Efficiency and Beyond! Security in Manufacturing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADT delivers tailored security to food and beverage industry

ADT delivers tailored security to food and beverage industry

Editor / Provider: ADT | Updated: 7/11/2014 | Article type: Security 50

ADT announced the Food and Beverage Solutions Bundle as part of the company's strategic plan to deliver customized security and automation solutions to address the most common needs and concerns of business owners within a particular industry. In addition to the recently announced ADT Retail Solutions Bundle, the company also has further plans to deliver bundled solutions for small business owners of clinics, doctor's or professional services offices and mechanical shops.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in six Americans falls ill each year from foodborne diseases, underscoring major concern for small business owners in the food and beverage industry. Taking the wide gamut of threats into consideration, the new Food and Beverage Solutions Bundle is intended to help solve the most pressing issues that keep restaurant and bar owners up at night – from food safety and energy usage, to the safety of their customers and employees, and the security of their cash and other assets.

“The protection of small business owners and their assets is our bread and butter, and always a core objective in serving our customers,” said Luis Orbegoso, President of ADT Small Business. “With the increased threats faced by the food and beverage industry, ranging from food spoilage to sweethearting and inventory theft, our latest offering addresses these concerns head-on, and meets the specific needs of our customers in the food service business.”

The customized portfolio includes the ability to remotely control small appliances and monitor motion detection, door and window entry and video surveillance with event-triggered notifications. Additionally, smart thermostat features enable climate management throughout the premise, while freezer and refrigerator sensors can send alerts when temperature levels spike and breach a pre-programmed range, reducing the potential for food spoilage and increasing overall peace of mind.

“Our café is in a historic building that is a focal point of the close-knit Grandin community and a hub for customers to enjoy hearty, locally-sourced food with good company,” said Alan Porter, owner of Lil' Black River Café in Grandin, Missouri. “ADT has provided us with the peace of mind to focus on what we love to do – serve great food to great people – rather than worrying about potential theft or property damage. With multiple solutions installed throughout our cafe, we have around-the-clock visibility into our kitchen, refrigerator, dining room and basement, from anywhere, at anytime.”

The Food and Beverage Solutions Bundle addresses key security and productivity concerns across the food service industry, including the need to:
* Increase food safety and standards: ADT's new bundle can help business owners control their business environment through thermostat and small appliance control, as well as monitor the critical temperatures of their food inventory, helping to prevent perishable inventory from premature spoilage. Through remotely accessible video services, business owners can monitor sensitive merchandise and food preparation and ensure consistent hygiene standards are met by all of their employees.
* Remotely monitor and control: ADT Pulse Interactive Business Solutions allows business owners to remotely control and monitor all aspects of their business, whether they are physically on-site or not, including: regulating premise climate, monitoring deliveries, arming/disarming alarm systems and even turning lights on and off – all from any Internet-enabled device, including smartphones and tablets. Through Pulse, business owners can also schedule customized notifications via text or email when specific activities take place in their cafe or restaurant, such as activity in a restricted area like a back office or inventory room.
* Efficiently protect customers and inventory: Event-triggered video recordings and alerts help business owners monitor deliveries, inventory conditions and sensitive business areas, helping to reduce the risk of stock damage and employee and customer theft. These video monitoring capabilities can help to mitigate some of the common behaviors that hurt the bottom line, such as “sweethearting,” a major source of overall revenue loss.

Korean luxurious casino deploys Webgate HD-CCTV solution

Korean luxurious casino deploys Webgate HD-CCTV solution

Editor / Provider: Webgate | Updated: 6/23/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

WEBGATE, the Korea-based surveillance equipment provider, as well as a division of of Daemyung Enterprise, has completed the HD-CCTV surveillance system installation for a world-class casino in Pusan, together with their partner company SARADA.

The casino, located in Haeundae, is one of the top tourist destinations in Korea. It offers not just a wide selection of slot machines and tables where guests enjoy baccarat, blackjack and roulette. The whole casino is divided into various sections according to features and styles, providing premium service and amenities from a world-class casino, to meet expectations from travelers around the world.

While the casino sees huge money being handled during games every day, the video surveillance system becomes one of the core facilities in preventing illegal game or theft. This casino had been operating its video surveillance system with analog camera and DVR for a long time. However, there has been a continuous request of upgrading to full-HD video surveillance system. Representativesof the casino security  department had chosen WEBGATE's HD-CCTV system,  after making thorough comparison between "IP camera system based on network" and "HD-CCTV system based on HD-SDI transmission technology".

HD-CCTV system can make use of  the existing coaxial cables of  the analog system,  and can transmit full-HD digital video without frame loss. Unlike IP systems, it doesn't cause delay during video compression or network transmission, and provides real-time video monitoring for security personnel. Thanks to the advanced video CODEC solution, DVR can record high quality video which is undistinguishable from the live video, so its recording can serve as evidence when accidents occur. Besides, the camera's anti-motion blur function, and high reliability  both played an essential part in making WEBGATE a solution provider.

One Cable Solution:
HD-CCTV's “One Cable Solution” was applied to casino's video surveillance system. One Cable Solution configuration means that by using the coaxial cable, DVR supplies power to camera and controls cameras' OSD menu and zoom/focus. Also, in this configuration, all channels have 30fps to provide full-frame recording. Casino security personnel are very satisfied with the new HD-CCTV system because they can have the most optimized system by operating the system in the same way with conventional ones. They said that they will continue to upgrade their rest analog system as well.

Herefordshire solar farm installed Optex sensors to reduce false alarms

Herefordshire solar farm installed Optex sensors to reduce false alarms

Editor / Provider: Optex | Updated: 6/20/2014 | Article type: Security 50

The Herefordshire solar farm, located near Hoarwithy, is a multi million pound solar farm that provides power to the national grid. The remote site is predominantly unmanned and has a two kilometre perimeter.

To prevent the theft or damage of solar panels, the Herefordshire farm required a security system which could detect any intrusion on site and transmit alarms and live images to a remote video monitoring centre, which then verifies the situation and takes action accordingly. The new perimeter protection system had to be able to accommodate wildlife and environmental changes, as sheep are roaming around the site and could trigger false alarms. So could vegetation sway and change in weather. It was critical for the site owner to have the lowest false rate while keeping the catch performance rate to a maximum.

AVA Security & Communications recommended and installed the new security systems, comprising more than 25 of the active infrared REDNET perimeter detectors from OPTEX Europe, which are located every 50 metres. It utilises a 16 beam ‘net' configuration to provide high level detection capability and can be configured to drastically decrease the level of nuisance alarms. In this case two months after the installation was completed the monitoring centre received 300 times fewer false alarms than it would expect for a site of such site and complexity. The outstanding performance of the intrusion detection system helps improve the efficiency of the monitoring centre which can focus on investigating genuine alarms.

LILIN presents professional security solutions for gaming industry

LILIN presents professional security solutions for gaming industry

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by LILIN | Updated: 6/16/2014 | Article type: Tech Corner

Casinos require absolute innovative video surveillance
Casino security surveillance system requires the ability to respond rapidly to incidents at diverse level of lighting. The gaming industry, one of the early adopters of video monitoring solutions, fully understood the need to guard property, people, and most importantly the integrity of its gaming operations. With several casino surveillance projects in the pipeline, LILIN leads casino security technology trends.

Gaming facilities and entertainment operations definitely need surveillance tools and software that are able to meet the most demanding requirements. Gaming video surveillance has to focus on the activities at the gaming tables and slot machines in order to prevent cheating,settle disputes and protect the casino from dishonest employees. It is difficult to secure and monitor due to the nature of the environment – fast moving chips/cards as well as flashing lights.

What casinos surveillance need
Gaming is primarily about surveillance, so real-time video viewing and effectively suspect tracing are vital in the gaming world. Also, the surveillance applications for casinos and gaming entertainment environments need to meet local, state, or national gaming regulations.

Video solutions for gaming & casinos
LILIN Ultra series cameras are available now. Casino operations have the option to adopt 120 fps IP-based cameras, UFG1122, and 4K Ultra High Definition cameras, UHG1182, and analytics software into their surveillance systems. LILIN advanced network cameras are able to distinguish the color of chips and record high resolution picture videos. Casinos also need panoramic 360-degree technologies, LILIN FD2452 – fisheye panoramic cameras can cover more area more efficiently with less staff.

When high rollers have arrived at the casino, License Plate Recognition technology can help to identify and flag. Point-of-Sale analytics technology can help to monitor employees. With LILIN advanced network cameras, gamblers, and dealers could enhance casinos' security management for a secured business operation.

Unparalleled clarity and picture quality
LILIN cameras with enhanced wide dynamic range for unparalleled clarity and picture quality, even in low light conditions / in variable light conditions. Scalable CMX solutions from LILIN can be expanded to support hundreds of IP cameras. LILIN's HD image quality allows operators to see the greatest level of details. With advanced features, including real-time face, motion, alarm detection, LILIN systems give you critical, high-definition coverage intelligence. LILIN end-to-end surveillance solutions can provide you the security intelligence you need to protect your house and players.

LILIN progressing with advanced gaming monitoring technology
LILIN has been developing new products to meet the diverse requirements of the gaming industry. LILIN video management systems is designed for around-the-clock monitoring. Operators can easily extract details of recordings minute by minute from footages because LILIN high definition IP cameras support absolute magnification. Such high degree of resolution is able to capture subtle movements such as hand gestures even under the low-light conditions All gaming activities can be well-monitored at all times by LILIN solutions.

Sponsored by: 
LILIN is a global IP video manufacturer with over 30 years of experience. Throughout the years, the company has maintained its dedication to Creativity, Progress, and Excellence providing expertise in digital video with a strong focus on innovation moving forward.

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