Integrated Video and Audio Solutions for the Most Demanding Markets
Tevin Wang | Date:
- Law enforcement, banks and ATMs have a strong tendency to adopt integrated video/audio solutions
- The demand for the combination of CCTV and PA/paging is strong in central stations and railway stations.
- Police and law enforcement agencies show great interest in using audio analytics along with video surveillance to provide real-time information about gunfire and explosions.
There are two ways of using audio surveillance in an integrated solution. One is using audio inputs as an alarm or surveillance trigger. Another is using the audio data as evidence; in this case, it is highly important to save video data in synchronization with audio data.
In the U.K., for instance, it is legal to record audio at casinos and such capability enables operators to hear the activity on gaming tables, which gives greater evidence in suspicious situations. Some network cameras with built-in microphones provide a basic video/audio solution. However, for those with greater audio demands, users find external microphones more suitable. Sometimes, locations of surveillance cameras are not ideal for audio capture and a close collaboration between video and audio surveillance providers are required. “Casinos would be an example where cameras are positioned to provide an overview while microphones are put into places such as gaming tables to pick up whispering,” said Johannes Rietschel, CEO of Barix.
Law Enforcement; Financial
Law enforcement, banks and ATMs have a strong tendency to adopt integrated video/audio solutions. Legislation there requires specific methods of sound analysis to accept a sound probe as proof in court,” Rietschel said. However, when using audio data as evidence in these verticals, it is important to check with local authorities as they may demand certain compression format and video/audio data synchronization. There are still needs for unprocessed audio, such as forensics and proofing applications.
The use of a video/audio surveillance system in public not only serves to enhance security but also as to function as emergency call stations. “Listen-in technology usually uses two-way audio communications and we are seeing a continued adoption of two-way voice technologies,” said Thomas Hagh, VP of Products, Zenitel. “Although most of the time, a security system is designed such that audio from the camera end is audible for the guard, the demand for the combination of CCTV and PA/paging is strong in central stations and railway stations. The guard can fully take advantage of the CCTV and PA integration to check whether instruction for evacuation is followed by a crowd in case of emergency.”
In the past, the nature and focus of intercom and camera players were fragmented as intercom players focused on audio communication and camera players focused on video. Both types of companies are now offering integrated video/audio solutions.
Integrated video/audio surveillance systems are also deployed to monitor urban activity. For instance, police and law enforcement agencies show great interest in using audio analytics along with video surveillance to provide real-time information about gunfire and explosions. This will enable a more effective response to gun violence and illustrate a more complete picture of crime.
Wide-area acoustic sensors are paired with an audio analysis software that identifies the unique signature of gunshots, loud explosive sounds, screams, glass breaking, car alarms and graffiti sound, said Derek van der Vorst, CEO of Sound Intelligence. “Our technology incorporates a dynamic foreground/ background separation algorithm which automatically adapts during the day to the background noise level. Also, we have a large number of acoustical templates for different indoor and outdoor acoustic environments.”
Some audio analytic solutions providers have eagerly partnered with camera manufacturers or VMS providers as integrated video/audio systems. These can be a useful addition to a system's ability to detect and interpret events and emergency situations like detecting off-camera areas or detecting events regardless of lighting conditions. “Our core feature design is lightweight so that they can run at the edge of the network on devices like modern IP cameras,” said Christopher Mitchel, CEO, Audio Analytic. “By collaborating video/audio features, it is beneficial in a range of applications such as intrusion detection, aggression detection, car alarm detection or keyword detection.”
Health Care & Correctional Facilities
Patients with severe mental health problems are potentially more likely to be violent. When they become ill and need hospitalization, it is often the case that their capacity for decision making and living independently has broken down.
Such deployments allow staff to undertake routine observations safely as it is no longer necessary for staff to enter patient bedrooms in order to undertake observations. While CCTV cameras are currently used to manage violent situations, integrated video/audio solution, on the other hand, could also be used to gain a better clinical understanding of mental health problems.
Besides psychiatric hospitals, handling aggression and violence is also part of the job in prisons. Aggression detection is an effective audio feature for prison officers to keep a proactive eye on aggression and violence before the situation worsens, Vorst said. “90 percent of all incidents involving physical aggression are preceded by verbal aggression. Our solution registers the typical sound characteristics of human aggression, anger or fear. The ability to spot verbal aggression before it turns into a violent outbreak delivers valuable time to security personnel and enables timely intervention.”