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Milestone CEO: Open the analog mind block to boost your business

Milestone CEO: Open the analog mind block to boost your business

Editor / Provider: Lars Thinggard, CEO, Milestone Systems | Updated: 4/18/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

As the trend towards digital video progresses, we are seeing corporations that are not taking full advantage of the possibilities for enhancing their business with visual data. The big block is not the technology, it is the analog mindset. To gain the full business advantages of digital video, you have to think about video as data and an important element in the IT infrastructure.

Analog video is all about pictures. To simplify it – all you can do with analog video is watching it. There are no integration possibilities, no interconnections to business areas, and no future proofing. The analog video lives and dies in its own closed world. Closed Circuit TV – CCTV: even the name CCTV has a bad ring to it in a digital world that is so much more open and interconnected. Analog video is all pictures – no data. Digital video (or IP video) is all pictures – all data.

All too often we see that a video installation migrated from the data-less analog old world to the digital future is used in the same way as the old installation. This means that nobody has asked the all-important question: “How do we utilize this new data source to improve or expand our business?”

Digital video is more than just video. Data can be analyzed and used in a business context. Digital video is a data source like all other data sources in IT infrastructure. This means that video data can be fed to other IT systems since true open VMS (video management software) can function as a digital video hub, not only feeding video data to other IT systems, but also integrating business functions.

This is important because a video system often serves more than one purpose. Most video systems are used for monitoring and securing people, perimeters and assets. When other purposes are introduced, the VMS has to be able to keep security functions in a safe environment, while at the same time enabling other systems to freely access the video data.

Digital Video is Data
A real-life example of this could be a video security installation securing a parking lot for a company. In the case of an analog installation, you would be able to see the video and review it later – that's all. You would be able to do the same with a digital system – but the digital systems would also enable the video to be actively used for more than just passive watching. You could use video analytics or integration to other systems to determine how many empty parking spaces there are at a given time, ensuring that customers would not be forced to park at another site. License plate recognition could be used to detect important customers arriving, alerting frontline managers to prepare a nice welcome. The system could also be used for advanced security purposes that are impossible to do in an analog system. Using metadata (which is data about data) the video could be analyzed and the results compared to external data sources. If a license plate is normally associated with a car of a certain color and the car entering the car lot suddenly has different color than expected, then the security staff can be alerted immediately.

Boost business with video
Another example is today's modern retail shops. The newest trend in retail is mobile shop assistants that roam the shop floor and handle payments on the spot using a tablet computer or a dedicated smart device. If you want to track this using analog video, you would not only have to install enough analog cameras to ensure that the whole shop floor is covered, you would also need to have a number of operators manually tracking the mobile shop assistants! This is clearly not a feasible approach.

In the digital world the mobile payment units could be linked to the video server, and a camera could be oriented to automatically record the customer session on video together with position and payment data from the mobile terminals. This can be used to improve the customer experience, train staff, optimize floor layout and of course, limit risks. The possibilities are endless when you have the digital mindset.

Best of all, when you use an open platform VMS, you can expand the use of video when you need it. The software is the core of the system, and enables you to expand its use endlessly by adding to the system. Analog video-systems are all hardware. Digital Video has intelligence in the form of software. It is the software that makes the investment future proof and cost effective.

Think Return on Video Investment
Speaking of cost, analog video surveillance systems are often regarded as cheaper than digital systems. Analog cameras cost typically less than digital cameras, an analog video recorder is cheaper than a server with software and the analog cabling is very simple. However, if you shift your mindset from Cost of Acquisition to Return on Investment this picture changes, due to the new possibilities to use video as data.

Intelligent searches can bring down the time spent searching for an incident in the video, smart and mobile clients enable flexible access to the video over digital networks, and video analytics can extract business relevant information. Think of the small difference in cost as an investment in the future.

However, using video as data has more far-reaching consequences than just using open platform technology in a digital network. The organization has to reflect the open digital mindset as well.

Typically, security and IT are regarded as separate functions in a company. Security is often reactive dealing with incidents. IT is more about enabling business going forward. When the concept of video as data comes into play, the organization in a company has to be open. Luckily, this is happening now. Research done by ESG indicates that 91 % of the surveyed organizations had their digital security systems supported by the IT department. This number was 52 % only 3 years ago.

80% of the IT professionals used video for Business Intelligence. The specific uses were - operational efficiencies (58%), production or process control (51%), inventory control (50%), identifying traffic patterns (49%) and employee training (47%). This tactical use of video reflects in investment plans, as 88% states that the business-oriented use of video helps justify IP video technology and infrastructure investments. This stresses even more that the IT-department must treat video as a valuable source of video data, not as an intruding force in the network. IT management has to recognize video as a business tool and look at the video possibilities. Security management has to look beyond the video pictures and into the business possibilities.

It is all a matter of mindset. Think digital, and think it now to start boosting your business.

---By Lars Thinggard, CEO, Milestone Systems

VICON and IQinVISION sign merger agreement

VICON and IQinVISION sign merger agreement

Editor / Provider: IQinVision | Updated: 4/1/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Vicon Industries and IQinVision, a privately held California corporation, announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement that is expected to create a global provider of integrated solutions to the video security market. Vicon is a designer and producer of video security and surveillance systems. IQinVision designs and produces high performance HD megapixel IP cameras.

The merger has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is subject to shareholder approval, and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in Vicon's September quarter. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Vicon will issue shares of Vicon common stock to IQinVision shareholders in an all-stock merger whereby IQinVision shareholders will own approximately 50% of the outstanding common stock of the combined company. After the merger, Vicon will have approximately 9 million shares outstanding.

As permitted and contemplated by the merger agreement, Vicon expects to declare a special cash dividend of $0.55 per share payable with respect to shares of Vicon common stock held by shareholders of Vicon as of a record date prior to the completion of the merger and payable to such holders within 15 days after the completion of the merger.

“Vicon is thrilled to join forces with IQinVision,” said Ken Darby, Vicon Chairman and CEO. “Together, with the Vicon line of HD megapixel robotic dome cameras, our enterprise class video management software, ViconNet? and IQinVision's highly regarded IQeye brand, we bring a compelling solution offering to the video security market. The IQinVision transaction is consistent with our strategy of providing high quality, proprietary solutions to our customers. The Vicon/IQinVision combination will yield meaningful operational benefits, together with significant market and technological synergies. It's a logical first step to strategic growth for both companies,” said Darby.

“This is a great fit for IQinVision as we combine with one of the iconic brands in the industry. Our product offerings are complementary to Vicon's solutions, and we believe Vicon's worldwide sales organization will effectively promote the IQeye brand to new markets and accelerate the growth of our sales footprint,” said Charles Chestnutt, CEO of IQinVision.

Ken Darby, who has delayed his retirement, will continue to lead the Company until his successor is named. The search for a new CEO was recently restarted.

Both Vicon and IQinVision's product offerings will retain their existing branding, and both companies will continue to sell into and service their existing channels and customers. Customers will see no difference in sales, service, and support levels compared with prior to the merger. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2013, IQinVision and Vicon combined generated $56 million in revenue. Following the merger, the board of directors of the combined company will consist of 3 directors designated by Vicon and three directors designated by IQinVision. TM Capital Corp. and Imperial Capital acted as financial advisors to Vicon and IQinVision, respectively.

[Secutech 2014] ITX reveals more advanced IP products

[Secutech 2014] ITX reveals more advanced IP products

Editor / Provider: ITX | Updated: 3/21/2014 | Article type: Security 50

In 2014 security surveillance industry, USA is still the dominating market in the global market while there are still concerns in China market. For Secutech2014, ITX sees huge room for technical innovation on IP products as well as solutions.

On this basis, the company continues dedicating to creating innovative products and building stronger relationships with partners.

ITX Security is a leading manufacturer, designer and development company of video security products and supporting equipment

LAPD selects Axis cameras to secure 2014 Academy Awards

LAPD selects Axis cameras to secure 2014 Academy Awards

Editor / Provider: Axis Communications | Updated: 3/14/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Axis Communications, the global network video surveillance provider, announced the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) selected a mix of HDTV-quality pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) Axis network cameras to provide video security and live situational awareness along the red carpet at the Academy Awards on March 2.

The LAPD's commitment to rock solid, reliable security technology is essential to protecting high profile events like the Academy Awards, pro sports victory parades and the final journey of NASA's space shuttle Endeavour. The red carpet scene is one of the most popular entertainment spectacles of the year, and viewers from across the globe tune in to watch the media interview and photograph their favorite celebrities as they arrive in style wearing clothing and jewelry worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The LAPD was confident that Axis IP cameras and software connected via a wireless mesh network would provide the necessary support to help keep the night glamorous, fun, and incident-free.

“What I appreciate most about the Axis camera system and software is that we no longer have to think about the technology or how to use its capability. High quality resolution, video storage that is searchable and retrievable helps us best leverage our resources,” said Deputy Chief Michael Downing, Commanding Officer for Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau, Los Angeles Police Department.

Axis' PTZ cameras were strategically placed in the block surrounding the Dolby Theatre. A wireless mesh network connected the cameras to the command center at the police headquarters seven miles away in downtown Los Angeles. With the cameras managed remotely through AXIS Camera Companion software, the LAPD had an easily deployable, temporary solution to ensure the safety of Hollywood megastars waving to the world on their way to the theatre.

Video Surveillance: Beyond Hollywood Magic
Despite what movies and television often show, the ability of a computer lab technician to magically enhance poor quality video with software is vastly overstated. In the real world, it's paramount that the surveillance cameras capture the best possible video for image usability. Faced with a number of challenges including large crowds, variable outdoor lighting conditions, cameras flashes and the fact that red is one of the hardest colors for video to render, the LAPD chose IP cameras that could overcome these challenges, capture the best possible images at the forefront and ensure the video was reliably recorded and readily accessible.

This meant the LAPD needed HDTV-standard quality cameras with responsive pan/tilt/zoom functionality, ability to handle a wide dynamic range of lighting (WDR), Power over Ethernet connectivity and on-camera SD card edge storage. Camera placement was also critical, and the LAPD combined comprehensive, wide angle overhead views with additional dedicated cameras at high risk zones throughout the area. With this set up, officers on the ground could relay any suspicious activity back to police headquarters so commanders could zoom in and provide instant support.

For the job, the LAPD chose HDTV 1080p AXIS Q6035-E PTZ Dome Network Cameras and HDTV 720p AXIS P3354-E PTZ Dome Network Cameras. Each outdoor-ready camera was connected to a wireless mesh node housed inside a custom-built watertight enclosure to protect against inclement weather. The edge-based AXIS Camera Companion software running inside the camera network allowed commanders the ability to select, control and view all cameras wirelessly on 70-inch display monitors at City Hall, as well as access the recorded video.

“With all the TV cameras, world-famous celebrities and expensive wardrobes packed into a single city block, the LAPD had an incredibly tough job,” said Fredrik Nilsson, general manager, Axis Communications, Inc. “We're proud the high quality images and flexible installation opportunities offered by Axis network cameras allowed the LAPD to provide the top-notch security needed for such a high profile event.”

IndigoVision enhances security at Birmingham airport and JetBlue

IndigoVision enhances security at Birmingham airport and JetBlue

Editor / Provider: IndigoVision | Updated: 3/6/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Birmingham Airport successfully hosted its first International Aviation Security Forum, giving aviation security professionals the opportunity to learn how IP video can transform airport security, give rapid return on investment and improve air travel experience. With attendees from European airports and design consultancy firms, this inaugural forum proved to be a big hit.

"There is very little opportunity for aviation security professionals to learn about new security technology and to share best practices with each other." stated Chris Wilson, Airport Control Centre Manager at Birmingham Airport. "When Birmingham Airport wanted to host such a forum, we were delighted that IndigoVision helped us through sponsorship and assisting with the event organization."

Birmingham Airport delivered a presentation on how IndigoVision's complete IP video security solution has transformed operations since it was installed in 2009. By consolidating 6 security control rooms into one, Birmingham Airport demonstrated a return on investment within only nine months.

The multi award winning American international airline, JetBlue, also demonstrated that deploying a complete IP video security solution helped deliver their corporate vision of providing superior service in every aspect of their customer's air travel experience. By using IP cameras with advanced remote viewing technology, JetBlue can view all remote cameras from their central New York monitoring location. This has led to remote staff feeling safer, allowing them to offer a better customer experience.

Birmingham Airport also demonstrated how IndigoVision's Ultra 5K, the first ultra-high resolution camera designed for security, is perfect for airport installations with its wider scene coverage from a single camera and powerful digital zoom.

IndigoVision's Complete IP Video Security Solution is deployed in over 50 international and regional airports worldwide, including airports in New Delhi, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Brussels, Cardiff, Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Vancouver.

Napco launches new product intergrations

Napco launches new product intergrations

Editor / Provider: Napco | Updated: 2/5/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Alarm Lock, a division of Napco Security Technologies, announced that its increasingly popular Trilogy Networx Wireless PIN and Prox Access Locks & Keypads are now integrated with Lenel OnGuard Integrated Access Control & Video Security Platform.

As a Lenel OpenAccess Alliance Program Partner, Alarm Lock products (PL, PDL and DL-Series) were fully-tested and certified by Lenel's Quality Assurance Department for use with OnGuard v6.6 and 6.5. Integrated capabilities include configuration of wireless locks for card and PIN-based access control, viewing access control events and status via Lenel OnGuard interface, restricting user to specific areas at specific time, adding / removing or modifying user Access levels, setting access control modes for areas and defining access schedules and holidays.

This integration makes Alarm Lock Networx models an even more powerful and flexible real-time single-door wireless access control solution for seamless use as part of the popular Lenel OnGuard Platform, as well as sister-division, ContinentalAccess' CA3000 Enterprise Security Management Systems.

Thermal cameras: Thermal technology faces market challenges

Thermal cameras: Thermal technology faces market challenges

Editor / Provider: Editorial Department, a&s International | Updated: 1/31/2014 | Article type: Tech Corner

Even though the price of thermal equipment is coming down, that does not mean that the thermal market is suddenly seeing a massive surge in growth. As a market that has been dealing with the “thermal is too expensive” argument, industry players are actively doing what they can to dissuade consumers of this thermal myth.

Education, Education, Education
Lack of education and awareness is one of the main challenges being faced by the thermal security market. Bercier explained that the security industry is not educated enough on the benefits of thermal for security applications. Thermal industry players want the security market to understanding that thermal is the most effective 24/7 video detection solution available. Many have pointed out that detection range and the ability to record the temperature of objects detected are major benefits of thermal imaging for security.

One of the main advantages that thermal cameras have over visible cameras is the ability to detect under all types of weather conditions, be it snow, rain, fog, etc., as well as harsh lighting conditions such as blinding sunlight or pitch black nights. This makes thermal cameras the best solution for 24/7 security surveillance.

The thermal industry as a whole is working hard to educate the security market on these benefits. Through participation in exhibitions, showcases, seminars, etc. around the world, thermal industry players are doing what they can to spread awareness. An increasing number of thermal players are showcasing products in exhibitions worldwide. These exhibitions not only provide a platform for the thermal industry to get out information regarding the benefits of thermal imaging, but it to also give consumers a chance to see for themselves just how thermal imaging works.

Highlighting how a thermal solution can be more economical than a traditional visible solution is another point thermal players are trying to educate the market on. Infrastructure costs are a major consideration of any outdoor video security solution, whether it is thermal, IP, or analog. While it may be true that thermal cameras cost a lot more than the average HD IP camera, those in the thermal industry are quick to point out that a thermal solution can actually be the more affordable long-term solution. When taking into account that longer-range thermal cameras cover more area, thereby eliminating the number of poles and cameras needed, as well as reduce the need for lighting and power infrastructures, thermal cameras prove to not only be affordable, but practical as well.

Spoiled by HD
Unfortunately, in an age where megapixel cameras have made its way into mobile phones, consumers have not only gotten used to a certain level of clarity when it comes to images, they expect it. Consumers want high definition — they want to be able to see every strand of hair and every bead of sweat. Hence, when it comes to thermal imaging, the question of why a consumer would want to take a black and white image that's much lower in resolution, as compared to HD images, is raised. “People out there today are confusing security with surveillance,” said Romanowich. “If you care about security, then having the absolute best image sometimes is not as relevant as having a really good image all the time.” This lack of differentiation between security and surveillance is a challenge being faced by the thermal imaging community when it comes time to choose between a thermal imaging solution and a standard visible camera solution.

As the thermal imaging industry tackles market misconceptions, lower prices at both the sensor and camera level will help attract more markets to this highly effective technology. Growing awareness and education regarding the benefits of thermal imaging for security applications will hopefully not only dispel the myths about thermal prices and application restrictions, but also allow for thermal imaging to flourish into even more commercial sectors and beyond.

Dallmeier integrated IP and analog video cams for Salamanca

Dallmeier integrated IP and analog video cams for Salamanca

Editor / Provider: Dallmeier | Updated: 12/31/2013 | Article type: Government & Public Services

Salamanca is a city steeped in history which charms visitors with its unique flair and atmosphere. In order to protect the historical city centre from vandalism and local retailers from thieves, a modern Dallmeier video security system is installed.

This city is famous for its historical sights: the oldest existing university in Spain,2 cathedrals from 12th and 16th centuries, the Casa de las Conchasr, the heart of the city. All the buildings are built from the same material, Villamayor stone, which characterizes the entire cityscape with its distinctive golden yellow color.

But appearances are often deceptive. The idyllic city, which has been a UNESCO (United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization) world heritage site since 1988, has had big problems with vandalism damage to the old buildings and break-ins into shops in the old town. “It has been proven that the use of CCTV systems with permanent recording deters vandals and thieves. Therefore we decided to install a video security system in accordance with the affected area of local retailers,” explains Francisco Albarran, Salamanca's transport and citizen security councilor.

After extensive on-site tests, a Dallmeier solution is finally chosen – as they suit the requirements. “Before the final decision to purchase was made, we wanted to comprehensively test the system – under the real conditions on location. We also wanted to clarify the performance in different light conditions beforehand, which is why we tested the system in daylight as well as at night with the respective street lighting,” continues Albarran. The result of good picture quality was convincing. “Now we have a high quality and reliable tool at our disposal, to monitor the entire historical city centre and the shopping zones found there,” says Albarran.

Installation in accordance with monument protection standards
Multiple Dallmeier PTZ cameras from the Domera range are installed in Salamanca by local partner Plettac electronics. The cameras stand out from others, because of its high performance Pan/Tilt/Zoom mechanism complimentary with 248 programmable preset positions and integrated motion detection. Both IP cameras as well as analogue models, which are integrated into the network via MicroStreamers, are used.

The images are recorded 24 hours a day onto a DMS 240 IPS “In Memory of Leonardo”, a video server with up to 24 IP channels. It supports both SD as well as HD resolutions (720p, 1080i, 1080p) up to 8 megapixel.

System control is carried out via the video management software PView. Whether live picture transmission or playback of recorded image material, data retrieval through various search and filter criteria, virtual tours or configuration of the recording server on the network: PView allows efficient and user-friendly operation of the system.

Moreover, the installation of the video system was tied to strict restraints. “The historical city centre is listed, so that no large structural changes are allowed to be made. The appearance and the atmosphere of the old town should not be disturbed through the presence of surveillance cameras,” says Francisco Albarran. Together with Dallmeier and Plettac, a solution was therefore developed, which was “Catalogo de Patrimonio”certified and had the approval of those in charge of the municipal architecture and monument protection. The use of a radio network for video transmission made it possible to reduce the structural costs and swift installation of the entire system was also possible. Furthermore the visible elements such as cameras, control cabinets and antennae were blended into their surroundings.

Bandwidth challenge
Although the use of a radio system brings many advantages, you come across an apparent problem to begin with: bandwidth. Because multicast based on a radio network was not possible, image transmission quickly led to a network overload. “We now use a special solution with adapted unicast transmission, which Dallmeier developed especially for us,” explains Albarran contentedly. “Despite the limited bandwidth of a 1 Mbit radio network, we can now get a high quality level of image transmission.”

Golden times in the golden city
In the meantime, the video system has proved itself in practice: “Since the installation and start-up of the CCTV system, we could see a fall in the number of vandalism cases in the monitored zones. Additionally, the recordings have helped us clear up incidents quickly and conclusively,” emphasizes Jose Luis Serrano Paule, superintendent of the Salamanca Police. “We intend to expand the surveillance to a larger area of the city centre,” adds Francisco Albarran.

IndigoVision unveils Ultra 5K 12MP Fixed camera

IndigoVision unveils Ultra 5K 12MP Fixed camera

Editor / Provider: IndigoVision | Updated: 12/12/2013 | Article type: Security 50

IndigoVision announed IndigoVision Ultra 5K Fixed Camera - the first ultra-high resolution security camera to deliver outstanding image detail and video performance in ALL lighting conditions.

"Having ultra-high resolution means a single camera can give greater overall situation awareness, while providing better digital zoom. Ultra-high resolution means less cameras are required." stated Alex Swanson, IndigoVision's Head of Engineering.

The IndigoVision Ultra 5K has an ultra-high resolution of five thousand horizontal pixels, delivering incredible image detail and wider scene coverage from a single camera. Operators can get an extreme close up through the Ultra 5K's powerful digital zoom, safe in the knowledge that every detail in the scene is continuously captured and recorded.

The challenge with ultra-high resolution is delivering video quality that the security industry expects in all lighting conditions. Ultra-high resolution cameras have failed by using technology designed for industries such as medical imaging.

The IndigoVision Ultra 5K has a cutting edge CMOS sensor with Global Shutter and Wide Dynamic Range. Outstanding image processing performance of 120 Megapixels per second gives 6 frames per second video.

“In both real-life and laboratory tests, the IndigoVision Ultra 5K delivers ten times better low lux performance and double the frames per second than other ultra-high resolution cameras." concluded Alex.

Fully ONVIF compliant, the Ultra 5K is optimized to work with IndigoVision's Control Center video management software and Networked Video Recorders. Intuitive configuration and installation means the IndigoVision Ultra 5K camera is up and running fast.

Available in internal and external IP 67 rated options, the IndigoVision Ultra 5K camera is ideal for installations where image detail with wide area coverage is paramount, such as Airports, Cities, Stadiums and Major Events.

IndigoVision's complete IP video security solutions have been used worldwide in over 70 airports, 350 cities and have been selected for the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup in Brazil.

S2 access control integrated IndigoVision IP Video Security Solution

S2 access control integrated IndigoVision IP Video Security Solution

Editor / Provider: IndigoVision | Updated: 12/5/2013 | Article type: Security 50

IndigoVision, the developer of an open end-to-end video security solution, released its 23rd Integration Module, enabling data from S2 access control systems to be managed within IndigoVision's IP Video Security Solution.

The S2 Integration Module continues IndigoVision's open approach and strategy for security systems integration, giving more freedom of choice and better system scalability with exceptional future proofing of security installations.

The principal issue is that of limited choice. Different access control companies have strengths in different market verticals or geographies, due to specific product features or support infrastructure.

IndigoVision's open approach to integration gives greater freedom of choice, allowing customers to use the best access control system for their individual requirements. The IndigoVision S2 Integration Module was developed as a result of government, retail and transport projects, where IndigoVision and S2 have strong experience.

Another issue with a single manufacturer providing both access control and video is limited scalability. When multiple sites need to be connected in a single security system, those sites often have existing access control systems installed.

IndigoVision's open strategy means existing access control systems, from multiple manufacturers, can be seamlessly integrated into video. IndigoVision has twenty three Integration Modules, covering leading access control systems, including; Lenel, Gallagher, Honeywell and Software House, giving better system scalability.

By giving both better system scalability and greater freedom of choice, IndigoVision's open approach and strategy for security systems integration clearly delivers exceptional future proofing of security installations.

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