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Tips for selecting a cost-effective, efficient surveillance system

Tips for selecting a cost-effective, efficient surveillance system

Editor / Provider: Roger Morency, Exacq | Updated: 12/9/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Challenged with patrolling a large area and protecting thousands of residents and hundreds of businesses, local governments and police departments need an efficient video surveillance system. Today, municipalities face a variety of new security challenges including geographical disparity, scalability and remote monitoring.

Government and municipal projects often have tight budget restraints and require a cost-effective surveillance system that covers a large area while providing expansion opportunities for future security needs.

Union City, N.J., and Prospect Heights, Ill., are two cities that have recently implemented cost-effective video surveillance systems. As a result, each city has seen a reduction in crime rates and a vastly improved public safety system by considering the following elements in their solution.

View Video Remotely
To provide a successful municipal surveillance system, find a video management system (VMS) software that law enforcement officials can easily use remotely. Police departments need to view live and recorded video from their desks, phones or vehicles from anywhere throughout the city, day or night.

Prospect Heights Police Department strategically placed cameras in the highest risk public areas. With exacqVision VMS software all government officials can download the free Exacq mobile app or run the free client software on any web browser. This allows them to assess situations as they are happening and provide guidance to on-the-scene officers. Additionally, the exacqVision software has given them the opportunity to monitor their risk, assess the environment they are entering and prioritize issues immediately from their devices. Remote video monitoring enhances situational awareness, enabling them to respond quicker and more effectively at crime scenes.

Implement a Wireless Solution
When tasked with monitoring a city consisting of thousands of residents, consider implementing a wireless mesh network for the most effective security system. In Prospect Heights, Illinois, the surveillance system acts as a force multiplier, allowing the police department to keep more officers patrolling the streets and letting the cameras cover high crime areas. With this solution, video from the cameras is transported wirelessly to a nearby building and then transmitted to the police station over the secured network. The wireless system connects the police department with the community areas for real-time viewing of activities. By leveraging this capability, Prospect Heights can monitor crime in neighborhoods without the need for full-time police officers to constantly patrol the area.

Be Resource Efficient
Replacing an entire security system can be very expensive. As an alternative, law enforcement officials can leverage their current infrastructure, wiring and analog cameras while also updating their security system. This maximizes the initial security investment while providing the flexibility to upgrade the system later. Union City, N.J. was able to utilize their existing analog infrastructure while also adding new technology, while Prospect Heights Police Department fully integrated the surveillance system with their broadband wireless network to better leverage resources.

Find an Easy-to-Use VMS Software
Simplify the process of searching and exporting video by selecting an easy-to-use VMS software. Most police departments and local governments suffer from lack of time and limited resources. The exacqVision client greatly improved operations and reduced investigation time for Prospect Heights Police Department. In the event of a reported crime, police officers can use the exacqVision VMS software for post-incident investigation and research. Officers can quickly search the exacqVision client for the time of the incident and can then export real-time evidence and footage to be used in court if necessary. Chief of Police Jamie Dunne noted, “The exacqVision software has allowed us to quickly capture video clips of incidents that we have used to bring criminal investigations to successful conclusions.”

Prepare for Future Growth
Communities continually grow and crime hot spots change. Therefore, municipalities need to be forward thinking when designing a security solution. Scalable solutions provide an easy method to add cameras and expand the security system as the population demographics adjust. Prospect Heights initially designed their wireless security solution with future additions in mind. They accounted for the ability to add cameras moving forward and adjust the system as needed.

Oil and gas fuel up on safety

Oil and gas fuel up on safety

Editor / Provider: Israel Gogol, freelancer, a&s International | Updated: 12/9/2014 | Article type: Infrastructure

From a safety and security perspective, oil and gas installations are among the most critical and challenging environments. The speed in which an incident can escalate to adisaster means that operators need to get information quickly to be able to react and minimize damages. Advances in video technology and video content analytics have great potential to assist oil and gas installations in detecting fires, leaks, and security threats, as well as help make operations more efficient.

As oil exploration moves to new regions across the world, so does the need for better monitoring of remote facilities, increased protection against terror threats, and pipeline and leak detection monitoring solutions. Exploration and drilling security systems will be the largest segment in terms of spending and adoption followed by refineries and storage facilities. According to research by Frost and Sullivan, the global oil and gas infrastructure security market was estimated at US$19.6 billion in 2013 and will grow to $24.7 billion by 2021. Including network and cyber security, the combined oil and gas security market will reach $30 billion by 2018.

Any damage to an oil and gas facility has grave consequences. Incidents have implications on employee safety, environmental damage, cleaning costs, damage penalties, equipment replacement, and the list goes on and on. This becomes even more challenging when considering the nature of these installations. There are hundreds of potential breach points for leaks and damages: numerous valves and pumps, meters upon meters of pipes. Even within the facility, environments are not the same. A refinery for example will include various types of oil, transported at different temperatures and pressures, from ambient temperatures and pressure up to 130 bars at 100°C.

In addition, sites are often located in remote and harsh environments. All these make the oil and gas industry one of the most demanding clients for safety and security products. One of the limitations of the oil and gas sector is the stringent regulations regarding equipment. For example, equipment for Class 1 Zone 1 areas — the areas closest to the drill site — needs to be explosion proof, making sure it will not cause an explosion in high risk areas. There are similar limitations on mobile devices since cellular radiation can also cause an explosion.

“If you are looking at a typical oil and gas plant, there will be between 300 to 500 cameras to monitor the perimeter and inner workings of the plant. In addition, there will be thermal cameras to monitor flames and detect leaks and specialty cameras for class and zone areas. In an ocean rig there are 16 to 20 explosion proof cameras and 40 to 50 standard cameras,” said William Moore, Senior Account Manager for Pelco by Schneider Electric.

With so many cameras involved, it is impractical to monitor them all the time; therefore, the cameras are monitored based on an alert rule-engine. In case of an event, whether security or safety related, the proper camera will be triggered and brought to the attention of the operator.

The second line of defense: Video analytics
Typically, video analytics are most appropriate for outdoor and wide-area use, when it is impractical to place sensors (i.e. outdoors or in a warehouse with high ceilings). Common analytics in use are smoke and fire detection, leak detection, gas leak detection, flare-size monitoring, and slip and fall (used for employee safety). In addition, more security-oriented analytics such as perimeter protection and theft detection are also used.

Despite technology advances, video surveillance and video analytics alone cannot replace traditional fire detection systems. Usually both are implemented as standalone systems. Analytics are however beneficial for verification and supplying secondary visual inputs to an alert triggered by other sensors. For example, a combination of a thermal camera and a visible spectrum camera can give a better understanding of a situation. “We use the video analytics only as a second layer of detection and we do not trust it to be the first line of alarm. The reason is due to the day camera sensor's capabilities. Our first line of detection is the thermal vision sensor,” explained Tomer Dadon, CEO of Ex-Sight. “The flame detector camera is normally packed inside the pan tilt video surveillance system. This system can connect directly to a video surveillance control center or a SCADA system.” Flame detection analytics enables the user to continuously assess and monitor target sites in the range of a few kilometers. While scanning the target area, the system identifies when a designated preset reaches a threatening temperature threshold. Once a flame is identified, the camera uses multiple alarm mechanisms, including transmitting the fire's coordinates. The specialty of the system is its ability to distinguish between flame and smoke sources which are part of the industrial environment and those which pose security risks.

“We see a strong trend for coupling video analytics with thermal video surveillance cameras,” said Laurent Assouly, Marketing Manager for Evitech. This combination enables a volume protection instead of line detection. Thermal cameras enable long range detection, such as 600 meters or one kilometer, while color cameras usually cannot see beyond 130 meters at night. Detection over color images would possibly raise more false alarms due to moving lights, flashing lights, etc., and would not reveal many details at the end of the fields of view at nighttime.

Video Analytics for Operations Monitoring
Video analytics can also be used for process monitoring and ensuring the facility is functioning properly. “We monitor pump jacks to detect any problems with their operation. By monitoring the cadence of the pump we can detect if it stops moving and alert the operators immediately,” explained Michael Von-Hauff, CEO of Osprey Informatics. This makes analytics exceptionally useful for remote sites that are not manned permanently. Without this capability, a malfunction can sometimes be detected only after hours, or even days if the pump is located in a remote location, when a human inspector visits the site. Such a solution, therefore, saves lost production time and helps turn video into actionable intelligence. Video monitoring can also be used to audit employee behavior during alarms and other safety events — it allows the relevant officers to check if all employees are following the relevant procedures.

Connectivity and systems integration
A growing market trend is connectivity and systems integration. “There are thousands of land rigs, gated and sensed-in, the clients are asking for the possibility to integrate cameras and access control,” explained Moore. “For example, we implemented such a solution in western Texas. A FOB key card swipe at the gate pops up the picture of the truck to the administrator.” The system is also integrated with LPR cameras, cell phones, and iPads and is used for site management and monitoring site visits. “Another thing the customer is looking for is a common platform such as ONVIF,” added Thomas Soderlund, Business Development Manager for EMEA at Bosch Security Systems. “With the old analog systems it was easy to pick any camera and plug it in and it would work due to the 1 volt peak-to-peak signals. With IP devices it is not always that easy since a new firmware or change of model mean additional programming of the main system is needed to be able to provide functionality.”

SCADA Integration
There is a benefit in connecting different systems to the SCADA system. The benefit of an integrated system is to have one common interface for alarm handling and monitoring, compared to moving between multiple systems in order to then build up the picture of the event. In addition this integration can help in halting delivery and limiting a leak's consequences. However, most platforms need to use SDKs to integrate with the SCADA systems, which is often a costly and complex solution.

Avoiding false alarms
There are several options to reduce false alarms. One is to install multiple different sensors for verification purposes. A second system for avoiding false alarms is to calibrate the system against an existing database of detections and false alarms. Tests can be performed using high pressure water cleaning tools, which deliver varying temperatures and pressures. These simulate various sorts of leaks in the different pipes (themselves at different temperatures). These tests can be used as a benchmark for the analytics and then need to be carried out at regular intervals to ensure the continuity of service of the solution. Artificial intelligence analytics check alerts and reduce false alarms by differentiating between real objects and other objects that might cause false alarms such as changes in lighting (e.g., a cloud passing over the sun or a light being switched off or on, long evening shadows, and bright lights pointed at the camera).

Not just video: Other senses take part
Dedicated sensors and video analytics are not the only features used for leak detection — there is also an audio-based detection method. “In a southern Louisiana installation, the cameras have the audio option turned on and in the case of an alert the operator can listen to the pipe to hear if there is a high pitch whistle coming out, indicating gas is leaking from the pipe,” described Moore. “This is already an automatic feature in the non-class and zone cameras. For class and zone areas it is more complicated due to technical reasons. The external microphone has to meet the safety criteria and not cause explosions.” iOmniscient combines with its video analytics smell sensors that can detect gas leaks and audio analysis to identify sounds. “When combined with the analytics from video these systems can provide an enhanced understanding of what is happening in an environment,” explained Dr. Rustom Kanga, CEO of iOmniscient.

Automated response
Information integration from various sensors into one platform is usually described as PSIM (physical security information management). Kanga described a solution where the information is not only pulled together but is also responsible for automated response. “The system, without human intervention, will find the nearest appropriate first responder and provide him with detailed information,” said Kanga. Relevant information can be pushed to the user's cell phone, turning the user's smartphone into a mobile control room. The user can use the phone to perform all the operations that he could have performed in a control room. However, the quality of the entire system depends on the quality of the core analytics. Automated responses reduce reaction time and as such are beneficial for both safety and security but also for operational efficiency — making sure malfunctions are treated fast.

Future trends
As oil and gas exploration continuous to expand further to more difficult environments so will the demand for video surveillance systems. The future calls for durable and reliable systems, able to withstand harsh field conditions and connect with other systems that will be able to give operators more than just security and also optimize operations. The future will no doubt involve more and more integrated systems, making full use of technology for both safety and security.

Secutech 2015: Source security's next big thing

Secutech 2015: Source security's next big thing

Editor / Provider: Secutech | Updated: 12/8/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Secutech is the annual international exhibition and conference for world-class manufacturers and discerning buyers of security products and solutions. The 18th edition is officially confirmed to take place from 28 – 30 April 2015 at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center in Taiwan.

Mr Parson Lee, Managing Director of organiser Messe Frankfurt New Era Business Media Ltd, said: “In 2014, Secutech's dedicated sections for smart home garnered accolades with the booming industry outlook. In 2015, the sub-show, SMAhome under secutech will be dedicated to home security, home control and connected home. In line with Taiwan's excellent IT framework, Networks & IC (Integrated Circuit) industries, Taiwan manufacturers in the telecom and connected-home fields such as Chicony, D-Link, Foxconn, also known globally for their competitive edge will join the show in 2015. In addition, the show is highly anticipated by suppliers from China and South Korea, with product design talents, customization prowess and technical support. Delivering from DIY gadgets to project-based solutions, SMAhome will serve as a top-tier platform for global smart home professionals to connect with Asia's premium manufacturers.”

Held concurrently with SMAhome, Secutech 2015 aims to cater to demand for a wider spectrum of safety and security-related products. The latest zones cover:

• High Definition
Now, the resolution gets sharper, in smartphone and everywhere. With better image quality, 4K camera, H.265 NVR, UHF monitor at secutech 2015 will be incorporated with smart edges, facial recognition, and loitering detection. Over 1,000 choices of Ultra HD and HD equipment and facilities will be showcased onsite.

• Transmission & Network
Transmission distance limitations have been a major obstacle for HD migration. Ranging from coaxial, Ethernet, to fiber connections, whether sending signal or power, the Transmission & Network zone will feature 30 leading Taiwanese information and communications technology (ICT) solution providers including CTC UNION, Dintek, EtherWan, LANTECH, LEX, ORING to present last mile technologies.

• Storage
Higher-resolution images are calling for larger data storage. To back up systems, a complete storage line-up is showcased from SSD, commercial NAS, enterprise NAS, NVR, server storage, Cloud service in secutech 2015.

• Software
The Software zone, focusing on Video Management Software (VMS) and Video Content Analytics (VCA) technologies will be a networking platform for hardware makers, software developers and system integrators to interact. VMS is the foundation for video monitoring, analysis and recording. The development of its extensive application is influential to various vertical markets in the industry, such as home automation, retail, transport, safety and security.

In addition, zones for Access Control, HD-over-coaxial Solutions, Key Components & Parts, and Fire & Safety will provide an ideal place for worldwide importers to experience the latest technical development within the industry.

Secutech will also organise a series of highly thought-provoking seminars. Prominent industry players, keen on sharing their knowledge and experiences, will be the speakers. Highlights include the Global Digital Security Forum (GDSF) and the Composec Conference. Attendees can expect to gain insights into the evolving global security industry through presentations and interactions with experts.

Sponsored by:  
Secutech, the annual international exhibition and conference for world-class manufacturers and discerning buyers of security products and solutions, will take place from 28 – 30 April 2015 at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center in Taiwan. 
Now in its 18th year, secutech features some 500 exhibitors from 20 countries and attracts over 26,000 visitors. Dedicated pavilions for the following sectors: Surveillance | Software & Management Systems | Transmission & Networks | Smart Homes | Key Components / Parts | Electronic Systems

Register your FREE visitor badge now at www.secutech.com/registration/en

CP PLUS introduces 3i home solution: a big leap in integrated solution

CP PLUS introduces 3i home solution: a big leap in integrated solution

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by Aditya | Updated: 12/1/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

CP PLUS, a world leader in high performance security surveillance products and solutions introduces CP PLUS 3i Home Solution – an Intelligent, Integrated and Interactive solution that goes beyond conventional system. The solution is ideal for residential areas and is poised to be a boon for real estate industry.

CP PLUS 3i Home Solution is the industry's only enterprise–grade one stop comprehensive solution that sets new standards in operational efficiency, cost-effectiveness and performance. 3i Home Solution is scalable, custom-made solution that delivers integrated services that caters to modern day connectivity, security, and situational surveillance.

CP PLUS 3i Home Solution lays out an FTTH (Fiber To The Home) based integrated Hi-tech infrastructure and opens up a number of services for individuals and community. Based on broadband infrastructure, it provides internet and LAN/WAN based services. 3i Home solution offers the following features:


IntelliControl - Automation facilities: The inbuilt system intelligence allows you to monitor, program, and control your home/apartment's lighting and entry locks, heating and air conditioning, and other systems — as a technology that's just around the corner. Automate:
* Light Control ----ON/OFF and Dimming
* Curtain Control
* Appliance Control---AC/Microwave/Fans etc.
* Scene control----Customize and profile combination of settings, i.e., lights, temperature etc.

Save your customized settings to receive text or email alerts, turn off lights based on time or movement, or see a photo when the kids arrive home and many more.

IntelliSecure - Intelligent security system: 3i Home solution powers the most advanced video management and video analytics deployed anywhere. The solution caters to a wide spectrum of requirements, i.e., from warning and the aversion of threats, to the prevention of subversive activities and provision for safety of the people and economic well-being of businesses.

IntelliEnergy - Energy efficient solution for common areas: With a Central Management System, you can configure when to switch each individual street light ON or OFF, and/or by how much to reduce the lamp power. This allows any number of switching events and/or dimming levels.


Intellitainment - DTH, IPTV and VoIP based services: CP PLUS 3i Home solution introduces interoperability and integration. 3i Home solution is a complete solution for IPTV and VoIP related services. This solution enables transmission of next-generation data and video services over broadband networks.

CP Plus deploys world-class technology and state-of-the-art infrastructure to offer the best in class DTH services to prospective customers.

IntelliAccess - Access Wi-fi network: The solution brings together best-in-class Wi-Fi access to all residences and common areas.

IntelliAlert - Emergency alerts and Call divert to smart phones:
* Set security zones in your house and secure your home by sensing abnormal situations (Smoke, Gas, Break) and triggering the alarm.
* Connect instantly to emergency services, Fire, Police, Medical, etc. by sending a panic alarm to emergency personnel from the in-home touchscreen.
* Never miss a visitor call! The solution enables visitor's incoming calls to be forwarded to smartphone.

IntelliAttend- Intelligent Video Door Phone: The 3i Home solution includes the state-of-the-art integrated communication & surveillance systems to meet diversified environments like villas (Wired & Wireless), apartments systems and multi-apartments systems in Analog & IP.

IntelliWatch- Central Monitoring: IntelliWatch features monitoring from a central location and is designed for an intelligent security solution that provides customer's safety and protection of property by integrating intruder detection, video monitoring, two-way audio communication, real-time notification (Email/SMS), Remote access and access control.

IntelliConnect - Flat-to-flat intercom: CP PLUS 3i Solution includes IP VDP system, which not only allows you to see who's at the door, but also enables you to communicate with visitor before you open the door. The indoor monitor can be easily installed anywhere in the house, giving you the convenience of viewing the visitor, unlocking the door and viewing any suspicious activity; all at the press of a button, without needing to go up to the entrance.

 

                    

Gaming sector demands beyond surveillance

Gaming sector demands beyond surveillance

Editor / Provider: Michelle Chu | Updated: 11/27/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Fraud and theft are the most common illegal activities that take place in casino facilities, as a large amount of money is handled between staffs and patrons every single day making casino a convenient target. When it comes to casino security deployment, there are many to concern about. Making sure that the patrons and staffs are safe and feel secured surely is on the top of the list. However, from a managing aspect, it requires more than just making people in the facilities feels secured. As a matter of fact, being able to deter, detect, and hold quality evidence for further investigation is usually the managers' ultimate goal.

asmag.com is here to present some professional insights from experts around the globe in this industry regarding gaming security applications. According to their opinions, the key demands from gaming sectors boil down to the following points:

1. Real-time video surveillance recording:
30 frames per second (fps) usually is the bottom line for gaming surveillance applications, as higher fps is more desired in order to capture every detail on the gaming table or happening in the facilities which may later on become crucial forensic evidence.
2. High resolution & high frame rate:
As mentioned previously, higher frame-rate is much preferred. However, having higher fps sometimes suggests compromising on image resolution. High resolution and high frame rate are both in demand in terms of surveillance systems in gaming facilities.
3. Color images in low-light environment:
In order to be able to distinguish the colors of gaming chips, it is crucial to record color and high-resolution images despite shooting in a dim environment, as most of the casinos dim the light purposely just to create a relaxing ambience.
4. Local gaming demands:
For the overseas gaming investment, following certain gaming security demands from the local authorities is necessary. For example, some countries require the gaming facilities to equip with surveillance cameras that come with certain functions or set limits on image resolution and frame rate.
5. Search & tracking:
There could be up to hundreds, or even thousands of cameras in a gaming facility, depends on the scale of the business. Searching and tracking functions surely help the operators to track down to suspicious activities and person effectively.

Casino may consider for security systems upgrades every five to seven years in average. When it comes to retrofit project, there are more to consider about. “End users must decide whether to continue to invest in analog technology or to begin migrating to IP with a hybrid system. They need to determine if the analog system can be improved or if they'd benefit more from the better image quality and detail provided by high definition IP cameras. The challenge is determining which path to take,” said Tom Kochenberger, Field Systems Specialist at Bosch Security Systems. There is no correct answer between continuing to use analog systems or migrating to IP-based systems – it depends on various factors such as budgets, practical necessities and further plans for upgrades, just to name a few.

For the end users who want to spare the troubles on cabling and decide to upgrade existing analog systems, HD-over-coaxial solution might be their prior option now. “HDCVI provides real-time recording at up to 1080p high-quality image resolution, with users' existing cable systems,” said John Li, Product Manager at Dahua Technology. “Moreover, HDCVI guarantees a full HD image quality under real-time recording which is definitely an ideal feature for gaming industry.”

Trending technologies and value-added applications

Trending in the casinos: 4K camera, facial recognition and license plate recognition
As the technology is becoming even advanced day by day, there are more possibilities for innovative techniques being applied for security purposes in casinos. In fact, a promising future can be seen on certain technologies in the gaming industry. For example, 4K camera, facial recognition, license plate recognition, etc.

“The adoption of IP video is directly affected by the use of advanced forensic technologies that provide automated recognition,” stated Steve Surfaro, Industry Liaison of Axis Communications. “Facial recognition of a fixed population of known scam artists and criminals can automate the detection process and move casino surveillance from today's reactive posture to proactive. License plate recognition (LPR) technology is already being used in Las Vegas casino parking areas and shopping malls to reduce potential crime. I recently met a representative from a vehicle recovery firm in a Las Vegas parking area. They had deployed LPR cameras similar to those used on law enforcement and parking enforcement vehicles. These IP video cameras automatically decode the plates of moving vehicles and deliver an alert indicating a ‘vehicle of interest'.”

Ed Thompson, CTO at DVTEL, is convinced that more casinos will start to incorporate 4K camera technology. “Casinos will also benefit from the ultra HD resolution and superior color reproduction provided by 4K cameras, allowing them to quickly identify potential for fraud and crime. Video analytics will also play an important role in enabling casinos to be more proactive with their surveillance programs. Both server-based and edge-based analytics will be leveraged for indoor and perimeter surveillance needs and we only expect applications for analytics to grow as the technology matures.”

Move beyond video surveillance
Besides higher image quality, the end users in the gaming sector are targeting on more value-added applications that can make the most of the security systems and managing systems.

Casinos are expanding their purview of security beyond video surveillance into more advanced technologies and systems, such as PSIM (Physical Security Information Management), video analytics, and mobile apps. Dr. Bob Banerjee, Senior Director of Training and Development at NICE Systems, provides some insights regarding these advanced technologies for the gaming sector below:

PSIM
PSIM is moving away from focusing on pure integration and toward operational workflows, processes and procedures which can be automated to make operators lives easier, and business more cost efficient. Casinos are no exception. Simply put PSIM solutions capture and correlate information from third party sensors and integrate those inputs into a common operating picture. In a casino environment, this might include security subsystems like video, access control, intrusion and fire, but also HVAC, elevators, escalators, public signage and mass notification. PSIM's automated workflows guide operators to quickly and efficiently respond and enable collaboration across security teams. By automating response procedures, PSIM ensures that operators respond to incidents quickly, efficiently and in a compliant manner.

Advanced Analytics for Real-time Forensics
It's not uncommon for casinos to employ hundreds, even thousands of surveillance cameras. But when something happens, security operators still need to resort to a feet-on-the-ground search to find the suspect. What's the alternative – to watch all the recordings from all the cameras to try and locate the suspect? Impossible – just 400 cameras and 1 hour of elapsed time would mean hundreds of hours of video footage to plow through. But what if you could let video analytics do this work for you?

Today, video analytics technology can provide real-time forensics of surveillance video to locate a person of interest in situations when time is of the essence. Using a video image, uploaded photo, or user-generated composite, this revolutionary video analytics tool can scan hours of video in minutes and automatically filter out 95 percent of irrelevant images to help a casino track down a suspect. Its mapping capabilities provide geo-spatial awareness by retracing the suspect's movements across cameras and pinpointing his current or last known locations on a casino's premises. All images, related video, and locations associated with the search are digitally stamped and can be saved or shared among law enforcement agencies for use in investigations and prosecution.

Mobile apps
Casinos spend billions of dollars annually on surveillance technology. Thanks to mobile apps, they can now start to think about how to extend these investments beyond the walls of the control room and into the hands of their personnel.

We live in an age of instant situational awareness – information like knowing where to go and the best way to get there is right at our fingertips. What if field personnel could be equipped with a smartphone or tablet and a PSIM-centric Enterprise Geographical Information System (EGIS) Web application that not only notified them of an incident, but also showed them the best way to get there, and how to respond? It's possible today.

Using another mobile app on their smartphones, a worker could also report an incident, and send video or photos to the security command center. The PSIM system receives the incident alert, using RFID or Bluetooth to automatically pinpoint the sender's location, then using that location to pull up nearby surveillance video feeds. The command center operator immediately sees who's sending the alert, where it originated, what's happening, and what actions to take. The app is also equipped with a panic button.

 

 

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Going global with top-tier Taiwan products & services

Going global with top-tier Taiwan products & services

Editor / Provider: Lingo Lin, a&s SMAhome | Updated: 11/20/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

It's only been the last few years since the smart home sector has picked up widespread attention. Sensing such explosive growth, Taiwan traditional security camera makers and component suppliers have all jumped on the bandwagon, all hoping to grab a share of the global market. To date, Taiwan's export destinations of smart home products have spanned across major markets in the US and Europe, with most of their businesses channeled through telcos, distributors, retailers, solution providers, and project-based SIs.

By having a rich experience in working with European smart home brands, Huang of Philio observed some key popular items – the combination of good designed product appearance, stable technology and safety certification assured. “Too-cute designed products can be regarded as toys in some markets. Clean and light design is preferable now when talking about business prospect. Also, safety certification is a must-have for European partners,” he said, adding that Philio also aims for the US market in 2015.

Dextech, a company who has been providing the entire ecosystem of smart home items that include cloud servers, software app and firmware development, said it is also targeting two of the world's biggest markets – Europe and the US.

However, there are still those who see vast potential in emerging markets, notably South and Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America.

“Our business scope encompasses ‘ROW', or simply, rest of world,” Dr. Chen of Skywatch said, adding that their customers now include Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Dominican Republic and Panama.

“Although Quadrant's target markets are the US, Western Europe and Southeast Asia, we also hope to reach to markets in Africa, Eastern Europe and China with the launch of our new products,” said Quandrant's product marketing director Debby Chen.

Quadrant is in the production of consumer video monitoring with wireless technology and cloud service. Since 1999 it has built its reputation by making quality memory and camera modules for the aftermarket, distribution and reseller channels.

The survival of the fittest rule is practiced and promoted everywhere, even in business. In most cases, it ignites competitiveness among businesses, not cooperation. In a business structure, businesses forge partnerships to raise awareness among consumers, tapping each other’s potential and maximizing it to the fullest.

In today’s connected world, the role of system integration is becoming increasingly important: more and more systems are designed to connect, to be interoperable, both physically and functionally.

Indeed, by developing our own unique strengths and talents and focusing on cooperation instead of competition, we keep the ecology of the business world diverse and healthy. There’s no need for anyone to claim a generalized top position. We have to work together to make the system function and opt for a brighter, sustainable future.

     [MIT Feature Selection]
Made-in-Taiwan shines under the spotlight
Taiwan creates value through innovation & user experience
The best of both worlds – Taiwan hardware & software savvy
The powerhouse of product customization by Taiwan suppliers

The 18th Secutech offers biz opportunities for global security players

The 18th Secutech offers biz opportunities for global security players

Editor / Provider: Secutech | Updated: 11/10/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Secutech is the annual international exhibition and conference for world-class manufacturers and discerning buyers of security products and solutions. The 18th edition is officially confirmed to take place from 28 – 30 April 2015 at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center in Taiwan.

Mr Parson Lee, Managing Director of organiser Messe Frankfurt New Era Business Media Ltd, said: “The upcoming edition of Secutech will be held in April. This strategic timing allows exhibitors to present their latest technologies and launch new products during the optimum sourcing season. The show is highly anticipated by suppliers from across the globe, especially those in China, South Korea and Taiwan. These three major manufacturing bases account for up to 70% of the global security-based product output. We will once again serve as a premier networking platform for fair participants to form strategic partnerships and distributorships.”

Two debut product zones with enhanced categorisation cater to industry needs
Secutech 2015 aims to cater to demand for a wider spectrum of safety and security-related products. As a result, six special product zones, two of which are new additions to the fair, will be featured. The latest zones cover:

* Transmission & Network
Transmission distance limitations have been a major obstacle for HD migration. However, recent advancements in transmission and networking technologies allow video feeds to be sent at higher speeds. The Transmission & Network zone will feature leading Taiwanese information and communications technology (ICT) solution providers to present last mile technologies. There will also be a demonstration area for industry professionals to exchange ideas for smoother HD migration.

*Software & Storage
Higher resolution images are propelling intensive usage of data storage and management. The Software & Storage zone will be a networking platform for hardware makers, software developers and system integrators to interact. This zone aims to raise awareness of Video Management Software (VMS) and Video Content Analytics (VCA) technologies in Asia. VMS is the foundation for video monitoring, analysis and recording. The development of its extensive application is influential to various vertical markets in the industry. Regarding VCA technologies, they automatically analyse video to detect and determine temporal and spatial events. These technologies are applicable to home automation, retail, transport, safety and security.

These two zones make their debut alongside returning product zones for Access Control, Key Components & Parts, IP & HD World, and Smart Home. All zones aim to promote development within the industry.

Secutech will also organise a series of highly thought-provoking seminars. Prominent industry players, keen on sharing their knowledge and experiences, will be the speakers. Highlights include the Global Digital Security Forum (GDSF) and the Composec Conference. Attendees can expect to gain insights into the evolving global security industry through presentations and interactions with experts.

For more details about Secutech 2015, please visit www.secutech.com. Alternatively, please call Ms Sandra Chen at +886 2 2659 9080 ext 761, or send an email to sandra.chen@newera.messefrankfurt.com.

With 12 events, Messe Frankfurt is one of the world's leading organisers of fairs and congresses for the expanding international field of safety and security technology. Nine trade fairs and three high-grade congresses in Germany, Asia, the Middle East, South America and the Russia Federation provide optimum opportunities for gaining a foothold in these dynamic growth markets. Further information is available at www.safety-security.messefrankfurt.com

Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is one of the world's leading trade fair organisers, generating around €545 million in sales and employing some 2,000 people worldwide. The Messe Frankfurt Group has a global network of 28 subsidiaries and around 50 international Sales Partners, allowing it to serve its customers on location in more than 150 countries. Messe Frankfurt events take place at more than 30 locations around the globe. In 2013, Messe Frankfurt organised a total of 113 trade fairs, of which more than half took place outside Germany. Comprising an area of 578,000 square metres, Messe Frankfurt's exhibition grounds are home to ten exhibition halls. The company also operates two congress centres. The company is publicly owned, with the City of Frankfurt holding 60 percent and the State of Hesse 40 percent.

For more information, please visit our website at http://www.messefrankfurt.com/.

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.

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