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According to IHS Market, it is estimated that there are over 60 million security cameras in the United States, and other reports say these cameras capture more than four billion hours of footage per week. Over the last decade, IP camera technology has dominated the conversation as it has provided users with a broad offering of enhanced image quality and features. With a large percentage of existing security systems relying on analogue, many end users looking for high definition (HD) video quality have been forced to take on a complete system overhaul. Infrastructure overhaul for HD video To make the switch, customers would need to change everything, from cameras to hardware to wiring– not to mention the lengthy installation process that would ensue. IP cameras also require higher Internet speeds and more cloud space. Whether constrained by budget, bandwidth or storage, many end users have been unable to adopt this new video surveillance method.Thanks to technological advancements within the security industry, HD over Coax offers a viable solution for integrators and end users alike Thanks to technological advancements within the security industry, HD over Coax offers a viable solution for integrators and end users alike. By utilising the current Coaxial cables, this offering yields high definition video, while requiring minimal infrastructure changes and is an optimal surveillance choice for security customers. Plus, with new advancements and updates being made frequently to this technology, there is a solution for every security need. The enhanced alternative of HD over Coax has been warmly welcomed in the security industry, thanks to its simple solutions and ever-evolving features. Many new analogue HD cameras are “plug and play,” able to connect directly to existing Coaxial cables. This eliminates the need for a complete system change, creating cost-savings for the end user and an enhanced video quality offering. Easy solutions for HD video As a result, integrators can cost-effectively upgrade their customer’s surveillance solution while using their legacy infrastructure, making it an attractive option for end users and an easy sell for dealers. Latency in video is another common issue with network-based camera systems, where even the slightest delay in video surveillance can hinder security response HD over Coax cameras themselves are always expanding and evolving to meet a wide array of security needs. With the introduction of fisheye and multi-sensor cameras, users now have a multitude of coverage options, not to mention the introduction of 4K bringing resolution options to the same level as IP. Some newer technologies are even touting 4K cameras paired with 4K digital video recorders (DVRs) made specifically for analogue systems. Longer cables grant transmission for up to 1600 feet, double the distance of standard analogue solutions, and triple that of IP systems. This single cable is able to transmit both HD video and audio. Recently, broadcast quality audio over Coax has become available in limited models, a substantial improvement over older analogue technology, which was unable to transmit audio. Stopping video delay Latency in video is another common issue with network-based camera systems. Even the slightest delay in video surveillance can hinder security response. IP cameras are forced to compress and packetise their video for transmission. The outcome of this is a reduced number of images per video, which in turn causes delay. HD over Coax on the other hand, delivers an unlimited amount of HD images in real time, with smooth motion and impressive clarity. Additionally, the point-to-point transmission delivers uncompressed video free of lag. Another touted benefit is that, unlike IP networked cameras, analogue systems provide a more secure video transmission. With so much sensitive information housed on a businesses’ network, adding another point of network access through an IP camera can create concerns for cyber security risks. HD over Coax delivers an unlimited amount of HD images in real time, with smooth motion and impressive clarity Preventing network hacking With HD over Coax, the physical connections between the camera and DVR prevent network hacking. By keeping the video surveillance system offline, security professionals are able to direct their attention to the physical threats at hand, rather than having to focus on deterring cyber security risks. One of the primary difficulties of deploying HD video solutions is the fact that many older systems utilise a wide variety of HD standards and platforms. To make matters more complicated, after HD over Coax was brought to market, manufacturers raced to create their own version of this technology. Today, the most popular proprietary standards are HD-CVI, HD-TVI and AHD. However, integrators and customers found that attempting to manage multiple HD technologies proved to be near impossible.Integrators and customers found that attempting to manage multiple HD technologies proved to be near impossible Diversifying surveillance through one DVR To combat these issues, manufacturers have introduced products with more flexibility to their portfolios. One example of this is the penta-brid DVR which grants the ability to seamlessly integrate multiple technologies deployed across one application. This means that systems with diverse camera brands and technologies, such as a mix of HD-CVI, HD-TVI, AHD, analogue or IP, can be connected through one DVR. For many end users with legacy analogue systems, penta-brid DVRs give them greater freedom to choose between a variety of solutions, rather than being limited to one option. With video resolution increasing, the space needed to store the footage is similarly rising. Penta-brid technology has been able to adapt to these evolving needs, giving users ample storage space to house the HD and 4K surveillance video with some of the newest models including H.265 compression. HD casino surveillance made simple For casinos, HD images are critical for identifying unauthorised personnel and unlawful behaviours to create a safe environment for guests and staff While HD over Coax is beneficial to many end users and integrators, those in the casino and hospitality markets find it crucial. With a combination of high profile guests, large amounts of cash on hand, constant crowds and strict industry regulations, reliable video surveillance is a must. Deploying new IP systems comes at a stiff price. When looking to upgrade their video surveillance, casinos must also be mindful of the installation process. When moving to an IP-based system, ripping out old wires and replacing them with new is the standard practice. This practice can be both disruptive and costly, not to mention gaming regulations require casino activities be monitored at all times so a complete system shutdown would result in revenue loss. This cost can be hard to justify, especially when the current legacy analogue system remains in working condition with only the lower image resolution to date it. For these scenarios, the most cost-effective option is to leverage the legacy infrastructure, replace the existing cameras with new devices, and reap the benefits that HD video has to offer without any lapse in security. For casinos, HD images are critical for identifying unauthorised personnel and unlawful behaviours to create a safe environment for guests and staff. HD over Coax cameras now offer the same resolution as IP cameras with a plug and play approach, that cuts down on expense without sacrificing quality. For businesses and applications that are unable to adopt IP technology, whether it be cost or time prohibitive, HD over Coax now features most of the same benefits IP has to offer without breaking the bank. By providing clear images in real time, maximising existing infrastructure, and affording cyber security benefits, HD over Coax provides an attractive solution for many end users and integrators.
When people think of control rooms, images from James Bond movies or intense action stories come to mind. What they fail to realise is the incredible level of ergonomics, technology, precision and craftsmanship required to create a top-notch command and control room. “These are rooms of complex functionalities, where hundreds of elements must be integrated and function in sync,” says Jim Coleman, National Sales Manager, AFC Industries. Professional teams from several different industries must coordinate every single detail in order to ensure that functionality occurs each and every time. Reconfigurable furniture for control rooms AFC Industries is one company that specialises in equipping control rooms for security and other applications. AFC Industries was established in 1994 as a family-owned business that focuses on the design and construction of ergonomic products. Their height-adjustable units guarantee the right height for standing desks as well as traditional sitting levels. The company produces an array of Command and Control ergonomic security consoles and mounting solutions. Modular racking systems facilitate efficient storage of electronic and audio-visual equipment. As technology changes, older traditional consoles are no longer a necessity. Many organisations instead are choosing to use lighter, less costly, reconfigurable furniture that allows more flexibility. Command Centres need to be able to reconfigure the space at will. Because most systems are housed in secure data centres, users should be able to quickly move their positions by relocating their workstations, utilising different network connections. Simple control room features, like those addressing lighting or operator comfort, can make the difference in a correct or incorrect decision during a crisis Emergency operations centres A positive trend driving the market for control rooms is an increase in emergency operations centres (EOCs), says Randy Smith, President of Winsted. “Everybody is concerned about what happens in an emergency,” says Smith, and the centres are popping up as a tool for emergency preparedness. It’s another environment where sit-stand work stations are the rule. Winsted’s product lines include stock modular and customised elements in good-better-best categories – from basic to lots of “bells and whistles;” jobs can be configured from modular elements or customised as needed. Customised control rooms for seamless operation There is a lot at stake in control room design: Lives can depend on how effectively a control room functions in an emergency. Control rooms should seamlessly accommodate both everyday occurrences and crisis situations, says Matko Papic, Chief Technology Officer of Evans Consoles. Better-operating control rooms can increase efficiency and reduce and/or mitigate risk. Simple control room features, like those addressing lighting or operator comfort, can make the difference in a correct or incorrect decision during a crisis. Addressing operator comfort can reduce the possibility of workers’ compensation claims. End users are seeing multiple benefits of creating a better operating environment, better sightlines, more comfort and attention to ergonomics. As a fully integrated control room solutions provider, Evans Consoles approaches the needs of a control room environment beginning in the conceptual/operational planning stage. They consider broad issues such as how information will be processed, the interface between technology and operators, and the cognitive and physical interactions of operators – understanding that these factors drive the layout and function of control rooms. After analysing tasks to be performed in the environment, Evans lays out the consoles to meet those needs. Rather than a predesigned solution, each installation is tailored around a specific application. Read part 2 of our Control Rooms series here
Many end-users shell out the cash to acquire the newest high-end devices, plug in, and expect to be wowed A well-developed surveillance system can give a single security guard the power to see what otherwise might take a hundred pairs of eyes to see. But what happens when all the components are all connected and powered up, and the resulting image on the screen is, well, indiscernible, or, at the very least, terribly pixelated? Many end-users shell out the cash to acquire the newest high-end devices, plug in, and expect to be wowed. Often enough, however, what they see on the screen is not what they were expecting – and they wonder what they just paid for. In a good high-definition system, what factors actually create the best image quality? With so many variables involved, from the camera’s lens to the imaging algorithms to the monitor resolution – just to name the obvious ones – how do system integrators achieve the best on-screen images? The lens The first component to handle light from an object, this may be the one most taken for granted in cameras of any sort. (Just try scratching or cracking one and you’ll agree.) In the days of analogue cameras, it seemed that any old lens would do just fine. However, as the technology inside cameras evolved and more powerful sensors (more pixels) became available, engineers and programmers demanded more from lenses. Moreover, intelligent video content analyses would be impossible without high-accuracy lenses.In what way do lenses impact the image quality? The key factor here is light transmission. The quality of light passing through the lens itself will forever be critical to the quality of image reproduced. A lens made using ultra-precision molding aspherical technology achieves more accurate colour, better light, and clearer images. Multilayer broadband anti-reflection coating further maximises a lens's light transmission while minimising the residual reflection of light on the surface of each optical lens. Variables involved include the camera’s lens, the imaging algorithms and the monitor resolution When it comes to fabricating a megapixel lens that hits the mark, the materials used and the processes by which lenses are produced are the two most critical criteria. The materials most often used to create lenses are glass and specialised plastics. An HD lens made of ultra-low-dispersion optical glass – which, by using dispersion characteristics that are different from those of conventional optical glass – will deliver better HD performance. Machine-automated lens production using specialised plastics results in high output for camera producers, and the lenses produced are more uniform in design and quality. For an HD vari-focal lens, its image quality depends largely on the precision of the cam. The cam rotates to drive the zoom and focus lens groups forward and backward for a smooth continuity of focal length and adjustment of the focal point. A lack of precision with the cam inevitably causes an offset or tilt of the lens' optical axis during zooming and focusing, leading to a serious loss of image quality. Lens production is a delicate balancing act. The slightest errors or imperfections will be very noticeable when tested Lens production is a delicate balancing act. The slightest errors or imperfections will be very noticeable when tested. The features of a lens that affect image resolution, clarity, and contrast must be perfect. Achieving uniformity of image resolution at the centre and the edges of a lens requires high-precision machinery. And once a lens has been properly crafted, the assembly of the camera, the lens housing materials, and the alignment of the optical axis demand utmost accuracy. To put it mildly, quality control must be rigorous. Image signal processing As light passes through the lens, the sensor captures it and converts it to data. Raw RGB data is transmitted by the camera sensor and undergoes Image Signal Processing (ISP) such as noise reduction, white balance, WDR, curve correction and colour correction, etc. The data is then transformed to true colours for each pixel point, for people to see images that look “normal” to the human eye. It is the Image Signal Processing that defines the final image quality on the screen. Collecting data in different conditions is vital, for instance, outdoor data should be analysed with natural light on days with sun, overcast, rain, and fog, at dawn, at dusk, and so on. Similarly, when using cameras equipped with infrared sensors, testing the IR light signals in various conditions is necessary as well. Actual image performance depends upon variables such as low light illumination, signal to noise ratio, dynamic range of light, and more. ISP algorithms aim at increasing the signal data and decreasing noise. Cameras with Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) will yield improved video imaging with both background and foreground objects in high contrast or high-backlight environments, maximising the amount of detail in brighter and darker areas in one field-of-view. In scenes with low contrast and low light, the sensors deliver digital image signals and at the same time send some amount of digital noise that directly hinders image clarity. Three-dimensional digital noise reduction (3D DNR) removes unwanted artifacts from an image, reducing graininess. Where cloudy weather poses a challenge, auto-defogging technology helps to identify the density of fog or rain with gray-white colour ratio analysis, and imbues images with true colour reproduction. Ramping up the megapixels and frame rates yields great video, but also results in more bandwidth used and more storage occupied Matching megapixels to image quality When the factors mentioned above line up well, correlating cameras and monitors creates the best viewing experience. When a high definition camera is in place, a monitor with a high resolution will display images much more clearly. But if the monitor’s resolution is low, it will not deliver the high-quality images expected – or possible – from that HD camera. For an 8 MP camera, for instance, users do best to apply monitors with 4K × 2K resolution. Though common sense, this deserves to be mentioned because users might decide to upgrade their systems with 4K monitors, but with perhaps 1.3 MP cameras installed. In such a scenario, there’s no guarantee the on-screen image quality will automatically improve. Managing data and bandwidth In terms of a complete, high definition surveillance system, when the right factors come together and the calibrations are set, image quality – even in a standard HD 1080p setup – can be extremely good. The final piece of the puzzle is managing the data. Ramping up the megapixels and frame rates yields great video, but also results in more bandwidth used and more storage occupied. Squeezing bandwidth threatens image quality and clarity, but keeping ample room for signal transmission and storage will eventually increase the overall cost for customers. Is it possible for integrators to optimise their customer’s system and, at the same time, stay within budget constraints? Luckily, it can be done. Squeezing bandwidth threatens image quality and clarity, but keeping ample room for signal transmission and storage increases the overall cost for customers To do this, a more efficient video encoding solution would allow an improvement in compression efficiency of 40–50% over H.264. Improvements to algorithms that are adaptive to a particular scene give users control over bitrate. Another option would be to start recording video only when an event triggers an alarm, since most security guards are primarily concerned with moving objects rather than a scene’s generally stagnant background. This intelligently helps optimise bandwidth and storage consumption. Another method is to use a single panoramic or fisheye camera in place of several HD cameras for coverage – the reduced number of security devices will reduce bandwidth demands and the rate of storage consumption as well. Getting the best image quality Now let’s put this all together. Naturally, integrators and users will refer to their product specs to understand features and functions, fine-tuning each component for best results. Also, as suggested above, users should select an HD camera comprehensively in terms of lens performance, pixels, image quality, and overall system compatibility and performance. Next, matching the backend device and management platform should be carefully considered in a complete security system. Installing equipment that has been engineered for a given scene is a must, along with strategising how to get the most coverage out of the lowest number of cameras. Finally, product quality, warranty, price, and on-going customer service are all important factors that customers should take into account as well.
Advanced video projects delivered by SECOM, Johnson Controls and ISD Tech have been recognised at IFSEC with a special award event on the IDIS stand. Over the last 12 months, large-scale implementations and high definition IP system upgrades, harnessing the latest IDIS technology, have given enhanced video capability at NHS facilities, fashion chains, coffee shops, variety stores, and market leaders in the eating-out sector. Each year, IDIS invites VIP guests to recognise outstanding achievements by partners, with a presentation on its IFSEC stand followed by a drinks’ reception underscoring the value it places on long term partnership working. Awards presented to industry partners Our continued momentum in video tech development is guided by our close working ties with our industry partners"Recognising these successes, Joon Jun, President of the IDIS Global Business Division presented partner awards to Alan Blake, Commercial Director of SECOM Plc, Sean Lee, Retail Director of the Sensormatic Solutions Division of Johnson Controls and ISD Tech’s Managing Director, Nicky Stokes. “Our continued momentum in video tech development is guided by our close working ties with our industry partners,” says James Min, Managing Director, IDIS Europe. “We see the results of this collaboration with the impressive range of successful projects delivered over the last year, with ISD Tech, Johnson Controls and SECOM leading the field.” Implemented video integration projects SECOM Plc, which is a pioneer in tailored fire and security solutions operating internationally, was named as UK Partner of the Year. Over the last year SECOM has completed a number of notable video integration projects in retail, eating-out and various commercial sectors, and has demonstrated outstanding application of the IDIS Total Solution which has DirectIP at its heart as well as the analogue/HD-TVI solution DirectCX to leverage existing coaxial cabling. Johnson Controls has led the way in using analytics technology in the retail sector, including the IDIS VA in the Box solution Johnson Controls was confirmed as the UK Integration Partner of the Year, following a number of successful retail and healthcare deployments, including implementations for major high street fashion brands, popular variety stores and NHS facilities. Johnson Controls has also led the way in using analytics technology in the retail sector, including the IDIS VA in the Box solution, and has been among the fastest growing of IDIS’ partnership operations over the last year. Video solution for NHS healthcare trust ISD Tech was named UK Project Partner of the Year after delivering an award-winning video solution for one of the UK’s largest NHS mental healthcare trusts. The project helped to transform safety and security at child and adolescent facilities and, following its success, ISD Tech is now working on a second phase implementation due to be completed imminently with further deployments planned for later in the year. Speaking at the IFSEC presentation, James Min, Managing Director, IDIS Europe praised the achievements of this year’s award winners. “These awards once again demonstrate the benefits of close partnership working, not just for the companies involved but most importantly for their end-user customers who benefit from the best available video surveillance solutions.”
IDIS has launched its totally cost-free IDIS Dynamic Privacy Masking (IDPM) solution at IFSEC International (stand IF1110 at London’s ExCel) 2019. IDIS now offers a simple answer to the previously labour-intensive – or prohibitively expensive – problem of de-identification in video footage which is being submitted in response to requests for access under The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or for evidential purposes. Protecting privacy with masking GDPR came into play during a challenging time and some users have stopped reporting smaller losses" Last year, GDPR gave the right to any person captured by a video surveillance camera to access a copy of their personal recorded data. But at the same time, companies are required to protect the identity of other individuals who feature in the recorded video, with anonymisation and masking. The same de-identification also needs to be applied when providing video clips to the police and courts for use as evidence. GDPR-compliance for incident investigations Jamie Barnfield, Sales Director at IDIS Europe, says that many small to medium companies – for example, retailers and eating-out chains - are struggling to manage their recorded video footage. They are under pressure to provide police with GDPR-compliant video for incident investigations, to respond to freedom of information requests from the public, and to supply footage to insurers assessing claims including as slips, trips and falls. In all of these cases the video needs to be redacted, Barnfield points out. “GDPR came into play during a challenging time and some users have stopped reporting smaller losses and petty crimes because of the increased work involved. For others the alternative has been to resort to expensive video cloaking services that charge by the minute, or to use third-party redaction software not budgeted into the running costs of their surveillance operations,” he said. IDIS Dynamic Privacy Masking (IDPM) Solving this problem, IDPM is now available from the IDIS Partners Portal as a direct download. It allows authorised system users to blur sensitives areas and dynamically de-identify faces, vehicles etc. Crucially, IDPM does this automatically for the duration of the clip, even as the object or person moves around the scene. Users can then quickly save video as clips or project files via the IDIS Clip Player which, crucially, does not rely on transcoding to prevent forgery. The integrity of recorded video is already assured with IDIS Chained Fingerprint technology As a result, masking can easily be removed later by the authorised user without affecting the integrity of the footage, if that becomes necessary for a subsequent investigation. Users also have options to set passwords and expiration dates, and to control who can access and play video files. IDIS Chained Fingerprint technology The integrity of recorded video is already assured with IDIS Chained Fingerprint technology, which extracts distinctive features of recorded video data to create fingerprints for each frame and then embeds each fingerprint into the data of the next frame, connecting each frame together with the next like a blockchain. “IDPM now gives users a simple, fast and intuitive tool to provide evidence to the police and courts so that theft, abuse and violence against staff can be investigated and criminals brought to justice. At the same time companies can respond, within the stipulated timeframe, to information requests in line with GDPR without additional costs,” added Barnfield.
IDIS has launched its AI in the Box (DV-2116), boosting the power of surveillance systems with the most accurate deep learning analytics yet developed. Korea’s surveillance manufacturer says, that in independent tests IDIS Deep Learning Analytics (IDLA) has achieved industry-beating accuracy rates of 97%, a record performance which is further boosted by high speed processing. Affordable deep learning analytics Users benefit from robust and calibration-free object detection and classification; intrusion and loitering detectionThe DV-2116 makes deep learning analytics more affordable for small to mid-sized applications, enhancing security and control room efficiency. The plug-and-play IDLA-ready appliance comes embedded with an NVIDIA GTX1060 GPU chipset allowing the analysis of up to 16 channels simultaneously. Users benefit from robust and calibration-free object detection and classification (objects such as people, cars, and bicycles); intrusion and loitering detection; powerful, intelligent search functions; and tracking by colour, object and number. The introduction of AI in the Box makes deep learning analytics now easier to adopt through trouble-free plug-and-play installation via IDIS Solutions Suite video management software (VMS). This allows installation without costly disruption. And the 97% accuracy minimises false alarms, significantly improving detection and monitoring performance. Automated monitoring of video streams IDIS’s Deep Learning Engine can recognise potentially significant movements and characteristics of people and vehiclesJames Min, Managing Director, IDIS Europe, says this latest innovation has the potential to make surveillance much less labour intensive – and more effective – for a wide range of users. “Our high accuracy analytics can process vast amounts of data, without break, in a way that human operators can’t. This means that high-resolution video streams can be automatically monitored to spot suspicious behaviour or distinguish potential threats from every-day activity.” IDIS’s Deep Learning Engine, which powers the new DV-2116 AI in the Box solution, can recognise potentially significant movements and characteristics of people and vehicles, while ignoring activity that isn’t relevant. The technology can quickly check through hours of video to find specific individuals. It also becomes more accurate over time due to its self-learning characteristics. “This is very exciting as it means that time critical activities – such as investigating incidents – will become increasingly efficient as our analytics are embedded in operations,” adds James Min.
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