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The Internet of Things (IoT) is having a significant and ever-changing impact on the way we view video security. Today, cameras are expected to be so much more than devices with which to simply capture images; they need to be far smarter than that. These future-facing cameras are becoming an integral part of the vast digital connectivity infrastructure, delivering a parallel performance as intelligent sensors with the ability to extract the kind of invaluable data that helps businesses make improvements in the area of video security, and beyond. However, as the list of possibilities grows, so too does the risk of unauthorised access by cybercriminals. We should all be aware that a single weak link in a communications infrastructure can give hackers access to sensitive data. That’s the bad news. Safeguarding data and utilising deep learning The good news is cybercrime can be avoided by employing a data security system that’s completely effective from end-to-end. One technological advancement that the trend-spotters are predicting will become part of the video security vocabulary is ‘deep learning’ Once this level of safeguarding is in place you can begin to confidently explore the technologies and trends happening now, and those on the horizon. So, what will be having an influence on surveillance in 2018? Well, according to IHS Markit, one technological advancement that the trend-spotters are predicting will become part of the video security vocabulary is ‘deep learning’, which uses algorithms to produce multiple layers of information from the same piece of data, therefore emulating the way the human brain absorbs innumerable details every second. In Europe, GDPR compliance will also be a big talking point as new principles for video surveillance data collection, use limitation, security safeguards, individual participation and accountability are introduced. And, as the popularity – and misuse – of drones continues to rise, the recent developments in drone detection technology will be particularly welcomed by those whose primary concern relates to large areas, such as airport perimeter security. The future of 'smart' video analytics An important feature of today’s intelligent cameras is the ability to provide smart video analytics. The Bosch ‘i’ series, for example, offers a choice of formats – Essential Video Analytics and Intelligent Video Analytics. Essential Video Analytics is geared toward regular applications such as small and medium businesses looking to support business intelligence (e.g. inter-network data transfer), large retail stores and commercial buildings for advanced intrusion detection, enforcing health and safety regulations (no-parking zones or detecting blocked emergency exits) and analysing consumer behaviour. The camera-based, real-time processing can also be used to detect discarded objects, issue loitering alarms and detect people or objects entering a pre-defined field. Intelligent Video Analytics provides additional capabilities. It is designed for demanding environments and mission-critical applications, such as the perimeter protection of airports, critical infrastructures and government buildings, border patrol, ship-tracking and traffic-monitoring (e.g. wrong-way detection, traffic-counts and monitoring roadsides for parked cars: all vital video security solutions). An important feature of today’s intelligent cameras is the ability to provide smart video analytics Intelligent Video Analytics can also differentiate between genuine security events and known false triggers, such as challenging environments created by snow, wind (moving trees), rain, hail, and water reflections. For more expansive areas, like an airport perimeter fence, the system has the range and capability to provide analysis over large distances. And, if a moving camera is employed, it is also possible to capture data on objects in transit when used in conjunction with the Intelligent Tracking feature. For roadside use, Intelligent Video Analytics systems, such as the Bosch MIC IP range, are resistant to vibrations and can still operate in extreme weather conditions, continuing to detect objects in heavy rain or snow. Evolving cameras past surveillance It’s becoming ever clearer that the IoT is transforming the security camera from a device that simply captures images, into an intelligent sensor that plays an integral role in gathering the kind of vital business data that can be used to improve commercial operations in areas beyond security. For example, cities are transitioning into smart cities. The capabilities of an intelligent camera extend to the interaction and sharing of information with other devices (only those you have appointed) With intelligent video security cameras at the core of an urban infrastructure smart data can be collected to optimise energy consumption via smart city lighting that responds to crowd detection and movement. Cameras can also be used to improve public transport by monitoring punctuality and traffic flow based on queue lengths, with the ability to control traffic lights an option should a situation require it. As the urban sprawl continues and this infrastructure grows, the need for more knowledge of its use becomes more essential, necessitating the monitoring technology developed for use by human operators to evolve into smart sensing technology, that no longer just provides video feeds, but also uses intelligent analytics and sophisticated support systems. These systems filter out irrelevant sensor data and present only meaningful events, complete with all relevant contextual data to operators to aid their decision-making. Expanding the video security camera network Today, video analytics technology has tangible benefits for human operator surveillance, and delivers KPIs that are highly relevant to transport operators, planners and city authorities. As an existing infrastructure, a video security camera network can be improved and expanded by installing additional applications rather than replaced. From a business perspective, that means greater value from a limited investment. Thereafter, the capabilities of an intelligent camera extend to the interaction and sharing of information with other devices (only those you have appointed), image and data interpretation, and the ability to perform a variety of tasks independently to optimise both your safety and business requirements. The fact is, cameras see more than sensors. Sounds obvious, but a conventional sensor will only trigger an alarm when movement is detected, whereas a camera can also provide the associated image and information like object direction, size, colour, speed or type, and use time stamps to provide historical information regarding a specific location or event. Based on this evidence, the video security camera of today is more than ready for the challenges of tomorrow.
ASAP-to-PSAP technology automates communications between alarm monitoring companies & PSAPs and dispatches emergency service In April 2015, Cary, N.C., adopted a technology called Automated Secure Alarm Protocol to Public Safety Answering Point (ASAP-to-PSAP), but currently they are among only a handful of emergency 911 call response locales that use ASAP-to-PSAP technology in the United States. Commander Scott Edson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, speaking to a seminar gathering at ISC West, emphasised the importance of rolling out more implementations of ASAP-to-PSAP. The technology benefits residential and commercial alarm monitoring companies and their customers by eliminating dispatching errors and speeding dispatching times. There are 6,500 PSAPs that respond to emergency 911 calls in the United States. They take more than 250 million 911 phone calls per year from the public and from central station alarm monitoring companies. PSAPs then route the information from 911 calls to the right emergency service and then dispatch police or fire services. ASAP-to-PSAP technology automates the communications between alarm monitoring companies and PSAPs and dispatches the emergency service. The Central Station Alarm Association, the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials and Vector Security developed the software technology back in 2009. So what’s the implementation hold-up? “As always, funding is the issue,” says Ron Lander, CPP, principal with Ultrasafe Security Specialists in Norco, Calif. “The cities don’t want to spend the money. The central stations want to implement it. They say it will reduce personnel needs.” Replacing central station phone calls with data entered by a central station operator offers three major benefits, according to a PowerPoint presentation developed by Bill Hobgood, project manager with the Richmond, Va., Public Safety Team. First, it eliminates telephone calls between alarm monitoring companies and PSAPs, which take up time that could be spent with individual 911 callers, who might be in immediate physical danger. It eliminates the inevitable miscommunications between two human beings talking on the telephone – “Speak up, I can’t hear you.” “Was that Fourth Street or Fifth Street?” “Oh, Fifth Avenue, sorry.” Then there are also communications problems related to language in our increasingly multi-cultural society. Finally, and perhaps most important, it speeds the processing and response times by crucial minutes. Research shows that an ASAP communication takes 15 seconds or less to dispatch police or fire units. By comparison, a telephone communication takes 1.5 to 3 minutes or more to dispatch units. Upon implementing ASAP-to-PSAP, there was a 13 percent drop in the number of police alarms handled by telephone An ASAP application carries out three tasks. It translates data from the alarm monitoring company into a format that the PSAP technology can read and process. Second, it updates the alarm monitoring company on the status of the alarm — message accepted and referred to the right emergency service or rejected for one reason or another. Finally, an ASAP application provides continuing updates including cancellation notices from the alarm monitoring company, notices that emergency service has been dispatched, notices that emergency responders have arrived at the scene and notices that events have been closed out. Houston implemented the technology in 2011 and has reaped enormous benefits. According to Bill Hobgood, Houston encompasses 634 square miles, has a population of 2.3 million people and runs the nation’s fourth largest PSAP. The city receives more than 2,600 police alarms weekly from 43,000 alarm systems monitored by three alarm companies. Upon implementing ASAP-to-PSAP, there was a 13 percent drop in the number of police alarms handled by telephone. Non-emergency telephone calls declined by 15 percent. The PSAP estimates that it is saving $1 - $2 million annually. What about accuracy and response times? Hobgood studied results in his own city of Richmond as well as York County, Va., in the Tidewater region, both of which implemented ASAP-to-PSAP in 2011. Hobgood’s study found that when the system eliminated call-taker involvement, it eliminated spelling mistakes and accidental transposition of street address numbers. It also eliminated problems related to low-volume headsets and accents. Those are impressive business and performance improvements, which is driving Commander Edson’s interest in rolling out more implementations.
Marshall Marinace is on a mission - to continue to infuse value into ESA If you haven’t met Marshall Marinace, you probably will soon. He’s the new President of the Electronic Security Association (ESA), and he’s instantly likeable. He’s a homespun security dealer with decades of service who knows that the new world of systems integration requires change and involvement of every member at the association level. Marinace was sworn in as the 41st President at ESX Nashville in June and took office on July 1, 2014. He has served as Vice President for nine years and is the former Chairperson of the Membership Committee. He’s on the Board of Directors of Security America Risk Retention Group (SARRG) and was involved with the Standards/Fire Life Safety Committee. Marinace is the former President of both the New York Burglar and Fire Alarm Association, now known as the New York State Electronic Security Association (NYSESA), and the Regional Alarm Association. Marinace is the kind of person who always takes time from his busy schedule for an interview or to speak one-on-one with members about concerns or issues. He’s passionate about the alarm business, beginning his career as an installer and launching Marshall Alarm Systems Corp., Yorktown Heights, N.Y., in 1976 with wife Michele, Vice President. Like many companies in the industry, it’s a family operation. Sons Matthew and Marshall Jr. have been working at the company for about eight years, and daughter Jessica’s husband also works for the company. ESA has six critical strategic initiatives, long-range plans that tie to its overall mission and vision to 'lead the electronic life safety, security and systems integration industry for the benefit of our members, consumers and public safety' Now he’s on another mission: To continue to infuse value into the organisation and encourage active involvement and participation. He knows the security industry is changing, and dealers have to adjust and embrace change. And he believes associations only work — and can only attain real impact — if members are active. “Associations are unique organisations,” he says. “They depend on members to guide the organisation and its numerous committees, taking time from the day-to-day of running a business to volunteer for the greater good of the industry. And it isn’t easy. Most ESA members are smaller, independent organisations with one to 50 employees. It’s difficult to take time out from running operations or helping a customer, but it can be done.” Today, ESA has evolved into the largest professional trade association in the industry, making an impact on Capitol Hill, addressing frequent and ongoing technology changes, providing industry-specific insurance solutions through SARRG and the most comprehensive training through the ESA National Training School (NTS). “As we look to the future, and as the association grows, we need to accept change, just as you do in your business. We need to be flexible and ready to make adjustments,” he says. Marshall Marinace began his career as an installer, launching Marshall Alarm Systems Corp. in 1976 Currently, ESA has six critical strategic initiatives, long-range plans that tie to its overall mission and vision to 'lead the electronic life safety, security and systems integration industry for the benefit of our members, consumers and public safety.' Those key initiatives and his thoughts include: 1. Training & Certification: Identify, develop, deliver and certify professional education for the electronic life safety, security and systems integration industry 2. Government Relations: Effectively advocate and communicate on behalf of members before Congress, federal regulatory agencies, and, as requested, at state and local levels. 3. Technology and Emerging Issues: Identify industry issues and communicate their potential impact on membership. 4. Public Awareness: Effectively promote the professionalism and expertise of members to consumers, public safety officials and regulatory agencies. 5. Codes & Standards: Enhance public safety by proactively monitoring, influencing and developing codes and standards that affect electronic life safety, security and integrated systems. 6. Organisational Excellence: Operate a world-class association that serves members by delivering exceptional value. Marinace says ESA has made incredible strides in representing the industry, but there is more work to be done, and he encourages everyone to look at how they can assist. “Together, we can continue to elevate the stature of the industry. But it takes everyone’s input, participation and support. Membership works, but only if you do.”
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