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HD over Coax provides cost-effective video surveillance upgrade
HD over Coax provides cost-effective video surveillance upgrade

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.

Saving lives with effective security control centre design
Saving lives with effective security control centre design

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

HD surveillance: Secrets to producing the best possible image quality
HD surveillance: Secrets to producing the best possible image quality

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.

Latest IDIS news

IDIS works with systems integrators to secure video projects in logistics, education, cannabis and residential markets
IDIS works with systems integrators to secure video projects in logistics, education, cannabis and residential markets

IDIS is working with systems integrators to identify and secure video projects in post-COVID growth sectors. Key among them are the: logistics, education, cannabis sales & production, and residential markets. Integrators affected by project delays or cancellations in their established markets are looking to diversify their customer portfolios. A recent analysis released online highlights sectors that will offer significant prospects for new video installations and system upgrades, as customers look to expand, to drive efficiency, or to introduce COVID-safe site control measures. Cyber organised crime “After a number of project successes across North America, we are seeing opportunities in some exciting areas,” said Andrew Myung, President, IDIS America. “There’s a buoyancy in the logistics sector, as ecommerce continues to grow, and COVID-19 has sped up the move to online with many older shoppers turning to online buying for the first time during the pandemic.” “Additionally, distribution and logistics centres need to keep up and upgrade their operations, which results in additional measures to secure the supply chain, track goods in and out as well as mitigating internal shrinkage and external threats such as being targeted by physical and cyber organised crime.” Opportunities also abound in the education sector; video surveillance is a cost-effective solution for schools considering ways to leverage their existing surveillance investment to help students and staff adhere with social distancing, occupancy limits and prevent bottlenecks in corridors and common areas. Smart automation solutions Systems integrators are positioning themselves by partnering with the right vendors, including IDIS" And the fast-growing cannabis sector is likely to continue performing well, with analysts expecting a continued CAGR of up to 20% through to 2027, driven by the increasing legalisation of cannabis for medical as well as adult recreational use. Working with AV integrators in the residential and small business sectors, IDIS is seeing a growth in demand not only for surveillance to increase security and safety, but also to provide convenience and efficiency with though smart automation solutions that integrate lighting, music streaming, HVAC, and a range of IoT devices that can be controlled remotely from mobile apps. In this COVID-19 age, businesses concerned with becoming infection hotspots are looking to increase site monitoring, while pressures to drive efficiency are pushing other businesses to leverage the latest AI video capabilities, with new systems and upgrades, Myung notes. “Yet, for integrators without previous experience in these growth markets, accessing those opportunities can be difficult. Consequently, systems integrators are positioning themselves by partnering with the right vendors, including IDIS.” Reduced training requirements IDIS is structured to collaborate closely with systems integrators and offers them benefits including lower total cost of service (TCS). Advantages of the single-supplier model include improved sales planning, seamless technical support for end-to-end solutions, and reduced training requirements. Looking ahead, Myung says IDIS will be further supporting integration partners by building out solutions to help businesses enforce safe working practice in Q4. “We will be helping them meet new government and industry guidelines with competitive video solutions for applications including building occupancy and density control, social distancing compliance and face mask policy compliance.”

Hall & Kay Security deploys IDIS video security solution at Meridian South Development in Hither Green, London
Hall & Kay Security deploys IDIS video security solution at Meridian South Development in Hither Green, London

An upgrade of video technology at a south London residential estate has proved so effective that the system has been immediately scaled-up. The IDIS video solution, implemented by Hall & Kay Security Engineering at the Meridian South Development in Hither Green, is less obtrusive than the system it replaced, yet it immediately delivered better results, with a number of incidents tackled to the surprise of the culprits. IDIS video solution Although the mixed development, comprising 440 owner-occupied and rented properties, is a safe and pleasant neighbourhood for most of the time, to maintain this high standard of living managers needed to tackle a growing problem with petty crime and anti-social behaviour. Hall & Kay were asked to solve this problem by implementing an advanced, end-to-end video solution from IDIS Issues were being reported with increasing frequency, including rubbish being dumped by short-term tenants vacating their apartments, theft from mailboxes, vandalism, and car crime. Rubbish removal alone was costing the management company more than £12,000 annually. Hall & Kay were asked to solve this problem by implementing an advanced, end-to-end video solution from IDIS, Korea’s largest in-country manufacturer. IDIS cameras deployed The H&K team began by replacing the ten column-mounted PTZ cameras with IDIS cameras. IDIS technicians visited the site with the H&K engineers and conducted a bandwidth test on the existing cabling, demonstrating that, by using the existing coax with IDIS ethernet converters, up to four IDIS fixed bullet cameras could be cost-effectively mounted on each existing column. Additionally, wireless access points were installed where cameras couldn’t be cabled directly to the estate control room. This approach eliminated blind-spots and guaranteed that events would not be missed when the system was unmanned. IDIS Centre video management software (VMS) To provide wider coverage, a further six columns were added, and additional IDIS cameras were mounted in the underground car parking areas. The system now delivers full HD images in all lighting conditions, with built-in IR ensuring night-time image capture at distances up to 30m. All footage is stored for 30 days. The security officers and maintenance staff who manage the estate are also taking advantage of the easy-to-use analytics functions that come with the totally cost-free IDIS Centre video management software (VMS).  These tools include motion detection which can be utilised out of hours to ensure that scenes are only recorded when movement occurs, thus minimising bandwidth usage and storage requirements. This feature, along with IDIS MapVue navigation, also makes it easy to quickly review footage to find incidents of interest. IDIS full HD IR cameras Within 24 hours of the cameras being installed, departing tenants were recorded illegally dumping rubbish The 57 IDIS full HD IR cameras, and the three NVRs with 12TB storage each, benefit from true plug-and-play set up with DirectIP. When the South Meridian management team saw the quality of images now being captured, they asked if the system could be extended. With IDIS’s flexible approach this was quick and easy to do. Within 24 hours of the cameras being installed, departing tenants were recorded illegally dumping rubbish. Shortly after this, a contractor working at the site reported that tools had been stolen in both cases, with high definition evidence of the crime being captured and passed to the police. Easy-to-use VMS controls In fact, thanks to the design of the system, and the easy-to-use VMS controls, security staff was able to retrieve footage of the incident itself, along with a full video trail of the thief moving across the estate, before and afterwards. Word has now spread about how effective the new system is, and residents are delighted that there are now no blind spots. “The support we had from IDIS was second to none and the technology works exactly as promised,” said Wayne Wharton, Security Sales Manager, H&K Security, adding “We are now looking at many more IDIS projects with the same customer and others.” “We are delighted that IDIS technology is making such a positive difference to the quality of life of residents at Meridian South,” said James Min, Managing Director at IDIS Europe.

IDIS IR PTZ camera keeps watch over Volcan de Fuego project in Guatemala
IDIS IR PTZ camera keeps watch over Volcan de Fuego project in Guatemala

Video surveillance has many applications, and keeping a watchful eye on an active volcano ranks as an important one. IDIS’ video technology has been meeting the task as the video technology provider for the Volcan de Fuego project in Guatemala.  This volcano, one of the world’s most active and dangerous, is now watched day and night in order to give early warning of impending eruptions. Continual live footage of the ‘Volcan de Fuego’ can now be viewed online by emergency agencies, scientists and residents, as it is all being captured by IDIS’ award winning 8MP 31x IR PTZ camera.   Ultra-high definition  Even from over nine miles away, the 8-megapixel model is delivering ultra-high definition, full day, and night surveillance of the active caldera, showing sudden gas and ash eruptions as often as every 15 to 20 minutes.  In June 2018 nearly 200 people were killed on Volcan de Fuego during a series of explosions and pyroclastic flows which left little evacuation time. This was the volcano’s most powerful eruption since 1974 and its deadliest since 1929 but was far from an isolated incident. More than 60 major eruptions have been recorded over the last five centuries, and with 54,000 people living on the fertile farmlands within six miles of the crater, the risk remains high.  DC-S3883HRX camera  The H.265 IR DC-S3883HRX camera features an 8MP, auto focus, and 31x optical zoom lens Consequently, ultra-high definition, continual video monitoring, alongside data from sensors including seismology and gas detectors, now aims to protect vulnerable communities living around the volcano by giving early warning.  The H.265 IR DC-S3883HRX camera, which features an 8MP, auto focus, and 31x optical zoom lens, IR performance up to 200m, and a highly sensitive auto-return positioning sensor, was installed by IDIS, its partner EPCOM and Guatemalan telecommunications specialist Crelosa. Like all IDIS cameras, the model, which has won two prestigious design awards, benefits from true, one-click plug-and-play set up, making it ideal for hassle-free installation at height, in challenging environments, and in locations where engineers are exposed to increased risk.   Electronic image stabilisation  The IDIS PTZ also features true wide dynamic range (WDR), allowing it to cope easily in changing lighting conditions; electronic image stabilisation (EIS) ensures steady coverage of scenes at distance, so images from the volcano remain crisp and sharp; and H.265 and intelligent codec requires minimum bandwidth even for 4K live monitoring.   The camera also remains stable despite the region’s variable weather conditions including under strong sun, and when temperatures that fall sharply at night. The water droplet wiper proves essential during the rainy season. Smart failover and IDIS’ Ultimate Warranty gives Crelosa and the Volcan de Fuego monitoring agencies peace of mind that the camera will continue to deliver outstanding video in one of the world’s most dramatic settings.