CCTV cameras - Expert commentary

Can CCTV become a more effective tool?
Can CCTV become a more effective tool?

We all know that having CCTV around your home can help to protect you and your family. Without CCTV, you could end up in danger and an intruder could get away with breaking into your house, hurting your loved ones and stealing your possessions. Similarly, without CCTV in the office, you’ll be leaving yourself open to all kinds of damage and could lose a lot of equipment in the process. In short, making sure you have CCTV is important for both home and business security. However, it can be improved to become a more effective system so that you’re better protected, and can even deter a potential intruder without having to panic. In our world of ever-changing technology, we’re able to upgrade and enhance our CCTV systems so they can become a monitored system. Remote CCTV monitoring is an ideal way to protect everyone and everything whether you’re at home or at a workplace. What is remote CCTV monitoring? For a long time, CCTV was one of the best ways to keep your home, the office and people safe. But people started to notice that it would only deter people so much of the time and often the cameras were ignored by intruders. They would just cover their faces and hope for the best as they steal from a home, office or any other premises. Remote CCTV monitoring is a system that can loop into your existing CCTV, or come preinstalled with a new system. This technology sends a feed to a control room full of trained operators that are on call 24/7. Within this control room, operators are able to respond to any sort of distress call or unauthorised movement on the property line.  How does it work? Remote CCTV monitoring works by attaching to a live feed of your CCTV system, existing or new, so that the signal and images can be passed to a team of operators. These operators are on hand 24/7 so that if there is a problem, you know that you're safe in the hands of a specialist team. The specialist team has been trained to mitigate the chances of somebody breaking into your home when the system is triggered; similarly they call the local authorities instantly so that the potential intruder has less time to flee the scene. This is especially important if an intruder is already inside your property because they have less time to steal your items and leave. Without CCTV in the office, you’ll be leaving yourself open to all kinds of damage and could lose a lot of equipment in the process One of the biggest questions that revolve around remote CCTV monitoring is the idea of operators watching the CCTV at all times. Luckily most remote CCTV monitoring systems will incorporate a motion detection system to accompany your CCTV. Motion detection offers the ability to alert a control room if there is an unauthorised entry to the property line. These motion detection systems are state-of-the-art and so, depending on the system that you choose, they can watch over your property from a number of angles. Once the motion detection system has been triggered and the alert has been sent to the control room, then and only then will the operators get involved. This means that until the motion detection system has been triggered, nobody will watch your live CCTV feed. After one of the systems has been triggered, one of the specialist operators will instantly jump into action. This means that they can take different measures to deter any potential intruder and make sure that they do everything in their power to stop any damage or theft from the premises. In addition to the motion detection system and CCTV, you are able to opt for a public address (PA) system too. This means that an operator is able to shout commands through the PA system and potentially scare away any intruder. The intruder will also be warned about the fact that local authorities have already been called to the location.  Remote monitoring versus traditional CCTV Motion detection offers the ability to alert a control room if there is an unauthorised entry to the property line Having a monitored CCTV system means that you're able to better protect yourself, your business, employees and even your loved ones. Whether you're at home or in the office, having someone looking over your shoulder protecting your every move is something that can be appreciated by everybody. The biggest problem with just having traditional CCTV, is that it is a reactive system. This means that rather than stopping crime, a CCTV system just records it. While the thought is that having a CCTV camera visible can deter some intruders, there's no real evidence to suggest that it stops anybody; anyone can simply cover their face and carry on breaking into your home, office or even your car. As mentioned, remote CCTV monitoring is going to tackle that problem and make sure that someone is on hand to protect you at all times.

The digital transformation of access control solutions
The digital transformation of access control solutions

The safeguarding of premises through the monitoring of entrance and exit points has traditionally been a very manual aspect of security. Human operators have been relied on to make decisions about who to admit and deny based on levels of authorisation and the appropriate credentials. But the access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation; one where the protection of premises, assets and people is increasingly delivered by interconnected systems utilising IoT devices and cloud infrastructure to offer greater levels of security and protection. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification, right through to complex networks of thermal cameras, audio speakers and sensors. These systems, connected through the cloud, can be customised and scaled to meet the precise requirements of today’s customer. And it’s the ease of cloud integration, combined with open technologies and platforms that is encouraging increasing collaboration and exciting developments while rendering legacy systems largely unfit for purpose. Remote management and advanced diagnostics Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution.Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution. For example, as the world faces an unprecedented challenge and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption, the ability to monitor and manage access to sites remotely is a welcome advantage for security teams who might otherwise have to check premises in person and risk breaking social distancing regulations. The benefits of not physically having to be on site extend to the locations within which these technologies can be utilised. As an example, within a critical infrastructure energy project, access can be granted remotely for maintenance on hard to reach locations. Advanced diagnostics can also play a part in such a scenario. When access control is integrated with video surveillance and IP audio, real-time monitoring of access points can identify possible trespassers with automated audio messages used to deter illegal access and making any dangers clear. And with video surveillance in the mix, high quality footage can be provided to authorities with real-time evidence of a crime in progress. Comprehensive protection in retail Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity The use of connected technologies for advanced protection extends to many forward-looking applications. Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity. Customers are able to use mobile technology to self-scan their chosen products and make payments, all from using a dedicated app. From an access control and security perspective, connected doors can be controlled to protect staff and monitor shopper movement. Remote management includes tasks such as rolling out firmware updates or restarting door controllers, with push notifications sent immediately to security personnel in the event of a breach or a door left open. Remote monitoring access control in storage In the storage facility space, this too can now be entirely run through the cloud with remote monitoring of access control and surveillance providing a secure and streamlined service. There is much to gain from automating the customer journey, where storage lockers are selected online and, following payment, customers are granted access. Through an app the customer can share their access with others, check event logs, and activate notifications. With traditional padlocks the sharing of access is not as practical, and it’s not easy for managers to keep a record of storage locker access. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers. The elimination of manual tasks, in both scenarios, represents cost savings. When doors are connected to the cloud, their geographical location is rendered largely irrelevant. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers They become IoT devices which are fully integrated and remotely programmable from anywhere, at any time. This creates a powerful advantage for the managers of these environments, making it possible to report on the status of a whole chain of stores, or to monitor access to numerous storage facilities, using the intelligence that the technology provides from the data it collects. Open platforms power continuous innovation All of these examples rely on open technology to make it possible, allowing developers and technology providers to avoid the pitfalls that come with the use of proprietary systems. The limitations of such systems have meant that the ideas, designs and concepts of the few have stifled the creativity and potential of the many, holding back innovation and letting the solutions become tired and their application predictable. Proprietary systems have meant that solution providers have been unable to meet their customers’ requirements until the latest upgrade becomes available or a new solution is rolled out. This use of open technology enables a system that allows for collaboration, the sharing of ideas and for the creation of partnerships to produce ground-breaking new applications of technology. Open systems demonstrate a confidence in a vendor’s own solutions and a willingness to share and encourage others to innovate and to facilitate joint learning. An example of the dynamic use of open technology is Axis’ physical access control hardware, which enables partners to develop their own cloud-based software for control and analysis of access points, all the while building and expanding on Axis’ technology platform. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification Opportunities for growth Open hardware, systems and platforms create opportunities for smaller and younger companies to participate and compete, giving them a good starting point, and some leverage within the industry when building and improving upon existing, proven technologies. This is important for the evolution and continual relevance of the physical security industry in a digitally enabled world. Through increased collaboration across technology platforms, and utilising the full range of possibilities afforded by the cloud environment, the manufacturers, vendors and installers of today’s IP enabled access control systems can continue to create smart solutions to meet the ever-changing demands and requirements of their customers across industry.

Optimising large-scale event security and operations with intelligent video surveillance
Optimising large-scale event security and operations with intelligent video surveillance

Large event venues spend significant resources on physical security, and the vast majority invest in video surveillance systems as a way of monitoring public areas such as parking lots, garages and seating, as well as “backstage” areas such as loading docks and offices. Even though the camera footage is often preserved for investigating incidents, for the most part, video footage goes untapped because – realistically – security staff cannot constantly and efficiently monitor cameras in real-time or review the high volumes of archived video. Video analytics powered by Artificial Intelligence Increasingly, event venues are overcoming this challenge and maximising this video data by investing in intelligent video surveillance. In this article, I will explore how the combination of traditional surveillance and groundbreaking video content analytics enables event venues to not only optimise physical security and safety, but also improve customer service, streamline operations, and gather valuable business intelligence. Deep learning and artificial intelligence-based video content analytic systems detect, identify, extract, and catalog all the objects that appear in video footage based on classes and attributes such as gender, appearance similarity, color or size. This – along with behavioral detection, such as object interactions, dwell times, and navigation paths, as well as face and license plate recognition – enables searchable, actionable and quantifiable analysis of video. The technology makes it easy for users to accelerate post-event investigations, improve situational awareness, and derive critical business insights from video data. Accelerate post-event investigations, improve situational awareness, and derive critical business insights Accelerating investigations Where there are crowds, it’s not uncommon for medical or criminal incidents to transpire. In the aftermath, security teams must quickly understand the scene and, by making video searchable, video analytics helps them efficiently gather information or evidence from multiple camera. Whereas a manual search of video footage would require hours, if not days, of valuable time and staff resources – while being subject to human error – a video content analytics system enables effective multi-video search using a variety of filters, so that post-incident investigations can be focused and, thereby, accelerated. For instance, if witnesses claim that a man in a yellow shirt caused a disturbance and then drove away in a blue pickup truck, security could filter video to review instances where people or vehicles matching those descriptions appeared, and then focus their investigation on relevant video evidence. For the same example, if the perpetrator was still at large in the venue, security managers would want to track the person’s movements and, ultimately, apprehend him. Using the same cataloged metadata that drives video search, intelligent video surveillance accelerates real-time response to developing situations from threats and suspicious behaviors to emergencies, or even any behavior that requires closer monitoring or intervention. Something as mundane as an unwieldy queue forming at a concession stand can alert logic that increases operators’ situational awareness and ability to effectively intervene. By understanding developing situations in real-time, they can respond more quickly to prevent or solve a problem. Rule-based real time alerts Users can configure rule-based real-time alerts, based on specific scenarios – such as when people counts in the defined space next to the cashier are higher than the specified threshold, indicating a queue, or when vehicles are detected dwelling in a no-park zone or sensitive security area. In the case of the offender in the yellow shirt, security could configure alerts to notify for appearances of men in yellow shirts or blue pickup trucks within the event complex. If they’re able to extract the perpetrator’s face or license plate from the video search, security officers can also identify and track the specific person and vehicle of interest. Intelligent video surveillance users can compile “watchlists” Object recognition is helpful for tracking specific, identified threats, but it can also be leveraged for locating missing persons or vehicles or offering VIP services to guests who comply. Intelligent video surveillance users can compile “watchlists” – that include persons of interest, such as past agitators, recognised criminals or terrorists, missing persons or VIPs – to be alerted when matches for these faces appear in video. Face recognition can also be used to differentiate recognised employees from visitors that are not authorised to be in certain spaces in order to prevent security breaches. Because camera conditions aren’t always optimal for “in the wild” face and license plate recognition – where lighting conditions or camera angles don’t always allow for a pristine face or plate capture – it is critical to have a comprehensive video content analysis tool for triggering alerts based object classifications and non-personally-identifiable parameters. Optimising operations based on business intelligence While having real-time situational awareness is crucial for proactive intervention to developing situations, understanding long-term activity and trends can be equally important for an events venue or stadium. With video analytics, video surveillance data can be aggregated over time to generate statistical intelligence, trend reports, and data visualisations for operational intelligence. This capability transforms video surveillance from a siloed security tool to an intelligence platform with broad value for business groups across the organisation. Marketing departments can gain visitor demographic information for targeted advertising and product placements. On-site retailers can uncover how visitors navigate their stores and the products or spaces that draw the most attention. Property management can follow heatmaps demonstrating where visitors dwell and the durations they stay at certain exhibits or areas, to base rental and leasing fees on actionable and quantifiable intelligence. Operations managers can more effectively plan and hire staff for events, by analysing visitor traffic trends, entry and exit points and occupancy statistics.   Video surveillance data can be aggregated over time to generate statistical intelligence For these reasons and more, event organisations that already rely on CCTV networks should consider how to better leverage those existing investments to deliver substantial value across the organisation. By making video searchable, actionable and quantifiable, intelligent video surveillance empowers event managers to enhance public safety and physical security, while also streamlining operations and improving customer service.

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IFSEC 2015: TDSi to demonstrate integration opportunities with other security providers
IFSEC 2015: TDSi to demonstrate integration opportunities with other security providers

The event is the opportunity to learn more about how products can be integrated with a broad range of complementary systems Integrated security manufacturer TDSi will be demonstrating the considerable benefits of full integration of its solutions with other specialist manufacturers, including Texecom, Milestone, ASSA ABLOY and SimonsVoss, on stand F1100, at IFSEC International 2015 this month. John Davies, Managing Director of TDSi commented, "IFSEC International is the perfect opportunity to learn more about how our products can be integrated with a broad range of complementary systems, from wireless locking systems to intruder alarms and CCTV VMS Platforms. All of these can be centrally administered by our EXgarde software, which provides a fully comprehensive, centrally managed security." TDSi to be a key part of 'Harmony Village' TDSi will again be a key part of the 'Harmony Village' at IFSEC International, which includes partners Texecom, GJD and Elmdene all in close proximity – making it simple for visitors to understand the connecting technologies. TDSi will also be working in close co-operation with Milestone, ASSA ABLOY and SimonsVoss at the show to explain the integration partnerships between the technologies and the providers. Distribution Partner Manager; LeAnne Hill, Channel Partner Manager; Alex Rumsey and Channel Partner Manager; Richard Hill will all be on hand on stand F1100 to discuss the benefits of working with TDSi in the UK. For international visitors attending the show, International Business Development Manager; Mica Negrilic will be available to talk about opportunities to partner TDSi in EMEA. John Davies will also be on hand to talk about the opportunities in China and the Asia Pacific region. Latest range of readers on display On stand F1100 TDSi will display its latest range of readers. These include new versions of its MIFARE and Proximity Readers, including MIFARE Plus and DESFire technologies, for added security and flexibility. Also on display will be the company's SOLOgarde, MICROgarde and EX-Series controllers, along with the combination options of its software products - including EXgarde security management and VUgarde Video Management Software. Motivational speakers This year IFSEC International features a number of well-known motivational speakers - including British racing driver and former track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy MBE, sporting executive Baroness Karren Brady CBE and Adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE. TDSi is keen to encourage visitors from across the UK who may be considering attending the show. A recent blog (www.tdsi.co.uk/ifsec15_north) outlines the benefits of attending the show and also makes suggestions on the best ways to travel to the ExCel and to make the most of the event.

Intersec 2015: BSIA members experience positive response
Intersec 2015: BSIA members experience positive response

The BSIA-organised UK Pavilion the focal point of the highest-ever turnout of UK companies The Intersec exhibition held in Dubai last month is fast becoming a must attend event for British security providers. Members of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and its Export Council, who were there in force for the 17th year, report a high level of interest in the wide range of innovative UK security solutions, from integrated systems to access control, CCTV, perimeter protection, intruder alarm and power supply technology, on display. The scale of the British presence at Intersec 2015 was certainly impressive this time around, with the BSIA-organized UK Pavilion the focal point of the highest-ever turnout of UK companies. The positive experience of Export Council member companies at Intersec 2015 was captured by a post-event survey, with 75% of respondents answering that the number of visitors coming to their stands had grown year-on-year, paralleling what the organisers themselves have been saying. Beyond this, half of the member companies surveyed pointed out that the quality of attendees had improved - a welcome trend. Reflecting on the bottom-line business benefits, three-quarters said that they expect to obtain more orders thanks to Intersec and, looking ahead to 2016, all of the companies who replied confirmed that they were planning to attend next year's event. So what were visitors to Intersec 2015 most interested in? Well, security integration seems have been the hot topic, with all respondents to the BSIA's Export Council's post-show survey selecting it as one of the standout technology areas. This mirrors the findings of the BSIA's security and business trends research and underlines the increasing recognition amongst BSIA members’ customers of the enhanced security, and day-to-day management, benefits that can be unlocked when a number of elements from access control to video surveillance can be brought together in a seamless IP environment rather than remaining in their own discrete, and unconnected, silos. "From our members’ survey it is clear that not only was the number of on-stand visits on an upward trajectory but, crucially, there was a corresponding uplift in the level and quality of enquiries" Other technologies on the shopping list for Intersec 2015, according to the BSIA survey, included: HD (High Definition) CCTV and ultra HD in the form of 4K which continues to prove a popular choice thanks, undoubtedly, to the ability to provide additional detail in security critical applications such as banks and hotel lobbies and changing legislative requirements across the region. Beyond this video content analysis, biometrics for access control and ANPR were also in the frame. Commenting on Intersec 2015, Tom Sharrard, Vice Chair of the Export Council at the BSIA, is delighted with how the exhibition turned out for member companies: “Intersec 2015 certainly surpassed our expectations. From our members’ survey it is clear that not only was the number of on-stand visits on an upward trajectory but, crucially, there was a corresponding uplift in the level and quality of enquiries. It will, of course, be interesting to see how this translates into physical orders in the months ahead. There is little doubt that Intersec remains a strong platform for our members targeting the region, an area which appreciates the benefits of working with British businesses which offer best practice solutions that comply with the latest industry standards." Member companies were asked for their thoughts regarding Intersec 2015: Chris Williams, Director at VMS (Video Management Software) specialist Wavestore (www.wavestore.com) feels that the design of the UK Pavilion was particularly strong this year and was happy with the level of visitors: “The many visitors who attended on all three days delivered one of the best shows for some time.” A key focus for Wavestore was the energy saving capabilities of its V6 VMS which automates the spin down of hard drives not engaged in active read and write processes. Paul King, Commercial Director at Elmdene (www.elmdene.co.uk) reports that switch mode power supplies delivering efficiency levels of up to 90% were a big draw at Intersec, with leads up by 20%: “There was a lot of attention being given to our EN54 STX power supplies, high specification CCTV power supplies and PoE solutions,” says King. Natalie Simpson, Marketing Manager, Synectics (www.synecticsuk.com) says that the company's team at Intersec saw significant interest in integrated solutions and the EX camera station range, including thermal imaging. Reflecting on the bottom-line business benefits, three-quarters said that they expect to obtain more orders thanks to Intersec Another company whose solutions fitted-in with the market push for integration was TDSi (www.tdsi.co.uk), thanks to its powerful Exgarde access control software and VUgardeCCTV video management software. By the second day of the show, Managing Director John Davies was already pointing to an upward trend in attendees, a fact reflected in the company's final figures which rose by a fifth. Helen Williams, Marketing Executive at Remsdaq (www.remsdaq.com) says that the company secured record visitor numbers from across the Middle East and Africa: “We anticipate significant new business based on our multi-award winning EntroWatch and EntroStar access control products and the brand new EntroPad proximity reader with its unique Arabic keypad.” Tony Smith, Major Accounts and Marketing Manager at Integrated Design Ltd (IDL), renowned for its Fastlane turnstile solutions (www.fastlaneturnstiles.com), is also upbeat after a steady increase in visitors over the past few years. He reckons that the show is a good way to move existing business forward: “People from projects in the Gulf were able to come to see us for technical training and to look at the products they had purchased.” A member company using Intersec to show the shape of things to come was IndigoVision (www.indigovision.com) in the form of its FrontLine body worn video. Paul Murphy the company's Head of Marketing feels there is tremendous potential for the technology: “It has come to the point where it is durable and lightweight enough, and can record for long enough, for deployment by front line staff.” Users could range from staff at airports to those who are public-facing in hotels."

BSIA appoints Elmdene Managing Director Ian Moore as Chairman of the Association’s dedicated Export Council
BSIA appoints Elmdene Managing Director Ian Moore as Chairman of the Association’s dedicated Export Council

A long-term contributor to the BSIA’s Export Council, Ian’s expertise continues to help new exporters gain a foothold in overseas markets Following the British Security Industry Association’s AGM, Elmdene Ltd’s Managing Director, Ian Moore, has been appointed Chairman of the Association’s dedicated Export Council. With an export career spanning 20 years, Ian has made a positive contribution to the international growth of a number of businesses cross-nationally; working in the UK, Taiwan, Dubai and Libya. As Managing Director at Elmdene, a large-scale manufacturer of electronic products, Ian has in-depth experience exporting worldwide. Most notably to Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Nordics, South Africa and the Middle East. Ian has also honed his thought leadership skills throughout his professional development; from teaching at the Royal Navy Engineering University near the start of his career to later lecturing at the National Police College in Taiwan. In 2003, Ian established Detector Technologies and oversaw the company’s growth from a start-up to an international business with offices in the UK, Australia, Dubai and South Africa in just six years. A long-term contributor to the BSIA’s Export Council, Ian’s expertise continues to help new exporters gain a foothold in overseas markets. In recognition of his ongoing involvement in the Council, Ian was also recently awarded the Chairman’s Award for Contribution to Exporting at the BSIA’s Annual Lunch. Ian is looking forward to his new role and is ambitious about the future of the Export Council. When asked what his main focus as Chairman over the next twelve months will be, he replied: “I am very keen to educate members through the Council of the opportunities and risks of exporting. There is a natural assumption that exporting should be the first strategy to growing business – this is not necessarily true. Only when the home market is near to saturation (unless there is an unquestioning opportunity) and they have the products and market acceptance, should they go down this route. “Many British companies have products that will only sell into regions that are discerning about quality, innovation, compliance etc. With the extra price tag that this normally brings (including the amortisation of self and third party approving) – they will not normally be competitive when it is purely about price. In addition I want to emphasise the value the Export Council can give to its members and prospective members.” The BSIA’s Export Council, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is a forum which allows relationships between the UK's security industry and overseas buyers to be founded and cultivated, and acts as an invaluable port of call for overseas-based contacts interested in developing a relationship with a UK company as a partner, customer or distributor.

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